An incredibly detailed guide to dying your hair red with henna

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My local Indian store changes its henna brands every so often, but this is what I've been using lately.
My local Indian store changes its henna brands every so often, but this is what I’ve been using lately.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably into the idea of having RED! (and seriously, with henna you need to type it like that) hair without putting your tresses through the wringer with conventional hair dye. WELL, COOL, ’cause I’ve been dying my hair with henna for over a year, and I have a few tricks of the trade up my sleeve.

Preliminary notes

  • Henna takes some time: seriously. You’ll need to wait twelve hours after mixing for the dye to release and then it needs to be on your head for 1-4 hours, depending on the shade you want.
  • All henna is not created equal: go to your local Indian store and pick up a box or bag of henna — you don’t want to use the dyes you can find in some natural food stores. If you don’t have a local Indian store, you can get henna online. (I love Earth Henna because they always have coupons running — if you use coupon code QUA20 to get 20% off your order!)
  • Your hair probably won’t look like mine. Henna looks different on every single person that does it. You can follow this step-by-step, and you may not end up with a result that matches what you’ll see in my photos. It may not be drastically different, but the shade of red you achieve with henna depends on what your hair looks like before you put the henna on.
  • You can’t get rid of henna. Seriously. Henna gets into the shaft of the hair — so you can’t even really dye over it with over-the-counter or salon dye. I imagine the only thing that would really work is bleaching your hair, so keep that in mind. If you don’t want to commit to a hennaed head or take the time to grow it out, stick with a box dye that’s easier to dye over. Henna is very, very permanent.
  • People with all hair types can use henna! It’ll look different for everyone, but you can rock it regardless of your hair color or texture. Also, as long as you’re using body quality henna, it’s safe to dye over chemically treated hair.
  • In my experience, henna doesn’t apply evenly. If you can’t stand the idea of every hair on your head not being the same color, you may not want to commit to henna.

What you need

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Supplies!
  • 100-500 grams of body quality henna (for reference, I use 200g, and my hair is halfway down my back, but I’ve been doing this for a while. The general rule of thumb is 100g for short hair, 200g for collar-length hair, 300g for shoulder length hair, and 500g for waist-length hair)
  • a medium-sized bowl
  • a spoon
  • plastic/saran wrap
  • lemon juice (not necessary, but it is for how I do it)
  • 1-3 free hours (depending on how intense you want your hair to be)

How you do it

1. Mix your henna

I always mix my henna twelve hours before I want to apply it. You’ll want to put it in a darkish area (I usually put mine in a bowl on the top shelf of my closet and shut the door) at room temperature (around 70F or 21C). If you need to rush it, you can put it somewhere warm (95F or 35C) and it’ll be ready in two hours — however, you want to make sure it’s not TOO hot. Careful, careful!

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Dry henna!
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Mashed potatoes-y henna.

Here’s my mixing process:

  • I pour two bags of henna into the bowl
  • Then I add between 1/4 and 1/2 of a 16 oz bottle of lemon juice — you basically want the mixture to have the look and texture of (green) mashed potatoes. If you have sensitive skin, you can water down your lemon juice (sometimes I do half lemon juice, half water), or substitute in orange or grapefruit juice. Some people warn against using tap water, but I always do and I’m honestly not sure why you shouldn’t. Vinegar and wine are also alternatives, but they’ll smell pretty rank (though some people think henna itself is funky smelling) — however, you want to stay away from using yogurt or coffee. If you’re familiar with henna body art: don’t add “terps.”
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Let it rest! I always leave my spoon in the bowl. I don’t know why, really… I just do.

2. Apply your henna

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Henna after sitting for twelve hours.
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Yogurt-y henna right before application!

It’s twelve hours later! Alright. Another note: some people think it’s easier if you’ve washed and dried your hair before you apply henna… but I don’t. It’s up to you!

Here’s how the application process usually goes for me:

  • Retrieve your henna.
  • Put on protective gloves (those latex ones like dentists use are perfect). Henna STAINS everything — if it gets on your skin, your skin will be orange for a day or two. If it gets on the floor, the floor will be also. Eventually it goes away, but if you can’t deal with stains err on the side of caution.
  • Divide your hair into sections. One of the biggest differences between henna dye and conventional hair dye is that it’s MUCH harder to make sure you’re covering your hair with henna. If you’ve dyed your hair before, you know that conventional hair dye is very liquid and easy to get onto your hair. Henna is thick, and it is more of a challenge. I’ve found the most effective division process is to go in small sections — I’ll put all of my hair except for one small part up, and then work from there.
  • Unwrap your henna and add more lemon juice (or whatever mixture you’re using). After this addition you want your mixture to look more like yogurt. I usually add another 1/4 of the bottle — you don’t want it too runny or too thick.
  • Start applying! Try to avoid getting henna on parts of your hair that are pulled up — the parts that you’re not ready to put henna on yet. Henna can really tangle your hair up if you’re not intentionally trying to put it on a certain area.
  • You want to REALLY goop it on your head: don’t be stingy. Apply henna in very thick sections for maximum coverage.
  • When you’re finished, remove your gloves and wrap your head with plastic wrap. After you’re wrapped, it’s a good idea to start cleaning any spots of henna off your face, neck, arms, etc. that might be there.
  • Get comfy: I usually let my henna sit in for three hours. Some people do one, some do four — it depends on how deep you want to shade to be.

3. Wash the henna out of your hair

Ok, washing henna out of your hair is totally a thing. Make sure you’re wearing your gloves when you do it, because you can still get orange stains on your hands. The first few times I used henna I just took a shower, but I realized that a) henna feels super gross when it’s washing out of your hair and onto your body, and b) it’s kind of hard to get henna out of long hair. So now I get on my knees and put my head under the bathtub faucet. It’s not the easiest or most comfortable thing, but it works. Some people lie down in the bathtub and wash it out that way.

After the henna is mostly out of my hair I use shampoo for the rest — I always find that it really clings to my baby hairs at my hairline. You can use any shampoo you want. Your hair is going to smell like henna for a day or two — I like it, but some people don’t. If you’re not a fan, you can rinse your hair with lavender after washing it to get rid of the smell.

If your hair is super orange, DON’T FREAK OUT

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This is the top of my head right after I dried it. Orange!
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Orange sideview.

It takes henna around three days to really show itself on your head — my hair is almost always SUPER bright the first day, then it gradually deepens over a few days. Something that’s really cool about henna vs. conventional red hair dye is that henna doesn’t fade — you just have to touch up your roots as your hair grows.

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My hair four days after application.

Also, you can use henna as often as you want — it’s a great conditioner and is wonderful for your hair. Unlike conventional hair dye, it’s totally safe for frequent use. You can do root touch-ups in between full hair applications, or if you like the relaxing effect henna often has, just do full hair apps every time.

Other things you can do with henna

You can also dye your hair dark brown or black with henna (you’ll mix it with indigo), cover up grays, or dye it strawberry blonde. This site has a wonderful selection of various henna mixes people have made.

If you’re still looking for even MORE info, you can download this free 60-page ebook from Henna For Hair. It’s pretty dense, but also pretty amazing.

Comments on An incredibly detailed guide to dying your hair red with henna

  1. Can we see a pic of your hair BEFORE the henna, so we could get a better idea of the color change to expect? I’m guessing that your natural color isn’t very dark.

      • I love henna, I use it myself and in the same way. My hair color is the same as yours in both the before and after pix, too. At age 31, my natural red has been fading and the henna was just the thing to brighten it up. And you’re not kidding, it really is permanent!

        • I’m a redhead too and I found a great way to spruce up my fading red without a lot of fuss. I only mix about 3 tbsp of henna (I have shoulder length hair) with lemon juice. After it “cures” I add about a cup of sulphate free conditioner to the henna and mix well. Then, I glove and do my roots like usual and use what’s left to pull through my hair. This blends it all in so there are no different shades in my hair. It leaves my hair soft and the henna washes out much easier than with henna alone. The grey and white are covered and my hair looks like it should. I add either cajeput or jasmine essential oil to the henna when I mix it and my hair smells wonderful! I’ve been using henna on my hair for almost 10 years.

      • Hi Stephanie the colour looks fab. I would love to know what colour henna did you use please? Thanks πŸ™‚ Babs

        • Hey so, it’s just regular body quality henna – no special color or anything. I hope that helps!! I haven’t used henna in about two years but might re-henna tonight if I can find some! If I find a new brand I like I’ll let ya know!

          • Jamila is a brand many henna artists use for mehndi (body art) and is usually a decent enough henna powder. I sometimes use Lush’s henna blocks for my hair, but I’m more familiar with mehndi henna use. I have to say I have never had an issue with coloring with henna before or after, but I have plenty of henna for hair using friends explain that bleaching is just going to pull the stain further into the hair and make everything more orange.

            You will also want to check the date on your henna for freshness. Different batches/brands/years have different effects on skin and may take longer or shorter when it comes to your dye release time. The warmer your henna is, the better the release. It is a good idea to wrap your hair in plastic (grocery bags or plastic wrap) to warm it up using your head’s natural heat. πŸ™‚

      • hello there,
        great article but i don’t know if you have found out by now because your article is not recent…you should NEVER mix your henna with a metal spoon. Just a piece of advice, you can look it up. Take care!!

      • Your hair color now is how mine used to look, I love your hair color now and thats what I want. I can only hope it will look like yours, that is beautiful.

  2. I love using henna! I am black american (African-American if you’re so inclined) and have salt-and-pepper black hair, with the natural kinky coils all over. I usually mix the henna with indigo to tone down the orangeyness of it. Nothing dyes the black (and I mean NOTHING!), but the gray turns a really pretty auburn, so I have little corkscrew highlights throughout my hair.

  3. Ooooo, pretty pretty. That color is actually much less harsh/dramatic than I expected. It looks really natural. Thanks for the honesty in the post too! I don’t think the level of commitment fits my lifestyle and I’m so happy to know that before I put the dye in!

  4. Paige – There’s samples of what different blends will look like on different color hair here – http://www.hennaforhair.com/mixes/index.html

    I used henna before in my hair – I agree with all the info provided here, including you can use henna (ONLY body art quality, pure henna with no additives) over dyed hair, and you can dye over it. Most hair stylists have been taught to NEVER do this, as “hair” henna can contain metallic salts that have a chemical reaction to the dye turning your hair green. If you are sure of your henna quality (I can vouch for the shop linked here – same people run hennaforhair.com) then ignore them πŸ˜›

    Dying over it with darker may not last as long as on hair that was not henna-ed. It will bleach out somewhat, but takes a lot longer and I never got it anywhere near “blonde”. Henna will not lighten your hair color, so if you want a light or medium color and you have dark hair, you’ll need to lighten it first.

    I also add essential oils (lavender or one that I can’t remember off the top of my head, but it’s what I used in my henna for body art – be careful with any allergies though) – it helps develop the henna and helps with the smell, which some people dislike. It’s strong but I kinda like it πŸ˜›

    • any good natural ideea of how to lighten my hair,pretty please?!i’ve tryed from camomile tea to lemon to sunshine.a winter of sunshine seemed to have worked a little bit but still not enough and i want my hair from brunette to ginger gosh bless it!
      thanks!

      • Chamomile and lemon aren’t going to do a large lift in a short amount of time. If you want a significant lift in a few hours, use a cream developer only. Unlike adding bleach with it, the developer will lift without doing a horrible amount of damage. Developer is peroxide in cream form. Technically speaking Hydrogen Peroxide is natural. Our bodies even produce it to help fight off certain infections. As a cream developer, it’s made to be a stronger percentage than what we buy for household use. 20 and 30 volume developers will lift more strongly.

        It can be drying, so I suggest coconut oil slathered on in advance, followed by a light palm coating of Jojoba or Sweet Almond oil afterward. If you want to, you can do an raw honey, egg & oil mask after washing your hair of developer. Egg has protein, honey and oil will soften and moisturize your hair.

        You will notice your hair feeling a bit thinner afterward, but after a few days it typically settles down in brightness and will feel as thick as it was prior to the lift. Pigment lifting opens your hair cuticles, which is why you’ll notice a difference in hair thickness. No matter what gentle method you use, it does damage the hair somewhat. It’s a matter of what you feel you can live with. I just find Peroxide the least damaging without sacrificing days of time just to get a lift.

  5. I dyed my hair with henna for two years and had fantastic results. HOWEVER, be aware that you cannot bleach or dye over hair that has been regularly hennaed like that. You will have to wait for it to grow out because of how the henna works. Bleach will just turn your hair super orange. So definitely switch if you’re really committed to red and want really great color, but stick with conventional dyes if you like to change it up a lot. (I have also discovered that dyeing with red or darker colors over the henna is possible, however, it fades really quickly where the henna is).

  6. I about had a heart attack when you said you could possibly bleach out henna. If the henna you are using or have used contains metallic salts it will melt your hair. MELT YOUR HAIR. Seriously though. Bad advice.
    (bleaching henna out of hair causes a lot of irreparable damage.)

    • I think the point here (as some people have said above) that BODY-ART QUALITY henna will not cause these bad effects, because it does not have the added metallic salts etc. If you buy “henna” products designed as hair dye, then they’re much lower quality, and can cause problems.

      I’ve never used henna myself, but that’s what I’m getting from the Henna-for-hair site. The advice as such is fine – you just need to be careful with what you are buying, and make sure that it is pure body-art henna.

      Now I’m toying with the idea even more than before… it just has such beautiful results, but I’m still not sure red would suit me…

      • Exactly this — use the GOOD stuff, basically. Don’t buy a dye at a store that says it’s a henna hair dye. There are tons of those around, but I’ve only ever found actual henna at Indian grocery stores or online.

      • I used BAQ henna for nearly a year (LOVED IT) and decided I wanted pink hair πŸ™‚ Bleaching it did cause the henna’d hair to turn very bright orange, and the pink did not last very long on that hair, but it did not seem to do more damage than on the non-henna/grown out hair. After the pink faded, I covered the whole thing with a dark maroon/purple which hasn’t faded after 2 weeks (so far!). The important thing to remember is to use the BAQ henna, and not bleach it right away.

    • If you’re using body quality henna, you can bleach over if it. If you’re using the dyes, it’s not body quality henna.

  7. hey! i dye my hair red all the time and hate how it bleeds out every day for 2 weeks, dyeing all my towels with it. how does henna hold up in this capacity?

        • Not if you wash it all out! I always wash my hair once with just water, then with shampoo and conditioner, and check to see if any henna is still running out. Sometimes I miss it and it still does, and sometimes it doesn’t. If your hair is dry when you lay down it’ll be fine, and if you put your henna on in the morning and wash it out in the morning, then you’ll be fine. I tend to sleep with an old towel on my pillow if I’ve done the henna at night and feel like it might bleed.

    • I’ve been henna-ing my hair for 6 years. I took a little hiatus last year and tried chemical dyes; they faded within like 2 weeks. Henna does not fade beyond the first week (it goes through an oxidation process, which is why the initial orange goes away). Using all lemon juice instead of water makes a HUGE difference in the vibrancy and staying power.

      • So you do not mix henna with water at all? Wow! Must try that too. I have natural curls and hence dry(er) hair. Does your hair (I do not know the structure of it of course: Perhaps your hair is soft and sleek naturally so the lemon may not have such an influence) dry out? Even a little? Given the fact that lemon has that tendency and I use 100 grams of henna every time which takes up quite some (warm) water use to get this yoghurt-like emulsion.

        • You should never ever use water. You must mix something acidic like lemon juice to dissolve the cellulose in the henna powder. You could also use another acidic fruitjuice. Its a chemical reaction that happens to the molecules in the henna.

          Read this fabulous pdf. http://www.hennaforhair.com/freebooks/hennaforhair.pdf

          It explains everything.

          X

          • I actually disagree with this. I’ve been dying my hair with henna for a couple years now, and I always only use water. I’ve never had any problems with color release or with fading or anything. Water is fine!

        • Id like to answer your question Abigail. Ive been doing henna on my hair for the last 5 months- I have mix-race hair if you can call it that , if you leave it to dry naturally it curls if you blow some hot air on it it goes straight- the henna doesnt dry my hair, even though i too mix my henna with all lemon juice. i sometimes use vinegar instead only if i havent got any lemon juice in the fridge. this also makes for a very vibrant colour and also very conditioning. BUT and this is the part everyone likes to forget- immediately after your henna 9once you have rinsed with water, shampoo and water runs clearer) then you have to deep condition. Anything from your shop bought hair mask- to something home-made like egg yolks and olive oil- put that on your wet newly hennaed hair and put your saran wrap on and keep it on for about an hour- your hair will be fantasticly red, soft silky and deeply moisturised. πŸ™‚ i love it!

    • After you henna your hair, the henna oxidizes. That means the color continues to develop for about 24 – 48 hours. When you shampoo after two or three days of doing henna, you may get some faint residue of the henna on towels and may see a faint color in your rinse/shower. Similar to when you color your hair. After two days, your color will no longer “run”.

      Tip: What may help in rinsing out henna is using an inexpensive moisturizing hair conditioner as part of the rinse out as a carrier to get all the henna paste out. Do not hesite to use half to all of a 16 or even a 32 ounce bottle of conditioner. I use Suave or whatever is on sale for $1.99 or less. This encourage a complete, total rinse which helps avoid staining towels when I “dry” my hair. Drying with old cotton tee shirts is actually better for curly or kinky hair. Not sure on naturally straight hair. I blot very gently with a hand towel or wash cloth and then do a heavy duty pat down with two or three shirts, on my shoulder length hair.

    • You have to rinse it really well. After you rinse it, rinse it some more and after you’re sure you got it all out, rinse it for about another 5 minutes. I use a comb while I rinse it to help loosen the tiny henna bits. Also, when you rinse it out, don’t use shampoo. Instead, use cheap conditioner only and that should help get it out. The key is really to just rinse, rinse rinse. πŸ™‚

    • I had this problem too, but I think it may be because I wasn’t letting the mix sit and “cure” long enough. I got a better result with less bleeding onto towels letting it sit 3 hours before applying, covering my hair in a plastic bag, and applying heat w/a blow dryer. I love the color Lush Caca Rouge gives me, but got a deeper red and less bleeding from Light Mountain Natural Red. My tips: Degrease thoroughly with a lemony/stripping shampoo before you dye, and don’t use any conditioner, and let your hair dry thoroughly. You want it to be very ready to absorb the henna. Also wear gloves when you are washing it out–if the weather is good, you can hose it out in the yard to avoid having to clean up your shower/bathtub! πŸ˜‰ I don’t shampoo at all immediately or for at least 2 days. The color lasts better. In my experience, using conditioner in the weeks that follow seems to cause the color to fade faster.

    • Lush henna was my starter henna. It was okay. Once I started using Body Art Quality henna I never looked back. The color is richer and it’s much easier to wash out than Lush. Lush… smells prettier? That’s it and all the added cocoa butter and coffee grounds make it a misery to wash out. You can make your henna smell nicer with essential oils (be careful, though) or powdered herbs and spices – which can deepen or change the color a bit too .

      I use ground cardamom (smells heavenly) and finely ground hibiscus flowers (if not finely ground they can become difficult to rinse) because it’s conditioning. It just occurred to me that I could make a tea of the hibiscus and the strain it to mix with my lemon juice and that would possibly give me the effect I like and be easier to wash out.

      Henna is wonderful stuff. I’ll never dye my hair with anything else.

    • I cannot stand Lush henna after finding Henna Maiden.

      It’s just too much added work to try and get the block to melt right, smells worse than normal henna, and fades faster.

    • I’m a fan of Lush. I got a horrible smelling brew when my local Indian store changed brands, so I tried the Lush stuff. The bricks are a pain though.

  8. Anyone know how henna and indigo would work to go over manic panic style dyed hair? I’m sick of blue, and I want to get it back to dark brown/black, whilst avoiding nasty chemicals as much as possible.

  9. Wow, your hair looks AMAZING!! Great job and what a helpful tutorial. πŸ™‚ I dyed my hair red at home throughout high school, took a break for many years but have gone back to red since. I get mine done professionally — I have a great stylist so it feels worth the luxury for me right now — but I’d love to try henna one day, were I to have your “skillz”!

    • You can mix up your own henna and take it to your stylist and tell her to put it on for you. Then she can wrap your hair in cellophane and send you home. Wear a hat…

      If you want only red hair, only use henna. If you want any kind of brown all the way to black black, use henna AND indigo.

  10. It’s also important to note: I have seen Stephanie’s hair in person and it is like a unicorn’s mane. So shiny and healthy.

    This is really important. I’m very interested in trying henna after dyeing my hair within an inch of its life until recently.

    • Oh oh! You can also make henna glazes for conditioning — henna is a WONDERFUL conditioner for your hair, and if you don’t want to have intense red you can still reap those benefits by making a glaze. I’ve never done it, but I’ve read about it online.

      Also, a side note: I take a flaxseed supplement (gel capsules, I couldn’t get past the weird aftertaste of the liquid) daily. Sometimes I get an organic brand from a healthy store and sometimes I get a generic from Target, but always the same results: if I take at least one a day (they recommend two) my hair is super soft, shiny, and grows (I’m not exaggerating) an inch a month. I started taking it because I don’t get flax in my diet very often, but discovered the hair benefit after my hair stylist commented on how quickly my hair was growing and I did some googling.

      AND THANKS, CAT. A unicorn’s mane? Nice.

  11. Can you use henna on eyebrows safely?

    My eyebrows have always been slightly darker than my hair. I have brown hair with lots of red undertones (two half brothers are bright red heads, bio-father is dark red). I’m clearly not a redhead, but every time I tried to dye my hair lighter, it turned a little brassy. I’ve given up fighting my hair’s natural instinct to turn red and have been dyeing it shades of red regularly (with a lot more success). It does tend to wash out though.

    If I dye my hair with henna, is it ok (being super careful of course not to get lemon juice in your eyes) to dye the eyebrows as well?

  12. Thanks so much for the write up and all of the photo’s of your hair.
    I am a caucasian brunette, who has always wanted to be a red-head. Your pictures are making me believe I can do it. And then, eventually henna+indigo back to brunette-ish-ness.
    Thanks!

  13. This is making me miss having red hair. I’m a natural medium-brown and I haven’t dyed for at least three years.

    Question: Since I stopped dyeing my hair, buzzed it off, and let it regrow chemical-free, I’ve realized I have delightful loose curls (curl type 3) that years of dyeing loosened to unattractive uneven waves.

    You mentioned henna has a relaxing effect. I’d love to go red but I don’t want to take the chance of losing the curls I’ve come to love so much. Anyone have experience with henna on loose curls?

      • Henna will relax the curls slightly. When you are ready to dye again, just do the roots, not the whole head.

        • But lots of my other no-poo friends say that goign no-poo made those curls bounce right back up, so it might be worth checking out the Curly Girl method. Haven’t used shampoo for a whole year and my hair is still spectacularly clean, shiny, and curly as fuck. I always thought I had gross waves, too…

    • I have permed hair, and am wondering the same thing. I used henna through college, but that’s many moons ago and used to add boiling water and vinegar as the liquid, then let it sit for an hour before application. I must say, I wish I’d had your knowledge then as your results are better than the memories of mine.

    • Just go for it, since I had (having natural thick dry hair) chemically dyed it bright natural looking red which so damaged my head that my curls kind of turned into strands of rope or flax. Terrible. After I had discovered natural henna (with a touch of lemon juice so I learned to get a reddish blonde effect which I had already) even after having used it the first time my hair was a. shiny b. my curls had for the most come back. I let my hair dry naturally. After that it just got better.

      • My comment was meant for Olivia but for some reason or another it all of a sudden shows up here where it does not make any sense anymore as a comment. Also I edited it and the unedited thing comes back. ???? Moderator, webmaster, anybody?

    • Yes I have had curly hair since i was 12 (literally woke up one morning after showering the night before and my hair was curly, it was strange but awesome!) and started using henna this year. I have naturally dark brown hair with golden and red highlights. My hair is very strange in the sense that it does not absorb any type off dye well,(salon, chemical, natural etc…) what I mean by this is it takes me 2-3 applications and I have to double the amount of time of any coloring process to achieve what most people get in 1 shorter session. Anyways, I have done 7 applications–1 every other week. Although I adore the color and how healthy and voluminous my hair is I did loose quite a bit of my curl. Amla can be added to the henna or be used alone as a deep conditioner to revitalize your curls. I have had quite a bit of success doing this. Your curls will be more tame and no as prone to humidity which is amazing, partially because your hair should be healthier. Another trick I use is jus making sure to scrunch my hair everyday after the shower even if I am to wear it straight/wavy (beachy wavy look that I get if I brush my curls out inbetween the wet/damp stage… A litle more moisture than damp but not dripping wet). Since I have been doing this my curls are more tight because I am accentuating the natural flow and texture off my hair instead of forcing the strands of hair into a more unnatural possition.
      So in sort yes henna will relax your curls and make them looser, but amla can be used to add life back into the curls and I also found scrunching helps. Also I dont know if you have ever used a curl enhancer butt they work great everyday and those days when your curls just are not falling right or curling like you want. A great one I use is by Joico and works like a charm for all textures. If you do use the enhancer I would use a clarifying shampoo before applying henna so you do not have any residue or unwanted chemicals in your hair at the time of application. Anyways, hope this helps you out!!!

    • Hi there, I have naturally very curly hair and I use natural henna and it hasn’t made any difference to my curls. The difference it has made is that for the first time in years (I’m 46) my hair is shiny and soft!! I put it in at around 8pm and sleep in it, lots of cling film (saran wrap) and an old pillowcase. It makes your head feel very heavy so its easier to seep in it anyway. Mine is usually on for about 12 hours. Less time still colours it well but it makes it softer if you leave it on longer.

      Michelle.

  14. I have super light brown hair with blonde highlights. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to try henna but I’m worried it will turn out construction cone orange…..Anyone have any experience dying lighter hair with henna?

  15. Honestly, be VERY CAREFUL when using Henna on chemically treated hair. My mother ended up celebrating her 50th birthday with bright green hair.

    • Did she use actual henna or a henna dye? I’ve dyed over chemically treated hair with body quality henna numerous times with no problem at all.

    • That is impossible. I have used henna on chemically dyed hair: no catastrophes. I have also put chemical dye on henna once: no calamaties either. But the chemical may not catch on too well. Bleached hair may go green in the sun or with other chemical stuff. Henna is just a plant but then in powder form. Typically, the chemical dyes may come off pink or green at some point.

    • If you use 100% henna over color treated hair, it is rare for a bad color reaction. If you have hair that is blonde via a bottle or box, you should alway strand test. The green hair is a reaction of henna and metal compounds that may be in the hair, hair color residue or a box of non 100% henna. The “green hair” result is never because of 100% henna being applied to someone’s head. Maybe Bozo the Clown Red (which can always be toned down) but never green.

  16. Henna is excellent stuff. I’ve been using it on and off for 20 years (man that makes me feel old!). My top tip is to put a good slick of Vaseline round your hair line and all over your ears, it makes the orange splatters a lot easier to get off. If you do end up with some stubborn stains, olive oil on cotton wool gets those orange spots off your skin a lot quicker than soap and water.
    Also if you keep your head warm while the goo is doing its work, it will give you a richer, deeper colour so I always sling a woolly hat on over the plastic wrap.

  17. I’m seriously considering it; it’s been so long since I dyed my hair though. I’ve heard that LUSH‘s stuff is super.

    • I have used Lush once: the Caca Maron (I don’t know the name in the USA, I live in Holland, Europe) was gone from my hair (amazingly may I add) after two days….And believe me, I leave it for hours. Then I was so stupid as to use the Caca brun and that stayed in so I had to let it grow out because I wanted to go back to bright red hair. The Lush thing you have to crush and I had to leave it in for more hours after the fiasco of the first time. I have gone back to powder natural henna: no other ingredients than henna. Some find the Lush smelly. I loved it. There are lots of natural things in which give it a fragrance. Otherwise, natural powder henna smells like plants. Sort of gives me the idea of wet soil or wet leaves in a forest in the fall. I love that but tastes differ, of course.

  18. As mentioned before, I’ve been using henna for 6 years with excellent results. I notice that using lemon juice instead of water makes a big difference in color/vibrancy. However, I’ve never left the henna to release the dye before, and it’s never been a problem. I’m going to try it next time to compare, but my suspicion is that it’s not actually necessary.

    • I’v tried both and your hair definately stays vibrant for longer if you use an acidic mix like lemon and make it up 12 hours before. The acid allows the lawsone molecule to take up the dye much better. It makes a huge difference if you make it up overnight too. Colour is much brassier orange if not left overnight in a warm place.

  19. Totally amazing. I just tried dyeing my hair with stuff from Sally’s to give it a more strawberry blonde colour and the darn stuff washed out already! I’m going to have to give this a go.

    I had a question though: Do you recommend any sites in particular where I could order the henna from? There’s an Indian market by me but I’m sketchy buying from there because half the time their products are long past their due date…

  20. I am a black girl (African American) with dreads. I wonder how it would work on my hair. I’m also in cosmetology school and we are about to go over color. Can’t wait to ask or try it out one way or another!

  21. How do you know if you henna is body art quality?

    I happen to have some henna at home, it’s pretty old (maybe 2 or 3 years?). The brand is henna sahara tazarine (http://www.henna-sahara-tazarine.com/). Does anyone know if it’s still good and if it’s body art quality? I’m pretty sure it came from a little indian store.

    I’m so tempted to try this! My hair is already red-ish but I’ve always wanted redder hair. And I just stopped using shampoo so I’d love to strengthen my hair.

    Do you do this naked? How do you make sure you don’t get it on your clothes?

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. I’ve never dyed my hair with henna, but I have dyed it and gotten awful tangles before. But! If you dump a TON of conditioner on it, then comb it out (gently!) with a wide-toothed comb, it untangles pretty easily. Then just rinse out the dye and shampoo and condition like normal.

  23. That sight is great – but their shop is incredibly confusing. Can anyone link me to where I can just buy the plain, uncut henna powder?

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