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12 of the Best Natural Hair Dyes to Cover Grays

Most of us have hair color goals. Whether we find our perfect shade at a salon, in a packet of henna hair color, or in a box of conventional hair dye, the right color can do wonders for our looks and confidence.

For many, though, getting the hair color of our dreams — or just covering grays — isn’t worth slathering our heads in unnatural chemicals. We’re paying more attention than ever to what goes into – and on – our bodies. After all, the skin is our biggest organ and absorbs pretty much anything we put on it. 

The Problem with Conventional Box Dyes

The problem with conventional box dye

Although reputable companies follow government guidelines when formulating their products, conventional box dyes can be problematic. Ingredients once deemed safe are often later discovered to pose a threat.

For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, determined in 2018 that lead acetate didn’t belong in hair dyes.  After 38 years of government-approved use, new data cast doubt on this ingredient’s safety.

The following ingredients are currently considered safe enough for use in hair coloring products but may cause irritation or sensitivities:

  • Ammonia: This ingredient is used in many popular boxed hair colors. Ammonia can irritate sensitive scalps and hair, and its odor is quite strong.
  • P-phenylenediamine: More commonly known as PPD, this ingredient is usually found in darker shades of hair dye. Used in boxed hair colors and salon formulas alike, PPD can cause inflammation and irritation. PPD-triggered reactions range from eczema to contact dermatitis. Although rare, cases of anaphylaxis have occurred. This condition is a state of shock that can cause a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms requiring a trip to the emergency room.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: The stuff in the familiar brown bottle is generally safe. However, not following directions exactly when applying hair dye containing the ingredient can result in an irritated scalp or even hair loss.

henna, henna powder, henna dye

Regardless of their current FDA-approved status, you won’t find those ingredients in our henna hair colors. Instead, we create a range of gorgeous color possibilities using these herbs and other natural ingredients:

Pure henna (lawsonia inermis linn)

Indigo powder (indigofera tinctoria)

Hibiscus powder (hibiscus rosa sinensis)

Eclipta alba (bhringraj)

Azadirachta indica (neem powder)

Emblica officinalis (amla powder)

Red clay

Those who suffer from skin, scalp and hair sensitivities are turning to henna for hair color that’s beautiful and free of potentially harmful ingredients. 

Henna has been used throughout the ages to dye hair, skin, and fabrics. The leaves of the plant are ground into a powder to be blended with water or an acidic liquid for use as a hair dye.

Henna is usually associated with vibrant red hair due to the color produced by lawsone, the plant’s dye molecule. But henna can be blended with a variety of herbs and other natural ingredients to create a wide range of hair colors that can cover grays.

Gorgeous Natural Hair Color

Although many henna fans love henna’s trademark fiery red color, you don’t have to go red to enjoy the benefits of henna for hair.

red henna, pure henna, henna for hair

To help you pick the right product for your choice, we have compiled a list of the 12 best henna hair dye available at the Henna Guys

1. Auburn Henna

This trendy reddish-brown henna is made from pure henna, indigo and red kaolinite, a type of red clay. Our popular Auburn Henna gives you the best of both worlds from the brown and red families.

2. Burgundy Henna

Burgundy is one of our most exciting shades of red hair color. This henna is also made from pure henna, indigo powder and red clay. Burgundy henna is a good choice for those who want a cool shade of red with a hint of purple.

3. Deep Red Henna

This deep yet bright shade of red is intended to give you an eye-catching, intense look. Our Deep Red Henna, also known as dark red, is made with pure henna and red kaolinite clay.

4. Jet Black Henna

Jet black henna provides deep, rich black color and amazing gray coverage. Jet Black Henna is our second-best selling hair dye worldwide. It consists of pure henna and indigo powder. This color should be applied as a two-step application process for proper coverage.

5. Light Brown Henna

Our Light Brown Henna, which works best on lighter-colored hair, conditions hair while naturally covering grays. The ingredients in this hair color are pure henna, indigo powder, amla, bhringraj, and neem.

6. Medium Brown Henna

Our Medium Brown hair color is one of the most accessible shades of browns available today. It works well with most complexions and natural hair colors. Medium Brown from The Henna Guys is a blend of henna, indigo, amla, myrobalan, bhringraj, and neem.

7. Dark Brown Henna

Our Dark Brown Henna is popular for its deep yet natural-looking color. It contains henna, indigo, amla, bhringraj, and neem.

8. Natural Red Henna

The look of natural red hair is timeless. Try Natural Red hair dye from The Henna Guys for true red color formulated from a single ingredient, pure henna.

9. Orange Red Henna

Our Orange-Red henna is a glitzy combination of two lovely colors, red and orange. The color is derived only from pure henna.

10. Wine Red Henna

Wine Red is one of the most exciting red hair dye hues around. Our Wine Red color is made from henna, red clay, bhringraj, amla, and neem.

11. Body Art Quality Henna

Pure henna is prepared from the fresh leaves of the henna plant. An amazing natural hair conditioner, our BAQ henna is one of the most commonly used hair coloring products around the world.

12. Indigo Powder

Indigo powder for hair is a natural hair dye that’s often used to dye gray hair black. This dye is prepared by crushing the leaves of the indigofera tinctoria plant. It can be used along with pure henna to dye hair black or maintain your current color. Some experienced henna users mix henna with indigo powder to create custom colors.

Cassia Obovata

OK, so this makes the list a baker’s dozen, but we didn’t want to leave out cassia. Neutral henna, as it’s sometimes called, works with blonde or very light hair. If you want henna’s conditioning benefits without the color, you’ll love cassia obovata. While not actually henna, it’s a great shine-booster and scalp conditioner.

Considering Adding Mix-Ins to Henna Dye? Check this out

lavender oil, organic lavender oil, essential oil, organic essential oil, lavender extract

There are many henna hair benefits, especially with regular use. Whether breathing life into dull hair or adding shine and softness, henna has you covered! Henna naturally nourishes the scalp and moisturizes your hair in a single use.

While some use only henna and water to dye their hair, others add natural ingredients for different effects and benefits. Keep reading to find out what you can mix with henna!

Essential Oils

Pure essential oils are the most popular liquid add-in for henna mixes, both for their scent and for their own unique individual benefits. Each oil has something to offer, from enhancing hair color to promoting hair growth and scalp health.

Whether you get the relaxing effect of lavender or the dandruff-fighting power of organic rosemary, consider elevating your natural hair color experience with natural and organic essential oils.

Amla Powder

Pure amla powder makes an excellent addition to the best henna hair dye collection. It is commonly used with henna as a color enhancer. It also helps to prevent the color from fading quickly.

Amla can add volume to your hair while boosting shine and softness. Amla also helps the roots of your hair take in the henna dye. Enhance any of our henna colors with amla.

For Dark Red

Add 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of amla powder to the henna mixture.

For Light Brown

Enhance your light brown color by adding two tablespoons of amla to your brown henna powder. Mix well and add warm water to make a paste.

For Medium Brown

For medium brown, use 1.5 tablespoons of amla powder with henna dye, and add lukewarm water to form a thick paste.

For Dark Brown

Add about a tablespoon of amla to our Dark Brown henna dye, and add water to create a paste. Once the paste is ready, let it rest for 8 to 10 hours and add indigo powder as needed. Don’t add indigo directly to amla as it can prevent the dye from being released.

For Black

Add 2 tablespoons of amla powder to a complete pack of pure henna dye included with our Jet-Black hair dye. Add water to make a thick paste. Wait for 8-10 hours before applying to your hair.

henna, henna hair color

HENNA HAIR DYE PREPARATION AND APPLICATION:

Tip: For best results, apply henna to clean, dry hair. Apply petroleum jelly at the hairline to prevent stains.

  1. Mix water and henna powder in a bowl to form a pudding-like consistency.
  2. Make sure the henna mixture is prepared at least 8-10 hours before application for optimal dye release. Indigo powder should be left out 15-20 minutes before applying.
  3. Apply to your hair in sections.
  4. Use plastic wrap or a shower cap to cover your hair after henna application. Leave on for two to three hours.
  5. Rinse henna with water (don’t use shampoo), and keep rinsing until the water runs clear. You may use a conditioner to help wash out the dye.
  6. Preserve your new color by waiting 48 hours after applying henna to shampoo your hair. We recommend a sulfate free shampoo.
  7. Your new color will continue to develop and deepen for three to four days. Touch up roots as needed.

We’re excited to have launched a line of USDA-certified organic henna hair dyes. Check out these and our other all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free products for hair and skin.

Possible Henna Hair Dye Side Effects

Although henna is an all-natural hair dye, it doesn’t mean that it is suitable for all skin types. In some rare cases, if you’ve hypersensitive skin then a possible reaction could happen (itching or eruption of boils on the head). To check if you have hypersensitive skin or not, do a patch test or consult with a doctor before using henna.

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