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Henna for hair: Avoid orange panic with this expert tip


When your hair is called your crowning glory, you have reasons enough to care for it a little more, every day. If you’re one of those who worries about your hair turning orange if you use the traditional and natural henna or mehendi to colour it, welcome to the club! Did you know there’s a term for it? It’s called ‘orange panic’! While people have for years raved about the several benefits of henna for hair, many women are wary about using it because of the hue it can leave behind.

Still, there’s also a section of people who simply turn to henna as their go-to choice when they want deeply conditioned and lustrous locks in a natural way, keeping chemical dyes at arm’s length. Millennials, especially, show some reluctance in choosing this natural product over chemical-based coloring dyes owing to the fact that the latter is available in numerous ranges of colours at their disposal. They feel gravitated towards experimenting with tints, but at the same time, they don’t want to go south! At the end of the day, everything needs to look picture-perfect in today’s digital world.

How to use henna for hair?

Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, Chief Dermatologist and Director, Alive Wellness Clinics, tells Health Shots, “Traditionally, people have religiously followed the age-old custom of soaking henna overnight in an iron vessel and then applying it the next day.”

However, these days, ready-to-apply henna paste that is pre-soaked henna (sometimes in herbs and tea water) is available in the market. All that is left to be done by you is to pour the paste into a bowl and apply evenly all over your hair and scalp using the applicator brush after stirring the paste a little.

You can then cover your head with a hair wrap to prevent drying and staining. After keeping it on for 2-3 hours, you can go ahead washing your hair thoroughly with plain water. Shampooing on the same day should be avoided.

What is “orange panic”?

If you are new to the experience of using henna on hair or have experimented with a new mix, you might be taken aback by the colour of your hair once you rinse off the henna paste. You may have been trying a different colour like a deep red or even a brunette ton. This phenomenon is commonly known as ‘orange panic” within the henna-for-hair community. Fortunately, it is very typical to initially observe a stronger colour; and this brightness gradually fades away.

Now if you’re wondering how does henna end up giving your hair an orange hue, let us find out!

“Henna’s dye molecule is naturally orange or copper in color. The hue deepens when the dye oxidizes and settles permanently into the keratin (a protein that forms the hair, nails, and skin). However, for the ones who are straining at the leash to attend an event or generally can’t wait for the orange henna colour to subside, there is a way out to skip this stage altogether,” says Dr Chhabra.

How to avoid your hair from going orange with henna

After you are done washing and drying your hair with regular henna, all you need to do is mix some indigo powder in warm water. The powder is readily available. You can easily find access to a gamut of options. Try to pick the one having the least chemical ingredients. Then, apply it all over the tresses and keep it for 1-2 hours depending on the darkness of colour you want. Rinse clean and shampoo your hair the next day. And there you are with a mane like never before!

You could also add indigo powder to your henna mix to make henna darker for hair, and it could end up giving your hair a dark brown or black look. Some people also trust brewed tea or coffee or beetroot.



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