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ahenna history

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 11:15 PM

HENNA -History

Henna has been used as a cosmetic hair dye for 6,000 years. In Ancient Egypt,(Cleopatra) was known to have used it. It was commonly used for many centuries in areas of India, the Middle East, and Africa.

In Europe, henna was popular among women connected to the aesthetic movement and the Pre-Raphaelite artists of England in the 1800s. The fashion for Orientalism led young women with a bohemian inclination to begin tinting their hair with henna.[10] Dante Gabriel Rosetti's wife and muse, Elizabeth Siddal, had naturally bright red hair. Contrary to the cultural tradition in Britain that considered red hair unattractive, the Pre-Raphaelites fetishized red hair. Siddal was portrayed by Rosetti in many paintings that emphasized her flowing red hair.[11]The other Pre-Raphaelites, including Frederic Leighton, Evelyn de Morgan, Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, and French painters such as Gaston Bussière (painter) and the Impressionists further popularized the association of henna-dyed hair and young bohemian women.

Opera singer Adelina Patti is sometimes credited with popularizing the use of henna in Europe in the late 1800s. Parisian courtesan Cora Pearl was often referred to as La Lune Rousse (the red moon) for dying her hair red. In her memoirs, she relates an incident when she dyed her pet dog's fur to match her own hair.[12] By the 1950s, Lucille Ball popularized "henna rinse" as her character, Lucy Ricardo, called it on the television show I Love Lucy. It gained popularity among young people in the 1960s through growing interest in Eastern cultures.[13]

Muslims also use henna as a dye for their hair and for the beards of males—following the tradition of their prophet Muhammad, who used to dye his beard with henna. It's considered a "sunnah" and akin to something fortunate/good. In one narration by him, he encouraged Muslim women to dye their nails with henna so their hands can be distinguished as feminine & from the hands of a male. Hence you will see this tradition greatly in the Middle East and Africa where women apply henna to their finger and toe nails, as well as their hands


Commercially packaged henna, intended for use as a cosmetic hair dye, is available in many countries, and is now popular in India, as well as the Middle East, Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. The colour that results from dying with henna can fall into a broad spectrum, from auburn, to orange, to deep burgundy, chestnut brown or deep blue-black. To achieve a colour that is more brown or black, the user must use indigo hair dye as well as henna. The henna is applied first, to coat the hair. Once dry, the indigo is used. The following factors determine the hair colour that results from using henna:

user's original hair colour

freshness of the henna

region of origin of the henna

amount of time the henna is left on the hair to process

whether it remains wet on the hair, or is allowed to dry

the amount of heat retained on the head during the dying process

In this form, it is generally mixed with herbs and perfumes during manufacturing to give it a pleasant fragrance. It is prepared for use much the same way that it is prepared for body art: it is usually sold in block form, and is used in the quantity required for the desired shade of red, brown or black. This will vary according to the user's natural hair colour. The henna is grated into a non-metal container (metal may chemically interact with the henna and ruin the dye) such as a glass bowl. Then hot water is added to it, and the mixture is stirred with a non-metal tool such as a spatula. Once dissolved, the henna is spread onto clean, dry hair. The hair should then be covered with disposable plastic wrap to hold in the heat and moisture, which help the dye to activate. Since any henna that drips will dye skin or clothing, many users will then put a dark towel or a shower cap over the plastic. The henna typically requires at least four hours of processing time before it is washed out. Once hair is dyed with henna, the colour will gradually fade, but it will do so slowly

Categories: henna & herbs, hair color- organic, organic living

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