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Lovely tresses sans chemical stresses

Preeti Maheshwari shares her hidden secret — a natural hair dye sure to leave your hair shinier and smoother than ever. Without all the chemicals, this hair colour is easy to achieve at home through a few simple steps.

Henna has been popular in India to cover grey hair for a long time. Henna, being a herbal product, is a natural and safe way to colour hair. It gives the hair a nice amber hue.

From an early age, my hair began to turn grey and I started using henna to cover the greyness. During my college days in India, I saw someone with burgundy hair. The colour drew me in and I decided I wanted hair the same colour.

I discussed the burgundy hair colour with my grandma and she agreed to it, but with a strict ‘no' to chemically-altered colour. She came up with a natural home remedy — beetroot juice mixed with henna — to give a nice reddish-purple colour. And if you mix a little boiled tea water it adds a brown tinge to the concoction.

However, the final colour varies for everyone, depending on their original hair colour.

This natural remedy worked well on my hair and I loved the way it looked so I continue to use the same remedy even today.

Over the years, as I read books and magazines about natural therapies, I learned that both henna and beetroot had lots of benefits.

If you believe that it doesn't live up to the hype, then you will be mistaken. The combination is truly worth the effort. Here are a few of the benefits of dying hair with henna and beetroot:

• It is a natural way to dye your hair. You do not need to use harmful chemicals that can damage your beautiful locks.

• Henna strengthens the hair follicles. It nourishes both the scalp and hair. Henna's natural nourishing properties makes it a perfect ingredient to turn dry, damaged and unhealthy hair into soft, shiny, manageable tresses.

• Beetroot juice gives a powerful yet temporary hair dye. The intensity of darkness depends upon the proportion you use and you can happily get back to the normal colour of your hair in a few weeks. It will not discolour the original colour of your hair unlike chemical treatments.

• Being rich in nutrients, beet juice boosts the circulation of blood throughout the scalp, which promotes hair growth.

• Beetroot also helps the scalp to get rid of dead cells, dandruff and itchiness. It gives a thorough conditioning to the hair.

• If the combination is used regularly, then it makes the hair look smooth and shiny.

• Last but not the least, it is much cheaper than the hair dyes purchased from supermarkets.

Ingredients needed:

Henna powder

One beetroot

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp boiled tea water

Water (if required)

Process:

• Peel and blend the beetroot in a blender, adding water if required. Then, press it through a strainer to get the juice out of it and discard the pulp (or save it and use it to make stuffed naan or beetroot chutney).

• Boil a teaspoon of tea leaves and strain. Let it cool to room temperature.

• Mix the tea water, beetroot juice and henna powder in a bowl to make a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and mix.

• Leave the mixture overnight.

• The next morning, apply the mixture all over your hair. Before applying, make sure your hair is not oily.

• Let it dry for 2 hours.

• Wash it off with plain water and then wash it with conditioner to moisturise your hair. Do not use shampoo the same day as it will not allow for the colour to set properly.

NATURALLY COLOURED: Hair showing a beautiful blend of reddish-brown colour. Picture by Rebbeca Grunwell
Beetroot Juice Picture Supplied
Henna Powder Picture by Henna Sooq