Chemical ingredients have to stay outside: With herbal hair colors, nature makes the tone. What is important when coloring and what results are possible: A brief overview.
How are they used?
Most herbal hair colors are mixed with 50 degrees warm water, dark tones with black tea. With strong shades of red that contain a lot of henna, the water should be around 95 degrees. A whisk will help prevent lumps. Apply the paint paste that is not too thin – it should be as warm as possible. For this, it is best to put on disposable gloves, as the plant powders also color the skin. Then apply the color with a hair coloring brush part by part, finally, knead the whole thing in with your hands. Put on a shower cap and tie a towel turban over it – heat intensifies the dyeing process. And then you need a little patience because herbal hair colors have to work for one to two hours. Then the color pulp is rinsed out very, very thoroughly, which can take a while, especially with longer hair. Also good to know: “The final result is only visible two to three days after application,” explains Dr. Hannah Wirtz, Scientific Manager at Garnier / L’Oréal. Therefore, if possible, do not wash your hair for the next two days after a henna treatment.
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What exactly is in herbal hair color?
As a rule, it is a cocktail of plant powders in different mixing ratios: henna (colors coppery-red), cassia (also called colorless henna, makes light gold tones), and indigo (for blue-violet notes with a cool, ashy tinge). Exceptions: Light blonde tones usually contain no indigo, darker plant hair colors do not contain cassia. But there are also herbal hair colors that contain pure henna, cassia, or indigo. For additional care, coconut or avocado oil and wheat proteins are sometimes added, and essential oils for the scent.
Which color leaps are there?
Darker and redder is always possible. Lightening, for example from medium brown to blonde, is not possible with pure nature. However, women with light blonde or completely gray hair can bring in a natural gold tone with pure cassia. Ash nuances are achieved by adding indigo, but: “Too high a proportion of it can lead to an unsightly mossy-green shimmer,” explains natural hair dye specialist Christian Falkner. And: after multiple uses, the effects of henna & Co. add up – the hair becomes more and more reddish and darker. At some point you don’t like the color anymore, only one thing helps: let it grow out.
Can I switch back and forth between chemistry and henna?
Conditional. After plant dyeing, you should definitely wait two months before using a conventional hair color (again) – and vice versa. Otherwise, there may be unpredictable effects. Especially with bleaching or blonde highlights on previously henna-dyed hair: The result can be squeaky green. Aside from that, vegetable and chemical dyes can also react with each other to create excessive heat that damages the hair.
Are there also differences in the result compared to chemical colors?
Instead of a uniform, sometimes somewhat artificial helmet effect, plant-based products create a kind of colored glaze on the hair that comes across as more transparent than striking. Many users like exactly that – the new look just looks very natural. However, this also means that white hair is not completely covered. In order to conceal effectively, it has to be treated twice in a row. The tannins contained in the plant powders strengthen the hair and have a nourishing effect.
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