Coats hair and gives shine
Used by the ancient Egyptians as a decorative cosmetic, henna is enjoying renewed popularity as a natural alternative to synthetic hair dyes.
There have been tomb findings of henna markings on mummies and some evidence of Bronze Age ritual use exists.
Made from the dried and powdered leaves of the Lawsonia inermis tree, henna starts out as green, but imparts a warm reddish-brown colour. The active colouring ingredient is called lawsone. Henna can be mixed with coffee, indigo and other natural dyes to manipulate the final shade.
Henna is also hair conditioning in its own right and sometimes used for this purpose in hair moisturisers and other products. It coats the hair with a fine film and adds body, shine and brilliant highlights.
Growing across the Middle East, Asia and sub-tropical Africa, henna use has spread around the world from these regions due to migration.
Henna is also used in many traditional body adornments and is particularly important in religious wedding rituals. It was believed to have healing and spiritual properties and henna body painting is considered an important art form even today.
Instead of a messy and difficult to control powder, henna bricks are blended with nourishing cocoa butter and other natural ingredients and pressed into blocks. This makes the product easier to display without packaging and has additional benefits: the cocoa butter conditions and lemon juice adds shine and helps to develop the colour.
Henna infusion is made by steeping dried henna in boiled water. This is then added to products to enhance highlights and shine. Lush use Iranian red henna because it is considered to be the best quality and the most vibrant red colour.