An incredibly detailed guide to dying your hair red with henna

Updated May 1 2020
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

  • 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!

Dry henna!
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

Henna after sitting for twelve hours.
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

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

IMG_1963 copy
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.

  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 –

    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 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!

      • 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.

          It explains everything.


          • 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.

  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.


  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 ( 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?

  24. note for washing the goop out: slather your hair in cheep conditioner. works way better then shampoo. thanks for the tip about rinsing in lavender to get rid of the smell. i'll have to try that. i do use tea tree for extra dye release with no ill effects. i often add a bit of olive oil for extra conditioning as well. some spices can tint your colour one way or the other, specifically paprika and cloves. i leave mine in for 6-8 hours and i get a rich dark red that has copper highlights in the sun and is almost purple in low light. really hoping i have time to redo it to flaming red before my harry potter party on mon, be a great nod to ginny πŸ™‚

  25. So I just read this as I'm about to pile goopy, store-bought dye onto my head. Can't wait to try henna next month!

  26. I've used henna for about 2 years, I buy it in blocks from LUSH, which means you have to grate it up yourself, but it gives a lovely colour. I always put a load of paprika and turrmeric in with mine, as I like it a orangey and bright as I can get it. I'll definitley try it with lemon juice next time! Also, I usually put it on my hair straight after making it up, and then leave it on, wrapped in cling film for 4-6 hours, or longer if I can bear it, which isn't the most comfortable way to spend a day, so I might try the leaving-it-in-the-bowl-to-thicken way in future.

    • Hi . This sounds great as I prefer mine coppery/orangey.. Does it affect the condition as mins is very fine & frizzy. How much paprika & turmeric do you add??? Do you possibly have a pic??

  27. You inspired me to finally dye my hair with henna. I used red wine and a little lemon juice instead of all lemon juice. I have to say, I LOVE IT!

    My hair was really dry after, but a round of great conditioner made it all better. I'm never going back to the box!

  28. After getting everything I need to do this, and having applied it (currently waiting to wash out πŸ˜‰ I'm now worried about the quality stuff I got. I live in Guam and the only Indian store here (buying it online would cost way too much to ship) sells the henna hair dye in 150 mg packs. I wanted to do this because I'm pregnant and can't do normal dyes, plus just wanted to go all-natural, but you gals have me worried this stuff won't work well enough…has anyone had luck with the henna powder for hair?

    • Hey Miranda! That's exactly how the stuff I use is. Should be fine! Try to stay calm if the color is really crazy at first.. like I said, it takes 2-3 days for it really set in.

      • Thanks Stephanie! It turned out great! I don't even mind how bright it is (I'm naturally blonde) for the moment, my hair feels so Healthy, like it got stronger πŸ™‚ thank you for sharing your methods, I had no idea there was a healthy/safe/long-lasting option like this until your post! I'll be doing this from now on, even the application is fun! Feels like I'm painting with clay, love it πŸ˜€

  29. hi!!!! this wrote up has been incredibly. I was hoping to come accross anything that might have info on whether henna will make black hair red? I have black hair (brown in the sun) and I just packed on some henna and it only delivered a slight reddish undertone. left it on for about an hour. any tips? thanks :))))

    • Hello! This reply is super late. My hair is naturally a medium brown, so kind of dark, but not really. I let my henna sit on for 4 hours usually. This makes it beautifully red. You might try a longer time!

  30. Stephanie! I'm geting ready to redo my first henna job, thanks to you. i LOVE IT! Quick question: when you re-dye, do you just touch up your roots or go for a whole head application? I'm slightly worried about the roots blending in the the henna-on-henna parts.

    • I always do the whole head, because I usually do it right when you start to see my roots– that way my hair isn't too many shades of red at one time.

  31. I have been dying my hair with Lush's Caca Rouge for maybe about two years (I try to dye it once a season), and to be honest, I have never gotten great results on just one dye (this could also just be because my hair is really long, and it's hard to get the whole thing on my own). What does end up happening, is that my roots are actually a dark brown, and then it gradually fades to a great shade of red. It looks pretty awesome, to be honest, but I am always interested in ways to get it more vibrant.

    I am not sure of the difference between body grade henna and lush's henna, but I checked out the ingredient list on wikipedia (yes, I looked everything up) and it looks like there is nothing metallic, but also, a lot of plant based essential oils, those terps that Stephanie mentioned. Considering all that, does anyone think it might be worth it to let the dye sit out for a few hours as Stephanie suggested? I would really love to be able to leave it out over night and then let it sit on my head for a few hours in the morning before work instead of doing it all at night and then having to sleep with it in.


    PS – thanks Stephanie for writing such an insightful piece!

    • I'm not sure, because I've only ever used henna from my local Indian grocery store. It's like $2 a bag and works every time! I don't know if the Lush kind can be left out overnight — maybe contact them and ask?

      • I know this response is a bit late – but I've kept LUSH henna on my head for 8+ hours and have had no ill effects – ymmv of course. I find it looks better the longer I leave it in.

        • I use LUSH henna too. I don't let it sit out before applying, but I do add red wine in.

          Also, I found washing with conditioner helps with the gunk.

  32. I know this it is a little late to post on, but why not add yogurt? I mix my henna with yogurt all the time, and I love how it conditions my hair and the color results get me a plethora of compliments. I've read about coffee and yogurt being good additions to the mix in lots of places. I was wondering if there was any particular reason you specifically are against it.

  33. Hi, Im interested in dying my hair red. But orange doesn't exactly work with me. I don't want to use harsh dyes, so i thought i would give this a shot. But does it get really dark, like deep red at all? This is pretty important.

    • My hair is only orangey the first day, then it tones down considerably. My hair was medium brown to begin with and I have a gorg auburn now with the henna. The more times you apply and the longer you let it sit, the redder it will get. It gets dark and looks pretty natural, so you aren't going to get a Rihanna red or anything like that.

  34. Any advice on using indigo? Can it be removed when I'm tired of the color?

    I have naturally dirty/strawberry blonde hair depending on the season, etc. It's been dyed periodically in every shade of red (which I'm told usually looks more natural than my natural shade lol.) Not very often, and it blends well with my hair as it fades.
    I've gotten a wild hair to do black a couple times during the winter but the conventional dye fades quickly looking very blah and leaving me looking like a calico cat with blonde, black, and red patches. However for the first two weeks it looks AMAZING. Indigo sounds intriguing but by springtime I'm over the black and ready to go back to a natural(ish) color for the summer. Is that possible with the indigo or is it for permanent commitment only?

  35. Question. I know it's been a while since this post but, how dangerous is it to use the henna after chemically dye hair, I mean how long should I wait?And I don't really get the part of removing the henna. Does that means that if I later change my mind I won't be able to change the color in any way? WiIl I need to let it grow again??

    • Question 1: Not at all! In fact, that's what I did the first time I used henna (over a year ago almost!). My hair is so much healthier since I started.

      Question 2: You're basically stuck with it. Your best bet is to grow it out, you can also bleach it. My goal when choosing henna was to cover grays and restore my hair health, so bleaching isn't an option for me to maintain the health of my hair. This blog definitely convinced me not to bleach:

      Naturally my hair is medium brown so bleaching it has always been intense, but I would NEVER bleach my henna out now.

  36. Thanks! I'm recommending this to my friend (I don't go well with red). But my real worry is that she recently dye and bleached her hair in less than a month.

      • This might redundant, but I've got to be sure! My natural hair color is a gorgeous walnut ash brown- sprinkled liberally with white hair that won't hold dye for 2 weeks, which is why I lighten it (at home with L'Oreal) leaving a strawberry red shade on for 5 hours. No my hair isn't fried. It's shiny and pretty. It's an auburn at first then as the white hair losses color it really is nearly strawberry blond with highlights. I have to do this every 6 weeks to cover an inch of roots.

        So the white will most likely be orange. What might I expect from the lightened hair? (I'm not scared of light orange – I'd kill for Lucille Ball's hair!)

        I wouldn't mind going back to my walnut shade if it wasn't such a pain of upkeep. So if I use indigo, should I do it after or with? How much would I add?

  37. I'm going to bookmark this page because, my dear, are a genius. And it's entertaining to read. Not boring like most how to's. Thanks πŸ™‚ I'll try this tomorrow.

  38. These are the most detailed instructions EVER! Thank you! I have been using henna on my hair for about 5 months now and I absolutely LOVE IT =) My hair is in the best condition it has ever been, not to mention the amazing color and incredible shine! I use half lemom juice and half red tea when mixing henna for my hair. I also add tea tree oil to lessen the smell. Also I mix the henna with the tea and juice let sit for 3-4 hours covered, in front of a heater, then apply and leave on for 2 hours. I get incredible results. Thaks again for sharing! Your hair looks great!

    • No problem! And bonus: I've been growing my henna out for around 7 months now, and the color(s) it's fading to are pretty nice:

  39. Thank you sooo much for this post! I henna'd my hair for the first time ever tonight and followed your instructions. It came out great! πŸ˜€

  40. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks so much for your information/experience with henna. I found a link to this product:

    Have you heard anything about using it? It says 100% henna, but I wanted to hear your thoughts. If you don't condone them, how do I know if I am finding a reliable product?

  41. Hey..I am from Kerala – India and I henna my hair every month. I have long, black hair and on henna-ing it, it becomes beautifully dark red, esp when under the sun. I have a few tips that myt help some of you. While mixing henna, along with lemon juice, u can use 3-4 table spoons of curd – this will make your hair super soft and manageable. U can put in a variety of herbs (like 1-2 tb spoons of brahmi & 1 tb spoon of mint – for a cooling effect, 1-2 tb spoons of hibiscus powder – to condition , or if u have dandruff, 1-2 tea spoon of fenugreek powder etc.) Adding tea water while mixing henna also helps in deepening the color. I keep the henna on for about 4 hours. I recmd you not to shampoo your hair while washing off henna. U can simply wash the henna of the hair, and use diluted lemon juice once or twice to rub on your hair for the rest of the day, and the next day you can wash the hair with a mild shampoo. Then again, I have dark hair and want really deep color, also I love the smell of henna leaf , though it can be a bit overwhelming for some. Oh and go for pure herbal powders. πŸ™‚

  42. Yay! Henna Hair!

    I just hennaed my hair for the first time a couple weeks ago, our mix was made with cranberry tea, lemon juice, and powder from the local Indian grocer. I have very light brown/dark blonde hair and I left the henna in for about 20/30 minutes and rinsed – the color came out a nice natural strawberry blonde tone, not very dark at all which suits me well. So if you're worried about going to dark on naturally light hair keep that in mind πŸ™‚

  43. I have some really SUPER old henna, like about 11 years old. Would it still work on my hair if it's that old???

    • I'm about to try just that! (Using super old henna powder) I'll post my results for you. I have an event to attend this weekend and I dont have time or money to find new powder. What I do have is some super old (way over 10 years) pure henna powder. It will just have to work!

  44. What happens if you henna your hair and then spend a lot of time in the sun? Anything?

  45. I have very thick light blonde hair that seems to take up (and keep) orange (base) colours too easily (the first time I ever dyed my hair was with an 8-washes auburn red and it lasted the whole year as a bright orange). Will this be a problem with henna? I also get pretty bad dandruff if I don't wash my hair for a few days- will henna affect the poo/cond routine I'm used to?

  46. Anyone thinking of dying their hair, must read this. So-called henna can be very dangerous! Pure natural henna which is used in body art is fabulous for your hair and you CAN DYE OVER it with commercial dyes, providing you choose Body Art Quality (BAQ) Henna which is pure Henna with no commercial salts or chemicals added. The henna you can buy which is labelled as 'hairdye' and generally comes in various 'colours' IS NOT pure henna, it has metallic salts and chemicals added which is what causes your hair to literally dissolve if you overdye it with comercial dyes. While we are on that subject, if you have ever had a black henna temporary tattoo you will be very allergic to commercial hair dye. Indian people use proper Henna on their hands and feet, it's only usually in street markets and tourist spots where 'artists' paint high concentrations of para-phenylenediamine on to skin to create a black temporary tattoo. Para-phenylenediamine is the nasty chemical which is in virtually all permanent oxidative commercial hair dyes. It is not henna and is only used because it creates a tattoo very quickly, whereas real henna can take up to 12 hours to stain the skin enough. If you have ever had a black henna temporary tattoo you will be very allergic to hair dye, and it can be fatal. Only ever buy BAQ (Body Art Quality) Henna and you will be fine. If you read the e-book I've linked below by a lady who did a PhD in henna it shows you how to test your henna to see what type it is just from hairbrush hair. Never put anything on your hair unless you know what it is. 'Hairdye henna' also does not have the restorative and healing scalp properties of BAQ Henna which can clean up all manner of nasties like dandruff, lice etc. Read the book before you try anything. It's just not worth messing your hair up for! Do it right the first time. Xx

  47. Will henna dye over black hair? My current hair is dark brown/black with a few reddish streaks through the front (which I think would probably get redder and more awesome if I henna'd) but I also have some brown roots. If I used henna, would my roots stand out like crazy?

    Also, you said nothing dyes over henna. Even black? (Black and red are my two go-to colors that I flip back and forth between…)

    (Sorry if this question's already been asked, I didn't realize there were three pages of comments!)

  48. i've used henna off and on for the past 8yrs or more. Like people have said as long as buy henna for tattoo art(100% henna) you won't go wrong. i thin my mix out with vineagar and water, which does NOT hurt henna at all. i freeze it after it has dye release in the container-and thaw it the next day as this makes the color stronger. i go platinum or light ash blonde every year so i've had no issues with bleaching over it and i've used different henna companies. it def thickens hair and helps clean your scalp which in turn helps hair grow nicely.

  49. Hi , having read thru all these you've inspired me to retry henna. But I'm still a bit confused! Are you recommending the body henna with no added colour? The last time I used natural henna there was no colour change to my hair what so ever but after nearly 10 years of chemical colours I'm finding they don't last & affecting the condition. SO is it natural henna etc ?

    • Not sure why you didn't get a color change. Natural body art quality henna is a green paste that stains red. I think cassia is sometimes called neutral henna (even though it's not really henna) and has no color change unless you're a very light blonde (and even then it's subtle. Maybe you bought nEUtral henna instead of nAtural henna?

  50. If you have very dark hair, the best henna will give you is a shimmer of red under direct sunlight -it may be too subtle for a lot of people – but it will make super shiny and healthy looking too.

  51. Hi πŸ™‚ I died my hair with a henna and the box said burgundy and then my hair came out a blackish purple which is really not what I wanted!! I have been trying to lighten it with natural stuff like lemon juice . Its still quite darkish. If I dye red henna over it will it work? I do want an obvious red colour

  52. I know you posted this ages ago but I hope you reply. I just wondered why you say you shouldn't use yogurt. I was reading that you can use yogurt in place of water to get rid of dandruff (which I have, badly). Please reply, I'm planning on Henna-ing (not sure that's a word ) my hair next week and I was planning on using yogurt.

  53. May I know, does henna cover white or grays? I have been chemically colouring my hair and would like to try henna. Will it affect my currently reddish coloured hair? Thanks. Lots the details in your website.

  54. i've used lush's caca rouge twice now and i love it. i don't quite follow their directions though: instead of chopping the brick up with a knife and using a double boiler to melt it i just used a hand-crank cheese grater and hot liquid, instead of water i use a strongly brewed celestial seasonings raspberry zinger hibiscus tea (about 1/3 cup per section of henna) and then i add a heavy sprinkling of cinnamon. then i get someone to slap it on my head using a rubber spatula. (rubber gloves on hands and newspaper on the counters and floor are a very good idea.)

    they say to leave it on 2-4 hours, the first time i left it for 3 and it wasn't red enough for me. the second time i left it for 6 hours and it was perfect. i do cling wrap my head and use the blow dryer on low speed/high heat a few times during the process.

    i haven't found it terribly difficult to wash out but the first time i used it i made the mistake of rinsing it out in a tub that had some soap scum build up and my tub was kind of a baby poo green for about a week. the 2nd time i cleaned the tub first and it left no residue.

    pros: cheaper than the box dye i was using (2 boxes dye vs 1/2 brick henna), lasting color, fairly easy to do, my hair feels great

    cons: time consuming, messy (this can be kept to a minimum if you're careful), strong smell (it doesn't smell bad, especially with the cinnamon, it's just pretty strong for the first few days)

  55. I'm going to second the suggestion to beware hair-dye quality henna. I tried to use a "brown" henna on my dishwater blond hair, and came out looking like the jolly green giant. I am not kidding, pure green hair. Wonderful if you want to cosplay Shehulk, not so great otherwise.

    This was the first time I had EVER dyed my hair, and my friend only convinced me to try it with what we thought was a natural, less scary than chemical hair dye henna. Turns out "brown" henna hair dye can easily turn blond hair green.

    Do not despair if you end up with GREEN HAIR. Don't bleach. I just soaked my hair in warm mineral oil for a few hours, then rinsed, then soaked. (Dump warm mineral oil on the hair, cover with shower cap, wrap the whole thing in a towel to keep it warm and to catch any oil that drips out.)

    After three times my hair was only mildly green, more like the slight off-green cast you used to get sometimes from swimming in pools too much in the summer. I then went to a "professional" to fix what was left – and while trying to dye my hair reddish to cover the green color, she accidentally colored my hair purple. Yes, I DID tell her about the henna and mineral oil, but she wasn't as good as I thought. Always ask for a strand test when fixing henna mistakes before dying the whole thing.

    My best guess is that the dye either reacted with what was left in the hair, or the follicles in my hair shafts were wide open after all the oil treatments and soaked up the new hair dye like sponges. Either way, purple hair.

    She offered to let me come back the next day and try to bleach it lighter, but by then I had had it and decided to live with purple hair until it faded.

    So, lessons learned:

    Choose your henna carefully!
    Green hair can be fixed with enough mineral oil soak treatments.
    Be VERY careful dying your hair afterwards.

  56. Hey! So, do you have any tips for applying henna to short hair? All the directions I read talk about pulling your hair back and doing it section by section. My hair is too short to pull back (sort of a curly bob, long in front), but long enough to still frame/flop into my face. I'm trying to figure out how to sort it section by section and I'm sort of at a loss…
    Great article, though!

  57. hello, I have dyed my hair red twice with chemical dye (Nice n' Easy shade 112B, natural radiant auburn). My hair is currently a pretty rich red, but I want to try henna dye. I however don't want my hair to go super bright, and want to achieve a natural shade, something akin to a strawberry blond, but slightly darker. Does anyone have advice or experience with this kind of situation?

  58. Oh my goodness!!!! Thank you so much for this!!! I have been dying my hair red for years but I am trying to go more natural. I have started baking soda and vinegar washing but was worried dying it again would undo all my hard work.

    This is the perfect answer!!!!!

  59. Hi! I've been dying my naturally brown hair red for about 3 years with a professional stylist, but have been considering a switch to henna. Right now my roots are really grown out (about 3-4 inches) and I don't want a two-toned, botched-ombre effect on my head. Would it be better to do my roots and let them sit for awhile before adding it to the rest of my hair or would it not make a difference? Thanks!

  60. Awesome post. Henna is a wonderful conditioner for hair. This can repairs your hair and makes your hair to become shiny. As compared to convention dyes, henna will color your hair and also makes your hair healthy, strengthens your roots and also combats with dandruff.

  61. Thanks for the tips. Quite a few thing to keep in mind. The color that results from dying with henna depends on the original color of the hair, as well as the quality of the henna, and can range from orange to auburn to burgundy. Henna can be mixed with other natural hair dyes including Cassia Obovata for lighter shades of red or even blond, or with indigo to achieve brown and black shades.

  62. Hi I am wondering if the only reason to let it sit is to release the dye? I am using the henna for the main purpose of a scalp treatment for scalp psoriasis. If it dyes, fine, but that is not my main goal. Would it be okay to use it after prepping it without waiting?

  63. Does anyone know if the mixture works after being frozen? I mixed up my henna, made too much deliberately as I didn't want to do half my head and then realise I didn't have enough for the other half. I had at least twice as much as I needed, so I froze the rest. Reckon it will work? Defrosted obviously πŸ™‚

  64. What do you suggest for lightening hair before going for henna? So far I've been told I need to bleach it one shade lighter, since I have VERY dark brown hair. Besides using baking soda/peroxide/honey and applying heat, the other option I've seen is using the Ion brand. I know that all bleaching will cause some kind of damage, regardless of how gentle the product is. What do you all suggest? I really want to do this myself instead of going to a salon. I never have good luck at a salon, lol.

  65. Hi Stephanie ! My hair is dark (almost black ) brown and I want to dye them red with henna.In your instructions you say we need to use lemon for a deeper red color but since my hair is so dark I'm afraid it won't show up red at all butwill only have tints of it so i have been thinking to add boiling water instead to get a lighter color that would show up red-orangey to my hair.I don't know what mix to use since my hair is so dark and i would really love to see shining red on my hair.What do you think?

  66. I have found Henna Maiden to be the best body quality henna to use. I mix auburn and red wine (the names of the colors) and add some lemon juice to bring out the red even more.

    I have naturally wavy bordering on curly hair so it gets dry fast. Anyway, I r been using this stuff for at least a year now and even my naturally redheaded fiancΓ© is envious.

  67. You and your henna'd hair are beautiful. I just did mine for the first time yesterday and it's covering a lot of grey so … Lots of bright, coppery-orange. But you know what – I love it! My hair feels so much softer too, after been dry for a long time. Thanks for this detailed and helpful explanation.

  68. I've been thinking about doing this for years and finally took the plunge on Wednesday!

    I bought the Ancient Sunrise Red from the Mehandi page which is just the %100 pure henna. I mixed it with diluted lemon juice, let it sit overnight, and slathered it into my unwashed hair the next morning. It was easy at first but working toward the back was hard and when I sectioned my hair I spiraled it into little buns which made it hard to get the henna into the center of the section. My mom had to help me with the back. I wrapped it up and left it on for 6 hours. It was super orange-y red at first but now it's a pretty red auburn and very shiny!

    My hair was light brown with highlights, lots of brown roots, and red dip dye that had faded to pink on the ends. I bought 600 grams but had enough left over to freeze and touch up my roots later. Here's a picture before and after:

  69. Hi! I was completely wowed by how much henna could change your hair color!!
    I was thinking about doing henna instead of box dyes because of all the iffy things you hear about it being linked to cancer, etcetc…
    I also have psoriasis so I didn't want it to cause too much of a flare-up.
    I had some quick questions though:
    I have mediterranean skin and black/brown hair; do you think henna would change the colour very much?
    I was looking for a natural dye that allows my hair to look red, but not so red that it completely clashes with my skin tone πŸ™‚ Something a bit lighter than what I have would be nice, but from what I hear, henna just makes it darker.
    I'm also just a tad bit worried about if it would change my hair colour for good. I really do like my hair colour as it is right now, but I feel a change would be greatly welcome.
    Also, I hear many things about using indigo and other compounds like them; is it as good as henna if you want the same side-effects but just a different colour?
    Thanks everyone!

    • Henna is not a traditional dye. Think of it as more of a gloss over your natural colour. So, if your hair is dark, you'll have auburn highlights. If your hair is light or has light highlights, then the colour will be more noticeable and those lighter highlights will turn a lighter perhaps coppery red.

      To start, use about 200grams for short hair, 400 grams for medium, shoulder length hair and 600grams for longer hair. If it's really long, add 200grams of henna for every additional 6 inches of hair. Use an acid like lemon juice and follow the directions above. Most of us use lemon juice because it is a nicer smell than vinegar.

      I have some eczema on my scalp. I've found that henna improves my scalp health and have never had a bad experience or side effects from using henna. I'd try it on another part of my skin first and see how that does before committing to putting it on my scalp.

  70. It's so nice seeing so many women wanting an alternative to harsh chemicals on their hair. I've been using henna for more than 10 years. After my husband died, my naturally curly, red hair began losing the red and turning white. This isn't a look I'm ready to rock so, henna. I had tried chemical dyes but they blistered my scalp and made me sick. Henna is wonderful! It leaves my hair soft and shiny and does not fade. I keep my batch leftovers and use that as a base for the new batch so I don't have too much colour variation. Since I'm just covering my white, I mix it with lemon juice and add cajeput after 24 hours. Then let it sit an hour before putting it on my roots. I only leave it on for about 90 minutes.

    I use the henna from, that has a 1.4-1.7 lawsome content and save henna with a higher lawsome content for body art. I only want to tint the white hair a copper red, for highlights. If my hair was completely white, I'd use a higher lawsome content henna and leave it on longer. I'm 49.

    One word of caution. Henna is a cooling herb. Once it's on your head, your body will cool down a bit so keep a towel for your shoulders. That will help you manage any chill. So if you ladies thought you were imagining it, nope, you were actually cold. πŸ™‚

    • I love Mehandi's henna. I love the fact they test it all for it's lawstone content. After perusing the LHC forums, I'd read that many like to freeze their henna and have better results with dye release instead of lemon juice and waiting for hours. I tried this and got a nice burgundy after 5 hours. I've never had myself feel cooled after applying it, though. In fact, a few weeks ago I did another all over henna and was burning up.

    • Lemon juice or any citris juice helps in dye release because of the acidity. Mehandi actually sells citric powder that you can mix yourself with water, then add to the henna. I've found I prefer mixing with just water, freezing it, then letting it thaw before I use it. When I visited the Long Hair Community, one woman explained that as it thaws, the dye release is instant. If you decide to freeze it, put the henna in ice cube trays. You can pop out a few cubes if you decide on a thing called a henna gloss, or henna mixed with conditioner.

    • Lemon juice doesn't just help with dye release, it actually changes the chemical construction of the henna and makes the colour oxidise and have depth. Without it, the henna can be brassy looking especially on lighter or greyer hair. X

  71. The only problem I have is that you used a metal spoon. Henna and metal should never be put together.

    • I've used a metal spoon, as have many others on Long Hair Community. Personally I use Mehandi's henna because they lab test everything. I've never had problems, and no one on LHC who's hennaed for decades have mentioned issues with henna and metal.

  72. Hi! I have a bag of 100% natural henna powder I want to try out soon, but would it work for my pitch black hair? And also, can I just squeeze lemons for the lemon juice?

    • Yes, just like with orange juice, or any citrus fruit, squeezing gets out the juice. Essential oils go through a different process. So having lemon essential oil won't be the same as using lemon juice. From what many long haired women at LHC have told me, it's preferable to use lemon juice instead of water. If your hair is level 1 or level 2 darkness (Black and almost black) then you'll just get a really nice hair treatment and will barely see a visible difference, if at all. You need to lighten prior to using henna if you want that orange-red that looks more natural for a redhead. Just remember that henna builds up over time, so your first henna on lightened hair will be more orange than a dark reddish color. It won't look the same as if you added, say, manic panic in Vampire's Kiss or Vampire Red on top.

      In order to get visible results, lighten your hair to a level 3 or 4. You can look up charts. Using a peroxide cream developer (it's almost like your household peroxide but cream) will lighten effectively, but it takes at least an hour or two with 30vol. Don't use 40vol unless you know what you're doing. You can avoid bleach by simply not adding bleach powder to the developer. It's less damaging this way. Just coat your hair with coconut oil (make sure it's real) and let it set for about an hour on a test strand before judging how far you want it to lighten.

      And don't forget gloves, with developer or henna! I accidentally had 40 volume a couple finger pads, and it left them feeling numb at first, then sore the next day, like a burn had healed over. Try not to get it too close to your scalp, much like having a very thin line as a buffer for your scalp. Developer gets a bit tingly and some people can't handle that. I usually watch TV or do busy work while lightening, so I never notice.

      Henna will certainly stain, so make sure you put down plastic bags all over your surfaces (even the wall!) just in case you sling some. While it does come off, it takes careful scrubbing. Without gloves your hands will look like a bad spray tan.

      EDIT: Also, you may see stronger results if you freeze it solid instead of waiting on the dye release. I suggest testing about 6 grams frozen, 6 after waiting overnight on dye release. Test a couple strands and see which you prefer. If you like the frozen version, mix the rest and put them in a spare ice cube tray. Then just pop out the amount you need. Either way, save the rest by freezing it. You can do a white conditioner/henna "gloss" all over to get your roots. It helps build up your current henna color and touch up the roots at the same time. I've read a lot of forum posts that suggest this method. It's good for your hair anyway. πŸ™‚

      • Absolutely right 'Jane". Essential Oils work different way than acidic juices when mixed with henna . One got to mix and make a paste accordingly for a better application in order to use henna hair dyes in proper way to avail it's all useful properties for hair nourishment. Also choose trusted company for 100% natural Henna and essential oils. Just try " THE HENNA GUYS" brand. I am satisfied with their products in hair and beauty. I am using their deep red henna , lavender , orange, clove, eucalyptus essential oils and argan oil for better skin. So far so good.
        I thought it may be of little help.

  73. Just hennaed my hair for first time ever today (and I'll be 50 next year). Yay me! πŸ™‚
    It is still wet at this moment, so I don't really even know what it looks like dry yet.

    My hair does feel as though the henna has left it a bit dry. Anything I need to do do remedy that? My hair is coarse and fairly thick.

    Be the way, I looked at your before and after pics and while you are a pretty young lady either way, you look especially fantastic with the henna! The color suits you very well!!

  74. Hi..
    I have been dying my hair orangy- gold since my hair began to grey..but have been told by my doctor to stop dying my hair with chemical hair-dye and switch to hairdresser uses that so to begin dying my hair with hanna ( and get the orangy gold shade )which hanna should I use..
    thank you for your advice..blessings!


    • Pure Henna comes from a plant, which means it is a natural substance. It does not only help to cover your grey, it also nourishes your hair with minerals, furthermore it works as conditioner at the same time. There are too many brands of henna hair color in the market. Most important thing is to buy a natural product. If someone claims it to be natural, that does not make it so. You got to try it before you actually decide to stick with one company. I would strongly suggest you to purchase from an Indian Store in your vicinity, if you do not buy online. And if you shop from web stores. I would advice you to try THE HENNA GUYS brand. One of my friends recommended the henna guys pure henna hair color. And since then i am stuck with this company. They have 100% pure and natural henna hair dyes. You can visit them here.

  75. I have used "Colora" brand henna for over 40 years. (I always mix it in a metal bowl with a metal spoon?). My hair is brunette mixed with black, blond and red, and at 62, now 30% grey. I use the mahogany and it turns the grey red and beefs up the brunette so I have nice red highlights in my hair. Leave it on for one hour under a shower cap, then rinse it out in the shower. Don't use conditioner on your hair first since it coats the hair and you want the henna to get into the hair. I use half a pack, every 2nd or 3rd month. I tried a few other brands over the years but the Colora brand works best, imo. It sounds easier than some of the fuss mentioned above. I purchase it at the health food store (in Ontario, Canada) but you can order it on line too.

  76. Hi! It's my first time dyeing my hair with henna (I used Caca Rouge from Lush) and I didn't get the result that I wanted. I have dark brown hair (close to black) and I really wanted to have that slightly reddish colour. Is it okay to dye my hair again after a week or should I wait a little longer? Thank you!

    • Lush is rubbish and barely contains any henna. You will never be able to change dark brown/black hair to red with henna unless you bleach it first. Henna (Lawsonia Inermis) is a plant extract which only dyes things red. The colour you get depends on your natural colour underneath. Mine is grey so it goes bright copper red, black hair wouldn't turn red as henna doesn't henna doesn't lighten at all, unless you have any grey and they would turn red. Join Ancient Sunrise henna on FB and they will advise you best. x

    • Yes, you can re-henna your hair now. For information, you can also go to Mehandi is the only place that sends their henna out to a lab to test the lawsone content. The higher the number, the darker the henna. Michelle is correct in that if you have dark hair, no henna will lighten it. What it is is more like a gloss and it'll cover any light strands and highlight it as a shade of red. Mehandi has an extensive FAQ. Only use body art quality henna on your hair. Don't give up. It's worth it.

  77. First Time Using Henna: ( shoulder length hair) i have Straight bleached/damaged caucasian hair lol . Henna is HELPING signifigantly!

    Boil 9 ounces of water
    put in 12 heaping tbl spoons of Henna (bought from arabic store called olive tree in North Olmstead, Ohio)
    one full lemon
    let sit on my head for 2hrs .
    (some say DO NOT use metal)

    Before Picturee:

    If superstious you apply 2x a month: Dye & cut every full moon + dye every new moon.
    if you're not superstious then just dye twice and month and cut once a month

    After your first dye use:
    boil 3 ounces of water
    1 tbl spoon of Henna
    half a lemon

    for henna you can use a sifter or strainer to have a smoother paste πŸ™‚ i also use a wisk .

    After Pictures:

    BTW: i applied on bleached blonde hair . i still like it! its a lil orange and takes some getting use too but it can still be pulled off . i can see some hair growth happening πŸ™‚ so i will continue using Henna .

    • Also, there is no such thing as pure black henna. the henna plant is red/orange .. those are the only colors you can get from PURE Henna, if it has any other color then it has additives in it. also I've read plenty of articles saying that boxed henna is usually fake. I go to the closest Arabic store which (in my case) is in North Olmstead Ohio for me & it is called olive tree. and I read the back to make sure it is shipped from Lebanon or another European country

  78. A word of caution. I loved henna as a teen – with brown hair it made it auburn.

    My daughter has blond hair and she hated the red. Once the reds there – it's there. Not much to do. She had super long hair and cut it very short. Then I myself (after watching numerous youtube videos) bleached her hair a few times. It is now golden blond but I would not recommend this as we were just lucky no bad reactions, and her hair is still healthy (many coconut oil treatments).

    Just know Henna is PERMANENT! If it has any indigo in it do NOT bleach your hair – it will turn a greenish/greyish color.

    Best of luck!

    • Henna is permanent but if you have dyed your hair with pure 100% henna, you can dye over it without any problems. So yes, it is permanent as it stains the cuticle, but can be dyed over.

  79. The result is simply stunning! I love how it turned out and the color is beautiful!

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