As a popular herb that adds a lot to the appearance of people’s hair, we can’t help but wonder, is henna good for your hair?
It’s a question that not many have asked, so you might struggle to find the answer. Don’t worry, though. In this post, we’ll cover the benefits and risks of using henna on your hair.
Is Henna Good for Hair Health?
Henna is generally good for hair as it can be a safer and healthier alternative to synthetic dyes, offering benefits like a natural color boost and conditioning properties without harsh chemicals.
However, it’s important to consider its potential to dry out the hair and the commitment required due to its long-lasting color.
Benefits of Using Henna for Your Hair
Although most people use it as a dye, henna provides multiple health benefits for your hair.
1. Promotes Healthy Hair Growth
Rich in proteins and antioxidants, organic henna can improve the hair follicles’ health and minimize hair loss. Accordingly, henna users can see a rapid increase in hair growth.
Researchers have even studied the effect of henna on mice with androgenetic alopecia. They found it had the highest hair re-growth rate among the other plants.
2. Improves Scalp’s Health
Henna has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help protect your hair from fungal infection and prevent scalp irritation. The plant’s extract has proven to have anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Besides the standard scalp protection, henna can treat one of the troublesome hair conditions out there: dandruff.
Dandruff forms because Malassezia globosa feeds on the scalp’s excessive oil. Henna removes that excessive oil, reducing Malassezia’s chance of forming dandruff flakes.
Even at the late stages of dandruff, henna can help soothe the redness, agitation, and itchiness that come with it.
Not only that, but it can also prevent it from coming back. All you have to do is mix henna with mustard oil and methi seeds.
3. Conditions the Hair
Henna is an efficient conditioner. It seals the hair cuticles, allowing them to retain moisture. If you combine it with yogurt or eggs, you can enhance its moisturizing properties.
Henna also helps your hair strands become more flexible and strong, so you don’t have to worry about your hair breaking off. It minimizes split ends, allowing for healthy, luxurious hair.
4. Balances the pH and Oil Production
Having oil on the scalp is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s part of maintaining healthy hair. However, it becomes intolerable if your scalp produces too much oil because it makes your hair greasy.
That’s where henna comes in. It targets the sebaceous glands, regulating their sebum/oil production.
Additionally, henna can restore and balance the pH levels in your hair, resulting in a fresh clean scalp with healthy follicles.
5. Helps With Oxidative Stress
If you don’t know, oxidative stress is a case of imbalance between free radicals (unstable molecules) and antioxidants in the body. It can raise your blood pressure, cause heart disease, and more.
Over time, it affects the cellular structure of the hair and scalp, causing seborrheic and atopic dermatitis. Eventually, it can enhance the effects of androgenic alopecia.
While it sounds too simple, using henna can do wonders. The antioxidants in it can help minimize the damaging effects of oxidative stress on your hair.
6. Improves Hair’s Appearance
If you’re struggling with your hair looking dull and plain, high-quality henna can add a vibrant shine to it. That’s not the end of it, though. Henna can go as far as preventing premature graying.
The lack of antioxidant defense in your body can make it vulnerable to the extreme color changes of premature graying.
That’s why the tannins, gallic acids, and apigenin 5-glucoside in henna can help your scalp resist that change.
7. Effective Against Head Lice
Lice is an ever-lasting phenomenon that affects both adults and children. While there are various treatments for it, many of them are full of chemicals that may damage your hair.
That’s why henna is an excellent option in the fight against that phenomenon. Not only is it a natural lice terminator, but you can also enhance its effectiveness by mixing it with artemisia or fenugreek.
8. Prevents Environmental Damage
Besides its health benefits, henna forms a protective layer that shields your hair from environmental damage. The antioxidants protect the hair from UV radiations that cause it to turn dry and frizzy.
9. Doesn’t Promote Allergic Reactions
You can read the ingredient list of hair-care products all you want, but it’s nearly impossible to know all the components. These products use various chemicals that may stimulate an allergic reaction to sensitive scalps.
With organic henna, you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals, as it doesn’t contain any additives.
So, if you suffer from any allergies and don’t know what hair-care products to use, you can’t go wrong with henna.
Risks of Using Henna on Hair
Despite the various hair benefits henna offers, it’s not a risk-free product. Knowing its drawbacks before using it helps you form a clear idea of whether or not it’s suitable for you.
1. Hair Loss
Although henna can stimulate healthy hair growth, it can also cause hair loss in some cases. You see, low-quality henna usually includes ingredients that can harm your hair.
If you know anything about the hair loss process, you probably know that large amounts of DHT block the hair follicles. That prevents hair from growing and forces it to fall.
Using henna with coconut oil will exacerbate the hair blockage in the follicles, increasing the rate of hair loss. So, choose high-quality henna products.
2. Drying Your Hair Out
Some people think leaving henna overnight will give them the best results. That’s a recipe for disaster, though. You see, henna rehydrates by absorbing the moisture out of your hair.
Leaving it for too long will cause your hair to dry out, and you’ll end up with an irritated scalp. The longest you should leave your henna on your hair is five hours. Any longer than that, and you’d be damaging your hair.
Leaving henna for too long isn’t the only way to dry out your hair. If you don’t apply henna properly, it can absorb the natural oil on the scalp, leaving your hair dry and brittle.
3. Metallic Salts
Some henna powders, especially “black” henna, may contain metallic salts to darken the color.
These metallic compounds can be very damaging to hair when combined with chemical hair treatments like perms, relaxers, or color.
The two can react to essentially “fry” the hair, leading to breakage and hair loss in some cases. Always choose 100% natural, plant-based henna free of additives. Do an allergy test before use as well.
4. Difficult to Apply and Remove from Hair
Applying henna can be a messy and lengthy process. It needs to sit on the hair for several hours wrapped in plastic. This can result in drips and stains, so care needs to be taken to apply it neatly and in a controlled setting.
Once applied, henna permanently bonds with the hair keratin and cannot be fully removed. It will eventually fade after a few months as hair grows out.
This also makes it very difficult to alter the color by applying regular dye after henna. You are committed once henna is on the hair.
5. Variable Results and Limited Color Choice
Henna mainly deposits shades of red, auburn, and brown. It cannot lighten hair. So for those wanting to go blonde or significantly lighter, henna is not an option.
Since it is a natural plant-based product, the color result also varies widely based on the original hair color.
Henna is generally beneficial for hair health, offering natural color, conditioning, and scalp health benefits without harsh chemicals.
However, it requires careful use to avoid drying out the hair and is a long-term commitment due to its lasting color. High-quality henna is essential to minimize risks like hair dryness or unwanted reactions.