Henna hair dye 101 | The complete guide to organic hair colour.

If you’re looking for a new way to spice up your hair, henna hair dye is the answer. This natural dye has been used for centuries and provides vibrant colours without damaging chemicals that can be found in most store bought dyes.

The best part? This natural dye doesn’t just give your hair an amazing colour, but also strengthens and conditions it!

It can also help you with all kinds of problems like dry scalp, dandruff, thinning hair and more! It’s actually awesome stuff.

This guide will explain everything there is to know about it and how it can help your hair look better than ever before!

You’ll learn what it’s made out of (it isn’t indigo!), why people use it (to make their locks softer), how long does it last (about 3 weeks) and much more…

We’re going to talk about everything you need to know: how it works, how to apply it, what kind of tones are available so you’ll be able to find one perfect for you, and more!

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What is henna hair dye?

Henna is a natural colourant often used for dyeing hair. It comes from the plant Lawsonia inermis, which grows naturally in tropical climates all over the world.

It’s believed that henna was first discovered by accident when people noticed how it stained their palms red! They also started noticing that this stain changed colour depending on what they ate or drank, developing into an awesome new way to express themselves through body art.

Today, the most common reason for using it is to change your natural colour or go from dark brown/black to naturally red looking hair. Without bleaching out your natural pigment or using chemicals like ammonia or peroxide.

It typically comes in a powdered form that you can mix with water into a paste to apply to your hair.

It’s also the same stuff that’s used to create those beautiful tattoos on your hands and face.

What’s great about it is that it leaves your locks looking shiny and healthy and conditions your hair long term too.

Check out the latest looks for ideas and inspiration.

henna hair color collection pinterest board

What colour does henna come in?

  • Red
  • Light Brown
  • Medium Brown
  • Dark Brown

How do henna hair dyes work?

They work like a colour stain that stains the outside of your hair with colour. Think of it like a paint or a varnish.

The colour binds to the proteins of your hair. It does not chemically alter it like regular hair dyes do.

It also blocks UV rays and keeps your hair soft, shiny, thick and manageable. It helps to repair dry and damaged hair replenishing split ends while helping your hair grow longer.

Is henna dye good for your hair?

The reason it’s often used as an alternative for chemical dyes is because it is less harsh than other options and provides beautiful results.

It doesn’t damage the hair follicle like other dyes do. It reduces frizziness due to its moisturizing properties. And preserves your colour better than any other dye out there.

It stains your strands with natural colour in an earthy shade while leaving them looking healthy and shiny.

Whereas regular box dyes use harsh chemicals which can strip away oils from follicles over time. Leading to damage or even loss of pigment altogether.

The best part about this product is that it’s all natural. So you can feel good about what you’re putting on your head.

10 benefits of henna

  1. Improved hair growth
  2. Stops hair falling out
  3. Deep conditioning
  4. Prevents dandruff
  5. Controls scalp itchiness
  6. Repairs split ends
  7. Makes hair soft and shiny
  8. Makes hair more manageable
  9. Good for dry hair
  10. Good for oily scalp

Is henna better for your hair than dye?

Yes, it is better for your hair than dye!

It’s often debated whether or not it’s actually better for your hair than traditional dye. One thing that many people don’t know, however, is the difference in ingredients between these two products.

You might have noticed that some supermarket brands claim they are 100% ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’, when in fact they’re made up of just as many chemicals as other boxed dyes  and don’t actually contain any plant extracts.

Henna contains a natural plant extract, made from 100% natural ingredients and doesn’t contain any petrochemicals, parabens or other nasties.

There are other factors you should consider when considering how modern dyes can damage your hair. A great way to start thinking about your hair colour goes beyond choosing from simply “red” or “pink”.

With henna, there’s no need to bleach or process the colour out of your strands.

It offers a more natural tone and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can permanently damage the structure of your locks.

And it coats each strand with its rich colour rather than altering your natural pigments which chemical treatments do.

This helps seal off moisture within your hair strands to keep them strong. This makes it less likely breakage will occur as well.

Hair stylists recommend using organic products like these since they are healthier for both skin and hair health too!

henna tattoos
Henna tattoos are temporary tattoos that can last anywhere from ten days to several weeks. They’re created by applying the same organic paste that’s used to dye your hair.

What about indigo?

You may have noticed that some people mix henna with an indigo powder.

It creates an awesome rich brown tone that looks great on darker hair colours – especially if you’re looking for a soft, natural look which isn’t too bold.

Like henna, indigo is generally regarded as a very safe dye to use. It’s also natural and has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world.

There are many different ways to mix these two dyes together – so you might need to try out a few before finding your favourite formula!

The basic concept is to add some water or another liquid (such as lemon juice) into the powder until you get a mixture that’s thick enough to paint on your scalp easily.   

As with anything, always patch test first!

indigo hair colored hair

Does henna cover grey hair?

Yes! It’s a type of hair dye that can cover grey hair, but you’ll need to do a few rounds of henna dyes.

The more you apply it, the stronger and longer-lasting the results will be. We recommend doing 3 or 4 rounds over about 8 weeks to get enough pigment that your greys will blend right in.

However, it won’t cover your grey hair 100% for long. It will gradually lighten and blend out some of the grey hairs you already have growing – leaving a more natural look.

If your greys are particularly stubborn, and you want more permanent results, then it might not be for you.

How long does it last on your hair?

Henna lasts around 4-6 weeks, depending on your hair thickness and how many coats (or rounds) you manage to apply.

This is because it contains antioxidants that protect against damage from UV rays as well sunlight exposure.

It will fade eventually though – especially if you swim in a pool or the sea regularly as chlorine and salt water speeds up the fading process!

The dye lasts longest on clean, deep-conditioned locks and will begin fading after two weeks if you’re shampooing more than twice per week.

Are henna hair dyes safe?

There are loads of benefits to using these natural products over regular ones. Safety is just one of them.

There have been some cases where people have experienced allergic reactions to these products- but most will tell you that the risk is no more than any other kind of temporary colour.

It could happen if you’re not careful enough while mixing up what goes onto your head.

However, if you closely follow our guide to apply it properly, you’ll be good to go!

It’s definitely safer than regular dyes because it’s a natural, plant-based product, rather than a synthetic product.

For example, it’s less harsh than chemical dyes because it doesn’t use ammonia or peroxide.

If you’re an allergy sufferer or allergic to normal dyes, this could be right for you.

It also has anti-fungal properties which helps with dandruff issues.

So the answer is yes, this is a great choice for those who want the natural look without any chemicals.

Just make sure to read package instructions and perform patch tests on an inconspicuous area before applying dye near your scalp!

Is henna safe while pregnant?

The pregnancy glow is a real thing (we promise!) and hormonal changes can make your skin and hair look and feel different during pregnancy. If you want to avoid chemicals, these vegetable dyes can be a great alternative.

Natural henna is derived solely from the plant and safe for your skin or hair when pregnant.

The brown colour dye won’t cause any damage and is usually suggested as an alternative if you’re avoiding chemical dyes while expecting.

Black henna can contain chemicals that can be harmful if you’re pregnant so stick to natural browns and reds to be safe.

The use of organic dye is safe for most people, but those with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (almost always male) should avoid it since its contents can be life-threatening in these individuals.

Can I use henna on hair extensions?

Natural hair extensions

Yes! You can use it just like you would to dye normal hair. Check with the manufacturer of your hair first just in case.

If you want a really smooth finish, it’s best to apply it to dry hair so you can clearly see where it’s going.

Synthetic hair extensions

No! The dye simply won’t stick to or penetrate the synthetic fibres and you may end up ruining your hair piece.

Far better to buy new hair extensions in the colour your heart desires!

Will henna stain my skin?

The downside is it can be hard (and sometimes impossible!) to get off your skin so you need to be careful when applying it to your hair and scalp.

It will stain your skin too. Just make sure you blot any excess liquid from your head and neck with a paper towel or cloth before getting in contact with these areas for the first time.

If you’re a henna virgin, we recommend trying it out in a small patch at first if you have sensitive skin.

Even if your skin is fine, always patch test before going crazy with your whole head!


  • Make sure you protect the skin around your face by putting a barrier cream (such as Vaseline) around your hairline, ears and neck.
  • Get yourself a box of disposable gloves that are more durable to protect your hands.
  • Cover all surfaces to make sure there are no splashes.
  • Use micellar water or hair dye remover pads to remove stains from your skin safely.

Can I dye my hair with henna at home?

Yes, if you have the right products and a lot of patience! It is very easy to do at home.

There are many different options for dying your hair at home. Some people like to go the traditional route and mix it themselves, while others prefer using ready-mixed products in a bottled solution.

The colour will vary depending on what method you choose; some colours can be very intense!

There are many organic hair products available to use at home. Here are our top picks.

Best henna hair dyes at a glance.

100% Pure Henna Powder For Hair Dyeq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00KVV5ET0&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B00KVV5ET0Red hair
Spierb Henna Powderq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B08L9SCGXL&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B08L9SCGXLNatural brown colour
Organic Henna for Chestnut/AUBURN/Reddish q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B074Q5CL2N&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B074Q5CL2NChestnut/Auburn hair
Natures Root 100% Natural Henna Powderq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07SLL49W5&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B07SLL49W5Dark brown hair
Henne Color Auburn Henna Hair Colouring Creamq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B002BU7D6Q&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B002BU7D6QReady to use
It's Pure Organics Herbal Hair Colour Dark Brownq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00FQRMUK0&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B00FQRMUK0Grey coverage

How to use henna hair dye step by step.

Step 1: Prepare the dye

It typically comes as a powder which you have to mix with water into a sticky paste before you can apply it to your hair. You can also use yoghurt!

Mix the powder with warm water until the paste becomes the consistency of mashed potatoes. This is so it can stay in your hair and not drip off. Leave the mixture to develop while you go and shampoo your hair.

Step 2: Shampoo your hair

Wash your hair with a good clarifying shampoo to remove all oils, grease and dirt from your hair strands.

DON’T CONDITION YOUR HAIR as it will provide a barrier to the dye.

Towel dry your hair. Add a little water to the mixture if it has dried, and get ready to apply it.

Step 3: Apply barrier cream

Watch out! It stains your skin and can be difficult to remove. So it’s a good idea to apply a barrier cream before you begin.

Use the cream around your hair line, ears and nape of your neck.

Step 4: Apply the paste

Apply the paste-like mixture onto clean damp hair evenly throughout your head. Make sure to properly saturate your roots.

As we said previously, it’s good for your scalp but be careful around your hairline and parting as it will stain your skin.

Make sure every hair strand is covered from root to tip.

Step 5: Let it develop

Pop your hair in a shower cap and relax.

The solution time will need anywhere between 4 hours up until 8 hours depending on the desired depth of shade and vibrancy.

Keep checking on the colour of your hair as time goes on. It’s safe to use so don’t worry about leaving it on for too long. It’s not possible!

It’s ready when you’re happy with the colour. And remember it will be more vibrant when your hair is dry.

Step 5: Rinse your hair

Step into the shower and rinse your hair until the water runs clear.

You’ll need your gloves to work the paste through your hair and wash it out without staining your skin.

Use a good sulfate-free conditioner to seal the colour in. You should feel the softness already!

Step 6: Style and admire!

Blow dry and style your hair as usual to see the final results.

Use a good heat protectant spray to lock in your colour.

Congratulations! You have gorgeous hair!

orange red dye instagram
dark red color instagram
curly deep red color instagram

How frequently can I apply henna to my hair?

You should aim for around 3 applications per year (or every 3 months), although people with lighter hair may only need two.

If you have dark brown or black hair then consider yourself lucky – henna tends to work much faster on this colour than most others.

People with reds and lighter colours generally need to wait a bit longer between each dye, as the colour takes a few weeks to build up enough pigment to cover greys and blend with your natural colour.

As it’s a completely natural product, there’s no limit to how often you can use it to dye your locks.

You might need regular root touch ups every three weeks or so, depending on how fast your hair grows.

After a few weeks, you’ll notice a difference in the quality of your hair. It’s a product that gets better the more you use it.

It will fill up any gaps in your hair cortex and make your hair shafts stronger. It’s similar to permanent dye where you’ll get new root growth coming out in time.

It does have some cons however, when applied too heavily or continuously over time, as with all dyes, your hair may become dry.

Can I use normal hair dye after using henna?

Yes, unlike some other plant dyes such as indigo which needs time to ‘cure’ in your hair before it will deposit any colour – you can use a conventional hair dye straight after a henna treatment.

You might find that some of your hair gets a tint from the colour mixing with the box dye, but this is nothing to worry about.

How do I care for my henna hair?

This colour needs more love than almost any other colour and will fade fast if you don’t look after it.

If you dye your hair, it’s especially important to ramp up the TLC and look after your coloured hair to keep it from drying out, fading or frizzing like mad.

  • Stay away from sulphates that will strip your colour.
  • Wash your hair less often.
  • Use deep conditioning hair masks.
  • Cut down on heat styling.
  • Get regular trims.

Parting words.

We hope this article has given you some helpful information about the benefits of henna.

If you’re still unsure, try to do a strand test – using it on a small section of your hair first to see how well it works for you.

With glossy, natural, flowing locks, you’ll never look back.