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Lush – Personal Care Play Time!

January 30, 2010

While in the city this week I was lured into Lush by the dizzying array of odours, colours and weirdly shaped personal care objects.  Lush has always been a bit of a favourite of mine as back in the days when I first started out in the cosmetics industry they were one of my customers.  In fact, one of my very first trips ‘on the road’ as a rep was to Lush’s  workshop in Poole, Dorset.  The office was a huge mass of brain-storming posters, Dr Martin’s boots and multi-coloured hair.  These guys had and still have a spunky, try-anything once kind of attitude and I like that in a company! 

Anyway, back to this week and I was on the lookout for new ideas!   I was not disappointed. 

Natural Hair Dyes: Caca Henna treatment. 

So, the last time I put henna on my blondish locks it turned a rather “Sainsbury’s”  (English supermarket) shade of Orange. This wasn’t too bad as I was a uni student at the time but the look was hardly going to catch on.   Fellow blondies may also find Henna a bit too ‘red’  but for anyone with brown, auburn or black hair this may be just what you are looking for. 

A Slab of Henna

Henna is sourced from the plant Lawsonia Inermis, a plant who’s essential oil  contains over thirty six different chemical components (as identified in a research paper published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research.   In addition to that it contains a chemical called Lawsone or 2-hydroxy-1, 4-napthoquinone and it is this that enables us to use henna as a dye for anything that contains protein. 

The Lawsone reacts with the protein found in both skin and hair to produce a long-lasting stain. This time taken for the stain to develop can be shortened when UV light is present meaning that Henna is has also used in some self-tan products. However,   in September 2002, Lawsone was reviewed by COLIPA  and found to be toxic and therefore not suitable for use in cosmetics.  As it only constitutes around 2% dry weight of Henna, Henna is still approved for use as a cosmetic hair and skin colourant however, care should be taken to avoid it’s ingestion and excessive exposure. 

In addition to the Lawsone (which in tests proved to be only a mild skin and eye irritant), the other thirty plus chemicals can cause skin irritations  making Henna a 100% natural yet not 100% safe  hair and skin dye product.   However,  with careful handling, a skin or hair patch test and a bit of common sense you too could be enjoying that rich glossy Henna-induced glow. 

Lush’s henna bar caught my eye purely because it looked like chocolate. You have to grate it, add water and turn it into a paste before using it – a process which I am sure you will agree sounds like fun! Just make sure you don’t  try and eat it – it’s not that tasty.  Anyway, I’m off now to find a suitable human guinea pig willing to road-test this for me.  I don’t fancy going orange this week. 



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