Following How to Color Natural Hair with Henna and Indigo – A Comprehensive Guide, this article goes into more detail regarding henna loosening your curl pattern as well as my results when I tested 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 and never paid attention to the curl pattern loosening angle of the whole thing until recently.
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 like 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 definitely 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. You can see that my curls are still tight and not stretched much.
Below is another picture after applying indigo paste.
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 and 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.
FAQs About Henna and Indigo
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 in overnight. Don’t forget to cover your pillow with a towel so the henna paste doesn’t stain your pillow.
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.
3. How Long Does Henna Last on Hair?
A good henna and indigo session should keep the color vibrant for up to 8 weeks. If you like, you can reapply before the 8 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.
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.
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.
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