Review: Natural Hair Colouring

by Christine Shahin Wood

natural hair colouring pamsarcpamsthree


Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: 17th May 2016

Title: Natural Hair Colouring: How to Use Henna and Other Pure Herbal Pigments for Chemical-Free Beauty
Author: Christine Shahin Wood
Publisher: Storey Publishing LLC
Book: standalone
Genre: non-fiction
Found: Netgalley
Rating: 3 voodoos

Commercial hair dyes contain thousands of different chemicals, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic — but you don’t have to choose between gorgeous colour and good health. Natural hair care expert Christine Shahin shows you how to use non-toxic natural plant pigments — henna, indigo, amla, and cassia — to colour your hair naturally, whatever your hair type or ethnicity, with beautiful results! These pigments are readily available at natural food stores and online, and they’re simple, safe, easy to use, and cost-effective. With clearly written instructions and step-by-step photography, Shahin shows you exactly how to apply these pigments, alone or in combinations, to achieve a full range of shades of brown, black, and red. She also includes instructions for transitioning from chemical dyes to natural ones and for using chemical and natural dyes together.


This book was fascinating – full of the science behind hair and hair colouring. One thing that concerned me though, was that she repeatedly said that the natural dye was good for your hair which is true, however she also said that the process relaxed curls. Happy curls tend to be bouncier and tighter, damaged curls are more loose and relaxed. However, having since hit the curly forums I have discovered that it does apparently happen in some cases, however if it does it will return to normal after a few washes, which is totally weird but ok. Curl loosening can apparently be warded off by adding amla – another of the 4 herbs used – to your henna mix. This is perhaps not necessary for short leave in times. (Amla can make white hair blonde – it apparently also stimulates hair growth)

This book has given me some things to consider – especially the box of henna powder I have in my bathroom. I’m yet to use it, but it has no ingredients list! Luckily, this book gives you a way to test your henna powder, so that’s something I might try – if I don’t just find it a new home. My favourite henna (the only one I’ve actually used) comes from lush in a block – which means it’s not 100% henna- and in various colours – which also means it’s not 100% henna (Henna is RED, any other colour ‘henna’ is mixed with something else – sometimes alarming things). However, they’ve cut their henna with shea butter and essential oils (as well as some other things I’m going to google) which makes it solid and smell nice. They’ve also cut it with indigo – the third of the herbs in this book and the one it talks about using with henna to get browns and blacks – so I’m pretty happy to continue using this product.

This book not only covers the science, but it tells you HOW to go about the colouring yourself, how to find out if your products are 100% pure/organic/etc and how to care for it afterwards. Annoyingly all the page cross references were given as 00 as they’re obviously going to be changed per edition type, which  made actual cross referencing impossible.

The last one is called cassia which is often referred to as blonde/neutral henna, which seems to be like Amla in function, though when added to darker hair it’s apparently a great conditioner, adding shine and thickness. It can also be added to the darker herbs to create shades, effectively diluting it. It is advisable to deep condition after henna and also apparently using indigo. I didn’t see this in the book but that’s not to say it wasn’t there. I don’t know about after using amla and apparently cassia IS a conditioner, so perhaps not after that either. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to these two, since my hair is an odd super dark redish colour they wouldn’t do much.

I’ve learnt a lot from this book – more than I thought I would and I’m likely to continue this investigation, though I will be looking into some pure amla to add to my henna and I’ll be observing what it does to my curl pattern. Unfortunately this is a timed review copy – it will self destruct in a set amount of days – which is why this is going up now – no point waiting till have time to test any of this out because then I wont be able to reference back!

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