henna

Chemical-free hair dye: Find out why Henna's back in fashion

All of the colour with none of the nasties

Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon

Living organically and avoiding excess exposure to chemicals is getting easier as more and more people commit to a toxin-free lifestyle, but one thing that can be tricky to avoid is hair dye. With scientific evidence continuing to stack up against the regular use of hair dyes – particularly those with high aromatic amines such as PPD - more and more women are looking for alternatives.

hari-fulham-road

Henna bars are opening to resond to demand for chemical-free hair dye options

If you're one of those women, it might be time to say hello to Henna - or perhaps hello, again. Because while Henna was popular amongst the hippy crowds in the '70s, these days it's making a comeback, and for good reason. Henna is safe, effective and all-natural. The perfect solution to a giving your hair a makeover before Christmas party season. We headed to Hari's Hair Salon, who have recently launched a new henna bar in Fulham to keep up with demand for this Middle Eastern miracle, to find out more about the treatment.

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hari-henna

Henna can be mixed with turmeric, red wine and many other natural products

What colour can you henna your hair?

Clare Drawbridge, a senior colourist at Hari's explains that you can achieve many shades of warm browns with henna, from chestnut to clarets and hazel tones, depending on which additions are made to the pure red henna that Hari brings to London from Iran. "We mix it with red wine, beetroot powder, hibiscus, saffron, turmeric, all manner of things can be added to create exactly the right tone for your skin and the look you want."

How long does Henna last?

It depends how strong a henna you use, but usually it lasts 6-8 weeks. "If you use a stronger colour it can last 12 weeks," adds Clare. "The answer to this really depends on the strength of colour and your hair. How often you wash it, the porosity of the hair, there are a few variables."

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What does it look like once it's been treated?

Hair that's had henna applied doesn't only change colour, it changes in texture too. "The finished product is very shiny," Clare reveals. "It's like having a treatment, afterwards the hair literally looks like it's been polished."

What is the dying process – how long does it take?

"First we shampoo the hair," says Clare, "Then we towel dry it. The Henna is mixed with boiling water into a paste and then applied. You need to leave it on the hair for 20minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on strength and tone you're going for. You put it under heat and then shampoo twice, and condition."

Which hair colours are suitable for henna?

Most darker hair colours will respond really well to henna. You have to be careful though as not everybody should book in for a colour. "Someone with bleached hair would probably turn orange," warns Clare.