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Henna Natural hair dye everything you need to know


Natural Henna is an organic hair dye that comes from the leaves of a shrub called Lawsonia Inermis. Frequently used in countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East and also in Africa.

Henna is an extract that has some pigments with the ability to dye the hair in different shades.

These colorations go from orange to reddish, depending on the color of the hair on which its applied. The lighter the hair, the closer it will get to the orange. Conversely dark hair redden by the action of henna.

Throughout the history of humanity, henna was used to dye skin, hair, fabrics and also as anti-fungal, preservative or mosquito repellent.

Henna natural hair dye properties and benefits

The natural henna dye contains regenerating, nourishing and antibacterial properties.   These properties favor hair follicle, gray coverage and can give  various shades of color according to each person preference.

Among the main benefits that henna has for hair we can find:

  • Reduces dandruff due to its antiseptic properties that go directly to the scalp to eliminate the problem.
  • Covers gray hair.
  • Prevents capillary damage through natural nutrients contribution that strengthen the hair from the scalp to the tips.
  • Avoid hair damage caused by inclement weather and environmental pollution, typical of an urban city.
  • It helps control the production of fat on the scalp.
  • The natural henna dye provides volume to the hair.
  • Pregnant women can used without any risk.
  • It has chemical qualities in its natural composition, similar and suitable to human hair.
  • Natural henna repair the damaged tips because it moisturizes the hair eliminating split ends and dry hair.
  • Henna is an excellent natural treatment to stop hair loss.

Preparation and Application of Henna Natural Dye

What do we need?

  • Henna
  • Plastic bowl
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Plastic or wooden spoon
  • Brush to apply dye
  • Water
  • Regular tea or soluble coffee (Optional)
  • One lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (Optional)

Preparation Tips for Henna Dye

In general, it is advisable to add into henna mix an acid liquid portion such a juice of 1 lemon or apple cider vinegar.

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An acid pH is necessary to break the cellulose from the henna leaf and thus release the pigment.

At the time of having the pigment extract, it will combine with more success to the hair keratin. When an acid is added, a maceration time at room temperature of 8-12 hours is essential.

Pigment can also get removed by adding boiling water to henna, but extraction is poorer. In addition, having a non-acid pH paste causes bad adhesion of henna to keratin. Since, instead of adhering to our proteins, lawsonia (henna pigment) will get combine with any other hydrogen in the environment.

As a result, if we want a powerful, long-lasting and good coverage stain, the best option is to prepare it with an acid.

Henna natural hair dye

On the other hand, if we only look for a light reflection to our hair or to disguise gray hair, the option of boiling water is faster and more valid.

Boil the water to prepare your mix. In case you want a shade that slightly dims the orange, prepare tea or coffee in the boiled water and continue the process.

The water, tea or coffee that you prepare will be proportional to the henna powder you need to use for your hair length.

As a general rule, 100g of henna is usually used for hair at shoulder height, although this may be too much in some cases.

Step by Step mix preparation

Place the henna powder in a plastic bowl. It is essential that it be of this material so that it does not alter the tone or color.

Then slowly pour the warm water, tea or coffee and stir with a plastic or wooden utensil.

The perfect henna mixture is not too liquid or too thick. It should not have lumps. You should make a paste similar to the texture of yogurt.

Once the preparation is done, let it stand at room temperature covered with a plastic to use it next day. The more hours that pass, the better the activation color will be. However, 12 hours is a prudent maximum waiting time. 

The remaining mix keep it in the fridge for later use. Freezing does not alter the benefits of the preparation and will save you time for the next routine.

Personally, I started using henna two years ago, and I get used to preparing an abundant mixture with the purpose of having my reserves ready for future applications. I do this, by separating the prepared henna into plastic bags in the portions that fit my needs.

The night before my routine, I take out the bag with henna from the cooler and let it thaw at room temperature for an application the next day.

How to apply Henna

Applying henna as a natural dye does not carry any mystery and is done in the same way you would apply any other dye.

Here are the steps you have to follow:

First, to make and apply the mixture uses rubber gloves, since the henna dyes the skin easily.  If you do not use them, your hands and nails will be brown.

For a complete application

With clean and dry hair apply the mixture with a brush dividing the hair into strands and starting from the crown. Apply the mixture from the base of the hair and then cover the entire lock.

After doing this, make a roll with the lock on your crown. This will be the basis of the following locks rolled on it.

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This is the easiest and most practical method for a smooth application.

In the following video you can see the best way to apply henna on your hair:

When you end the application, wraps the hair with plastic film. Then, cover with a towel or bathing cap to help keep the heat.

Let it act for at least three hours. The longer you leave it, the darker the resulting color will be.

Remember that when you use henna, you give a nutritious treatment to your hair too.

The next step is to rinse all the hair with abundant water. Then, wash it with a shampoo as natural and ecological as possible.

It is recommended not to wash the hair at least 48 hours after the application, because the henna oxidation process still brewing in the hair. Therefore, the final result of the color achieved will be noticeable approximately on the third day after the routine.

As you can see, it is not a complicated procedure at all. Henna dye is a natural alternative that, far from damaging the hair, keeps its care and protection. In addition, it strengthens the most damaged areas.

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There are complaints because the hair dries out with the constant use of henna. The recommendation for this does not happens, is to touch up the hair only in the roots and to make the complete application every 3 months or more, depending on the need.

In my particular case, I use it every 25 days approximately only in the roots (due to the rapid growth of gray hair) and every 4 months I do it complete.

Henna allows this to be done, since it acts in such a way that it covers the hair with a layer similar to a varnish.

Henna will never invade your hair opening follicles or anything like that. everything will be in a  subtle and natural way. Therefore, it will also be removed from your hair in a very soft and almost imperceptible way.


The resulting color will depend on the natural color of our hair.  Also, if its dyed, if it has gray hair, if its discolored, etc. As a general rule and whenever you use pure henna you will get your hair red. With a single application of henna prepared with lemon juice and left 4 hours of exposure, the following is achieved:

  • The gray turns orange.
  • Blond hair becomes redhead.
  • Red hair intensifies its redness.
  • The brown hair turns to reddish brown.
  • Black hair will only see reddish reflections to the Sun.

It is not the same to dye once than to do it frequently. Hair becomes more pigmented after 3-4 applications of henna. It also depends above all on the frequency of staining, a more frequent staining results in a more intense color.

In light hair and in the first applications it is normal for the henna to be more orange when freshly removed from the hair. As the henna oxidizes it becomes more reddish and the color is more intense. Therefore it is important not to wet hair in 48 hours, the henna keeps reacting and acting.

Henna natural hair dye

Considerations when using Henna

Despite all these advantages, before using henna as a hair dye, you should keep in mind some considerations.

Henna has its own characteristics:

First of all, it does not offer the full range of colors that the chemical industry offers us. Henna offers browns, mahoganies, reddish and orange.

It does not stain from dark to light, that is, it does not discolor.

It is a semi-permanent dye that loses a certain color with the washings, but lasts between two and four months. When prepared with an acid such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, the color will be more durable.

The henna adheres to the external structure of our hair, this causes thickening of the fiber. In addition, there are some people who experience hair straightening.

People with curly hair usually obtain more defined and pretty curls when using henna. In contrast, people with wavy hair may experience changes such as smoother hair.

Henna is photosensitive, so it will change its hue depending on the light to which its exposed.

When you have few gray hairs it offers reddish reflections or permanent mahogany that enhanced with sunlight.

When you have gray hair in abundance, we will never know with certainty what color our hair will be.  May be, depending on our state, nutrients, hormones, etc., the color changes slightly from one session to another. However, they will always remain in orange tones.

Pay attention to the type of henna you buy,  since many times  henna can contain chemical ingredients to make its application more effective.

The authentic henna has a greenish color, never black. This point is very important to keep in mind, since there are reports of serious allergies due to the use of henna that has been mixed with chemicals.

You should be careful to read the ingredients of the product. Remember Lawsonia Inermis is the botanical name of henna. If something else is mentioned in the package, it would be best to look for another alternative and not take a risk.

Like other dyes, as your natural hair grows, the color will be glimpsed in the roots and you will have to re-dye.

Do not use henna when you already dyed or discolored the hair. The problem is not that it is dangerous, but the resulting color can be a real surprise.

Last but no less important, it is the smell that stays on your hair when you use henna. There are people who stopped using it because they do not feel comfortable with the aroma. As there are also people, like me, who love that characteristic smell.

Henna has a particular aroma, similar to grass in the field, woodland or alfalfa.  As a solution, you can add clove or cinnamon powder in the mixture to soften the smell.

Where to get Natural Henna

Henna can be found in any herbalist or specialized store. Henna is a completely harmless natural dye that also covers gray hair. The henna dyes red, there is not blond or chestnut henna.

If you want to choose the perfect color according to your skin tone, henna can give us different shades when combined with other herbs.

There are a few herbs that add color or are able to nuance the reddish hue of henna: indigo (indigofera tinctoria), cassia (cassia obovata), amla (emblica officinalis), rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum), nutshell (juglans regia) among others.

When you start using henna, the change is almost immediate. The hair improves its appearance in terms of brightness, silkiness, it does not fall off as before and it grows very fast.

My hair was like chewing gum because of the use of conventional dyes, even those without ammonia. For that reason I decided to change to a natural dye. So far, after almost two years, I am so glad to have met henna that I do not intend to return to my old methods.


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