Henna - cosmetics
Skin and hair dye
The dye is produced by mixing ground henna leaves with water, although tea leaves, indigo leaves, ground coffee beans or lemon juice are sometimes added to deepen the stain.
|Image: This packet of henna hair dye was bought from Southall market, London.|
Among other compounds, the dying properties of henna have been attributed mainly to a compound called lawsone, which is found in the leaves (about 1% lawsone). Lawsone can bind to some proteins, such as keratin found in hair, which is why it is an effective dye for the body.
Other plants, such as indigo or the seed of the betel nut palm, may also be mixed with henna to change the shade of the dye. A combination of henna and indigo creates a black dye for hair.