Friday, 17 April 2009

Henna: Curl Loosening Theory

So the Henna questions just keep coming! Here is my theory on how the curl loosening effect works. Chai asks - 'Quick question: Is the possible loosening of the curl temporary? For example...would your hair return to it's normal state after one wash?'

This my theory based on the weight effect of Henna. I don't think that the effect is reversible given that Lawsone is a permanent dye. I believe the added weight is there to stay and changes in length would depend on

1. The amount of moisture in the hair (more moisture = more weight = looser curl)
2. The number of times you use Henna (more dye = more weight = looser curl)

Here is a diagram. For simplicity I have kept the hair in a wave shape. (Click the picture to get it larger, if you have problems reading, please let me know. )

14 comments:

  1. does the eventual elongation of the curl only happen with henna or can it work with cassia?
    thanks

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  2. I have not yet researched cassia but it is on my list :)

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  3. Awesome post! I agree with you! It only makes sense that with repeated use, it would loosen your hair some since it is weighing the curls down some.

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  4. great! thanks for this. you're really smart ;)

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  5. I had no idea that henna loosed the curl until I tried it. it just made my hair look stringy at the ends.

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  6. Argh!!! I just decide to give henna a try after some heavy coaxing, and now I read this?!? I don't want my curls to loosen a bit!! I'm staying away. Looking forward to your research on cassia (cuz i'm too lazy to do my own....)

    :)

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  7. OMG this was so informative... The whole henna craze has me on the fence about whether to use this product. Thank you so much for the information, and for breaking the information down with the graph...it all connects better now. This is my first time on your site and I can't stop reading your blog the information you provide is top notch....5 stars!!!

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  8. The weight of the henna relaxing the hair? Maybe. Judging by my own hair - not talking science here, but still - the biggest change henna brings (except for the colour) is it is very drying to my hair. The first weeks after henna... it is just hopeless. Now unlike most of the people who read and comment your blog (or so it seems) I'm not black. My hair is type 3A, or similar, so I'm not sure how much or my experiences can be transferred to yours and vice versa. But to me, what makes my curls tighter (and that is something I want) is hydration. Glycerin makes my curls tighter. Oils that keep the moisture in might too, at least to some degree. So when I feel that awful after henna dryness and the somewhat distorted curl pattern, I blame it all on dryness. Not sure if you can examine the scientific literature for henna and dryness of hair, but if you can and choose to do it I would be very interested.

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  9. Do you think porosity could be a factor in henna loosening curls?

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  10. I am actually considering the theory that the 'loosening' effect of henna may be due in part to the possible Michael reaction between lawsone and cysteines that may have been freed from their disulfide linkages during the dying process. Just a theory though. I've to figure out of there is actually any disulfide cleavage and if there are any thiolates present.

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  11. Henna and other indian powders are a monthly necessity for me.

    I dont use henna to colour my hair, for me it works more as a deep conditioning treatment.

    Afterwards my hair is much easier to detangle and it feels stronger.
    Detangling for me is key to growing my hair. This is because it gets knotty easily and starts to break off.

    Henna doesnt really loosen my curl pattern, well, my hair is not deeply curly naturally.

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  12. I was reading on another blog/hair site (don't remember which one that the loosening effects are mainly observed in natural that have an "s" shape curl.

    Is there anyone with tight coils who has experienced loosening of their pattern? Jc do you think the persons pattern would make a difference?

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  13. If you go to CurlyNikki and click on the Henna tab, you'll find a woman named Shelli's Hair Story. Her hair was 3c-4a, and now, due to Henna use, it's resting strictly within the 2c and 2b ranges.

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  14. does this also work with henna wax aswell or just henna powder?

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