Re: Henna on hair of African descent

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Posted by Maureen on October 22, 2002 at 14:40:14:

In reply to: Henna on hair of African descent posted by Lauren on October 22, 2002 at 01:39:19:

The hair of African Americans is as varied in texture as the skin of
African Americans is varied in tone. So it is hard to know what is
meant by henna on the hair of people of African descent. Except to
know that one should expect the henna to react on the hair of people
of African descent in the same way as it would react on the hair of
people of European or Asian descent. If the hair is straight or coil
spring curly, the should make no difference.

I have never heard of henna making any person of African descent's
hair like straw...break off...or do anything unusual to what is
typically thought of as what henn does to hair. Henna colors and
conditions hair. That is what any person should expect it to do
under the right conditions.

My hair is worn in a natural. I henna my hair all the time. Henna
does not change the texture of my hair. It colors it and conditions
it. And actually works as one of the best conditioners I have ever
used. So if someone used henna and got hair breakage, strawlike
texture or anything unusual, I would examine what else they used on
their hair.

Years ago I used henna over my hair that had been permed. I had no
problem. I am sure that it had to do with what was in the perm. I
would not however recommend that someone use henna over a perm or
perm over henna. Most of the perms that African Americans use are
lye-base and the hair is going to end up in the sink and in the comb.

I would suggest that any people switching to a henna product closely
assess what products they have been using on their hair in the past
and determine if those products should still be used on their hair
when hennaed. The harvest hair test should not be used just to
determine if it is safe to henna the hair that has previously been
chemically treated with color or perms. It works great to find out
after the hair has been henna'd, how the hair is going to react to
shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers etc.

Back to the hair like straw. That sounds a lot like what I have seen
happen when people condition their hair with cholesterol products
touted to strengthen the hair. It does that, but it also zaps out
all of the moisture in the hair. A really deep conditioning with a
good moisturizer is all that is typically needed. Best moisturizer
in the world for hair damaged like that is in the refrigerator. It
would be mayonnaise applied generously to the covered
with a plastic cap...cover again with foil...cover with a scarf or
towel and sit back and read a book or watch TV for a few hours. The
miosture will be back in the hair, tangles gone and hair limp.
People with really thin and wimpy hair have should avoid this
treatment because it does make the hair more limp in a way that they
won't want.

I would also recommend that a lot of the hair "grease" sold and used
by many folks of African descent for daily management of the hair be
avoided. Coconut oil is pretty light in comparison and does a great
job adding sheen to the hair.

All that to say, hennaing hair on the heads of African American's
requires the same considerations prior to switching to a henna
product and after switching to a henna product that hennaing hair on
the heads of any other group would require.

Take care.



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