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How to Dye Hair with Henna: The Ultimate Guide

When you’re looking for a vibrant and fun look, but don’t want to use harsh chemicals, henna hair dye will help. Today, you’re going to learn how to dye hair with henna.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the natural henna hair dying process. How to mix the solution, apply it, and care for it after application. You will also learn what henna is and how it helps your hair become stronger and healthier.


What is Henna Hair Dye?

Henna has been used as a hair dye since ancient Egypt, over 6,000 years ago. It comes from the leaves of the Lawsonia inermis trees, also known as henna trees. Grinding the leaves into a fine powder creates the dye you use.

Henna hair dye powderHenna hair dye powder

Henna hair dye powder

Henna can change your hair into many colors depending on where the henna is from and what you add to it. It can also be affected by your hair’s original color and how long you leave the mixture in your hair. You can use henna to achieve auburn, orange, burgundy, chestnut brown, or deep blue-black hair.


Reasons to Use Henna Hair Dye

Henna Hair Dye

Henna Hair Dye

Henna hair colors are puplar for a reason. Henna is an all-natural hair dye and it not only color your hair, but also helps condition and strengthen hair with each application.

The dye binds with proteins in the hair, so it is a permanent hair dye that only has to be reapplied to new growth. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties to help keep your hair and scalp clean. These properties can also help with dandruff and flaking.

Now that you know the benefits, all you have to learn is how to dye hair with henna.


How to Dye Your Hair with Henna

Dyeing hair with henna can take some time. You have to prepare the mixture 12 hours before you start, so remember to plan ahead. You may also want to test your dye to make sure it is safe for you and the right color.

Mixing natural henna dye for hair application

Mixing natural henna dye for hair application

You can perform a spot test by applying a little dye paste to a small skin patch. Then you wait ten minutes and see if there is an adverse reaction. You can test the color of the dye on some hair from your brush.

Though you can dye your hair yourself, it often helps to have someone else there to help. Historically henna dyeing was considered a reason for a party. You may not need to go that far, but an extra pair of hands could make the process easier.

Before You Dye

Ways to Dye Hair with Henna

Ways to Dye Hair with Henna

Before getting started, remember that henna will dye most things it touches. You will want to take precautions, so you don’t stain the surfaces you are using or other items in the area. It would help if you used gloves, or your hands will be dyed during this process.

Also, remember to research the henna that you are using. Some hennas add aromatics to help change the smell of the dye. There can be many additives involved in henna dyes that can change their color results.

You can create many different colors with henna, but you want to know what color you will get before applying it. Here are some known additives to henna and what they are likely to change.

Henna Additives

  • Indigo: makes the dye darker, used for blue-black color
  • Acids, like lemon juice and vinegar: makes the dye strawberry blond
  • Brandy: used to give a more intense red color
  • Coffee or tea: used for a darker color


Create the Dye Mixture

Henna Dye Mixture

Henna Dye Mixture

The amount of henna you need depends on how much hair you have. You will need around 50g for short hair, 100g for medium hair, and 200g for long hair. You don’t have to be too exact, but these rough estimates will help you get started.

Mix in hot tap water slowly. The amount of water can vary because you are looking for consistency. You want to create a liquid that feels like yogurt or cake batter.

Now allow the mixture to sit for about 12 hours with plastic wrap on top. Once the mixture darkens to dark brown, it has been oxidized and is ready to use.


Prepare to Apply the Dye

As you wait for your mixture, you will want to prepare to dye your hair. People debate whether you should wash your hair before you apply the dye. Some say your natural oils help the dye bind properly, but others argue that you want your hair clean so it can absorb the dye fully.

You can decide which feels better for you, but if you wash it, use a light shampoo, and don’t use a conditioner. Conditioners can stop the absorption of the henna.

Apply an oil like petroleum jelly or coconut oil to your hairline to avoid accidental dyeing the area around your hairline, and use a bib to make sure the dye doesn’t stain your clothes and your body. You can use a garbage bag with holes in it, old towels, or old clothes for this.


Apply the Dye

applying henna hair dye

applying henna hair dye

Now you’ll learn how to apply henna on your hair. Remember to wear gloves when using the dye, or you’ll stain your hands. Work your hair thoroughly and evenly with the mixture. Apply as much as you need to. You can’t use too much as long as it is applied evenly.

When you finish applying the dye, pile your hair on top of your head, then wrap it in a towel. You will want to wipe up any stray dye with a hot washcloth.


Let the Dye Set

Now you have to let the dye set. The setting takes at least two hours. The longer you leave the dye on, the deeper the color will be. Some people leave it overnight, but you will have to protect your pillow or use one that you don’t mind dying.


Rinse the Dye Out

Gloves will be handy again, or you will stain your hands. Lean your head over the side of your tub and let your hair hangover it to avoid dyeing your body. Wash water over your hair until the water runs clear. Then you can shower normally, using shampoo, and applying conditioner.


Let Hair Air Dry

Henna Hair Color

Henna Hair Color

Once you’re done rinsing and washing your hair, let it dry. Don’t get your hair wet again for two days. It may take up to 48 hours before the henna takes on its final color, so expect the color to become more vibrant for the first two days.


Caring for Your Hair After the Dye

Henna is a permanent hair dye. Newly grown hair, however, will not have the henna color. You will have to reapply it to new hair if you want to keep the color consistent.

Your hair can get dried out when using henna, so you will want to make sure you add moisturizing shampoos and extra oils when necessary.

Henna can also affect your hair’s texture, which can affect your natural curls. If you want to keep that curl, you may have to take additional steps for that.

Henna is an excellent all-natural hair dye that offers you many benefits on top of changing the hair’s color. It avoids the harsh chemicals of artificial and chemical dyes while still being very versatile. Now that you know how to dye hair with henna, have fun and enjoy your new color!


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Gehenna Definition and Meaning – Bible Dictionary


ga-hen’-a (geenna (see Grimm-Thayer, under the word)):

Gehenna is a transliteration from the Aramaic form of the Hebrew ge-hinnom, “valley of Hinnom.” This latter form, however, is rare in the Old Testament, the prevailing name being “the valley of the son of Hinnom.” Septuagint usually translates; where it transliterates the form is different from Gehenna and varies. In the New Testament the correct form is Gee’nna with the accent on the penult, not Ge’enna. There is no reason to assume that Hinnom is other than a plain patronymic, although it has been proposed to find in it the corruption of the name of an idol (EB, II, 2071). In the New Testament (King James Version margin) Gehenna occurs in Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mark 9:43,15,47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6. In all of these it designates the place of eternal punishment of the wicked, generally in connection with the final judgment. It is associated with fire as the source of torment. Both body and soul are cast into it. This is not to be explained on the principle that the New Testament speaks metaphorically of the state after death in terms of the body; it presupposes the resurrection. In the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) Gehenna is rendered by “hell” (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT). That “the valley of Hinnom” became the technical designation for the place of final punishment was due to two causes. In the first place the valley had been the seat of the idolatrous worship of Molech, to whom children were immolated by fire (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6). Secondly, on account of these practices the place was defiled by King Josiah (2 Kings 23:10), and became in consequence associated in prophecy with the judgment to be visited upon the people (Jeremiah 7:32). The fact, also, that the city’s offal was collected there may have helped to render the name synonymous with extreme defilement. Topographically the identification of the valley of Hinnom is still uncertain. It has been in turn identified with the depression on the western and southern side of Jerusalem, with the middle valley, and with the valley to the E. Compare EB, II, 2071; DCG, I, 636; RE3, VI.

Geerhardus Vos


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6 Things To Know Before Using Henna Hair Dye

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure and privacy policy.

henna hair dye pinhenna hair dye pin

If you’re considering using henna hair dye as an all-natural alternative to traditional hair dye you’d use in a professional salon, there are a few things you should before getting started. The first time I used it, I hadn’t done my research and regretted it!

I’m sharing these tips so that YOU won’t make the same mistakes I did.

before using henna hair dye highlighted hair

before using henna hair dye highlighted hair

Here’s what I think you should know.

1. Is Henna Good For Your Hair?

Henna hair dye is considered a good conditioner for your hair, and as a result can make it stronger, thicker, and shinier. It may help to restore the natural pH balance of your hair and scalp, too!

applying henna hair dye

applying henna hair dye

2. How Long Does Henna Stay in Your Hair?

Henna is a permanent hair dye. The color is most vibrant for the first 4 to 6 weeks, and in my experience it starts to gradually fade after that, but I’m not sure it ever goes away completely.

Keep in mind that if you want to dye your hair later, it may be difficult to go lighter in color. Henna is very hard to lift out of your hair later! (I found this out after the fact– and was disappointed that I couldn’t get my hair highlighted for nearly a year after dying my hair with henna.)

3. It’s Messy to Apply & Can Stain Your Skin

The first time I used henna, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I highly recommend working the henna through your hair in the bathroom– ideally standing in a dry shower, so you can rinse away any mess when you’re done.

hand holding henna hair die

hand holding henna hair die

When mixed together, henna has the texture of mud and it can feel a little awkward to apply. As a result, there’s usually some that drips on the floor, and down your forehead.

henna hair dye mud in hair

henna hair dye mud in hair

Before you apply the henna dye, protect your skin by using a thick balm or cream to create a barrier. I rub it around my forehead, ears, and neck.

applying lush balm on forehead

applying lush balm on forehead

4. Henna Hair Dye Can Take a Long Time to Set

Depending on the vibrancy you want, henna can take 1 to 6 hours to develop.

henna hair dye shower cap

henna hair dye shower cap

That’s a long time to have your scalp wrapped in a shower cap. (The shower cap keeps the dye warm, and therefore, more effective, while also preventing drips so you can walk around your house!)

I should note that I can only last 2 hours before my patience gives out, and usually my hair turns out well!

5. Henna Will Not Necessarily Even-Out Your Hair Color

In my experience, if you have roots or highlights when you start the process, you’ll still have roots or highlights when you’re finished. (Henna can cover gray hair, but it’s a slightly extra process.)

red hair color

red hair color

I happened to have roots and highlights the first time I used henna (you can see before pictures of my highlights and roots at the top of this post), 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. Without the noticeable roots, I think this would be pretty!

6. It Can be Difficult to Change Your Hair Color AFTER using Henna

Some brands of henna dye have metallic salts added to it, and as a result, you cannot use chemical hair dyes over them. (The result is a chemical reaction that causes your hair to smoke!) It’s important to let your hair dresser know that you’ve dyed your hair with henna before you get started, so they are prepared.

In my case, I was able to even out my hair color after using henna using a semi-permanent dye. My stylist had to apply it twice, however, because she said my hair was not receptive to absorbing the color after using the henna. (Normally, my hair takes to dye very quickly!)

before after henna hair dye

before after henna hair dye

It should also be noted that my hair did not lift with bleach easily after using henna, so we had to go a shade darker, rather than lighter. I love getting my hair highlighted, so this something I wish I knew before getting started!

Which Brands of Henna Hair Dye Are Best?

There are always new brands entering the market, but I’ve only tried two brands so far. Most recently, I used Morrocco Method when trying to cover gray hair, and it worked really well! I love that it has no metallic salts added, so I didn’t have to worry about my hair smoking later if I got my hair dyed at a salon.

The very first time I dyed my hair with henna, I used Lush brand. According to their website, they add ingredients like lemon juice and coffee grounds to their henna, but I don’t believe they add metallic salts to their products, either.

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?


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Asset 3svg-next-arrsvg-next-arrsvg-prev-arrsvg-prev-arr COMMON MISTAKES AND TIPS: HENNA FOR HAIR

After so many years of doing henna and natural herbs for hair, and getting all sorts of questions, I really felt we could use a good post on common mistakes and errors, when it comes to henna for hair (and herbs). We’ve included some amazing tips that everyone should know.

Beautiful Rich Henna and Indigo'ed Hair

This list will never be complete, and we’ll need all of you to help add to it. Henna and natural hair care is all about being open, having a good vibe, being natural, and accepting each and every recipe as special, and unique to every person.

  • Henna is a plant, not a chemical, or ink. Henna is a natural plant, and it grows in very hot climates. As a natural plant it makes only one color: orange-reddish tones. Plants don’t give us more then one color. Typically blueberries stain blue, just as henna stains red. Commercial boxes of henna will tell us they are henna “colors”, but in fact they are pre-mixed boxed of henna that contain other herbs, and ingredients (sometimes even chemicals, additives, or metallic salts). It’s also not an ink. Henna powder is mixed into a henna paste, which can be used to dye your hair (permanent until it grows out), or to create henna body art designs (temporary) on the skin. Please read our recipes and how to’s section to find out how.
  • Henna colors, is this possible? A lot of commercial boxed henna hair dyes will have a variety of colors available. Natural and 100% pure henna only dyes orange-reddish tones. Please always read the list of ingredients on the boxes you purchase, or just purchase 100% pure henna powder from a reliable supplier.
  • Henna will not lighten your hair tone. Henna is a chemically-free all natural hair dye. It doesn’t contain chemicals, or bleaching ingredients that would lighten your hair.
  • Neutral Henna. Cassia obovata is sometimes called neutral henna, but in fact it is another plant that has a low yellow dye molecule, that can color grey, light, and blond hair. On dark hair, cassia obovata will not usually show any color. Using cassia obovata will give you all the benefits of henna, but it does have to be done a bit more often, as the results are not as long term as henna is.
  • Black Henna. Indigo is sometimes called black henna, but this is yet another plant that will color the hair brown to black tones (must be used with henna to give these results). Indigo does not have dye release the same way that henna does, so it must be mixed and used right away, or within 15-20 minutes. Please make sure your indigo does not contain PPD, which is can be quite damaging to the hair, and skin.
  • If I use henna I won’t ever be able to use chemical dyes/treatments on my hair. As long as you use 100% pure henna powder, then yes you can use chemical dyes/treatments as you normally do. You won’t have to wait months to do your chemical treatments/dyes as the hair dresser would like to tell you. Keep in mind, that the hair industry is run by major companies that push all types of chemical products. They are in no way trained, or specializing in henna, and natural hair care (for the most part). You should give your hair a break in between treatments. Roughly about 1-2 weeks.
  • How much henna do we need to use for our hair? No, you don’t need 500 grams of henna powder to color (treat) bra strap length (BSL) hair. First thing that needs to be asked is, how long is your hair, and secondly, how thick is your hair. Those are questions that need to be answered first in order to access how much henna powder you’ll need. You also don’t want to spend more money on products then you have to.
    General speaking, shoulder length hair needs about 100 grams of powder, bra strap length about 200-250 grams, hip length about 300-350 grams, and so on.
  • Should I use lemon juice in my recipe? No, you don’t have to use lemon juice as your primary, and only liquid ingredient in your henna (herbal) hair recipe. So many people would have turned away and abandoned henna and natural herbal hair care, if they thought they could only use lemon juice. Lemon juice is acidic, and can be very drying on your hair. You can add a small splash of lemon juice, if you’d like. We usually add a bit of lemon juice. The most highly recommend liquid to use is warm water. You can even use tea (any variety of your choice), or coffee brews as well (for dryer scalps be careful with these as they can also be a bit drying). Chamomile tea has become quite popular to use in henna hair recipes.
  • Is henna a temporary hair dye? No, henna is not temporary. It is a permanent hair dye. Henna alone only dyes orange-red tones. The only way to remove it is to let it grow out, or cut your dyed hair. That is why it is always recommended you do hair strand tests before making the “full head” committment.
  • Can henna, and herbs for hair be drying? Yes they can be drying. If you have a dry scalp, then you will need to moisturize. You can add moisturizing oils, yoghurt, or a conditioner to your henna recipe, or use a good hair oil after your herbal hair treatment.
  • Does henna lock out moisture? Some people believe that because henna coats the hair strand that no amount of moisturization can reach it. In fact no, henna will not lock out moisture from your hair. Oil, and condition your hair as usual, and as needed. The results will be amazing, and your hair will get all the moisturization it needs.
  • Using a metal bowl, or spoon is it safe or not? When using pure henna powder (body art quality), and herbs for hair, you can use stainless steel bowls. Traditionally, they have used iron bowls, as it has shown to bring our more dye release. We typically use a spatula to mix it. We don’t usually use plastic bowls because they are porous, and the herbs will stain the bowl. The commercial boxes of henna, and henna “colors” that contain other ingredients, herbs, additives, metallic salts, etc..would more so cause reactions with metal bowls, then 100% pure herbs would.

Naturally Curly Hair

  • Can henna loosen my curl pattern? Yes, a lot of people have seen loosening effects of their curls when using henna and/or cassia obovata. There is a small percentage of people that don’t get any loosening of their curls. If you prefer to maintain some of your curl, then add amla powder to bring them back. Keep in mind, that amla powder also tones down the red of henna. You can also use amla powder in your henna/cassia recipe to maintain the curls in your hair, in case you don’t want to lose your curl pattern.
  • So many henna powders. How do I choose? Keep in mind that some henna companies do re-name their henna powders, and this causes more confusion then necessary. The basic, and most important information would be which country is the henna from, how fresh is it (current crop year is best), and how well sifted is it? Please read: How to Choose the Right Henna Powder. There is no henna for a particular race or culture. Henna doesn’t discriminate. It is for everyone to use. If you were to say that a particular henna powder is very well sifted and therefore better to use on curly or african hair, then that we’d understand. But giving a henna powder a new name, is just for marketing purposes. If your henna comes marked with Jamila henna powder in red writting in any format on the foil packaging, then that henna is Jamila henna powder, not any other generic name that it has been re-named. Please read more on Jamila Henna.
  • Body Art Quality: What does that mean? This is another marketing term that basically means 100% pure henna powder. This pure henna powder is safe enough to use for body art, and most likely finely sifted. Body Art Quality can’t apply to any of the other herbs we use on our hair, because that would mean we are using these herbs for body art, and we aren’t. They are being used for hair usage. Make sure you get yourself 100% pure henna, and herbs. Getting organic herbs is even better because you are guaranteed that the company/farm has gotten proper certification, and inspection that there are no pesticides used, and is an overall healthier, and safer product.
  • My katam/indigo didn’t work for me. Indigo and Katam should be mixed separately from the henna paste in its own bowl. These are herbs that require a little more care, and their own time for dye release alone. Allow indigo and katam to sit 20-30 minute. You can then add the indigo/katam paste into the henna paste (bowl) for brown tones. Should you be using indigo for black tones you can use this after you’ve first done your henna treatment. Do not allow indigo to sit out for more then an hour.

Sarah smiling with deep rich henna'ed hair

Tips that work!

  • Putting henna (and any herbs) onto damp hair really helps it go on much easier. Also applying indigo onto damp hair (with a dash or so of salt) has gotten the indigo to absorb better and give even darker, richer black color results.
  • Adding sugar to your recipe makes the henna paste smoother.
  • Pre-oil your hair, if you tend to get really dry when using henna, and herbs in your hair. This will give you the moisture boost you need. This also helps prevent dripping when dyeing your hair. Some of the best hair oils to use are olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and camellia oil.
  • In order to get deeper, richer red results use a good, fresh henna powder that is known for giving rich red results (such as yemeni henna). After 2-3 applications, the color will deepen further.
  • Wash your henna, and herbal hair treatments out really well. Use a lot of conditioner to help with the process. If you don’t wash it all out well, then your scalp will feel itchy, and gritty.
  • Rmemeber to always be opened minded, and if needed, adjust your recipe to suit your hair. Just because someone else does it, doesn’t always make it right for you.
  • Keep your recipe simple. Don’t get overwhelmed with a lot of the other ingredients that are added to recipes.

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