During my transition to natural hair, I relied heavily on Henna treatments to give me some manageability. I have since reduced my treatments, but if my hair feels coarse, I pull out some Henna, protein or clay of some sort to get it back on track.
Many African tribes use some sort of powder or clay for styling, protection from the elements, and hair growth. I was recently introduced to Chebe Powder and was excited to use it since it reminded me of a treatment; Musila, that women from my tribe use. Musila is similar to Himba clay.
I decided to compare Chebe Powder and Henna Dye since they are very similar and Chebe powder has become increasingly popular in recent months. Both products are supposed to help grow and strengthen natural hair, but I liked my Chebe experience more. An update will follow. I also used my LuxeOrganix Cowash and Deep Conditioner to help keep my hair feeling hydrated. I will track my progress, but let’s compare the two.
Although the two smell similar, they do have different ingredients based on plants that are native to each region. The lists of ingredients are as follows
Origin: Chad, Africa
Ingredients: Lavender Croton, Prunus Mahaleb, Reisin, Clove, Gum Arabic, Vegetable Oil, Perfume.
Origin: India, Asia
Purpose: Promotes hair growth, darkens, and conditions hair
Ingredients: Natural mehndi, Amla, Brahmi, Bhringraj, Polysaccharides.
Although, I have done slightly different things, here are the instructions.
Directions: Take 100 grams of your favorite cream, mix with 100 grams of oil of your choice and add a teaspoon of Chebe Powder. The first step is to get the hair wet using regular water and alternate between the hair grease mix that you just made and the Chebe Powder until hair is fully saturated. Then re-braid the hair and once that braid is done, wet the hair again with water. Repeat that routine every 3 to 5 days. Do not put on the scalp.
- Please do not put on the scalp. Also, using a cream makes it easier to apply than simply using oil.
Directions: Pour into glass or plastic bowl. Pour hot water or tea to facilitate dye release. Add oil for softness. Wait 2-3 hours for dye to release. Wear gloves and apply to your hair. Keep in for a least 3 hours.
- You can wash your hair before hand and also use a deep conditioner after. This helps with softness.
Although, I have had good experiences with both products, there are notable similarities and differences.
- Smell: They smell similar, but they do have a faint difference.
- Easy Detangling: I have had an easier time detangling my hair after using both products.
- Clarifying: Although both are used in the prescence of oil, I did notice that washign them out with a shampoo made my hair feel cleaner than most pre-poo treatments.
- Texture: They have finer powders and thicker flakes.
- Preparation Time: Chebe powder is ready to use immediately after mixing, whereas Henna requires a few hours for the dye to release.
- Treatment Time: Both can be used for an average of 3-4 hours, but Chebe can be kept in the hair for a week at a time in braids or twists while you protective style. Henna typically requires only a few hours to a day. The maximum time required depends solely on the user, but an overnight treatment would be ideal for those who simply don’t have the time.
- Consistency: Henna has a smooth consistency once mixed, and Chebe is more grainy.
- Dye vs. No Dye: Henna does have a reddish natural dye in it. This makes hair appear to be more vibrant, but will affect your ability to color it in the future. Chebe has no dye, so if you enjoy experimenting with color, you still have options.
- Curl Loosening: Regular use of Henna can alter your natural curl pattern due to the weight that the dye adds when it’s impregnated into your hair shaft. Chebe powder does not have a curl loosening effect. Some people may want a looser texture while others, want to keep their kinks, curls and coils intact. Frequency of application is up to you and the loosening effect in not permanent. Henna does fade over time.
- Degree of Messiness: Nobody wants to have to buy new clothes or furniture as a result of a hair treatment. both Henna and Chebe are messy during the application process, but Henna stains skin, fabric, and fixtures, whereas Chebe just leaves oil. If you use either one, go in the bathroom, but also make sure to take extra care with Henna as it can easily stain the things you love.
- Dryness: Even with oil, Henna is drying on my hair, but Chebe is not.
I have had good experiences with both products, but Chebe powder is the clear winner. It’s quicker to apply and I can choose to flat twist my hair and wear a wig until I’m ready to remove it. I don’t have to spend more than two hours doing the treatment and I can split my time up based on my schedule. Also, my hair feels significantly softer than it does after a Henna treatment. While Henna has saved my hair from detangling struggles, it does have a dye in it as well as curl loosening properties. Dryness can be fixed with other products, but I have no interest in coloring my hair or changing its natural pattern. I may do Henna treatments every once in a while, but Chebe powder treatments will be part of my bi-monthly routine.