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Henna and herbal dyeing: the rules to know how to use them

Henna and herbal dyeing: the rules to know how to use them

The hair allows each of us to affirm their deep personality, their individuality, their belonging or the refusal to recognize themselves in a well-defined group. Claiming a beautiful hair means expressing our inner strength, revealing our unique selves and our desire for expression.

The coloring of the hair has deep roots in history: what we now call coloration, is nothing but a more evolved form of a practice that has roots in the mists of time, in different places linked to each other by common purposes: stand out from other tribes and the pleasure of taking care of oneself to please others. Already in the Neolithic age, the women dyed themselves using the ocher, yellow and red earth, and in ancient Egypt the henna was used to dye the hair.

Herbal dyeing: what they are

The dyeing herbs are varied: some examples? the classic red henna (Lawsonia Inermis), the Indigofera Tinctoria, the turmeric, the walnut husk, the madder, the hibiscus ... Used alone, in mix or sequence, they offer magnificent dyes and reflections, as well as bringing wellbeing to the skin and hair, since unlike the classic chemical shades, the dyeing herbs do not penetrate the hair, but bind to the keratin making the hair shaft more often, giving it a "volumizing" effect and protecting it from external aggressions .

Some clarifications. We often hear of black henna, red henna and neutral henna. In reality there is only one henna, the natural or pure, and it is the powder obtained by drying and pulverizing the leaves of Lawsonia inermis which gives the hair a red color, while the so-called "black henna" is actually the indigo, a powder obtained from the fermentation and drying of the leaves of the indigofera Tinctoria. The indigo on dark backgrounds gives cold and dark tones, on medium-high percentages of white hair, given its blue-blue pigment, turns to ash, while on a light brown background brings the nuance on dark tones of brown. Neutral henna, on the other hand, is nothing but the powder obtained from the leaves of Cassia Obovata, which has no coloring properties but nourishes and gives shine to the hair. All other terms, such as "light brown henna" and "blond henna" refer to mixtures of henna with other herbs. Actually only Lawsonia Inermis (red henna) is able to cover white hair, it is therefore essential that in the mix of herbs to cover white hair there is always a good percentage of Lawsonia.

The importance of first application

Herbs (dyeing and other) have enormous potential, but need experience and knowledge in order to express their full potential. In addition, each hair interacts differently with the powders, so each result following the application will be surprisingly unique. First of all, then you need to know and know how the powders of plants work on our particular hair: you have to understand for example how to hold the batter on the head, the right way to prepare and apply it according to your needs, your receptivity to warm / cold tones.

The first application provides us with important information on how our hairs receive color: this will be essential to calibrate the right shutter speed; moreover, it is indicative because the hair is prepared for the first time to incorporate the color of natural dyeing powders, which work for support and may require a little patience to offer full coverage (depending on the hair). In the early days it would be preferable to repeat the treatment every 10 days or so. As each hair reacts a bit 'differently to dust, we must also consider at least 2-3 consecutive applications over time to be able to know well the response of their hair to the principles natural dyers offered by herbal powders .

Are you ready for the first treatment?

Here it is to you 3 rules to follow:

1) Prepare a batter by mixing the chosen reflecting powder and very hot water. Do not use metallic material for preparation. The ideal temperature of the water to be used to prepare the batter, which allows you to free the active ingredients of the dyeing plants and the formation of the pigment that will then give color to your hair, is around 50-70 degrees.

The mixture is kept quite compact, and then possibly lengthened at a later time with acid ingredients such as vinegar or yogurt or lemon (depending on the hair or preference of use) until obtaining a creamy consistency without lumps, such as not to be neither too dense nor too liquid. The acidification of the batter (in the case of lemon, vinegar or yogurt) allows a stronger and lasting bond between the hair fibers and the plant dyeing principles of the plants.

If, on the other hand, we want to obtain dark or cold tones, using for example black henna or mixtures that contain it in formula, then the batter in preparation should not be acidified (therefore no vinegar, neither yogurt nor lemon). In this case you can use non-acid ingredients: black tea or a teaspoon of bicarbonate to dissolve in the preparation water. The tea has astringent properties, closes the scales of the hair and makes it shiny, as well as giving a veil of darker tone, the bicarbonate instead serves to alkalize the mixture. In fact, the indigofera unlike other powders, creates dark pigment (mainly on deep blue / violet) in basic soil, therefore opposed to the acidity of vinegar, yogurt and lemon.

It is essential that the batter made has the right consistency, similar to that of the semolina: not too pasty and without lumps, which is easily spread on the hair. A too thick batter would cause a lack of coverage / reflections or even an uneven result.

At this point, the batter can be left to oxidize for a period of time ranging from 1 to 6 hours: this phase will allow the complete formation of the plant coloring pigments already in the bowl. This is very useful especially if you are using mixtures in which the Indigofera is present.

2) on hair gently cleansed once and just wet, you start to spread the cream obtained from the nape upward, from the roots to the tips. Attention! for an optimal result the hair must be clean: dirt, sebum, o the use of oils or butters in the batter or on the hair before the application of the powders would shield the hair from the color pigments compromising the potential of the dyeing / refining action. To protect the skin near the hairline it is possible to apply a layer of moisturizing cream in the affected areas (usually around the front and back of the ears). The cream will act as a screen avoiding the coloring of the skin. After spreading the batter of herbs evenly over the entire hair, making sure to cover everything with a film of plastic food or tinfoil, leave on for a minimum of 3 minutes to a maximum of 90 minutes.

The advice of professionals is never to exceed 90 minutes: this is because it is necessary to have a fair compromise between dyeing and daily life rhythms and Moreover it is much more effective to be consistent in the use of herbs rather than dilate as much as possible time of laying. In the particular case of white hair coverage, if a result should occur after the first insufficient application, the advice given in these cases is that with subsequent applications you can achieve complete coverage, even increasing the time a little at a time, up to a maximum of 3-4 hours. In fact, the pigment-hair complexion does not go beyond this time, in addition to the fear of sensitizing the skin over time.
Another element that determines the shutter speed is the response of one's hair: some hair are more difficult to "color" and need more time, others, being more receptive, require shorter laying times.

3) Once the necessary time has elapsed, rinse thoroughly first with only hot water and then lightly apply a shampoo until the water has no more colored residues. If necessary, finish the rinsing with the application of a nourishing conditioner. Once the rinse has finished, proceed with normal drying and styling. To complete the treatment it is advisable to use a drop of oil on the tips. Have you advanced the batter? You can safely store it in the freezer and use it for a subsequent application, without losing any of its properties and functionality.

How long does it take before the next treatment?

In the early days it would be preferable to repeat the treatment every 10 days. With the passage of time it will be possible to lengthen the period between one application and another depending on the frequency of washing and how much your hair retains the vegetable pigment: in itself the dyeing herbs do not give permanent pigments, but pigments that they rest against the keratin of the hair, tying it with it, and then draining it in an average time of 3-4 weeks (on average hair, henned for some time). Some pigments are stronger and more persistent, others weaker and less solid in the bond (on average). Certainly the lawsonia (henna, coppery tone) is the strongest and most covering plant of all, and also the most persistent. Other plants dye a lot, but first they dump, others still dye less but they remain more .. then there is to evaluate the specific receptivity of each hair: some take a lot of warm tones (therefore the mixtures with lawsonia), other hyper- receive the cold tones (so mixtures with indigofera) .. then there are the hair that bring everything on the blonde, in its many nuances.

If the same herbs are used every three weeks, it takes a little more to completely remove the pigment of the dyeing herbs, but with frequent washing, the same is obtained in 1-2 months. All of course depending on the specific hair and its structure.

Herbal dyeing and white hair

Many hairdressers agree that herbs do not cover a head with 90% or 100% of white hair, while the colors do: it is true that the dyeing herbs usually at the first application do not reach coverage above 40-50% of white, but the herbs sediment pigment and then application after application we get the same to extraordinary results.

Over time, very high percentages of whites arrive, close to total coverage. If we talk about coverage in transparency, however, all the reflecting herbs offer this result on medium hair.

The result of the herbs is also always magical: natural, bright, the hair is alive and healthy, full bodied, the sebum-regulating action of the plants makes itself felt immediately: this makes the difference compared to the chemical shades.

Herbal dyeing and quality- The  Herbal dyeing in "Erboristeria Como"

Natural does not mean sure. For example, with dyeing herbs there is the risk of buying impure powders containing metals or synthetic dyes. For this reason, it is advisable to contact trusted dealers, request information and certification of products or in any case to companies that are attentive, transparent and respectful of the law. It is necessary, among other things, to verify that this type of product is suitable for your skin and does not give allergic reactions.

Our dyeing, reflecting and healing herbs are not reflective Phitofilos brand, an Italian company with 40 years of experience in the field. They have undergone the necessary tests to evaluate their safety and purity: absence of heavy metals harmful to our organism and controlled values ​​on the minerals present in our plants, absolute skin tolerance, absence of pathogens and bacterial colonies counts. This is the quality that is offered to those who choose a Phitofilos product, in full compliance with the laws in force.

Dr. Laura Comollo

Visit our phyto-cosmetics department or contact us for any clarification or for more information. The information reported is not intended as a source of medical advice to be used for self-prescription.

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