How to Henna Your Hair
Lawsonia inermis (aka True Henna or Red Henna) has been used to color the hair and ornament the body for over 5,000 years. True Henna provides a deep red tone, while strengthening and conditioning the hair, supporting scalp health, and bringing forth beautiful shine. To achieve different colors, True Henna is blended with other botanicals.
Cassia Obovata (aka Cassia or Neutral Henna) is used to strengthen and condition the hair, support scalp health, and enhance shine. It won’t lighten dark hair, but it gives blond highlights to those with lighter hair, and allows for creating a wide range of tones when mixed with True Henna or Indigo.
Indigofera spp. (aka Indigo) colors the hair a deep blue black tone when used alone. Mixed with True Henna or Cassia, Indigo allows for darker red, brown and black tones to be created.
Blending Henna to Create Different Colors Blending your own Henna allows you to fine tune and customize your color. Below are some basic guidelines for blending. Feel free to adjust ratios to customize the subtleties of your blend.
For your convenience, we also provide ready-made blends.
The One Step Process (a single application)
- Golden Tones - 100% Cassia
- Marigold Blond Tones - 75% Cassia and 25% True Henna
- Strawberry Blond Tones - 50/50 Cassia and True Henna
- Copper Tones - 75% True Henna and 25% Cassia
- Reddish Brown Tones - 60-75% True Henna and 25-40% Indigo
- Brown Tones - 50% True Henna and 50% Indigo (add Cassia to lighten)
- Dark Chocolate Brown Tones - 60-75% Indigo and 25-40% True Henna
The Two Step Process (multiple applications)
- Black tones – 1st application 100% True Henna, 2nd application 100% Indigo
- Blue Black Tones – 1st application 50/50 True Henna/Indigo, 2nd application 100% Indigo
How Much Henna Do You need?
- Short hair: 2-3 oz.
- Shoulder length hair: 3-5 oz.
- Long hair: 5-8 oz.
Supplies you will need
- Non-metal bowl and spoon (ceramic, glass, plastic or wood will do).
- Oil or cream.
- Plastic or rubber gloves.
- A plastic bag or wrap to cover your head.
- Hair drier or some other heat source (optional).
- A Henna designated shirt that can get stained (optional).
- 1. Prepare a space for making a mess. Henna will stain cloth and other surfaces. It temporarily stains the bathtub, but will wash off after a couple of days.
- 2. In a bowl, slowly pour warm to hot water over Henna powder. Mix into consistency of pancake batter. See Timing Tips and Tricks for enhancing your Henna.
- 3. Wash and towel dry hair.
- 4. Apply oil or cream to hairline and ears to prevent the skin from staining.
- 5. Wearing gloves, apply Henna paste thoroughly to damp hair.
- 6. Wrap hair up in a plastic bag or plastic wrap and leave in hair. See Timing Tips.
- 7. Applying heat to hair quickens the process, but is not necessary.
- 8. Rinse Henna paste out thoroughly with warm water, ending with cool water. This can take some time. It’s like rinsing mud out of your hair. Using conditioner quickens the rinsing process. Avoid shampoo for 48 hours after applying Henna to allow the color to fully set in.
- Important: Do a test strand on small section of under layer hair to make sure you like color before applying to the whole head.
Tricks For Enhancing Your Henna
Add these ingredients to your Henna paste before applying
- For Extra Conditioning and Shine, add 1 Egg, 1-2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil, 2-4 Tbsp. plain yogurt, or try Rebecca’s personal recipe, 1-2 Tbsp. of Rebecca’s Hair Oil.
- To Enhance Blond Highlights, replace water with Chamomile, Calendula, or Black tea. You can also add 1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon juice.
- To Enhance Reds and Reddish Browns, add one tsp. of powdered Ginger, Allspice, Nutmeg, Beet, or Paprika to Henna. You can also replace the water with Hibiscus, Rose, or Rosehip tea.
- To Enrich Dark Browns and Tone Down Reds, add Coffee grounds to Henna and/or replace water with fresh brewed Coffee.
- To Increase Color Hold, add 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice, or 5-15 drops of Lavender or Rose Geranium essential oil.
- To Tone Down Reds, Increase Volume and Enhance Curl, add Amalaki (1 Tbsp. per 1 oz. of Henna blend). Amalaki can also be used on its own as a conditioning hair treatment. Traditionally Amalaki is prepared in a cast iron vessel to dye the hair black. Prepared in a non-metal vessel, it does not color the hair.
- To Cover Grays - We find Amalaki to be one of the best tricks (1 Tbsp. per 1 oz. Henna). Other tricks include adding 2 Tbsps. of Apple Cider Vinegar and replacing water with brewed Coffee.
- Indigo has a dye release time of 15 – 20 minutes and should be applied to hair immediately after preparing, whereas True Henna and Cassia have dye release times of 3 - 4 hours and should “set” before being applied to hair.
- When custom blending these plants, first prepare the True Henna and/or Cassia paste and let it “set” for at least 3 hours in a covered bowl. Then prepare the Indigo paste and mix the two pastes together just before applying to hair. If Henna paste thickens too much while setting, add water.
- Our ready-made blends bypass this subtlety and can be applied immediately.
- Henna is typically left in the hair for 3 – 4 hours, and up to overnight.
A Word Of Caution
Using some Henna products on hair that has been dyed with peroxide or regularly exposed to chlorine can affect the color negatively. This is not an issue with our pure plant-based Henna.