News & Blog

Natural dyes for hair and henna: here's how to prepare them

Natural dyes for hair and henna: here's how to prepare them

In the last post we explained how dyeing and treating herbs are applied to our hair for a natural top color. In this post we would instead like to focus on how to use the dyeing herbs that we choose to achieve the result we want: we will talk about how to prepare henna and other natural hair dyes and how to prepare vegetable treatments for hair care.

Hair dye herbs: what they are and what they are for

For millennia, hair herbs have been used not only as natural hair highlights but also for hair care. This is why when we talk about hair herbs we need to distinguish the dyeing - toning herbs (which work by layering on the hair and have no lightening power) and the treating - curative herbs. You can find the best Italian herbs for hair here, by Phitofilos.

The natural shades are given by single (simple) dyeing herbs or by a mix of dyeing herbs. Among the most frequently used dyeing herbs, henna stands out, a greenish yellow powder obtained from the dried and ground leaves and branches of Lawsonia inermis, capable of coloring and covering white hair perfectly.

Here is a list of simple dyeing herbs - toners: barberry, turmeric, rhubarb, black henna, camping wood, in addition to the aforementioned red henna (n.2 and n.3); simple treating / healing herbs include: ziziphus, altea, neutral henna, fenugreek, amla, baobab, spirulina, Goond Katira.

Among the mixes of tincture-toning herbs, which you can find here, by Phitofilos, there are: red henna n.1, cold blonde, light golden blonde, chamomile blend, dark blonde, hazelnut, walnut husk blend, camping blend, red cherry, eggplant. The mix of treating / healing herbs can be found here ready in these Phitofilos packs: the emollient pack, sebum-balancing pack, reinforcing pack, purifying pack.

How to prepare henna or a curative treatment for hair

To use powdered herbal dyes, both to prepare henna or healing wraps, you must first prepare the batter. The batter is prepared with hot water (about 50 ° -80 ° C) and the best material to use as a bowl and to mix them is wood. The consistency of the batter must be that of a pudding. At this point, the batter, left to rest in the right time, will then be applied to damp hair and left to act (no more than two and a half hours!). To obtain the correct consistency of the batter, however, some parameters must be considered.

What is the exact amount of water to use for a non-runny batter?

The quantity of water must always be evaluated from time to time and changes based on the external temperature, the batch of the product, the time between preparation and application and any additions in batter (e.g. yogurt, gel, lemon, vinegar, etc. .). To get an idea anyway, let's take an example with our Phitofilos herbs, without picramates, 100% vegetable and vegan ok, which are found in sachets of 100 g:

- dyeing-toning herbs: (simple) barberry 350-370 ml, turmeric 280-330 ml, black henna 250-320 ml, camping wood 300-320 ml, red henna n.2 (Titian red henna) 350/380 ml , red henna n.3 220-380 ml; (mix) with 100 g of light golden blonde, 350 ml of water, cold blonde 240-290 ml, dark blonde 240-260 ml, henna n.1 320-350 ml, aubergine 280-300 ml, chamomile mixture 400-480 ml, camping blend 300-320 ml, walnut husk mixture 250-350 ml, hazelnut 290-300 ml, cherry red 370-380 ml;

- healing herbs: (simple) ziziphus 270-280 ml, marshmallow 500 ml, amla 190-240 ml, baobab 300 ml, fenugreek 700-900 ml, neutral henna 380-390 ml; (mix) emollient compress 350-370 ml, purifying compress 280-290 ml, reinforcing compress 300-360 ml, sebum balancing compress 325-370 ml;

In addition to water, in the batter is it necessary to add something else?

Despite the addition of the right amount of water to the dyeing herbs, the result is not necessarily the one hoped for, as the type of dyeing grass chosen to be used must be assessed (each has its own characteristics to know!). The use of some herbs in fact risks giving the same a "runny" batter. Depending on the chosen dyeing herbs, therefore, we may or may not need the pastellating gel.

What is the batter gel for? The batter gel helps in the preparation of batters that do not strain. It is a neutral gel based on vegetable cellulose (Phitofilos prepares it by adding to the neutral gel witch hazel virginiana). When to use the batter gel and with what? The pastellante gel is generally recommended when choosing to use in particular: cold blond, camping blend, walnut husk mixture, hazelnut, cherry red, barberry, turmeric, black henna, neutral henna, red henna n.3, ziziphus, emollient pack , sebum-balancing compress, purifying compress.

Can I replace the batter gel with some other natural substance? Other solutions to avoid non-colic preparation could be the use of neutral plants with mucilage, such as fenugreek, baobab, amla, emollient compress, reinforcing compress, purifying compress, as long as these additions are not more than 15%! By adding a neutral plant with mucilages in a low percentage, the mucilages absorb water giving the batter the power to better adhere to the hair and therefore to increase the tinting power on the hair.

Can we proceed now? Not before considering this too: some plants release their dyeing potential better in an acidic environment, others in an alkaline environment. Eg:

- red henna is recommended to prepare it simply with hot water (at the limit a few drops of vinegar) and let it rest for 6-8 hours to better release the dyeing power. It can be further acidified with filtered lemon juice and subjected to oxidation (about 6 hours) for more intense reflections.

- black henna is recommended to prepare it simply with hot water and subject it to short oxidation (10-15 minutes) to better release its dyeing power. We recommend basifying with a teaspoon of baking soda to increase the cold reflections obtainable from this plant.

How long should the batter be "rested" before applying?

When choosing to use dyeing and / or healing herbs, it should be borne in mind that they can have different capacities to bind with water and therefore require hydration times that are also very different from each other or other precautions. For example, marshmallow (root), useful on platinum blond hair, has a powder / water ratio of 1: 5 and 12-24 h of hydration; baobab (fruit) has a powder / water ratio of 1: 4 and 6-12 hours of hydration; for 5 g of Goond katira powder (latex / resin), 60-65 ml of water and 12-24 h of hydration are required. Barberry (bark), camping wood (bark), red sandalwood (wood), are plants that do not easily bind with water therefore it is necessary to adopt escamotages. Each of these can for example be mixed 40% with neutral henna (60%) and once the batter is prepared it is possible to use 70% batter with 30% illuminating mask, obtaining a light and toning Sherazade.

Have we done hair bleaching before or do we have very light hair?

Some healing or neutral plants are not completely neutral, as they can release a slight non-permanent pigment. This should be kept in mind if you want to try a curative treatment but you have just carried out important hair discolorations and therefore have a very light hair color (platinum blonde), or you have naturally very light blonde hair or totally white hair.

For example: using amla (emblica officinalis, fruit) would result in half a darkening tone and on a discolored one also a tone; using neutral henna (cassia obovata, leaves): yellow / greenish pigment; using Ziziphus (Ziziphus Spina Christi, leaves) you get half a darkening tone. The pigment does not bind with the keratin of the hair, therefore in 2 or 3 washes it completely drains. It can often be resolved with an acidified Cassia. The truly neutral plants in these cases are: altea and baobabs.

I hope you have found our advice useful, because the herbs to be used on our hair are an interesting world to discover and if used wisely and of quality they can only do us good, giving us healthier, stronger, voluminous hair.

Dr. Laura Comollo

Visit our herbal department for any clarification or for more information.