Henna: Not Just for Lucy Anymore!

30 08 2009

By Cindy

i-love-lucyGrowing up in front of the television in the sixties and seventies, Lucille Ball was one of the biggest celebrities at the time.  Her comedy skills were undeniable and so was her red hair.  The color of her hair was always part of a running gag on her shows as well as the talk show circuit.  It was there, in the wacky world of television, that I heard Lucy mention the word “henna”.  All I could understand was that she used it on her hair, and couldn’t be without it.  She stated that she was helping the Egyptian economy every time she placed an order.  In an “I Love Lucy” episode, one of the things she grabbed when she thought the building was on fire was her henna.  So, for years, the word “henna” always stirred an image of Lucy.

Earlier this year, I was on a beauty board where henna was brought up.  Now, I honestly thought that henna would make anyone’s hair look like Lucy’s – that brilliant fiery orange that she always sported for years.  Not a good look for me, but I was getting pretty tired of the cap highlights on my natural brown/greying/damaged hair that I have been sporting for a number of years, and wanted a change.  I also wanted to try to do something more natural.  Curiosity got the better of me and I started to do some research.

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What exactly is henna?  It is a plant called “Lawsonia Inermis”.  It is currently commercially grown in Africa, Pakistan, India and the Middle East.  Its known use goes back around 9000 years.  Supposedly, Cleopatra used henna.  Not only has it been used for hair, but used for tattoos and ancient Egyptian medicinal remedies. I also found that henna can actually help with the condition of the hair.  So after a solid month of research, I decided to get samples and give it a go.  Now, not all henna is created equal.  The “henna” products that you see at Wal-Mart, for example, is called “compound henna”.  They contain chemical additives.  The henna I ordered is 100% Body Art Quality (BAQ).  There are no chemical additives with BAQ henna, so it is known to be safe to put it on chemically treated hair (like mine).  It’s as pure as it gets.   But you may have a problem if you try to use “compound henna” on the same chemically treated hair.

One thing that is very important about henna is that it’s basically one color.  The color that is the end result depends on your current hair color.  The darker the hair, the darker the henna.   Now, my hair was partially blonde, with brown and grey regrowth.  When I did my first henna, I was pleasantly surprised.  I thought my ends, which were blonde, would turn bright, and my roots would end up darker, but it didn’t.  The henna made my hair one shade of auburn, with my greys ended up being red highlights.  I was very pleased!  Also, the henna added an incredible shine.  It really looks healthy for the first time in years!

To find out more information on henna, I highly recommend this site:  http://www.hennaforhair.com.  Not only is it full of great info on henna, they also have a forum for questions.  Of course, they also sell henna and supplies.  I have ordered from them many times this year, and I can vouch for their wonderful customer service.

Henna photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Lucy photo courtesy of tvshowposters.com

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