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Friday, October 9, 2009

Hair Today, Natural Tomorrow

Hair coloring has been a societal practice for centuries. In the present day, over the counter or professional chemical hair dyes are extremely common. According to a survey conducted by Proctor and Gamble, almost 65% of women color their hair. The ecological impact of chemicals used in this process is immense, not to mention extremely costly. There is, however, an alternative to chemical hair treatment. Henna, which you might know as the decorative temporary tattoo material, can be used as a natural dye for the eco-conscious. Henna offers the same benefits of chemical hair dye, but without the negative environmental impact. How it Works Henna refers to a plant that grows in moderate climates. The leaves of the henna plant are ground up to produce dye. The younger leaves have a higher dye content whereas the older ones have a lower dye content. When the henna leaves are pulverized and mixed with something acidic, such as lemon juice, the dye molecules are released. These molecules then act in the same was as chemical hair dyes and give your hair the color you desire. Color options Since henna hair dye comes almost directly from the plant to your hair, you might expect a limited range of color options. While there are no henna mixtures to produce colors such as purple, green, or blue, different henna compositions can produce almost any color that occurs naturally in hair. On Henna for Hair, a website full of information about the science and the personal end to great natural hair dye, you will fine recipes for colors from blonde to auburn, strawberry to dark brown, deep red to black, and anywhere in between. For anyone who has ever dyed their hair at home with a chemical box from the store, you’ll find a bit of a difference in how the process works. With chemical dyes, a typical process includes putting on gloves, mixing one unknown package with another, creating an unpleasant smell, and being told to be sure to throw away any unused portions for fear of combustion. Henna dyes, on the other hand, are a bit more straight-forward. The recipe for “Easy Redhead” includes 100 grams of henna, ½ a cup of lemon juice, and ¼ cup of water. The instructions are to let this mixture sit for 12 hours and and then coat your hair, leaving the hair soaked in henna to sit for over an hour. It’s that easy! You can name all of the ingredients and also know that you are making a difference. Your ecological impact is diminished compared to the alternative. How to Get it While Henna for Hair has their own online marketplace known as Mehandi, there are lots of other places to find henna and henna products. Depending on where you live, there might be a well-stocked art supplies store or perhaps a local Middle-Eastern or South Asian shop. The mix will come as a dried, green powder, but when mixed in the appropriate way, the color will be amazing. The main thing to keep in mind is that in order to get the best results, body art quality henna is needed. While there are some pre-made boxed mixes available similar to the chemical dyes, the best results come from home-made mixes with the stronger body art quality dye. When it comes to hair dye, henna is really the green alternative. Image Credit: Henna for Hair

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