What is Indigo Powder?
The blue colouring agent is embedded in the nutritional content of indigo leaves. The compound responsible for the colouring action is called glycoside – a combination of glucose and Indoxyl. The dye is prepared by soaking the leaves in water and fermenting it. Once the glucose is absorbed by bacteria, Indoxyl (white indigo) is released, which further oxidizes into a rich blue dye. When preparing the powder, the leaves are partially fermented, sun-dried to a crisp texture and then powdered.
Before we get into the details, let’s look at some of the benefits of indigo powder for hair…
Benefits of indigo for hair
1. Indigo powder is a natural hair dye
A natural hair dye, the indigo powder can be used to replace artificial hair dyes. The plant-based nature of indigo powder is gentle on your tresses and does not contain any of the harmful chemicals – like ammonia and peroxide.
2. Indigo leaf oil for greying hair
Apart from being used as a natural hair dye in the powder form, indigo leaves boiled in coconut oil can be used as a home remedy for greying hair. Regular use of this concoction can not only reverse but prevent the greying of hair in the long term.
3. Indigo leaf oil as a hair growth treatment
Indigo leaf hair oil can also be used as a hair growth treatment. Regular massage with indigo leaf oil can help fight scalp infections and stimulate the roots to promote new hair growth.
4. Indigo leaf powder as a home remedy for dandruff
When used as a hair pack, the indigo powder can keep dandruff-causing scalp infections at bay. Even when used as hair oil, regular scalp massages can nourish your scalp and keep flaking to the minimum.
5. Indigo hair pack for dry tresses
One of the best natural conditioners out there, indigo hair packs can be used to treat dry and brittle hair ends. This applies to indigo hair oil as well, with regular use, you end up with soft, smooth and bouncy hair.
How to prepare indigo hair dye
Preparing an indigo powder paste for the hair is easier than preparing a henna hair pack. Measure out the amount of powder needed for your hair, because indigo powder, once mixed with water, cannot be stored for a second-time use. The standard measurements are 40 – 50 grams for short hair, approximately 80 grams for shoulder length hair and around 150 grams will be necessary for long hair.
Add the required amount of indigo powder in a non-metallic container – as a rule of thumb, glass bowls are the choice of container for mixing hair dyes. Add warm water to it and mix well to form a thick paste. Soak the mixture for 20 – 30 minutes, post which the indigo powder will start releasing the dye. You will know when to use it as the dye will start to collect on the corners of the bowl.
A step-by-step guide to applying indigo hair dye
Indigo hair dye is best used after a henna hair treatment. You could also mix the indigo powder into the henna powder, which will give you a dark reddish tinge. But we suggest you do it separately. It is recommended you do the indigo hair treatment a day after you dye your hair with henna powder for a deep black colour.
Step 01: Before going in with the paste, brush out your hair to make sure there are no tangles or knots in your tresses. Put on an old t-shirt (which you do not mind ruining) and a pair of disposable or plastic gloves to avoid staining your hands and nails.
Step 02: Separate your hair into multiple sections and start applying the dye. Layer on the paste with a dye brush and massage it in with your hands. Once you have all the sections covered, use the leftover paste to massage your scalp, which will cover any remaining grey roots and nourish the scalp.
Step 03: Once your head is covered with the dye, use a plastic cover or a shower cap to avoid further oxidation of the hair dye. Leave it on for two to three hours and wash it off with plain water. Do not wash with shampoo as it can wash off the dye. Wait 48 hours before using shampoo and conditioner on your hair. Air dry your hair to lock in the dark black colour and avoid moisture loss.
Tips for using indigo powder for hair
- Add a pinch of salt with the indigo powder paste to release the dye faster and better.
- Always apply indigo hair dye on clean hair. A greasy mane can inhibit the dyeing process.
- While you can add other ingredients like egg and honey in the hair mask, it might hinder the dyeing process.
- If you do not like the red colour from a henna treatment, you can do the indigo dye on the same day. But make sure your hair is washed properly and dried before going in with the indigo treatment.
- Always check the quality of the indigo powder you are using for the dye, as the market is full of sub-standard products.
FAQs about Indigo powder
1. Are there any side effects of indigo powder?
A. There are no side effects to using the indigo powder for the hair. But as is common with other natural ingredients, some people might be allergic to it. As such, if you are using it for the first time, do a patch test to rule out any allergic reactions.
2. Can you leave indigo powder in your hair overnight?
A. As mentioned above, indigo powder takes three to four minutes to release colour and saturate your hair. After this point, your hair will not be able to absorb any more colour. As such, leaving it overnight will not give any additional benefits and can dry out your hair, causing breakage.
3. How long does indigo hair dye last on your hair?
A. It depends on each individual. Usually, the dye lasts for 8-12 weeks depending on the porosity of the hair, frequency of hair washing, hair care and styling routines.
4. What is the best way to store indigo powder?
A. The right way to store indigo powder is to avoid exposing the powder to air. Open the package when you are ready to use it and store it in an air-tight container in a dry, dark place.