Using henna and indigo to dye gray hair

The title says it all!  But this photo tutorial may help you calm your nerves about using henna and indigo to dye your hair.  Get away from chemical hair dyes and use natural ingredients to dye your grays!  Here it goes!

First, you have to start out with some gray hair.  There are many different reasons why hair goes gray--because of age, diet, stress or even hereditary.  It is a natural process of the human cycle and will probably happen to you sooner or later.

Next, you should determine what proportions you should be using of henna and indigo.  You can determine this by taking a look at our handy-dandy chart in A Guide to Healthy Hair.  Download the e-book and you will learn about henna and indigo, and also about using cassia and amla for your hair, so you can get away from using chemical hair dyes.    Our model needed a proportion of 1 part henna to 2 parts indigo.  {a part can be any size--100 grams, 20 grams, a cup, a table spoon, etc}

You should first prepare the henna according to the instructions.  Our instructions say to mix it with lemon juice, or with strong brewed tea (for those with citrus sensitives).  Mix the henna until it is nice and thick!  Think of toothpaste consistency.  Remember, nice thick applications mean nice rich stains.

Once the henna is ready (which usually takes about 12-24 hours), you are ready to mix the indigo.  Our instructions for indigo is to simply mix it with warm water right before the application and let it sit for about 10 minutes before applying it to the hair.  Again, be sure that the indigo is mixed thick.  While the indigo is sitting, start preparing your application. 

Prepare your application area.  For example, wear an old t-shirt and lay down old newspapers on the floors and counters.  Be sure you also have some gloves handy, as well as hair pins to section the hair.  You also want to make sure you have a shower cap or plastic wrap so you can cover your head once the henna/indigo is in your hair.  

Now that you are almost ready for the application, you want to mix the indigo and henna together.  Mix them together until both the pastes are blended very well. 

Now you have paste that is ready for your hair application.  This is the part where it might be beneficial to have a friend help.  Start off by sectioning your hair into workable sections.  The size of these sections will vary depending on how long and thick your hair is.  

Put on your gloves and get ready to put the henndigo (henna and indigo) goop in your hair.  

Work your way from the back to the front, and from one side to the other.  

This is the size of a workable section of hair.

 Once you are done with the paste on hand, be sure to wipe away the excess from your forehead and ears.  While the skin on our face is very thin and will probably not stain from the henndigo, it is wise to wipe away the excess. 

  Take  your hair and pin it up into a bun so you are not dragging your henndigo-ed hair for 4 hours.
note how dirty the gloves are!

 Then apply a disposable plastic shower cap to cover your head.  You can also use plastic wrap if you cannot find a shower cap.

Now comes the easy part.  You just wait!  Leave the henndigo in your hair for a minimum of 4 hours.  If you are a real champ, then leave it in over night (just be sure to protect your bed and pillows with something that you don't love too much).

It will take some work to wash out the henna and indigo mixture from your hair.  We suggest turning on the faucet in the tub and washing your hair under the running water until it runs clear.  This may take up to 10 minutes of washing to accomplish the task.  You can also just shower if you have the patience to stand there for a while.  Another option is to wash out the majority of the henndigo mixture under the faucet, then to shampoo and condition your hair as usual under the shower.  

You can wash and style your hair as usual when you wash out the natural hair dye mixture.  You may sense a slight odor of henna and indigo in your hair.  If this is the case, you can spray your head with a mixture of water and some essential oils (rosemary is pretty awesome for the hair).  Of course, you can just leave it and the smell with go away with a couple of washes.  

If you find that the color is too light, go for a longer application.  Remember, longer applications mean richer, deeper stains.  

We hope this tutorial helps you calm your jitters about using henna and indigo to dye your gray hair.  Henndigo is an amazing alternative to chemical hair dyes and harsh chemical ingredients.  Henna and indigo from reputable suppliers are free of harsh chemicals, preservatives or additives like metallic salts.  Always be sure to do an allergy test and patch test to make sure you are not sensitive to the ingredients.  

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!

Happy Henndigoing!