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This is Gwyn.
She is a model and one of her best features is her lovely black curly hair.
Gwyn dyes her hair black with indigo and henna to keep it in the best condition possible.

I know this isn't fiction because Gwyn is my daughter and I dyed her hair myself!


Gwyn normally has dark brown hair  with streaks of near blonde when it gets sunbleached in the summer.  When Gwyn was in High School, she dyed her hair black with commercial black hair dye until she started wheezing and developing blisters and sores from the para-phenylenediamine in the dye.  All commercial black hair dyes have para-phenylenediamine and people may people progressively more allergic to this chemical with each use.  It can have devastating effects on a person's health.  The health problems forced her to stop using commercial hair dye, but still thought she looked prettier with black hair than brown.

People in the Middle East and North Africa have dyed their hair black with Indigo and Henna for thousands of years.  Indigo and Henna are both plants that have a natural dye in their leaves.  Indigo dyes blue.  Henna dyes red.  If you dye Indigo over Henna, you get black.  The combination of henna and indigo is very good for your hair, and makes it strong, soft and lustrous.

People used Henna and Indigo to dye their hair until about sixty-five years ago when synthetic hair dye became available.  Henna and Indigo are, to be honest, a messy and inconvenient to use.  People got rid of Henna and Indigo and changed to tidy little bottles of chemicals, which were convenient, but were also very toxic. If you want to know just how nasty these chemicals are for you, see:   http://www.sphosting.com/reverndbunny/PPD_references.html.

As these plant dyes coat the hair strand, the Henna and Indigo treatment made Gwyn's hair THICKER!  Gwyn normally has fine hair that get frizzy and tangles easily.  The Henna and Indigo relaxed her curls and made her hair full, manageable, and glossy!  The final color was rich, natural black with aubergine highlights, sometimes glinting blue-black.  All the split ends and tangles vanished with the henna.

What's Indigo?


Indigo is a plant that has a molecule in it that dyes blue.  Your jeans are dyed with Indigo.  If you open a package of real, natural, Indigo, you'll see green powdered plant leaves, and it will smell like frozen peas.  If you mix water and Indigo powder to make a paste, in about half an hour you'll see the surface of that paste turn dark blue.

Indigo is often sold in a package marked "black Henna."  This is because it was used with Henna to dye hair black.  However, there are many products on the market right now that are marked "black henna" that are NOT INDIGO and may be very dangerous to use!  If you have a package of "black Henna" hair dye and want to see if it's Indigo or something nasty, go to: http://www.mehandi.com/closeup/Indigo.html

Sometimes you can find good Indigo at a Middle Eastern market, but if you want Indigo you can depend on, order from the Mehandi.com shop.

Here's how to dye your hair black with Henna and Indigo:

Get a friend or two to help you.  This is not a one person job!

  1. First, read http://www.mehandi.com/hair/hennahair.html.You have to dye your hair first with Henna.
  2. When you've rinsed out the Henna, you dye over that with natural Indigo.
  3. Mix Indigo with water and stir it up.  The Indigo paste should be as thick as stirred up yogurt, though it will be very lumpy like porridge. It will be a green mush that smells like frozen peas.
  4. Mix Indigo about 10 minutes before you plan to use it!  This stuff is ready FAST, and if you wait too long,  you won't get good results
  5. Lay plenty of newspapers, or a tarp, on the floor where you'll apply the indigo.  Indigo will stain linoleum and cloth.  Wear plastic gloves or your hands will have gray-blue stains.  If you don't wear gloves, your fingernails will also turn gray and you will look like a flesh-eating zombie.  If you're Gwyn, you'll think this is great.  If you're most other people, you won't.  So wear gloves.
  6. Put the indigo into carrot bags , section and squish it into the hair, down to the roots.  then down the lenth of the hair. Work it down to the scalp, and mush it in like you're trying to plaster a wall with guacamole.  Try to get indigo evenly into all the hair.  It's messy.  It's stinky.  Remember that women believed the uglier they got during their beauty preparations, the lovelier they'd be when they were done.
  7. Wrap the Indigo-laden hair with plastic wrap into a great mooshy sloppy peas-smelling turban and let it stay there half an hour.  Wipe all the Indigo drops off as they dribble down the neck, forehead and back!  These will leave gray streaks if you don't wipe them away!
  8. Rinse this all out of your hair.  It takes about a day for the indigo to oxidize completely, and then your hair will be amazing black!
How much Indigo do you need?

If your hair is short, one hundred grams will do.  If your hair is straight and comes to your collar, two hundred should do. If your hair is straight and comes to your shoulders, three hundred should do.  If it's waist length, try five hundred.  Gwyn has very curly hair that stretches to mid back, and her hair is very thick.  It took five hundred grams to do her hair.

Who s hould NOT dye with Indigo?
  • Don't do this if you can't stand a mess or if you're in your parent's house and they can't stand a mess.
  • Don't do this if you don't have a friend to help you.
  • It's best to do this if you have brown hair to start with!  If you're a blonde, redhead, or light brunette, harvest hair from your hairbrush and try henna and Indigo on that to see how it'll come out.  Once the Indigo is in your hair, it's there for a long time!  Make sure you like it before you go for it!
  • If you've dyed or bleached your hair in the previous year, harvest hair from your hairbrush and try henna and indigo on that to see how it'll come out.  Once the Indigo is in your hair, it's there for a long time!  Make sure you like it before you go for it!
  • Don't do this if you like to change your hair color frequently.  This is a commitment.  Once you do your hair with Indigo, you'll have to keep doing it with Indigo or let it completely grow out.


What's Indigo going to do to your hair?  Will it be wonderful?  Will it be awful?  Harvest hair from your hair brush and try some!  Want samples of Henna and indigo?  I'll send you enough Henna and Indigo to do a few tests on your hair for $1.00 each!  How often do you get a chance to play with something fun and squishy and avert disaster for a dollar? 

Go here for Samples!

Want more info on natural dyes for Hair? 
Go to the website and forum devoted to Henna for Hair!

Need to buy some indigo?
There's indigo at 
Mehandi.com Shop
for useful henna gear that's hard to find
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