Is it that bad?

Why henna?  What is henna all about?

Henna Sting and Henna Stink

Henna, indigo, and cassia, may sting just a tiny bit. It’s a normal, natural sting. Henna is naturally acidic, and henna, indigo and cassia are all astringent and antiseptic. Remember that antiseptic and astringent stuff generally does sting, though I think you’ll find it’s quite a tolerable sting (if at all) and not at all that terrible. Personally, I feel nothing from henna except relaxed and soothed; it’s the indigo I find just slightly offensive in smell and how it strikes my senses generally. Cassia I find stings just a little bit but I find the smell quite tolerable, and almost near to a henna like smell. Take consolation in remembering that any slight stinging sensation is at least not a chemical sting that makes you feel like you’re going to burn up. They all pong but it’s matter of personal taste how bad or good you find it. Just remember that chemical dyes smell too, and at least inhalation of herbal pong isn’t toxic and won’t kill you ! If you find it too much, then ensure you’re in a well ventilated area. Some people like / love henna smell and say it smells like a sunny day.


Dried Henna Mud and Washing Out your Henna

And as the pastes dry out they sort of become like clay, and eventually you might feel like you’re wearing parched desert mud that’s cracking up on your head. It can be quite a chore to break the mud down and get it all out because little dried up particles hold tight to your scalp and hair [especially cassia obovata]. This is why it’s important to keep the henna paste moist whilst it’s in  your hair. You need to wash it out gently and thoroughly and get your fingers right into and around your scalp, neck, and ears. Be aware that immediately after your henna /indigo /cassia application you may feel some slight itchiness on your scalp. This could be because you haven’t washed it all out properly, or it could be sensitivity. I’m loathe to use commercial hair conditioner normally, but it may actually be justifiable immediately after henna /indigo /cassia as a one off, i.e. used as a shampoo, because it softens everything sufficiently for you to be able to feel if you’ve got it all out – and it further seals in colour. Alternatively, rinse lightly, then oil with cold pressed conditioning bhringraj oil or deep conditioning stinky neem oil , leave in 5 -10  mins while you shower, then shampoo and rinse thoroughly. I’ve recommended other methods of washing out in the Renaissance Henna Hair Kit Booklet.


The Henna, Cassia, Indigo Itch

If you’re still itchy from henna after a thorough rinse or shampoo, massage our cooling and soothing pure Ameera Aloe Vera Juice into your scalp. I reckon that what’s going on here is partly due to the fact that your hair gets an immediate boost from these products – you’ll immediately notice thickness and fullness in your hair, and I think that just aggravates any itchiness from left over henna particles because the thickness of your hair now adds so much extra body that if anything’s left underneath it gets heated up by your hair volume and gets a little irritating. Also, don’t forget of course that herbal substances can be not only potent, but sometimes potently irritating in themselves as well…. but nothing the Ameera Aloe Vera Juice shouldn’t be able to settle ! Having said all that, if it’s unbearably itchy or you feel that it’s just not normal, then seek medical advice.


Henna – It’s Worth it ! But Don’t Forget to Think about Safety & Sense

But it’s worth it ! Just try, and you’ll be amazed by the results. I think the key is to have the confidence, the courage, and the determination, to experiment as much as possible to find what suits you and what works best for you. And this is something we’ve either forgotten or become conditioned to be nervous about. Try, try…and try again ! There is an alternative to beautifully packaged and cleverly marketed synthetic chemicals and surfactants that damage and irritate your health and hair -be prepared to see past the magical sales hype. Be prepared to question, to research, and to set your own standards of safety and sense. I believe if you go back to the real roots of natural beauty and persevere with an open mind and a willingness to try, you’ll find something amongst natural chemicals ( herbs are essentially natural chemicals and may even contain minute traces of arsenic as does your drinking water  ) that works for you. Learn to expect no less than true love and respect for your hair ! Think about it….natural herbals may be irritants as well ( so you have to manage your quantities carefully and manage your applications in a manner that suits you, and perhaps favour one over another if you find you’re sensitive to something – as you currently do with synthetic chemical surfactant products), but, in comparison to the synthetic chemical cocktail hair care we’re now being served up in our supermarkets, fancy malls, and department stories, you’ve got to consider that at the very worst a totally herbal hair product is bound to be less harmful than what you were using before, and at best it may just be beneficial for your health as well as your hair. The possibilities are endless. The results are priceless. And then the past is just a goodbye. Well that’s my view anyway…. but, in the spirit of keeping an open mind, please do visit the following links !

Is there arsenic in my herbs?

Arsenic and Uranium in Fertiliser

Despite the arsenic issues, henna and indigo have been used safely for centuries by our ancestors.

Nice Smelling Henna Concoctions : DO NOT add Essential Oils to Henna !! ( they are so not essential )

Some people suggest adding essential oils to henna to “terp” it and to make it smell nice. I won’t go into terping henna as it’s something you would only really need to know about for body art henna applications, and you’ll do just fine with henna for hair without terping (and without body art henna!). Please don’t ever add essential oils or perfume to henna for hair, or to indigo for hair, or to anything else that goes in your hair… it can work havoc with your brain ! I once added a few drops of lavender essential oil to my henna about an hour before I used it. Lavender essential oil is apparently the safest you can use in essential oils (“E.O.s”) and it can even be used neat on most people (without diluting it). But what a disaster that turned out to be! It knocked me for six. I felt whoozy and sickly for a good couple of days before I got over it. Must have hit straight in the brain. In light of this, and in light of good sense (which I was clearly lacking at the time) I would say: stay clear of adding EO’s of any kind to henna which goes in your hair, including clove bud oil. Clove bud oil is potentially sensitising, widely recognised as an irritant for sensitive skins and scalp, and – as with any oil – may interfere with colour take. It may work for some, but if it doesn’t work for me then I won’t recommend it.

As an aside, please beware of anything described as “parfum”, “perfume”, “fragrance”, or “aroma” in henna or indeed in any cosmetic product. Cosmetic legislation has failed us in so far as there is nothing to regulate quantities and combinations of perfume and/or fragrance in any product. This is the loophole in the legislation that gives the apparently green earth lover manufacturer with the “I love you so much I’ll die for you approach” a license to kill ! If you have sensitive skin or scalp it’s a whole new can of worms ! Perfume / fragrance can be anything that adds a nice smell – synthetic chemical, natural, offensive, or totally innocent. But you can be assured that it’s rarely innocent. Beware of “perfume” unless the manufacturer states each and every constituent of the perfume used and its precise source. Check out The Dangers of Toxic Consumer Products.

Renaissance Rose Water Hair Rinse

For rose fragranced hair, mix 2 to 3 capfuls of Renaissance Pure Rose Water into a jug of warm water and pour over your hair as a final hair rinse. The Rose Water is also a soothing skin toner. Use Renaissance Rose Water or Ameera Aloe Vera in conjunction with : Renaissance Pure Organic Rose Powder and Rose Secret Beauty Mix for beautiful skin ! Also use with rhassoul clay for natural hair and body wash.