Indigo herb (Indigofera tinctoria) is known as Neel and Wasma. Indigofera is Latin for ‘indigo bearing.’ The Indigofera genus describes 700 species of trees, shrubs and annual and perennial herbs, belonging to the pea family.
It is a deciduous shrub, growing between one and two metres high. Its leaves are small and green; its flowers are red to purple in colour. It grows in subtropical regions and temperate areas of India and thrives on sunlight.
Grown from seed, indigo is harvested bi-annually. Its mature plants are cut off above the soil and dried in the open for up to four days. The leaves are collected, crushed and stored. The crushed leaves are pulverised into a powder to order.
Indigo is an ancient dye plant known for the clarity and fastness of the blue colour. This dye is used to colour denim and in natural hair colours.
The modern synthesis of indigo is credited to Pfleger in 1901. In this process, N-phenylglycine is treated with an alkaline melt of sodium and potassium hydroxides containing sodamide. This produces indoxyl, which is subsequently oxidized in air to form indigo.
Our indigo powder is a natural dye from Indigofera tinctoria leaves, and it is not to be confused with indigotine (E 132), which is manufactured chemically and used to dye fabrics.
To deepen the intensity of our Caca herbal hair colours, we use Indigo powder; this oxidizes when exposed to air and water, so the Indigo is activated when mixed with hot water.
With our darker cacas, we recommend that, once they are applied, you leave the hair exposed to both air and steam (run a bath and sit in the bathroom!) to allow the colour to develop. Tease the hair out occasionally to allow the air to reach different parts of the hair. For the best result, leave the caca on the hair for at least 30 minutes to an hour.