My mission is to share quick and easy recipes, plus helpful tips, to make healthy living more accessible!

Follow Me on Pinterest



Please keep in mind that while I am a certified Health Coach, I am not a registered dietitian or doctor. This blog is not intended as medical or nutritional advice. My posts are based on my own research and personal experience. You should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine. You are ultimately responsible for your own health!
Follow Me on TasteSpotting

6 Things To Know Before Using Henna Hair Dye

You may recall my excitement earlier this summer, when I decided to try using henna as an all-natural alternative to hair dye. I’ve always enjoyed changing-up my hair color, and thanks to a good friend of mine who happens to be a very talented hair stylist, I’ve had the opportunity to change it rather often.

However, looking for a more natural hair-coloring option, I decided to take a chance and try a henna hair dye that you can use at home.

I had heard great things about Lush’s henna line, so while on a vacation in Palm Springs, my good friend and I decided to have a little hair-dying party in our hotel room–> where no one could see us make fools of ourselves!

Here are a few things I learned from our experience:

1. Using Henna is pretty easy and straight-forward.

You simply melt the whole brick in a bowl with hot water, until a mud-like consistency is achieved.

It takes a little elbow-grease to break the brick down at first, but before you know it, you’ll have an earthy-smelling mix that’s ready to apply.

2. It will get messy.

Really messy.

Like most hair dyes, you’ll want to use gloves when handling this mix. (Lush provided these for us when purchasing.) I also recommend standing in your shower while applying to your hair, so that any spills are contained!

3. It will stain everything.

Again, a good reason to stand in your shower, to avoid staining your counters and floors.

It’s also a good reason to protect your skin! We used Lush’s Ultrabalm, an all-natural alternative to Vaseline, as a protective shield around our faces.

Apply to your forehead, ears and neck to prevent staining.

4. This dye takes a long time to set.

Depending on the vibrancy you want, it can take one to six hours for the color to develop!

That’s a long time to have your scalp wrapped in plastic. (The plastic wrap keeps the dye warm, and therefore, more effective.)

I only lasted two hours before I couldn’t take it anymore.

5. Henna will not even-out your hair color.

If you have roots or highlights when you start the process, you’ll still have roots or highlights when you’re finished.

I happened to have roots AND highlights at the time (you can see before pictures here)–> so you can see how the reddish color varies throughout my hair, where I had more blonde highlights. I was hoping for a more even color, so this aspect was a little disappointing for me.

However, if you have natural highlights (without roots) it could turn out very pretty!

6. You must be careful when dying your hair AFTER using henna.

Only after using the henna hair dye did I learn that you shouldn’t use any permanent dye on top of the henna. In other words, if you don’t like the resulting color from the henna dye, you don’t have a whole lot of options in order to correct it!

Gosh, that would have been nice to know before we got started.

Luckily, you can safely use semi-permanent dye as a temporary fix–> which means going darker, rather than lighter with your color.

I hope these tips prove helpful for anyone interested in trying henna, too!

Reader Feedback: Do you color your hair? Have you ever tried using henna hair dye, or would you like to? I think I would have been very happy with the results had I started with an even hair color… but thanks to my pesky roots, I see some some semi-permanent dye in my future. I may even try a “test strand” with highlights– just to see what happens! I’ve heard horror stories of hair smoking while applying permanent color after using henna, so that’s a scary thought! As I understand it, the henna dye is permanent, so you’ll have to wait until your hair grows out before making any drastic changes.

134 comments to 6 Things To Know Before Using Henna Hair Dye

  • dee-ann farrell



    • angelene

      hai dee-anna farrell mix henna with curd it should be look like a chapathi flour ok, then keep it 1 hour before using in ur hair, after 1 hour mix with 1 egg fully then apply in ur hair layer by layer u should keep 2hours in ur hair. After 2hours u should wash with normal water. This is the procedure of henna i usually used in this way my hair looks very beautiful. Try this and one important u should use only plastic cup and spoon for mixing the henna.

  • Vanessa

    I have very dark blonde hair, and used to dye it very bright red. I miss the color terribly and want to go back to it. Problem is, my hair started thinning about 7 years ago. It is less than 1/4 as thick as it used to be. I stopped dyeing it to see if that was the problem but there was very little change. It seems to have also dried out some, and what was once full of body and shine is dull and flat. I have gotten some new growth, which is encouraging, but also had to stop using conditioner, as for some reason it wouldn’t rinse out fully regardless of brand I used. I have heard marvelous things about henna and would love to try it, but there are no salons in my area that I can find that use it. I am hesitant to try it, so was hoping for some feedback (especially since everyone here seems to have other hair colors than mine.).
    Given all of this, would you guys still recommend using all natural henna? (I have also had my thyroid checked regarding the hair loss.)

    • lucy

      My hair was in a pretty sorry state,to much bleaching etc.was flat and dry too,henna was like a miracle my hair seems thicker and if so shiny.Definatly give it a go,i wish i had done it years ago!

    • 23rdMonkey

      There is a henna for Blondes! Although, henna is fabulous to go red!
      I have been using Henna for almost ten years now. I have always done my henna treatment myself and I do make a day of it because of the length of time. So pick a day do your hair and nails etc.
      The henna is easy but messy. I have more hair, it is stronger and healthier looking. However, I will admit I do not use a hair dryer or other heat products on my hair. Fourteen years ago I decided to lighten my hair at a salon. The process took forever claiming my hair was just to healthy. By the time I gave up on the processing my hair color change was insignificant but my scalp stung for months and my hair felt like straw. Hair should be silky soft this was horrible and that is how I got to henna and have never gone back to the salon for coloring.
      Good Luck

  • […] more non-toxic options in natural hair dyes. The Detoxinista did a great post on Henna hair dyes HERE. There are also tons of boxed varieties at Whole Foods or online. Just make sure to check the […]

  • Nicole

    There seems to be a lot of confusion here. Like several people have said, 100% natural henna will not damage your hair, even if you use synthetic colour over top of it. The only way this would happen is if you use the boxed ‘henna’ carried by a lot of natural foods stores – these are mixed with synthetic chemicals and usually metallic salts, and can damage your hair severely while applying or while trying to cover over. If you’re going to use henna, realize that it is a big commitment – while you can bleach it, it is very permanent and will likely take a few visit to a salon to totally remove it. If you still want to try it after thinking that through, do the proper research and use pure henna powder. It’s messy and can be time consuming, but it is so worth it. And I also never leave it overnight – I let the dye release for about 15 minutes, I test it by applying some to my hand for a few minutes, and if it is stained, I rinse it and put it on my hair. I also don’t use lemon juice, just coconut milk and usually an essential oil as henna is pretty strong smelling. I do usually leave it for 4 hours, and it comes out as a beautiful red. Also, keep in mind that it will continue to become a more vibrate red the more you color it, so you may only want to do root touch-ups. Anyway! Try it out, just don’t take shortcuts! :)

  • Nicole

    Also, henna will ONLY make your hair red, if it claims to turn your hair anything else, it is not pure henna.

  • Lori

    I have med to dk brown hair, and a friend gave me a box of noorani chestnut color. would you recommend it and what color would the end result be do you think? what are the risks?

  • Monique

    I used Reshma femme henna. They had many color choices and said its 100% henna. Now that injera henna only comes in a red color I may read the ingredients again. Anyway I used a toffee color on my light brownish blond hair with grays coming in. I couldn’t get the mushy consistency to spread evenly so I got scared and only left it on for about 20 minutes. I was afraid of uneven hair color. So I only left it on for 20 minutes and it did deposit some color. And it was so pretty. This great brown. Not as dark as I wanted but a true toffee color. My hair was very dry frying to wash it out, but after conditioner it was better.
    I didn’t leave it on long enough to cover grays so I want to do it again but think I should go with regular dye.
    I’ve heard the semi permanent will be ok? Any thoughts

  • Krista

    I’ve used henna for years and considered myself somewhat pro, but I have learned a number of things on this thread! I always heard about the metallics, but never stopped to consider that this could mean HEAVY metals! I am definitely going to switch from my usual Light Mountain to something 100% pure. Whenever I wash out the henna, a concerning amount of hair loss occurs. I’ve always had thick hair, so didn’t worry much..But now at 36, my hair is thinning a bit. Does anyone know about henna and hair loss? Is it from the pulling involved in rubbing henna into the hair and washing out all the lumps and sticks, etc.?

    • Mollika Doss

      First of all make sure that U r using pure henna.
      Add a cap of castor oil, one egg, one or two tsp coffee
      Depending on Ur hair length. If u r prone to colds add a tsp of
      Ground cloves or two or four drops of Clove oil, contents of an iron capsule
      Strong tea liquor. Mix everything well & soak overnight in an
      Iron container. U can add egg white if u don’t like the smell of the yolk.
      Wash off after two hours for colour or half an hr for conditioning.
      Shampoo after 24 hrs. Before shampooing apply The oil which u normally
      Use with a few drops of mustard oil.Keep the oil on Ur hair for two hrs
      Or over night.If u apply henna like this,The grey hair will turn a bright red & the black
      Hair will remain black.Do try it out !

      • Dalila

        I wanted to ask about this recipe because it sounds wonderful. I have yet to use henna although i really do want to try it. I can not really deal with all these hair dyes it really does a number to my hair. I have have dyed my hair a few months ago with perm in a box type hair dye…again too dry for me.
        I do not mind red hair in fact been looking forward to starting over again. however the up keep in a salon i feel is wayyy over budget for me especially that i have hair that touches my tail bone.
        I was wondering would you recommend this treatment u described above before after or during the henna. my hair is naturally drk brown/blk ( but ashy) it is now after dying black and on top lots of gray. my hair is very thinned out but I have a lot of hair and due to the length it no longer is as curly as it used to be. more straight top and slight curl to wave at the bottom.
        Again my concern and goal to get an all even economical healthy alternative to hair dye in salon or box. that i can do on my own for a long time.

  • Elizabeth

    Hennahut.com has really great henna. You just mix with water, leave on for an hour or an hour and a half and rinse out. Then in 24 to 48 hours you shampoo after it has “set”. There are NO metallic salts and NO chemicals at all in it. Also you CAN dye over it if you decide you don’t like it (since there is no chemicals or metals to interfere with a new chemical dye its not a problem) They have a really fantastic forum and they answer any of your questions pretty quickly. I have been using their copper top for 6 months and am really happy with the copper brown I am getting.
    Not all henna is the same!

  • Deanna

    I don’t know how old this thread is but… I’m in my thirties, with long dark hair with LOTS of grey. I’ve been using henna for 4 years as I don’t want greys but I’m allergic to PPDs in regular hair colour. When I first began using henna I learned by trial and error, at first I used the Lush henna blocks but the following method give the richest colour and is most user-friendly as it only takes 15 minutes to apply. Use 100% natural, plain henna powder from an Indian grocery store, the stuff for mehandi designs is best. Mix powder in a plastic bowl using a plastic spoon with a squeeze of lemon, hot water and a dollop of almond oil to yoghurt consistency, cover and leave overnight for dye release. Warm in the microwave before applying. Section clean, damp hair and apply using gloves from the back to the front, smearing each layer of hair thoroughly with henna like icing a cake. Pile hair on top of your head, cover with a plastic grocery bag and wrap in a towel turban. Wipe up splashes with a soapy cloth. I sleep with the henna in for the best, dark amber result on my grey hair. Rinse in the shower, then use handfuls of inexpensive hair conditioner (inexpensive because you’ll need a lot) to ‘shampoo’ out the henna residue. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Leslie

    Hello everyone I have a question so browns blondes grays whites wanna go red, what about a natural redhead? What happens if I use henna on my already red hair what would happen my hair is more red orange brownish, not light light orange so what would happen I’m really scared of it coming out foolishly red? Any answers would help! I want to make my red hair more vibrant.

    • Rah-Rah

      I use Lush Rouge Henna over the top of my already red hair pretty often, it just takes out the really orange tones and makes it a lot more rich and vibrant.

  • Menoa

    I have been using Surya Brazil Henna in red for many months now and love the color. However, My silver hairs are getting more prevalent and I am thinking of going a lighter shade..my natural color is dark golden blonde. What can I safely use? Would natural henna and other dying plants react to the chemicals in the Surya line?

  • Monique

    Well I’m sitting here, with henna all over my roots about to go to sleep…
    I had to stop using permanent hair dyes a year ago as I had suffered a very bad allergic reaction. A hair dye I was using for years!. Had a skin patch test done at the hospital and was told I’m allergic to PPD, chemical which is used in permanent hair dyes. started using natural henna, first try on my grays turned orange. So decided to leave it on longer the second time 8 hours.. Gray roots turned a deep red. From using henna all the damage that the permanent hair dye had caused, such as a lump on my scalp and damage to the backs of my ears from where my skin had split a week later from using it has all gone, scarring and dry skin. Even my hair dresser is shocked that I’m using henna as she thought it was actually highlights I had!. I have dark brown hair but loads of gray…so my grays look a deep red and under lighting or sunny days, all my hair has a reddish hue!!!. I’ve had more compliments from dyeing my hair with henna then I did using a permanent dye!!!. Hair feels silky and wow, I’m so pleased I did give it ago!!!. Good luck to those whom are deciding to give it ago…the longer you leave it on the better!!!.

  • Katherine

    People seem to be very mislead when it comes to henna and the burning or smoking of hair during permanent hair coloring. This only happens when the henna isn’t pure. It is true that you cannot bleach out henna because the color is permanent, but the only reason you should have to worry about henna interacting badly with other hair dyes or chemicals is if it is not pure henna in which case you should NOT be using it on your hair.

  • Hi. Recently I have a very sever allergy from the hair colour .i v a lot gray hair nd I used loreal hair colour .now please can u tell me is it this product is pure? Many. Thanks

  • Yasmin

    Is it true that if you squiz a bit of lemon juice in henna when dying your hair it helps it to last longer.. Thank you

  • I read that it’s safe to use permanent dye if you used pure henna. The problem is that there are often other things added and that’s what could damage your hair. But you can find tests on the internet to test on a strand and see if it would be safe to dye your hair.

  • Lindsay

    “Caca marron” literally translates to “crap brown” I thought that was humorously ironic. :P

  • Yeah Henna can be very messy. If you’re not trying to color your hands when dying your hair, it’s very important to use gloves of some sort.

  • Gharam

    How long does it take for the natural hair color to return after using henna?

  • Martha

    I have a lot of grey hairs but I don’t want to color my hair again because my hair is getting damaged and I’m loosing a lot of hair. Would henna cover gray hairs and would it be safe to use without damaging my hair? Please reply.

  • linda gaskin

    I have black hair. My roots are totally grey though out my hair. I have power henna black. Will my roots turn black or red?

  • […] more non-toxic options in natural hair dyes. The Detoxinista did a great post on Henna hair dyes HERE. There are also tons of boxed varieties at Whole Foods or online. Just make sure to check the […]

  • sandhya

    I was using heena.but now my hair dresser told me to stop using heena.its not good for hair at all.but when I was using heena my hair was too silky and heavy.they look good.now its dull and rough.should I use heena or not.is it good for my hair.please reply me

  • Kelly

    Hi so I’m still a bit confused about the whole Henna being permanent and if it comes out after a couple months can i use permanent dye if i use Natural Henna or no? Also will my natural hair color come back after a while and if it does then can I use permanent dye? Also i have jet black hair and i want to go to a dark burgundy so how what would be the best approach to this such as if I should add anything else to the natural henna like beetroot powder to get my desired color. Please let me know, thanks :)

  • Smalm

    I have henna in my hair right now… it’s mixed with indigo ( i think a diffrent breed of henna) and I did a spot test on my arm for 3 hours and I’m not allergic… I’m now itching only because of a towel around my neck to catch the drips.

  • Tina

    I have used Henna, I have asked friends about Henna and I have read about Henna. It is very rare that henna can ruin the texture/quality of your hair. It could turn your hair a color you don’t like. Henna can improve the way your hair feels. Many ppl have dry hair from coloring and or highlights. Everyone’s hair is different.

  • Kirsti

    I have used henna for 25 years. I would never use any other dye on my hair. Although my hair is reddish brown (fine, northern european hair), I have a lot of white/silver, especially in the front, and the henna lends great highlights. I use red, sherry, mahogany, auburn, strawberry; of many brands, whatever I feel like. Henna lends beautiful shine and moisture, and also makes my hair thicker. It covers the soft white hair better than the bristly silver ones, but I only need to do the roots monthly… I don’t even mix more than a few tablespoons, unless I want a full treatment. One hour is plenty. I have not used any chemical dyes in all that time, although on occasion I do get highlights in the summer. It takes a special hairdresser to properly deal with henna.

  • Anni

    Hey , so when i went abroad i used the henna powder for hands on my hair , not knowing the consequences it would have had on my hair if i wanted to dye it afterwards, i didnt really think at the time , ive never dyed my hair before just hennad it the first time i hennad it i brought it from lush , i have a strong feeling the henna i used on my hair wasnt pure … Its been about a month since i did it and i want to dye my hair brown and then ombre it blonde from the bottom, it only concerned me when i read on the box to not to dye over hennad hair…Like what will it do to my hair .. Id be so gutted if i wont be able to dye my hair :( i practically had virgin hair before i put henna on it …

  • Karen

    Ive been using the Lush Henna now for nearly a year and really like the Rouge but i have a lot of grey regroth that i have to do every few weeks. Before the henna i used permanent color so the ends of my hair are a bit darker than the top. When i recolor my hair its a really nice reddish auburn all over except the roots are a noticeable bright red because of my large amount of grey hair. DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO STRIP THE HENNA FROM MY HAIR SO I CAN START AGAIN ONCE IVE ALSO STRIPPED THE PERMANENT CHEMICAL COLOR OUT OF MY HAIR ALSO. So hopefully it will end with the greys being all the length of the bright red and the rest of my hair that is brown to become more of an auburn/red

  • Jenny

    Hi, I have just purchased some henna from an Indian shop. I have been colouring my hair for many years so I have chemical colour in my hair at the moment. Will the henna be ok to use with this still in my hair. I also have grey regrowth, how will this come out.

  • chandrika mangal

    the henna is good but this also gives me itching on the scalph, soemtines swelling on my face, ears, necl shoulders altahough i apply vaseline before applyng the henna dye. what can you adavice me/

    • Diamond


      It could be that you may be allergic to the henna you are using. Did you do a skin test before applying to your hair and scalp? It’s very important to know if your body has a reaction. Seeing a health care professional about your concerns might ease your mind and help your situation as well.

  • Karen

    Hi, I am super allergic to hair dye. I am lazy too. Do hairdressers apply Henna? I have slight grey and black hair and I used henna from whole foods and it was on my head for an hour and I still have grey.

  • Ares


    Thank you so much for this piece of advice, I’m looking forward to change my hair color but I was afraid to damage it and lose my natural highlights. I’m all pro henna now.

    You might also like to know that CACA MARRON means BROWN POO in spanish.

  • Hi all,
    I’m an Organic Hair Colorist and there is great
    News for all. Organic Hair color Systems out
    Of Europe has an amazing certified organic hair
    Color line. I do blonde highlights, red, gray
    Coverage and all the same effects as with
    Traditional color but with no ammonia.
    I switched when pregnant with my son 5
    Years ago!
    Visit my website., I’m in Colorado and I
    Package and mail order color to clients
    Wanting all over color n ship it with instructions.
    Hope this is helpful.
    Its a great time to make healthier changes
    For us our hair, bodies, and environment.

  • Chelsea

    I’m thinking about using henna hair dye on my hair… I’m not sure whether it’s a good idea though after reading this… i currently have a dull kind of red in my hair and want to go the chestnut colour and after a while dye it blonde… would this work? If not, do you have any suggestions as to how I could achieve going blonde without damaging my hair too much?

  • kitty

    hi thanks for all tips. can someone tell exactly haie color will be if i put HENNA on my hair? what kind color it would turn to be after 1 hour?

    what kind color it would turn to be after 2hours ? and 3 hours and 4 hours? and i heard someone says she leaves it on her hair over night?

    i have grey and black hair.

    thanks advance.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>