How To Dye Your Hair with Henna

How To Dye Your Hair with Henna
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Watch me use natural henna hair dye – which is a cruelty-free, plant-based hair color option. I’ll show you exactly how I mix and apply it at home!

Henna Hair Dye Powder

What is Henna?

The henna hair dye I use is a powder, that comes from the leaf of a plant called lawsonia inermis. This is the pure red dye, used on skin (for temporary tattoos and decorations) and hair (as a semi-permanent hair dye).

There are also liquid forms of henna, though the one time I tried a liquid it did not have any color. It must have been the neutral form of henna, which is cassia henna.

There’s also the Lush henna blocks, which come pre-mixed in different shades – from pure red to dark brown.
How to mix henna hair dye

How To Mix Henna For Hair

In a large bowl, mix the powder with water, to the consistency of pancake batter.

When I researched the “proper” way to do it, there were suggestions to add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, to increase the dye release. I tried it for the first time, and didn’t find it made much difference in the final color of my hair.

Henna hair dye releaseCover the bowl with something to minimize air contact, which can oxidize your henna. Reusable wraps would be great – but you will need to cover your hair with something air-tight like plastic wrap or a shower cap, so I usually use the same thing to cover the bowl. If anyone has any better eco-friendly suggestions, let me know!

You then leave your henna to allow the dye to fully release. Sources I read recommend 8-12 hours (overnight works perfectly) for the height of the dye release, but the instructions in my package said you can simply mix it up and use it. Presumably this would just be a slightly less vibrant color. I’ve used it right away, and left it on my hair longer, and it came out pretty similar.

How to Dye Your Hair With Henna

It helps to get your hair damp before you start, it makes the henna easier to apply.

How to apply henna hair dyeMake sure you wear a shirt that you don’t mind getting orange, and with a wide neck that you can get off over your head once it’s full of henna. Ladies, also consider the bra you wear.

If you have pale skin and want to minimize your face and neck getting an orange tinge, apply some oil along your hairline. Most people recommend coconut oil, but any oil works. I have a lovely essential oil blend for skin that I used in the video.

Then, just work the henna through your hair, making sure to cover all areas from scalp to ends. It’s a bit like mud, so it will be heavy if you have long hair like me.

How to apply henna hair dyeOnce you have thoroughly covered your hair, tie it up in a way that will be comfortable for the time you’re going to spend sitting with it in your hair. I put it in a bun right on the top of my head, for better balance. Cover your hair with plastic wrap or a shower cap, to keep it from drying out while you sit.

Leave this for at least 90 minutes, or up to 4 hours. You can leave it longer, some people leave it up to 6 hours, but the color won’t increase that much. So get yourself some chocolate, maybe some wine, a good movie and chillax with yourself.

Once you’ve held out as long as you can, rinse it out thoroughly in the shower (it won’t stain) using conditioner. If you use shampoo now, it will strip the henna oils that help condition your hair. I usually leave it a day or maybe two before I shampoo it out.

Since your hair will still have some oils in it, it won’t fully dry for a long time, so I sleep with a dark towel on my pillow to avoid it getting dyed.

Enjoy your beautiful red hair! It will fade over the course of a couple months, and mine winds up blending in with my natural auburn hair.

Hope you enjoy my henna hair dye tutorial, I tried to share all the tips I’ve researched over the years that I’ve been using henna. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.Henna red hair dye

» Hannah Natural Henna
» Jamila Natural Henna
» Lush Henna Rouge
*Note: The Lush henna comes as a block, that you just need to dissolve in hot water – after that, it’s the same method to apply.

» Rebecca’s Herbs
» Henna Dye Release
» Allyson Kramer’s excellent written tutorial


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