Disadvantages of Henna for Hair

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Henna is widely used for body art called mehndi throughout South Asia and the Middle East. In addition, henna can be used on your hair for natural hair dye. It’s great, natural temporary color!

Henna softens the look of browns and auburns. It can produce beautiful hair color, but sometimes there are unexpected effects people should be aware of.

What are the disadvantages of henna for hair?

The biggest issues with henna for hair are:

  • A reduction in your luscious curls
  • Very time consuming
  • Color correcting proves to be difficult

Continue reading to learn more about the disadvantages of applying henna to your hair (keep in mind we still love it!) and tips on dealing with the negative effects of henna on your hair.


Hair Dye Made From Henna: What Is It?

Henna comes from the Lawsonia Inermis leaves, which are used to make henna. Their powder is fine, pigmented, and highly refined after harvesting. Hair is stained with this paste by mixing the powder with liquid to form a paste that resembles mud (and smells like mud too!).

Different plants are often mixed with pure henna in order to achieve different colors.

These include:

  • Using cassia plant powder will enhance lighter shades of blonde and reddish brown hair. However, it won’t actually lighten the hair.
  • Dark shades of black, chocolate brown, auburn, and burgundy benefit from iron indigo plant power.
  • By using pure henna alone, you will achieve a deep red color. Make the mix darker by adding indigo to it.

How Does Henna Work?

Henna Hair

The natural content of lawsone (or hennotannic acid) in henna is responsible for its ability to dye or stain. Lawson is organic and is a natural compound that connects with proteins. It will then react with the keratin in your hair to produce a new natural hair color.

When this reaction takes place, the hair becomes dyed.  

1. Hair Henna Types

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Since henna is highly demanded during festivals and cultural ceremonies, many adulterated varieties are available.

Henna should therefore be purchased from sources you can trust, and you should read the labels carefully.

2. Neutral Henna

Cassia Obovata Coll is the plant from which neutral henna is extracted. It has also been used as a laxative in modern times. Neutral henna doesn’t dye hair but can have mild antibacterial properties.

A neutral henna application may cause color variations in hair that have been bleached or treated with hydrogen peroxide. The main purpose of this product is to provide UV protection when used as a conditioner.

3. Black Henna

Although henna leaves temporarily give your hair or skin an orange-brown hue, it can be dyed darker and last for a long time by adding chemical dyes.

As a result, black henna is produced.

It is often dyed with phenylenediamine, derived from coal tar. A major cause of contact dermatitis is phenylenediamine.

4. Natural Henna 

Henna leaves are naturally obtained from the henna plant. When applied to hair, the shafts are dyed orange or auburn. A variety of scalp problems can be treated with this pure henna, and hair growth can be boosted.

Disadvantages of Henna on Your Hair

1. There May Be Curl Loss or Reduction as a Result

Hair strands generally become stronger after applying henna. This is because henna strengthens and reinforces hair by binding to the keratin. You may therefore lose those curls and waves as a result.

To prevent losing curls, put No products found. on your hair before or after applying henna.

No products found.

2. Some People’s Hair Dries Out After Application

Many find that henna is really drying for their hair. After a while, this effect goes away. However, when you apply henna to your strands.

Keratin is the primary component of your hair’s outer layer. Henna’s lawsone precursors enter the keratin layer of your hair, enhancing its strength and plumping its cuticles.

The result is a feeling of dryness after applying henna.

With regular shampoo and conditioner and potentially a hair mask after henna, the dryness should go away.

3. It Can Take a Lot of Time to Prepare and Apply

In order to make the henna effective, the mixture must be covered for eight to twelve hours.

Additionally, when applying henna, let it sit for 4-6 hours before you can wash your hair.

It also takes quite a long time to wash off the henna from your scalp. You need to ensure that no henna is left in your hair after washing it off carefully.

It takes quite a long time to wash off the henna from your scalp. You need to ensure that no henna is left in your hair after washing it off carefully.

In its powdered form, henna is not capable of coloring anything. Henna contains hennocides, a precursor to lawsone, activated only by mixing henna into a paste. 

4. There Is a Lot of Difficulty in Color Correcting

The henna used in some brands does not always contain pure henna. It incorporates metallic salts, which, when applied, may cause irreversible changes to the hair.

In the case that you are dissatisfied with henna color changes, you cannot reserve or color correctly immediately due to the following reasons:

  • The conventional hair dyes can damage your hair if you use them too soon
  • Hair strands are completely covered with henna, preventing commercial dyes from penetrating

You could try a toning shampoo, but often toning shampoos don’t do a whole lot to brown hair.

5. What About the Smell?

While henna is well-loved, many dislike the smell, reminiscent of grass and hay. That’s bad enough, but henna leaves a… lasting aroma… in your hair once it is applied.

Oh, and if your hair gets wet, the smell often returns! The smell can be altered by adding herbs, such as ginger, but you cannot eradicate it completely.

6. Inconsistent Application on Hair

The mixture of henna and water results in a paste, like mud. The paste may form lumps as a result. Consequently, applying henna becomes challenging due to the difficulty of evenly dispersing it.

A little apple cider vinegar can prevent lumps in the mixture, but if the henna is old or past expiration, it’s gonna be clumpy no matter what.

Using this method, you can obtain a henna paste with a smooth, fluid consistency.

7. Very Hard to Remove 

Henna is difficult to remove, so understand what you’re doing before you dive in. Removing it once you apply henna is very tedious, and bleaching is unlikely to be effective, particularly if you used henna with other chemicals added.

Several applications of bleach may be required to remove the henna. Your hair may be damaged as a result. You may be able to fix this problem with mineral oils and shampoo, but this will also take a long time and requires a lot of patience.

8. Dark Hair Does Not Show a Dramatic Change

Despite henna’s great performance on hair that is naturally light in color, naturally dark hair doesn’t seem to respond well to it. It may only be a red tint on dark brown or black hair and only when exposed to the sun.

While it depends entirely on your hair type and how well your hair accepts henna, you may not see any significant changes in your hair color after all that time and effort!

9. Scalp Dryness

In the long run, henna can cause hair and the scalp to dry out. A moisture loss can cause dandruff on the scalp and, at some point, cause hair loss. Many people have a habit of adding oil to it.

This can also harm the hair when mixed with henna. If you want to use henna on your hair, soak it in normal water first, then apply it directly and wash it when you are done.

Black Henna and Hair Dryness

Your hair’s physical structure could be to blame if it becomes coarse, brittle, and difficult to manage after using pure henna.

Your hair’s physical structure could be to blame if it becomes coarse, brittle, and difficult to manage after using pure henna.

The henna paste dyes an outer layer of the hair with its acidity and moisture. Oxidation occurs when the dye binds and oxidizes with the keratin.

After the paste is oxidized, it leaves a dry residue.  It’s not exactly hair dryness, but a similar sensation. Rather than a permanent change in hair texture, it’s a temporary change in surface appearance.

The normal texture will return after a couple of days. If you want to speed up the process, you can also apply apple cider vinegar or condition your hair.

What Are the Risks Associated With Henna Use?

Black Henna Ink

People are known to experience sensitivity to ‘black henna,’ commonly used for temporary tattoos.

There is no henna in this stuff, just para-phenylenediamine, a chemical dye. This is the same dye we talked about earlier.

Allergic reactions are common, and products that contain this must be avoided. Using pure henna is generally safe and well tolerated, though some people are allergic.

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How Henna Affects Hair

In terms of hair and skin, most people find henna harmless. Over time, however, it could have negative consequences, including:

  • Dermatitis 
  • Itchiness  
  • Burning
  • Skin scarring
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Scaling
  • Damaged skin

Rarely, it can cause allergic reactions such as hives, wheezing, and runny nose. Children, especially babies, should not be exposed to henna.

Always Name Check

Hinna is an Arabic word for henna. There have been a variety of products named henna over time that have little to do with henna.

The color of true henna is a relatively light shade of green/terra cotta.

Additives are used in all other ‘henna colors.’ It’s probably a good idea to do a little extra checking when given a color option such as burgundy, brown henna, or black henna.

It has been found that some henna dyes include ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or inflammatory reactions.

Among these are chemicals such as pyrogallol, orange dyes, silver nitrate, and carmine. The chemicals are not good for your skin or your hair.

Always be sure to read the ingredient label.

Always be sure to read the ingredient label.

How Can I Remove Henna From My Hair?

This can be a long and hard process, unfortunately. Henna does not come out of hair easily. 

1. Remove Henna from Hair With Honey

  • Apply raw honey to your hair. Despite its sweet taste, honey is somewhat acidic, which helps remove henna more gently and is less damaging than acidic strippers. 
  • Wait at least three hours before removing the honey to achieve the best results.
  • Ensure you wash well with a clarifying shampoo.
  • Wrap your hair in plastic wrap to retain some heat which is better for your hair

2. Lemon Juice For Henna Removal

  • Lemon juice can be applied to your hair by squeezing it on. In combination with natural sunlight, lemon juice’s acid can help remove henna from your hair and make it less noticeable.
  • Concentrated lemon juice cannot match the results of freshly squeezed lemons.
  • You can cover your hair completely with lemon juice by dipping it into a bucket of lemon juice and water.
  • Allow your hair to dry in direct sunlight. The sunlight should reach multiple layers of hair, so you may want to pop parts up in a clip. Next, use a deep conditioning treatment or moisturize your hair after using acidic products.

See this article for more information on lemon juice in your hair.

After-Henna Products 

Best after treatments when using henna to dye your hair

Even though henna is bad for your hair, you might still decide to use it, and that’s okay if you look after your hair afterward.

Try these great products to help heal your hair from henna:

These are great products to use on your hair after dying it with henna. Use deep conditioner 2-3 times a week while your hair is recovering from the dye.

It is important to keep your hair moisturized and as healthy as possible when using henna to avoid snapping off.

You can use treatments once a week once your hair feels like it is back to normal. Avoid overdoing hair treatments as they can put a coating on your hair, damaging it and making it feel greasy.

It is best to use shampoos and conditioners that are designed for hair that has been dyed with henna. It will contain products specific to repairing the damage that henna has caused.

Avoid overdoing hair treatments as they can put a coating on your hair, damaging it and making it feel greasy.


Hair dyes such as henna produce the most vibrant colors and are effective for about four weeks. After that, depending on your hair type, hair coloring may be required twice a month.

Henna can look great in hair, but there are some disadvantages, too, inducing hair dryness, poor color balance, and a painstaking dye process.

Keep in mind how hard henna can be to remove from your hair, and the difficult process of henna hair. Be sure you want to dye it before going ahead. 

It is best to prep your hair first and always follow with the correct shampoos and treatments after using henna. If you are new to henna and have dry or damaged hair speak to a professional hairdresser to avoid your hair further.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).