Cassia obovata, also known as cassia italica, senna (common name) or neutral henna is a natural plant powder famous as a hair conditioner for damaged hair and with its yellowy pigment for dyeing light coloured hair shades of blonde, gray, light brown, or mixed with henna, strawberry blond.
Benefits for Conditioning the Hair with Cassia
- Gives a deep shine
- Strengthens and protects hair
- Treats heat or chemically damaged hair
- Promotes hair growth
- Thickens fine hair
- Conditions hair of all colours and conditions
- Balances sebum production and dryness of the scalp
- Helps against dandruff
- Naturally Antimicrobial
- Enhances golden highlights on blonde and grey hair
- Safe for eczema and psoriasis
- Good for dry & damaged hair
How to Use Cassia Hair Conditioner
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of cassia with a little warm water until it is the consistency of yogurt.
Apply to clean hair, first to the scalp and then stroke gently down the hair. Leave to work on normal hair for a few minutes and on damaged hair, wrap and cover the hair and leave for up to an hour. Some people add lemon juice to their mix, but it can dry the hair.
For a very deep hair conditioning treatment, make some seaweed extract by standing dried fronds of Seaweed in water until the water takes on an amber tinge – so called ‘seaweed oil’ (it is a watery gel!). Use this liquid, heated, instead of water to hydrate the cassia. Where the cassia conditions by helping to restructure the hair, the seaweed liquid leaves a low friction coating over the hairs, giving the hair extra protection from drying and reducing the risk of tangles, knotting and split ends. Both of these products are used in hair restoration treatments to nourish the scalp and improve hair growth and structure.
Dyeing the Hair With Cassia
Cassia releases a yellowy dye which has no effect on dark hair, other than conditioning it, but it will bring out the highlights out on blonde hair. It is highly rated on blonde hair which is turning grey and on white hair to bring golden highlights and the colour cassia imparts suits people with ‘warm’ coloured complexions the best.
To highlight the golden tones in light coloured hair use 100% Cassia. To create a strawberry blonde colour, make a mixture of 4 parts of Cassia and to 1 part of Henna. Most people add some lemon or orange juice. Allow the mix to oxidise until the surface colour has darkened.
Make enough paste to cover your hair, using either hot water or seaweed extract – for deep conditioning and detoxing throughout the dyeing process. The addition of the seaweed extract makes the cassia easier to rinse at the end of the dyeing process and far fewer, if any hairs will be lost in the rinsing process. It also helps to mitigate the addition of the juice.
Apply to the scalp and roots of clean hair and then down the hair. Wrap in an old damp tea towel or towel (the plastic-free method!) and cover with a dark scarf and hat. Leave for up to 3 hours. It is important to do the hair strand tests first, because if the cassia is left on for too long, the hair will appear light brown!
Rinse the cassia from the hair. We have found a quick hair wash with Rhassoul Clay removes any remaining traces of cassia. You could even give a final conditioning rinse with more seaweed extract and then, as your hair dries … watch the shine appear and feel the natural optimised condition of your hair!
We pack the cassia in cellophane packages which decompose rapidly on the compost heap or which can be dissolved in rain water. For greater protection, we use a brown paper out wrapper. We send everything in padded envelopes stuffed with waste paper.
More Info on Why We Should Make Eco Choices
This article which outlines 12 toxic ingredients in chemical shampoos and conditioners and how they cause cnacer and rememeber that any shampoo or conditioner we use gets washed down our drains and into our streams and rivers poisoning the water.
This article on commercial Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk is very informative and links the use of hair dye to bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, blood cancer. We should never be allowed let these chemical cocktails go down our drains and into the wider world.