Using Henna to dye your hair naturally

The title says it all!  But this photo tutorial may help you calm your nerves about using henna to dye your hair.  Get away from chemical hair dyes and use natural ingredients to dye your grays!  This tutorial is about using just henna to dye your hair.  If you want darker tones, consider using henna and indigo.  Read our article on Henndigo here:

You can also switch over from Lush henna and start using simple henna powder for hair applications.  

So you have some gray hair that you are worried about dying.  Note how dull the rest of the hair looks prior to a henna application. 

Next, you should determine what amount of henna you should be using according to your hair length.  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 also about using indigo, cassia and amla for your hair, so you can get away from using chemical hair dyes.    Our model needed about 100 grams of henna because her hair was short.

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.

The day you are ready for the 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 you have paste that is ready for your hair application, have a friend help you!  This makes the application process much easier and less messy!  

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 henna goop in your hair.  

(the photos below are from the henndigo, but the application  technique is the same for all natural hair dying).

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 hennaed 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 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 henna mixture under the faucet, then to shampoo and condition your hair as usual under the shower.  Be sure to use a dark towel when you come out of the shower..  This will ensure that your beautiful white linens don't get ruined from the fresh henna dye. 

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.  

Note how lush and bright the hair looks after just one henna application.  It seems like a different person's hair!  

If you find that the color is too bright, go for a longer application.  Remember, longer applications mean richer, deeper stains.  If you find the stain is too red, opt for using amla or indigo in your mixture. 

We hope this tutorial helps you calm your jitters about using henna and natural hair dying.  Using henna is an awesome alternative to chemical hair dyes.  Henna 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 Henning!