Maintaining graying brown hair with henna and indigo

Close up of henna, indigo, and cassia powder.

My first-time using henna for hair color was due to a sensitivity reaction I started having with chemical hair dye.  I wanted to go back to my natural medium brown after many years of blonde highlights.  Fortunately, I had a friend who was using all-natural Ancient Sunrise henna and indigo to achieve beautiful brown hair.  I learned when indigo is mixed with henna you can achieve shades of auburn, browns and even black!  I wanted a medium brown so I used a color mix of 40% Sudina indigo and 60% Ancient Sunrise® Twilight henna to achieve this over my graying, chemically lightened hair.  The result was a beautiful, shiny, medium brown with highlights of different shades of auburn.  The highlights showed where my hair had been lightened and where I had started graying.  I was about 40% gray at this point.

After I used this mix for about two years my hair was all dyed using henna and indigo and I was 50% gray. I was a medium brown with highlights where I was gray, and the highlights blended FABULOUSLY after each root touch up.  My highlights were now a rosier auburn and showed fiery, copper tones in the sun.

henna paste in green bowl

As my grays increased to over 60%, my hair was leaning towards reddish tones with highlights.  My grays were showing as red more than auburn.  I talked to an Ancient Sunrise customer service rep about wanting my results to be less red. The rep suggested adding table salt to my indigo. Salt opens the hair shafts to slightly ruffle them and allow the hair to process the indigo-henna mix better. I also was advised I could do an indigo gloss over my entire head to tone down the red. After only one indigo gloss I was able to achieve the browns and auburns I loved. My hair is very healthy and shiny due to the use of henna. 

My brown hair has since grayed to about 70%. I changed my mix to 50% indigo and 50% henna to maintain the results I have grown to love.  I have only done root touch ups for many years.  My color has stayed consistent with a few tweaks here and there. I love all the beautiful highlights that cover my grays.  You must embrace getting older and see the gray hair changes as a natural gift that creates amazing highlights.  My hair is very healthy, full and shiny with great natural dimension.

Henna, cassia, and indigo paste on hair.

While using this 50/50 mix for several years, my brown hair color was consistent. My hair became wavy from the 70% gray. I enjoyed the change in texture and felt more fashionable since beachy waves have become such a trend.   While using the new Ancient Sunrise® salon for a photo shoot, I had my whole head hennaed BUT the colorist used two different mixes: 50/50 on the roots and then used a mix of 50% of cassia, 25% indigo, and 25% henna over all my previously henna and indigo dyed hair. 

Cassia powder with Malluma Kristalovino

Cassia is a natural colorless plant powder that diluted the mix to prevent my previously dyed hair from darkening. Cassia is also a conditioning treatment that lifted my hair to have more volume and more consistent waves.  If I use heat to enhance the waves in my hair, the waves hold for three days from the cassia treatment. 

After photo of henna and indigo on gray hair.

I have been more than pleased with my hair since starting my henna and indigo journey. It is also environmentally friendly and contains no chemicals at all.  I encourage you to start on your henna journey with nothing but natural Ancient Sunrise products.
Ancient Sunrise’s live customer service team will help you with all your questions about the color you want to achieve.

Michele • Ancient Sunrise® Inventory and SEO specialist

Eyebrow Henna

“Okay Google…search ‘eyebrow henna.'”
A robotic voice replies, “Here are the results from the search.”

My thumb swipes upwards in a circular motion as I scroll through hundreds of results and several services offering “henna” for eyebrows. The biggest disappointment is that none of the results show pure henna. This poses a problem because what is being advertised to the world are adulterated cosmetics. What makes eyebrow and lash tint adulterated are ingredients such as paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and other coal tar derivatives. Furthermore, the FDA has not approved any products that color or tint the eyebrows and/or eyelashes “permanently”.

To learn more about what adulterated cosmetics are, visit:

Pure Henna on Eyebrow Hair and the Skin Underneath

Pure henna can stain light eyebrow hair, but it tends to take on a weak orange color that is gone within a few weeks to a month. When pure henna is applied to darker eyebrow hair, there is not a noticeable difference. A lot of the products that are being marketed for eyebrows aren’t meant to be used for the eyebrow hair itself, but are for staining the skin under the hair. With pure henna, the skin will not stain dark because the eyebrow area has thin skin. It should also be noted that henna doesn’t stain thin skin for long. The products that we see marketed to stain the skin under the eyebrows tend to be a darker color in which henna itself is not able to achieve in this particular area. Henna does not dye skin black.

Note: The FDA does not recognize the use of henna on any part of the body except for hair on the head, unless it is for cultural purposes.

To learn more about pure henna and the skin, visit:

You probably have seen articles about black henna and PPD. You may have seen photos of people on vacation with scars after being exposed to a black “henna” tattoo. These reactions that we see to PPD are the same reactions we see to “eyebrow henna” and eyelash tints. Why are companies still allowed to offer products that are incredibly toxic? How are they getting away with overlooking these horrible reactions?

Reactions to Eyebrow and Eyelash Tints

“Okay Google…search ‘eyebrow henna reaction.'”

The images are not for those who are easily squeamish. Photos of people with swollen foreheads, crusty, seeping eyebrows, and pus filled eyes all fill my screen. Reactions are identical to reactions from hair color that contain PPD.

I came across a blog that was discussing allergic reactions to eyebrow and eyelash tints. It suggested a product to use for those who have allergies. I clicked on the link of the product advertised, scrolled down to the ingredients list, and the first thing that was listed was “Paraphenylenediamine.” The last ingredient listed was “henna,” but it does not make sense from a scientific standpoint. Henna has specific instructions to allow it to stain, and even then, it does not have a shelf life once made, unless it is frozen after dye release. I have come across enough products in my career to know that “henna” in an ingredients list does not always mean lawsonia inermis.

The the author could have used their platform to promote real education on allergies to products, but instead they suggested a product that can cause complications because the first ingredient, PPD, causes strong allergic reactions. Unfortunately, the blog was not the only piece of material available to the public that was offering misinformation.

Reporting Reactions

If you have had a reaction to a tint for the eyebrows or eyelashes, visit your doctor immediately. Go to the ER if reactions are severe. Please report any adverse reactions here: Reporting severe reactions can help others who may have a similar or worse reaction to the same or similar product. Document your situation and help spread awareness of the dangers of PPD in cosmetics.

Salons and Brow Tinting Places

The FDA states that eyebrow and eyelash tinting is not allowed if the products contain coal tar derivatives or are considered “permanent”. Regardless of what the FDA does allow, your state laws may not allow eyebrow or eyelash tinting. State Boards of Cosmetology are required to follow both federal and state regulations. Ohio’s State Board of Cosmetology did not have much comment on this issue except that salons and parlors must follow the FDA regulations, as mentioned above. Shops containing illegal tinting services should be reported to prevent serious injuries. To make a report, visit your local State Board of Cosmetology website. (Your state’s board of cosmetology can be found by a quick Google search.)

Microblading and Cosmetic Tattoos

Microblading and cosmetic tattoos, while are considered cosmetics, do not fall under eyebrow or eyelash tinting. For more information on this, visit:

Alternative to Eyebrow Dye and Tints

If you are feeling down about your eyebrows, try a product that contains fibers. Most fibers are all natural, keratin fibers. These tend to fill out the eyebrow making them appear fuller, naturally. There are also many eyebrow pencils, liners, and pens available that might work better for you, too. Another benefit to using makeup to shaping and filling in your eyebrows is you can wash it off right away if there are any mistakes. Stay safe and practice safe beauty techniques!

Maria • Ancient Sunrise Specialist • Licensed Cosmetologist

Henna and Bleach Trials

Many people ask if they should bleach their hair before they henna. I decided to set up henna and bleach trials to see what differences I might get for different situations.

As we all know, lightening your hair is not always the ideal option, as this is a chemical hair process, but it can help achieve lighter colors that you may not be able to get by only hennaing. You can find more information in chapter 10 lightening your hennaed hair in our e-book.

Note: We recommend seeing a professional stylist to help you when lightening your hair.

Hair and Mix Prep

My test began with harvested hair from my brush.  My natural hair color is black with no gray. When I use henna, my hair has a red shine in the sun with great conditioning benefits.

Each of the hair samples have different variables, however, they all were washed with Dawn dish soap before each henna application. I mixed Rarity henna with lemon juice and dye released at room temperature for 9 hours.  All the samples had the same processing time of 4 hours, as well as controlled lightening times.


Test 1:
This particular sample hair was hennaed two times, then bleached. I redid this test because I left the bleach on the first sample longer than intended.

Test 2:
The hair sample in this test was hennaed, bleached, and hennaed again.

Test 3:
This sample was colored, bleached, hennaed, and hennaed again.

Test 4:
Hair sample number 4 was bleached to damage, hennaed, then hennaed again.

Test 5:
This hair sample was bleached, hennaed, and hennaed again.

These tests mimic what we see often in customer service. We understand that everyone who is new to henna likely has hair that has been chemically treated.

Henna and Bleach Trials in Photos

1 hour before application
I prepared my hair for the first henna application. Here we have the hair at different levels of lightening to see how the results may vary. Number 3 and 5 are very similar in color.

8 hour after application
Number 3 and 5 continue to be very similar.

1 week oxidized
The samples have darkened after oxidation. Number 2 is ready to get lightened.

1 day after bleach (after henna application)
Number 2 is very light compared to the others. It appears brighter than the hair when it is lightened before henna.

2 weeks oxidized/1 week after henna
Number 4 is still lighter than number 3 and 5, as they stay very similar.

After application 2
Henna application has helped to darken all samples.

1 week oxidized after bleach
The samples are darker with oxidation and we prepare to lighten number 1

Right after damage
Slight fail as I let the sample sit too long

2 & 4
Number 2 and 4 are similar in color. Number 2 does appear to be lighter.

3 & 5
Number 3 and 5 are still very similar.

New 1
I recreated number 1 to get a more accurate result.

All samples
Here are all samples done to see the difference.

All natural light
Here are the samples in natural light to see the difference from the concentrated indoor lighting.

In conclusion, the results were a little surprising to me. I knew that number 3 would come out darker because it was colored first. Numbers 1 and 2 are lighter than expected, as they both started with henna. Numbers 4 and 5 are exactly how I thought they would come out. Overall all of the samples are a lovely color.

To read about how henna can help damaged hair, check out this blog:

Damaris • Licensed Cosmetologist • Ancient Sunrise Specialist

Cold Cassia on a Hot Day

A fun way to cool down when you’re feeling a little toasty is to apply cold cassia on a hot day. It’s a nice refreshing feel on the scalp. It’s like that snack you can’t get enough of.

Hair Prep

As always you want to start with freshly cleaned and clarified hair. Applying Rainwash was easy. Taking ¼ inch sections, I got through and applied evenly. While I let the Rainwash sit on my hair for 40 minutes, I mixed my cassia up. I washed my hair the night before and braided it up, so I could apply in the morning.

The Mixing

Cold Cassia in a metal bowl.

I mixed 200 grams of Clarity Cassia with orange juice to sit overnight for about 10 hours at room temperature. Then to get that cool effect, I put my paste in the fridge for 2 hours. If you’re not sure what to dye release your Ancient Sunrise® cassia with, read this article: Dye Releasing Henna/Cassia with Items in your Home

Time to get started!

Dry hair before applying paste.

I was a little bit skeptical at first, wondering if the paste would be too cold.  So, I tested the water, like you do in the pool. I tapped a small amount of paste to my front hairline. I was AMAZED! It was like the icy feeling of chewing mint gum.

 I started applying the paste in the back of my head. Taking my ¼ inch sections, from the top, I worked my way down to the bottom.  After about an hour I had all of my hair covered and was feeling cooled off.

Hair with cold cassia paste.
Hair with cold cassia wrapped in plastic.
Now to enjoy some sun after wrapping my hair.
Hair with towel after washing hair.
After 3 hours of fun in the sun, lunch and nap time, it’s time to wash out the cassia.
Dry natural hair after cold cassia treatment.
The results are in.
Hair in twists after  cold cassia.
Final results on done hair.

My hair feels great! Styled and done, I can see the difference. My ends aren’t as crazy and twist very well. I would definitely apply cold cassia on a hot day again. Stay cool!

Damaris Licensed Cosmetologist • Ancient Sunrise® Specialist

Can Rainwash dye release henna and cassia?

Mixing henna with citric acid to dye release for a comparison with henna dye released with Rainwash.
Liz is using distilled water with citric acid and henna.

Working in customer service, we frequently hear “What happens if I use the Rainwash to dye release my henna?” and “I accidentally used Rainwash instead of my fruit acid to dye release my henna; will it still work?” Well, we’re going to do a small set of tests because we want to find out will Rainwash effectively dye release henna and cassia?

Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash is made up of three ingredients: citric acid, ascorbic acid, and xanthan gum. We know that this is acidic due to the citric acid and ascorbic acid. One teaspoon of Ancient Sunrise® citric acid is needed for 100g of Ancient Sunrise® henna and/or Ancient Sunrise® cassia, so I’ve decided to use the ratio of 5 grams of Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash to 100g of Ancient Sunrise® henna and/or Ancient Sunrise® cassia. Ancient Sunrise® indigo does not need an acidic component and therefore will be mixed with distilled water before combining it with henna.

Note: Mixing Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash with your henna paste will not take the place of using the Rainwash as a mineral removing treatment prior to your application. You still need Rainwash or a clarifying shampoo prior to every henna application for best results.

Setting up the Mixes

Key: RW = Rainwash g = grams CA = Citric acid

Rainwash Mix:
Henna onlyHenna and CassiaHenna and Indigo
Henna – 6 gHenna – 3gHenna- 3g
RW – 0.31 gCassia – 3gRW- 0.16g
RW – 0.31gIndigo- 3g
*Distilled water was used for the liquid
Citric Acid Mix:
Henna onlyHenna and CassiaHenna and Indigo
Henna – 6 gHenna – 3gHenna- 3g
CA – 0.31 gCassia – 3gCA- 0.16g
CA – 0.31gIndigo- 3g
*Distilled water was used for the liquid

Citric acid and Rainwash mixes side by side to determine can Rainwash dye release henna?

When mixing the henna and cassia with Rainwash, I noticed that the paste seemed smoother than when using citric acid. This is due to the xanthan gum in Rainwash, which creates a gel-like texture when mixed with a liquid. The paste also stuck to itself and the mixing utensil more than the other batch of samples that were mixed with citric acid. (The powders all seemed to take more water than I thought they would need.) I had the henna and cassia/henna paste all sit for 8 hours in 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tip: If you see brown or green streaks in the paste, keep mixing until all of the paste is one color. Applying the paste to the hair that has streaks of different colors will result in an uneven application.

Hair prep

Each hair sample used was prepped with Rainwash and Dawn dish soap. This helps eliminate mineral build-up and oils. Then they were towel dried before applying the pastes to the hair samples.

The Results

Citric Acid Mixes
Rainwash Mixes

The results were similar to each other, but there are some differences worth noting. It’s interesting that groups A and B look more similar before oxidizing. In fact, the Rainwash mixes almost look like they’ve may have faded slightly. This would make sense, since the Michael Addition may not have been able to fully bind due to the xanthan gum.

Seven days after the initial application and washing the hair four times, I viewed the samples side by side for color comparison since the color had finished oxidizing. See the comparison notes below:

Side by side comparisons of oxidized mixes:

It is safe to say that the xantham gum in the Rainwash impacted the indigo mix the most. The other two groups have only slight differences.

In conclusion, you might be able to get away with using Rainwash in a pinch to dye release henna and cassia since the results are similar to using citric acid. I do not recommend using the Rainwash in a pinch if you plan to use indigo in your mix because the color was lighter and may not work for the results you’re wanting. Due to the xanthan gum, it’s best not to plan on using Rainwash as we do not know if the hair may fade over a long period of time since these samples were tested for a shorter period of time. So…did Rainwash effectively dye release henna and cassia? It seems so, but just count on maybe having to overlap a little when you touch up your roots next.

For more information on what you can use in the house to dye release your henna paste see this article:

If you’re looking for fruit acids to use with your mix, you can find Ancient Sunrise® Fruit Acids here:

For assistance with mixing or instructions, get ahold of our customer service experts or visit

LizAncient Sunrise® Specialist

Ways to Educate and Entertain the Family with Mehandi

If your current situation is like mine, you’ve been at home almost 24/7 with a kiddo and pets. You may or may not be balancing a job while trying to keep up with amusing and teaching your child(ren) which can be quite a lot. Here are a few ways to educate and entertain the family – Mehandi style.


Ammonia and Tumeric

*Ammonia is an alkaline solution that has a strong odor. It’s commonly used for cleaning. Safety precautions including wearing chemical safety goggles, chemical protective clothing including gloves, an apron, and boots should be taken. The area should be very well ventilated. If you or anyone participating in the experiment has asthma or other health issues, skip this project. A responsible adult should pour the ammonia.

Turmeric is a spice that is often used in cooking. It’s usually gold in color and pH-sensitive. A lot of people ask if they can use turmeric in their cassia/henna mixes and our Ancient Sunrise® customer service team will tell you no. Read more to find out why!

The pH scale is a way to measure how acidic or alkaline something is. The scale ranges from 0-14. 1-6 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and 8-14 is alkaline. A lot of important things rely on this form of measurement, including the earth, because if something is off, it could kill off organisms or cause other organisms to grow. You can read about how pH is important to the environment here:

Tumeric used in an acidic base is very yellow. When turmeric is used in an alkaline base it turns red. This means if one were to mix it with cassia, not only would the hair be lemon gumdrop yellow, but the hair would change depending on its current pH. Tumeric doesn’t bind to the hair decently, anyway, so it does wash away… but you can definitely avoid panic by not adding it into your mix.

What you’ll need:

  • Ammonia
  • Turmeric powder
  • 2 Small bowls
  • 2 Small whisks
  • Distilled water
  • Safety gear
  1. Mix a small amount of turmeric powder in a small bowl with ammonia.
  2. In a separate bowl mix turmeric powder with distilled water.
    • Water can vary in our taps. Distilled water will help make sure you can get great results for this experiment.
The results

Pretty cool, huh? You can try mixing different things into turmeric and see how it affects the colors for a longer experiment.

After adding distilled water to the ammonia and turmeric mix to help neutralize it, you can safely dispose of both of these paste in the trashcan.

Dye Releasing Henna

Henna powder itself won’t leave any stain because it has to go through a process, called “dye release.” Dye releasing happens by adding a mildly acidic liquid to henna powder and letting it sit for about 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. During this time, a chemical reaction takes place that creates lawsone, which is what does the dyeing. Henna is used around the world for body art and to dye hair! It’s very important to make sure pure henna is being used for this experiment.

For more advance information on dye releasing, visit:

What you’ll need:

  • Ancient Sunrise® henna powder (any of our henna will do)
  • Acidic liquid (orange juice, apple juice, or cranberry juice)
  • Small bowl
  • Small whisk
  • Spoon
  • Paper towels (for cleaning)
  • A couple of small baggies or cones (carrot bags also work)
  • Rubberbands
  • Tape
  • Piece of paper
  1. Mix the acidic liquid and the henna powder together into any bowl until the paste slowly drips off of your whisk.
  2. Using a spoon, scoop the paste into a baggie, cone, or carrot bag.
    • If you’re using a baggie you will want to squeeze all of the paste to one of the bottom corners, then tie a rubber band at the top to create a little triangular shaped cone. This will prevent the paste from leaking out at the top of the ziplock.
  3. Let the cone sit for 8-12 hours in 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. You can place this in the fridge for around 3 days if you’re not ready to use it right after the 8-12 hour mark.
  4. After the cone is ready, repeat steps 1 and 2. Don’t let the second cone sit.
  5. Cut a small portion of the tip off of each cone.
  6. Divide a piece of plain paper in half.
    • Mark one side for “dye released” and the other “not dye released”.
  7. Draw some designs on each side with the designated cone, then set the paper aside.
  8. Tape the end of the cones shut if you have leftovers.
    • The dye released cone can be placed in the freezer. The non dye released cone can sit out to finish dye releasing, then be frozen.
    • You can freeze any remaining paste because it can be used for future hair applications or science projects.
The results

After the paper has sat for 20 minutes or so, scrape some of the slightly hardened paste away to see the underlying color. If you wait until the paste is completely dry, you may have a harder time removing it. You will notice that the paste that hasn’t been dye released still leaves a residue on the paper due to plant matter. The area that was dye released leaves behind an orange stain.


This is the perfect time for families to get in touch with their creative side. Play with washable body art using Mehron Paradise Paints or paint with TEMPTU. Using Becoming Moonlight Gilding Cones with different colored mica and glitter is always plenty of fun and safe! Using gilding paste on paper to practice spelling words and covering them with glitter is a great way to incorporate learning! Rebecca did beautiful decorations on eggs using various methods of body art supplies from

You can use henna paste to create lovely artwork, as well. Here is a link for some wonderful patterns:

History and Culture

Make history extra fun by incorporating your henna experiment listed above with some facts. For example, did you know that Ancient Egyptians used henna on their hair long before we used it today? You can read more about how henna was used in Egypt here:

Learn about the history of henna around the world:

Read about how Oscar Wilde was one of the first of the famous to develop an allergy to PPD:

Dive into the history of hair and culture (this is a personal favorite article of mine): //

Did you know that indigo was used to paint on bodies in a form called woading?

While we go through this stressful time, please stay healthy and take care of yourself and your loved ones. Hopefully, this blog of ways to educate and entertain the family helps keep you from getting too bored! Definitely read through the blogs on and for more interesting information! You can head over to,, and for plenty of useful education in science and history!

Maria • Ancient Sunrise Specialist • LLC

Zizyphus Face Mask

Many products have multiple uses and Zizyphus Spina Christi is one of them. Its primary use is generally to help clean hair and skin. Since it can leave the skin feeling soft, I decided to try doing a zizyphus face mask.

Zizyphus is a desert plant that has saponins glycosides. The specific saponins of this plant leaf are what does the cleaning. Zizyphus also helps to protect the skin and hair from the effects of dry weather and intense sunlight by depositing a thin layer to hold in moisture. (1) Read more about zizyphus here:

I combined 1 teaspoon of zizyphus powder with about a teaspoon of distilled water. Next, I mixed the two together until it formed the consistency of pudding. Finally, I applied the paste to my freshly cleaned face avoiding my eyes, nose, and mouth. After about 15 minutes, I rinsed it off.

While the paste was on, I felt a slight tightening of the skin. It is perfectly normal, as that is just the mask working its magic. I have combination skin, and felt that this zizyphus face mask mainly cleaned and helped even my skin tone. After the mask, my skin also felt super soft. I definitely recommend giving this a try. However, if you are allergic to latex, be sure to patch test first!

Try zizyphus on your hair:


  1. Cartwright-Jones Ph.D., Catherine. Henna for Hair- Zizyphus Spina Christi,

Patty • Ancient Sunrise® Specialist

Ancient Sunrise® Fruit Acid Powder Facial

Fruit acid powder facial for skin brightening, tightening, and fewer blackheads.

Do you have leftover fruit acid that you’re not planning on using in future henna or cassia mixes? You may want to try a homemade fruit acid powder facial!  Here is a simple recipe that was made from Ancient Sunrise® citric acid, Ancient Sunrise® amla, and Ancient Sunrise® Nightfall Rose.  If you have sensitive skin, this mask may not be for you.

Facial Mix

1/8 teaspoon Citric Acid
1/4  teaspoon Amla
1/4 teaspoon Nightfall rose
1/2 teaspoon of warm distilled water




Facial Paste

First, mix up all three powders with warm distilled water and let it sit for a few minutes.
Secondly, apply the paste to freshly cleaned skin with a brush on the face, avoiding the eyes, nostrils, mouth, and any open wounds.
Then leave the mix on for 15 minutes (or until firm).
Finally, use a washcloth and warm water while gently massage the paste off of the skin.

Immediately after rinsing the paste off, my face was RED.  Part of this can be attributed to the anthocyanins of Nightfall Rose, the other part is due to my sensitive skin.  The redness went away within a few hours.  Though subtle, my skin was tighter, brighter, softer, and I had fewer blackheads.  Within 24 hours, I noticed my rosacea was less red than before the mask. To see more drastic results, I would need to do this weekly.

Before and After

I would do this mask again, as well as recommend it to my friends and family, because I liked that my skin felt tighter and that my cheeks were less red after 24 hours.  Expect a little tingling and tightening sensation while it’s on the skin.  It was simple to mix, apply, and rinse off.  Like most facials, avoid doing this on a day of an important event, as it does cause temporary redness.  If you’re unsure of how your skin will react, mix up a small amount and test first!


Left: Before; Right: After

*Note* It is not advisable to throw random ingredients together without thoroughly researching the pros and cons specific products may have on human skin and consulting an esthetician or dermatologist.

Citric Acid Powder

Benefits of Citric Acid on the Skin:

  • Brightens skin1
  • Minimizes fine lines1
  • Anti-bacterial1

Citric acid is used in countless beauty products and food products. It’s a great preservative, but there are more benefits that you may not have known, such as its positive effect on acne and wrinkly skin. Citric acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid which results in helping to increase the rate at which skin renews as well as help skin that has sun damage.2

Amla Powder

Benefits of Amla (Emblica Officionalis) on the skin:

  • Anti-bacterial3
  • High in polyphenols4
  • Anti-aging5

Like citric acid, amla has multiple purposes.  Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder is used for henna mixes and can be used on the skin by itself.3  High levels of antioxidants in amla mean it’s procollagen. Procollagen is what can help the skin look youthful.

Nightfall Rose

Benefits of Nightfall Rose (Aronia Prunifolia) on the skin:

  • Anti-microbial6
  • Anti-inflammatory6
  • High in polyphenols such as Hydroxycinnamic acid7

Aronia prunifolia seems to be a beauty secret the world should know about.  The purple chokeberry has high levels of anthocyanins consequently helping with UV protection8.  The hydroxycinnamic acid present in this powder can help with anti-aging.  Hydroxycinnamic has anti collagenase properties which prevent enzymes from breaking down the collagen in our skin6.

To learn more about Amla as a mask, read here: Ancient Sunrise® Amla Powder and Its Many Uses


  1. “Citric Acid.” org, American Chemistry Council, 27 Aug. 2019,
  2. Tang, Sheau-Chung, and Jen-Hung Yang. “Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 10 Apr. 2018,
  3. Cartwright-Jones, Catherine. “Chapter 6: Henna and Acidic Mixes.” Ancient Sunrise Henna for Hair, TapDancing LizardÒ, Copyright © 2015, pp. 7-8.
  4. Variya, Bhavesh C, et al. “Emblica Officinalis (Amla): A Review for Its Phytochemistry, Ethnomedicinal Uses and Medicinal Potentials with Respect to Molecular Mechanisms.” Pharmacological Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2016,
  5. Binic, Ivana, et al. “Skin Ageing: Natural Weapons and Strategies.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2013,
  6. Taofiq, Oludemi, et al. “Hydroxycinnamic Acids and Their Derivatives: Cosmeceutical Significance, Challenges and Future Perspectives, a Review.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 13 Feb. 2017,
  7. Taheri, Rod, et al. “Underutilized Chokeberry (Aronia Melanocarpa, Aronia Arbutifolia, Aronia Prunifolia) Accessions Are Rich Sources of Anthocyanins, Flavonoids, Hydroxycinnamic Acids, and Proanthocyanidins.” ACS Publications, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 13 Aug. 2013,
  8. Morse, Nancy L. “Anthocyanins and Skin Protection.” Bend Beauty, 17 Jan. 2019,


MariaAncient Sunrise® Specialist• LPC

Looking Back and Looking Forward

In the summer of 2017, we began The Ancient Sunrise® Blog and The Becoming Moonlight® Blog. The idea started out with a simple question: How could we educate more people about the science and art of henna? Catherine Cartwright Jones’ work was freely available online, we had active Facebook groups and pages, and Mehandi customer service could be reached via phone, email, chat, and social media platforms. Yet there was still more we could do to provide clear, accurate information to more people across the world.

The internet was already flooded with various videos, articles, and “recipes” for henna. Most of them provided inaccurate, strange, or downright bad information. Myths about henna were also perpetuated through word of mouth via salon stylists and cosmetology schools whose texts had outdated information about (compound) henna. Every day, customer service answered the same questions, dispelled the same myths, and reassured customers over and over that henna was a safe and easy process. People believed that henna made one’s hair fall out. Many were told that once they use henna, they can never dye or perm their hair again.

Others were ready to jump into using henna, but have been given incorrect information about how to mix and apply the paste. What should they add to the henna? Boiling water? Coffee? Yogurt? How do they get brunette results instead of red? What is indigo? How do you use it?

At the time, I had been working for Mehandi as a customer service representative and at the brick and mortar store, Empire, in downtown Kent. I was preparing to leave Kent, Ohio for Montreal, Quebec where my partner was pursuing his doctorate degree. I realized that one thing Mehandi did not yet have was a blog presence. Blogs and vlogs were growing again in popularity, especially for niche interests such as hair care and natural beauty. I mentioned the idea of trying to connect with bloggers.

Catherine thought about it and then one day asked me, “Why don’t you write a blog?” It made sense; I loved working for the company and my background was in writing and in academic research. This way, I could continue doing what I loved even while living abroad. Although blogging was something I had never done before, I was excited to try it. We decided to create one site for each brand: The Ancient Sunrise® Blog for all things related to henna for hair, and The Becoming Moonlight® Blog for body art.

That summer, we brainstormed topics and collected materials. We discussed our vision for the blogs. We agreed that we wanted the writing to be thorough and well-researched, yet accessible to the everyday reader. With so much misinformation surrounding henna, a crucial goal for the blogs was to provide the truth and dispel myths. Many blogs on henna for hair already existed but spouted inaccurate claims and bad mixing/application processes. We wanted this to be different. We wanted to set it straight. The articles would be based on research and science. They would be easy to read, but not “fluff.” There was already too much fluff.

Catherine and I joked about “fixing the internet.” With the thousands of articles and videos about henna already in existence, how could we make a difference and set the truth straight? I felt like an ant faced with the task of dismantling a sandcastle one grain at a time. Catherine took a couple of thumb drives and filled them with the hundreds of academic articles she had collected during her time in graduate school. It was a virtual library. Armed with the thumb drives and Google Scholar, I was ready.

Funny how the internet works. Search engines have complex algorithms that decide which pages are listed first. In a snowball effect, sites with more readership gain more readership. Good articles are shared across platforms like Facebook, and this gains the article more readership, which bumps the site up in searches. Someone better-versed in technology could explain it better than I. All I know is what began as a slow trickle of page views grew over the months and years, then rapidly spiked to an average of 750 page views per day. Oftentimes as I researched and wrote new articles, I’d run a quick search on Google to find a piece of information I needed and I’d be stunned to find links to my own articles in the search results.

I wanted to be a writer from the time I could read. I couldn’t believe that, through such an unexpected turn of events, I wound up writing about henna with readers across the world. I had people in Finland and Egypt and Japan reading my words! Things that I wrote! It was both thrilling and rather terrifying. I once posted on my own social media that the Ancient Sunrise® blog was now read on every continent except Antarctica. A friend who saw my post just happened to know someone working on research in Antarctica at the time. He sent that friend a link, that friend opened it, and it became official: The blog had been accessed on every continent.

Since the launch in August 2017, there are now nearly sixty articles and/or videos in the two blogs combined. Out of the two, the Ancient Sunrise Blog contains the larger body of work and has the higher readership. The Becoming Moonlight® Blog was always more creative and experimental in nature, but still had a very special place in my heart.

In the Ancient Sunrise® Blog, the Henna for Hair 101 series helps those who are new to the process of coloring their hair with henna and other plant dye powders. This series contains some of the most frequently-read articles such as “How to Dye-Release Henna” and “Don’t Put Food On Your Head.”

Other articles were written with the more experienced “henna-head” in mind. Full-Coverage articles are focused on troubleshooting specific issues such as resistant gray roots and discusses advanced techniques to ensure the best results. Highlights articles feature specific products and discuss topics related to henna for hair. One of the most popular Highlights articles is “Should You Be Using Lemon Juice In Your Henna Mix?” It clarifies many misconceptions about whether or not lemon juice is the “best” acidic liquid for mixing henna.

Some of my favorite articles to write were those which explored henna, body art, and hair in historical and cultural contexts. In “Oscar Wilde’s Hair and Skin: Investigations into His PPD Sensitization and Use of Henna,” I speculated on the famous writer’s use of PPD hair dye and henna hair dye based on portraits of Wilde and historical references. In “Gender, Race, and Class in Hair Styling Spaces: Constructing Individual and Group Identities,” I summarized many researchers’ sociological studies of interactions between clients and stylists in hair salons and barber shops in a variety of socioeconomic settings. The research showed how the hair styling spaces served a purpose in forming and performing one’s identity.

Some very important work was done in educating readers about PPD in articles such as “What You Need to Know about Para-Phenylenediamine (PPD)”. The article remains one of the most read articles of the Ancient Sunrise® Blog. One important goal of Mehandi has always been to help in the fight against the PPD sensitization epidemic in our own small way by offering safer alternatives to conventional hair dyes. I am so glad that this article and others in the PPD series has reached so many.

The Becoming Moonlight® Blog was home to body art, poetry, videos, and explorations into the traditions of natural cosmetics across time and cultures. It offered tutorials on Becoming Moonlight® Gilding Paste for “white henna” designs, as well as advice for body artists who wanted to incorporate gilding paste into their businesses. It also discussed the uses of henna on skin. One of my favorite articles to write and research was “Playing Exotic: Interactions Between Omo Valley People and Western Tourists” which investigated the ways in which the people of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia used body paint, piercings, and costuming to negotiate their identities under the gaze of outsiders.

It has been an honor to create content that educates and entertains those who love henna and body art and who want to learn more. My hope is that slowly but surely, the strength of these blogs will overcome the mountain of misinformation so that one day accurate knowledge about henna will be as commonplace as how to fry an egg (it’s only complicated at first).

Beginning January 2019, I will be handing the blogs over to the Mehandi customer service staff so I can become a different kind of educator. Whether it be writing about henna or teaching English, I have always been drawn to opportunities to connect with others and to expand their knowledge.

I want to thank all those who have read and shared my articles. It is your enthusiasm for henna and science that led the blogs’ success. Thank you also to the Mehandi family for your support, suggestions, and edits. Thank you to Catherine Cartwright-Jones and Roy Jones for your belief in me, for your wisdom, and for your encouragement. This has been an incredible opportunity. Looking back, I am always blown away by how much has happened in two years’ time. I am excited to see how the blogs continue to grow under the care of the brilliant and creative customer service staff. I know that things can only get bigger and better.

With all of my heart: Thank you, I love you, and I wish you all the best.