Brand of the Month: Light Mountain
A Brief History of Henna
For thousands of years, women have used plants from the family Lawsonia, called henna, to color, condition and enhance their hair, skin, and nails. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depict regal women with painted nails and dyed skin. Believing henna represented the fire and blood of the earth, early peoples of the Middle East also discovered that this plant could bring out the natural luster and deep color of their hair. For centuries, North African brides-to-be have prepared for their weddings with the traditional henna ritual, in which the friends and family of the bride gather to paint her hands, nails, and feet with henna. Today, henna is commonly used all through the Middle East, Africa, and India for tinting skin, nails, and hair. In our Western culture, henna is primarily used for safe, natural, chemical-free hair coloring.
The Light Mountain Difference
Most hair coloring agents rely on harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or ammonia to strip the hair and allow it to absorb the chemical color applied to it. The word “natural” on a bottle of hair color doesn't necessarily mean chemical free; some brands commonly found in natural products stores rely on peroxide to prepare the hair for their colorants. Additionally, many of the chemical hair colorants use various petroleum or coal-tar based ingredients, some of which have been found, over time, to increase the long-term risks of various forms of cancer.
In contrast, henna has a long history as a safe, gentle hair color. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a monograph that approves henna for this use; henna is one of a select group of natural products to achieve official FDA recognition.
There are four species of plants that make up all of the Light Mountain Natural and Color the Gray! hair colors: Lawsonia inermis (henna), Indigofera tinctoria (indigo), Cassia auriculata (cassia), and Phyllanthus emblica (amla). These plants produce the red, black, and neutral colors used in formulation of the rich range offered by Light Mountain. Our products contain only these four botanicals mixed in varying proportions to create different color results; they do not contain peroxide, ammonia, PPD, or any other additives or ingredients.
It gets even better! Light Mountain Natural and Color the Gray! are USDA/NOP Certified Organic, and we are also a certified organic handler, assuring you of the purest, highest quality natural hair colors due to strict quality controls as the botanicals are grown, harvested, processed, shipped, blended, and packaged.
We are also proud to label our entire Light Mountain product line as cruelty free. We do not undertake animal testing at any time, nor do we use any animal ingredients.
How It Works
Henna coats each hair shaft with a natural, semi-permanent protein called hennatannic acid. Heat causes the hennatannic acid to cling to the proteins found in the hair. Because henna coats and seals the hair shaft, it helps protect the hair from the damaging effects of sun, salt, chlorine, wind, and pollution. In addition, henna tightens the hair cuticle and creates a more solid surface which reflects light; the result is gleaming, lustrous hair.
Rather than producing dramatic color changes, henna and the other botanicals enhance existing color. Because the color produced is transparent or “see-through”, Light Mountain products cannot lighten dark hair; they will, however, add highlights to dark hair and darken the colors of lighter hair.
To determine which shade of Light Mountain is best for you, based on your original hair color and the desired result, consult Light Mountain's easy-to-use color chart as a general reference. Since every person's hair is a little different, we suggest always doing a strand test to find out for sure how a particular color will work with your hair. For better results on white, gray, or light blonde hair, we recommend using our two-step Color the Gray! line, as the follicles of these hair types can be more resistant to natural colorants.
We are excited to announce that we are in the process of reformulating many of our Light Mountain Natural colors to work even better. All of the botanical powders used are now sifted through a finer mesh during processing, resulting in a product with smoother application, better color release, and easier rinsing.
Also, Phyllanthus emblica (amla) is the newest ingredient in our Light Mountain repertoire. A small percentage of amla in many of our formulas reduces the red or brassy quality of henna to allow for lighter reds and truer shades of browns and black. It also decreases color fading, and increases the overall conditioning effect for a more brilliant shine.
Light Mountain has been in the hair coloring business since the mid 1970s, when the line was originally started as “Helix Henna”. In the 1980s, the brand was taken on by the current owners at Lotus Brands, a majority-woman-owned family business from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Since then, Light Mountain as a brand continues to grow, with an extremely loyal customer base around the world.
Light Mountain has been recommended by the authors of the Safe Shopper's Bible, as well as by the authors of The Breast Cancer Prevention Program. Light Mountain has also been featured on several occasions over the years as a safe, natural alternative to chemical hair dyes in the Doctor's Prescription for Healthy Living newsletter.