The Magic of Henna

imageI’m thirty five years old and now I can say I have smothered my hair in cow dung.
Happy birthday to me?
imageI celebrated my thirty fifth birthday with an absolutely phenomenal home made crab curry my boyfriend made from scratch. It was a relaxing evening at home having cocktails with our friend and neighbor after a morning spent hiking at Bluff Lake, my favorite place in Big Bear. (And I saw a Copper Hawk right up close this morning; the high light of my morning! It was pretty cool)
I had been away from Big Bear for a few days, back at work after taking six months off for back surgery. On my free evening on Tuesday I did a three mile hike to one of our only sequoia groves in these mountains and then we decided it was a glorious summer night to henna my hair at long last!
As I mixed up the henna in the afternoon from a powder straight from India I thought, hmmm smells like alfalfa, too to.
imageThan I let it sit for four hours and the smell aged to a terrible rotten veggie stink but I was still adamant we would apply this to my long black tresses and I would once again be a ginger ( last time I was a ginger was probably at least fifteen years ago)
After our extremely bug filled hike we returned to L’s house to enjoy the cool mountain air, the most amazing coconut vegan trail mix and a gorgeous sunset over the valley below as my friend basted my head with a sticky orange substance.

Here I am looking trucker chic in one of my dads old shirts that I liberated. My mom practically begged me to destroy it. My dad texted me later in the evening and demanded this hole filled shirt back after I covered it in henna.
Henna is completely amazing! I can never, ever go back to chemical filled hair dye after this! Unlike hair dye, henna will not break and damage your hair! Henna actually condition’s it from the roots (It’s all that cow poo! Very hydrating!) It made my hair super shiny and healthy looking and really brought the life back into it!
Although as L was basting my tresses with the henna I was warned not to wash my hair for three days, so I was going to have smelly hair for a bit.
I texted my boyfriend to warn him (He is from India) that I was goingimage to smell like India for a few days.
That’s when he told me that the primary ingredient in henna is cow dung.
Well that explains the alfalfa smell!


  1. Deborah Davis

    I have used henna for years and I too love it’s conditioning benefits. I was surprised to learn about the cow dung! Thank you so much for sharing ‘The Magic of Henna’ with us on the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m pinning and sharing.

  2. Marla

    Hi Amber,
    I love henna and use it regularly on hair. I love how it conditions my hair, covers up gray, and gives it shine with highlights that complement my hair really nicely. I didn’t know the primary ingredients was cow dung – I though it was made from the henna plant, but whatever it made from I will never again use chemicals on my hair. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & twitted.

  3. kimmythevegan

    Cow dung huh? Did not know that haha ;p
    Your hair looks great! Thanks for sharing your healthy hair adventures on Healthy Vegan Fridays =)
    Happy Belated Birthday!!!

  4. Caitlin

    Henna is a PLANT! It is NOT cow dung! From Wikipedia “ Henna is a dye prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis.” NEVER assume that a man is either knowledgeable or is telling you the truth! Plant material can stink to Hugh heaven when being processed. If you have ever passed a sugar cane processing plant or a paper manufacturing plant, you would know it smells like raw sh!t.

  5. fiza

    henna isnt made out of cow dung it comes from the henna tree its made of mashed henna leafs so stfu

  6. Suhana

    Henna is from a plant. In Bangladesh we used Henna straight from the plant. You grind the leaves into a paste then use it to decorate hands/feet and use on hair as a conditioner/dye. It’s not cow dung, you would know if you had cow dung on your hair coz the stink would be of another level ?

    1. Mtotheb

      Exactly…some people need to do some research before putting false information on the internet

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        Amber Woodyard

        Like how my boyfriend saw the henna being made in the jungles of India near Ooty when he was a kid? I’m not one to post fake news but thanks for your bitchy comment.

  7. Akeela

    Oh my, I burst into laughing when I read the bit that your boyfriend said that it’s cow dung?. I think he is pulling your leg. Actually it’s not from any animal. It’s a plant. I had a henna plant in my garden back home. I love henna, such a nice fragrance when you get it fresh.the flowers too. Though when grind and make a paste it does look like cow dung. When we were little kiddos we used to tease each other saying that they had cow dung on their hand?. We use it on our hair as a mask, add in my hair oil as dried leaves. Not only that time to time we use henna paste to decorate our hands. It brings such a calming and soothing feeling.

  8. Reetika

    Hahahahahhahaa I think your boyfriend was kidding OR Clueless as to what he was talking about. Henna doesn’t have cow dung as an ingredient!!!!!!

  9. Crunchi

    Henna only has one ingredient – henna. It is a plant. And cow poo smells like death, not like alfalfa. If it was in your henna you would know it, I promise you.

    1. Post
      Amber Woodyard

      How does cow poo smell like death?I have been assured by my boyfriend who grew up in the 90’s India that henna was once made from cow poo.

      1. Crunchi

        It’s not made from anything. It grows out of the ground. Maybe it’s fertilized with cow poo – which does smell HORRIBLE. But henna itself is a PLANT.

      2. Crunchi

        Your boyfriend is your source? Has it occurred to you that he may have misinformed you? Because, whether or not it was intentional, you have been very misinformed.

        1. Post
          Amber Woodyard

          Well, he grew up in the jungles of India and saw it first hand so I’m assuming he knows what he is talking about.

          1. JesusChristDoSomeResearch

            My mommy told me Santa Clause was real and she grew up in Svalbard. My god are you stupid.

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  10. RUKidding

    Henna has one ingredient: Henna. It is a plant. And you’ve obviously never been around many cows. Their poo can be smelled for miles in certain conditions, and it does not smell like alfalfa, I promise. It is VILE.

  11. sawita

    Henna is NOT MADE from COW DUNG. It comes from a TREE Lawsonia also known as hina. it’s leafs give that color when it’s crushed.

  12. Amanda

    Henna paste may look a bit like cow dung and the smell might put some people off (I’ve encountered plenty of cow patties in my day – henna smells more like wet dog than dung), but henna is definitely not made of cow dung. It is ground up leaves from the henna tree (aka Lawsonia inermis, hina, mignonette tree, or Egyptian privet).

  13. Henna is made from a plant

    Henna is made from a plant so unless you buy a weird brand of henna it should not contain cow dung.

    1. Post
      Amber Woodyard

      Last time I checked here in the United States the first amendment gives me free speech, so no, I don’t think I will.

      1. Libel

        Yes in America the first amendment is freedom of speech but what yiu doing is a libel it is where it is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession

        1. Post
          Amber Woodyard

          Whose business am I ridiculing? How does this injure a person’s reputation? I used henna on my hair and was not happy with the results and wrote a blog about it and now all these liberal snowflake cry babies are about to shit their pants over said article.

        2. Post
  14. Liz

    I can’t imagine any government allowing henna imports if it contained cow dung.
    I have been using it for years.
    Used to take a commuter train that went past an agricultural university, which put dung of some kind on its fields. The smell of that dung was unbearable. Nothing like what I am putting on my head.

    1. Post
    1. Post
      Amber Woodyard

      Just so you aware Mark and Karin, if you continue to cyberstalk me I will be getting a restraining order from the Big Bear Sheriff’s station. Considering you already have a history of domestic violence they will take me seriously. You should really try to act like adults.

  15. Angeline

    lol at all these Karens in your comments! Your boyfriend was absolutely 100% correct– the primary ingredient is cow dung! While there are other ingredients in prepackaged henna, they are mostly there to make the product more palatable to the masses, and be warned, some DO contain nasty chemical additives as well. Your best option is actually to get the henna from the source. If you have a farm nearby that’s basically unlimited henna–score! 🙂 While you don’t need to dry it first, you -do- need to sterilize it with heat, which can be done in various ways, like using the stovetop, oven, or microwaving it until the internal temp reaches 165 F. Fresh henna is even more conditioning, too. 

    1. Post
      Amber Woodyard

      It’s pretty hilarious actually what cry babies people are. My boyfriend grew up in the jungles of India and saw this first hand in small villages. Lots of comments from people who I am assuming have never traveled anywhere outside of the usual Disneyland-like tourist destinations in their lives. I guess cow dung henna is the more natural way to go anyways.

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