Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Clove and Henna Hair Mask

Another accidental discovery! Or should I say, a successful experiment? 

This weekend, I noticed a couple of grays shining through, and decided to do a henna hair mask. I ran out of dead sea mud last time and forgot to replace it, so I was hunting through my cabinet looking for an alternative. I found some powdered clove and a couple packets of bladderwrack (I've got lots of crazy stuff in my cupboards). Clove is one of the additives suggested on the henna instructions for a warm or reddish brown tone, so that seemed like a go. Seaweed is supposed to moisturize the hair, so that seemed like a good idea, too. 

If you don't feel like making this yourself, you can buy some at Miri Botanicals.

Bladderwrack is a sea-algae. Lots of places sell it. Here's a reputable place: Mountain Rose Herbs. Make sure you get the powder. 

The Recipe

1/3 cup henna
1/3 cup powdered cloves
1/3 cup bladderwrack
2 tablespoons organic black strap mollases
boiling water

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the molasses. Slowly add water until you get a consistency you like. I like mine to be a thinnish paste so I can spread it easily on dry hair. If you want to wet your hair prior to applying the masque, you can make the paste a little thicker. It's up to you.

Apply generously to hair and cover with a plastic cap or bag or something. 

This recipe is pretty grainy. I'm not sure if it was the cloves or the bladderwrack.

Leave it on for at least an hour, and then rinse out very very very well in the shower. I usually wash and do a vinegar rinse after, but you don't have to. Washing helps get out every little grain of the masque.

I was actually shocked by the color, consistency, and shine of my hair when it started to dry. Check this out:

Can you believe that? It's incredibly shiny and has a deep brown color with very subtle warm red highlights. I love it.

Why it works


The henna imparts lawsone molecules into the hair shaft, coloring it. These bind with the keratin already in your hair. The longer it sits on your hair, the more molecules get into the shaft. "Henna" can be one of three plants, powdered: Cassia obovata (Senna) is neutral and colorless; Lawsonia inermis (Red Henna) is the auburn reddish henna; and Indigofera tinctoria (Indigo or black henna) is dark. Most hair hennas are mixtures of different hennas and other plants such as walnut or and rhubarb. Here's a great website with lots of information about henna: hennaforhair.com

Clove (Caryophyllus aromaticus)

Studies have shown that the primary constituent of clove (eugenol) is effective for the treatment of gray hair and for hair growth.

Hamada Kazuto and Ikemoto Takeshi. 2001.  Recent advance in development of hair growers. Effect of clove bud oil related eugenyl glucoside on hair growth. Fragrance Journal.

Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Bladderwrack has three primary constituents: iodine, alginic acid, and fucoidan.The alginic acid (a polysaccharide) swells into a gelatinous substance upon contact with water. It protects the hair shaft and holds in moisture. I've seen references to its use for hair loss, but can't find any studies on that.


Contains LOTS of minerals. It smoothes and darkens the hair. It prevents the hair from drying out. It's amazing. Including it into your diet is supposed to keep your hair from going gray (the copper content facilitates the production of melanin). I don't know about that, but I know it helps cover the gray when I use it topically. 


  1. Thank you for the recipe. What happens if applied on a head with some grey? Will it gets pink highlights?

  2. Hi Busy Bee!!! I used this mask to cover my grays as well as darken my hair. It did both. No pink highlights!

  3. I imagine you'd get coppery or auburn highlights on blonde or silver hair, though. Hmmm... must find someone to experiment on!

  4. wow! Sounds good :D Happy accidents are the best! Thanks for discovering such a great make :)

  5. I hope to try this soon, thnx! I have a hair mask i recently bought from beyas.ca, Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Mask, it has worked really well so far though I'm always open to trying new recipes!

    1. Hi Viviask! Thanks for visiting! If your hair is dark, I really recommend this mask. I even went out and bought more clove yesterday so I could do it again in a couple weeks. The color came out just amazing! If you do try it, please come back and let us know how it went.

  6. thank you for the info, I use another good hair mask for my hair, it's Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Mask which like viviask said is really good and leaves my hair soft and healthy. :)

  7. I'm in love with this post, your results were spectacular! I've used henna before but by itself the grey coverage leaves a lot to be desired. I'm loving the properties of clove and molasses (2 items I tend to have around the house). I'm really excited to try your recipe out, thanks so much for sharing :)

    This is a great blog,it's my first time visiting but I'll be back! Now following via GFC & Networked Blogs!
    Micheline @ Holistic Chick

    1. Thanks, Micheline! Just joined your amazing blog! YAY!!!

  8. Do you get your henna from the mountian rose website? And what color do you use? My hair is about the same as your before, but with grays. :D iv alwasy wanted to try henna!

    1. Hi Carrie! I just get mine from a local health food store. Any henna will be fine. I notice a difference in color when I use different brands of cloves, though...

  9. It doesn't matter if you spent top dollar at the salon or did your color yourself, there is nothing worse than fading hair dye. It takes time and money to achieve that glamorous look, so it is important to continuously follow best practices when it comes to hair coloring. Simply put, you should be making use of any helpful ideas you can get - especially in the warm weather months when the potential for fading is at its peak. This is especially true with black or deep red shades that seem to fade noticeably quicker than other shades.

    Henna for Hair Color

  10. Effect of clove bud oil related eugenyl glucoside on hair growth:mariutagrigoras

  11. What color was your hair before the mask?

    1. medium brown with lovely whisps of gray!