Can Henna and Indigo Really Loosen Your Curl Pattern?

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The previous article covered How to Color Natural Hair with Henna and Indigo – A Comprehensive Guide.

This article will go into more detail regarding the myth that henna can loosen your curl pattern. I will also share my results from testing out this theory.

The article also includes the most frequently asked questions about using henna and indigo to color natural hair. 

Can Henna & Indigo Loosen Curl Pattern?

I have been using henna and indigo to color my hair for a very long time. I did it for its strengthening and conditioning benefits.

I never paid attention to the curl pattern loosening angle of the whole thing until recently when I came across claims that henna can loosen tight curls.

Does Henna Change Hair Texture?

Henna cannot change your hair texture. This is simply impossible. The only thing that can change your hair texture permanently is a chemical straightener.

Chemical straighteners include relaxers and texturizers while curling irons and blow dryers can provide a temporary change.

Can Henna Loosen Curl Pattern? Before and After Results.

Yes but not in the way you think. The last time I dyed my hair, I applied henna first. Below is a picture of my hair after applying henna.

As you can see, my curls are still tight and not stretched that much. At this point, I had already smoothened the henna through my hair.

henna application on natural hair

Below is a picture after applying indigo paste. My indigo paste is mixed with creamier so it’s easier to apply. 

indigo application on natural hair

Can you see the big difference in the length and definition of my curls? Does this mean my curl pattern has loosened up and I’m suddenly 3B from 4A? Nope.

However, it has changed the weight of my strands temporarily (similar to what the max hydration method does).

This weighed down look lasted for a little while. My hair reverted back to its original curl pattern after a few co-washes.

So yes henna does loosen the curl pattern somewhat. However, this is a temporary condition.

In order to make it “permanent,” you would need to henna and indigo practically every 2 weeks. 

I think I speak for a lot of women when I say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” 

Read Straight Natural Hair Methods for a variety of options for straightening natural hair, which may not always be healthy. 

Related Content: How to Color Natural Hair with Henna and Indigo – A Comprehensive Guide

FAQs About Henna and Indigo

1. Are Henna and Indigo Suitable for All Hair Types?

Yes, henna and indigo work on all hair types from type 1A to type 4c hair. Every hair type can benefit from henna and indigo.

2. How Long Should You Leave Henna on Your Hair?

Anything from a few hours for up to 8 hours. A good guide is to apply it in the evening and leave it overnight.

Don’t forget to cover your pillow with a clean towel so the henna paste doesn’t stain your pillowcase.

If you have a sensitive scalp and/or are trying henna and indigo for the first time, keep it on for only 4 hours and observe how your scalp reacts to it.

Merlion Naturals Organic Henna Leaves Powder

Merlion Naturals Organic Henna Leaves Powder

3. How Long Does Henna Last on Hair?

A good henna and indigo session should keep the color vibrant for up to 12 weeks.

If you like, you can reapply before 12 weeks. This won’t cause any damage.

4. Can I Shampoo Hair After Applying Henna and Indigo?

Nope. Wash out the henna with a cheapie conditioner and rinse out the indigo with lukewarm water.

There’s no need to shampoo afterward. Let the color settle properly in your hair before you shampoo. This will take a few days.

If your hair is really dirty prior to applying henna and indigo then wash your hair first, let it air dry then apply the henna and indigo.

5. Can I Mix Other Things Like Yoghurt, Oil, Coconut Milk, etc with the Henna Mix?

This isn’t necessary and might actually prevent the henna from taking to your hair strands properly.

The only thing required is water and an acidic agent, which is the lemon juice. If the lemon juice is too drying for your hair, then water only is fine. 

6. Which Are the Best Brands of Henna and Indigo for Dyeing Natural Hair?

A detailed list can be found at How to Color Natural Hair with Henna and Indigo – A Comprehensive Guide.

7. Can I Use Henna If I Already Dyed My Hair with Chemical Dyes?

Yes, you can as long as the henna and indigo you are using are completely pure.

Applying pure henna and indigo after chemical dyes may help prevent further damage to your hair.

However, wait a few weeks after the chemical dye or other chemicals are applied to use henna and indigo. 

The Henna Guys Indigo Powder

The Henna Guys Indigo Powder

8. Can I Store Unused Henna Paste?

Yes for many months but use immediately after thawing out. You cannot store unused indigo so make only the required amount for your hair length.

A good estimate is 1 packet of indigo for shoulder length hair, 1.5 packets for APL hair and 2 packets for BSL hair. 

9. Should I Apply Henna on Wet or Dry Hair? 

You can apply henna on dry hair but it might be a bit challenging. I’ve applied on dry hair before with minimal problems.

However, I noticed it went on smoother when my hair was damp.

10. Should I Apply Henna on Dirty or Clean Hair?

If your hair is very dirty then it’s best to shampoo first before applying the henna to damp hair.

If your hair is reasonably clean, say you shampooed a week ago, for instance, then it’s fine to apply henna on it.

The last time I hennaed, I’d just taken down cornrows after 6 weeks under a wig so it was necessary to wash my hair first. 

I washed my hair the evening before and left it in twists overnight. It was still damp the next morning when I applied the henna.

11. Can I Apply Oil After Henna? 

Probably not a good idea. A deep conditioning session should suffice.

Allow the henna and indigo a few days to take to your hair before you apply other things like oil. 

PS. The original list was 8 questions but I’ve been expanding them ever since.

If you have any other questions about henna and indigo, do let me know in the comments section.

Main photo by Chelsea Fernando

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