All about Cassia

Did you know that often people confuse cassia obovata (the one we use for hair) with cinnamomum cassia.  Cinnamomum cassia is actually cinnamon, and should not be confused as the cassia we use for the hair.Cassia obovata is an all natural herb that is used for natural hair dye.  It grows in warm areas like Egypt and India. 

Cassia, when used with lemon juice, helps dye the hair a light golden color.  When used as a conditioner, it helps tame down those crazy curls, while fighting with scalp issues like dandruff.  There is a magical thing in cassia that helps fight away those nasty and stubborn white flakes that decorate your sweater like snow on a tree.  This magical thing is not really magical... its actually just scientific.

Cassia contains an anti-fungal property, which helps fight away...... That's right... FUNGUS!

Cassia is also often labeled as "neutral henna" or "blonde henna" or "senna."  First off, there is no such thing as neutral henna.  Henna is only in the reddish brown family, and there is only ONE type of henna--that is natural henna!  Secondly, any cosmetic product has to have the latin name listed on it, so look for Cassia Obovata for natural hair dye.

Those boxes that say neutral henna, are just a way to "fool" the consumer into thinking that you are really purchasing henna for your hair, but it's neutral.  The reasoning for this is because cassia looks just like henna powder.  Can you tell the difference between the henna and cassia below?  Is it the first, second or third photo?  (answer is at the end of this post)

Here is a little more information (FAQs), tips, and tricks for cassia.

Where can I buy cassia? | Henna Art sells cassia powder in 100 gram bags.  These are perfect for 1-2 time uses for short hair, or if you have longer hair, purchase a few bags at a time.

What should I mix the cassia with to get golden tones?
Cassia should be mixed with an acidic liquid to help release its dye.  While the dye content is exactly what it's supposed to be for cassia, it is not as strong as henna or indigo.  We recommend mixing the cassia powder with lemon juice.  If you have citrus sensitivities, try brewing a strong cup of chamomile tea.  Mix the powder with the tea or lemon juice until you have a nice, thick paste, like the consistency of yogurt.  Let the mixture sit in a warm place for 12 hours.

How should I mix cassia for conditioning purposes?
If you want to use cassia just as a conditioner, try mixing it with warm water.  When used as a conditioner, you can mix the cassia powder and apply it within 30 minutes.  While the cassia paste sits, prepare your application area so you don't create a big mess with the application.  

How long should the cassia stay in the hair?
If you are using the cassia to dye your hair--leave it in for a minimum of 4 hours (preferably 8 hours or overnight)
If you are using the cassia as an anti-fungal--leave it in for 30-90 minutes

Will cassia turn my hair green?
Sometimes, the water we get through our faucets contains a ton of minerals.  This is known as hard water.  We all have mineral buildup in our hair.  Sometimes, if there is enough buildup, the minerals can react with the cassia and tinge your hair greenish.  ALWAYS do a patch test to make sure you have no allergies to the product, and that your hair doesn't turn green.

Can I use cassia with henna or indigo?
Cassia can be mixed with henna to help achieve tones of strawberry blonde for individuals with light hair.  Be sure to refer to our Guide to Healthy Hair to see a complete chart of mixtures for your hair type.
Cassia can be used with indigo--however, remember that natural dyes will only help your natural hair color, and cannot be used to lighten the hair. Use cassia, henna and indigo in proportions to get warm browns for your hair type.  Our favorite recipe is 1 part of each.  Or try 50% cassia, 35% indigo and 15% henna for a light brownish shade.  Remember, ALWAYS do a strand test!

What is the worst thing about cassia?
The worst is its odor in your hair.  Like all natural hair products, you have to deal with its natural-ness, including its smell.  But do not worry, it just smells like hay, and the smell goes away after a couple of washes. 

TIP #1
Apply the cassia to your hair in a nice thick coat.  Don't go cheap with the application and make sure it's a thick mixture.

TIP #2
Use an liquid that is acidic to mix the cassia for hair dye

TIP #3
Cassia will dye light blonde hair shades of golden, but will not make dark hair go lighter.  Cassia is used to cover your grays, the natural way.

TIP #4
Cassia is often mixed with other ingredients or metallic salts when pre-packaged.  Read the ingredients to make sure you are using pure cassia--otherwise, metallic salts can react with your hair (or your previously, chemically dyed hair)

TIP #5
Cassia is perishable, and loses its dye quality.  Be sure to mix only what you need and throw away the left overs.

TIP #6
Don't be afraid to use cassia in your regular henna, indigo, or henndigo mixture.  It helps as an anti-fungal and can also help tame those unruly curls. 

TIP #7
If the odor in your hair is strong, try mixing the cassia with crushed cloves (about 5 grams for every 100 grams of powder).  

Answer to the question:  The first photo is of cassia.  The second photo is henna powder, and the third photo is indigo powder.