How Do I Choose the Best Henna?

Kristeen Moore

Henna products are derived from a flowering plant in order to dye the skin and hair, as well as to stain fabrics. The best quality products tend to be sold in raw form in Middle Eastern stores. Although you can make homemade henna, the product is also widely available in packages due to its commercial success in several countries. Henna powder is traditionally mixed with other ingredients in order to create a concoction for body art and dyes. If you are interested in dying your hair, you might instead consider a prepared henna paste in order to make the application process easier.

Henna for body art can be made at home or purchased commercially.
Henna for body art can be made at home or purchased commercially.

The Middle East is historically the home of the henna plant, and its flowers have since been used for centuries as natural ways to dye the skin, hair, and clothing. The flowers of the plant are crushed into a fine powder and then utilized with other ingredients before its application. Raw forms of powder tend to work the best, and you will want to find freshly-made products because they do not generally have long shelf lives. Middle Eastern specialty stores tend to have the best quality henna, but you can also find the powders online.

The Middle East is historically home of the henna plant.
The Middle East is historically home of the henna plant.

In order to dye with henna, the powder must first be mixed with other ingredients so that the product can easily glide on surfaces. It is relatively easy to make the mixture at home, and you might find that this method is less expensive than commercially-packaged henna. Making the product involves the combination of powder, water, and your choice of essential oils. Residents of some western regions tend to purchase prepared products instead because they are more convenient.

Skin art and temporary tattoos are traditionally the most common uses for henna powders. Artists utilize crushed powders combined with essential oils and lemon juice in order to make the mixture easy to apply to the skin. Depending on the availability of henna powder in your region, some artists opt for prepared mixtures as a quicker method of application. The downside to prepared concoctions is that the effects might not be as dramatic, or as long-lasting.

Paste versions are also available, and they are most often used in the hair. Natural hair dyes that utilize this type of paste are increasing in popularity because they do not have the chemicals that conventional coloring products do. If you are looking to color your hair with this type of plant-based product, you might consider purchasing a paste version because they are easier to apply and will not run off of your locks during use.

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