How To Henna Hair: A Complete Guide!

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Do you dream of having vibrant auburn tresses like the maidens who sat for the Pre-Raphaelite artists in their classic paintings? Or perhaps you simply want to reduce and cover your premature grey hair, because you’ve heard that the tannins contained in henna can help you do the trick.

Creating luscious auburn red locks is just a home treatment away when you use henna. It’s also a good conditioner for your hair that will work to make it thicker, stronger, and even shinier.

So, in this article, we’ll give you all the information you need on how to henna hair.


How To Henna Hair

How to Henna Hair

Before you decide to henna your hair, you will need to be aware that it is a permanent dye.

Yes, the vibrancy of the color created by the henna will fade after a couple of months. However, it is extremely difficult to fully lift the henna color, unless you get your hair bleached. Remember that bleaching isn’t an easy process and requires weeks of preparation, even if you have a professional hairdresser do it for you.

Read our article Can You Bleach Over Henna Hair? to find out more about using bleach to lift the color of henna.

So, having made the decision that you’re ready to go all in and experience the richness of color that henna will provide for your locks, let’s take a quick look at the other benefits you’ll receive along with the vibrant auburn red color.


Henna Benefits

The first thing we want to say is that when we’re talking about henna in this article, we’re focusing only on 100% natural and organic henna powder, which is only made from crushed henna leaves. Many henna products on the market also contain color additives, and may not provide all the benefits listed below.

Many henna products on the market also contain color additives, and may not provide all the benefits listed below.

So, besides the vibrant coloring, and making your hair feel thicker, stronger, and look shinier, what other benefits can henna provide for your locks? Let’s take a closer look…

1. Heals Split Ends

If your hair is dry and damaged to start, then no doubt you will also have split ends that will make the situation worse until you trim them off.

Henna deeply conditions the hair, because it doesn’t penetrate the hair’s cortex like chemical-based hair dyes do.

This means that your hair strands can hold onto their moisture better, leaving you with more nourished hair and great color.

2. Gets The Balance Right

Henna helps to balance the pH levels of your scalp. And along with its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, they work together to nourish your hair follicles, thus reducing the potential for any scalp irritation.

This in turn helps to create stronger roots, and controls oil production, leading to less hair loss and dandruff as a result.

3. Makes It Softer

The leaves of the henna plant, which are used to make the powder, are rich in antioxidants, proteins, and vitamins, like vitamin E, which works to soften your hair strands.

And instead of lifting the cuticles to color the strands, henna coats the hair shaft, before slowly sinking into it.

This allows your hair to retain its moisture, while the antioxidants and proteins help to build the overall health of your hair strands.

The leaves of the henna plant, which are used to make the powder, are rich in antioxidants, proteins, and vitamins, like vitamin E, which works to soften your hair strands.


Let’s Get Messy

Henna Powder

So, now that you know all about how henna can help your hair, it’s time to get the powder out and get messy. If it’s your very first time using henna, then this is something that you’ll have to get used to, because when you mix the powder with water, the resulting paste will have the consistency of a mud pie and will smell stinky.

Therefore, we recommend that you apply the henna to your hair in the bathroom, or at least a room with a tiled floor that you can immediately wipe and no soft furnishings around. The paste will end up staining whatever it is touching, including tiles.

When the henna powder is mixed with water, it releases what is called lawsone, which is the actual dye molecule that colors the hair. The temperature of the water you use will affect how long it will take for the henna powder to release the dye.

When you use freshly boiled water, it will take about 15 minutes for the lawsone to be released. If you use cold water, then it will take about two hours to do so. To get the best lawsone dye release, it is recommended that you only use plain water when mixing your henna powder.

You can wait until the henna paste becomes cold to apply it. But the warmer it is, the faster the color will activate in your hair. It’s totally up to you and your preference, though. And you have the option to warm up any cold henna in the microwave for a few seconds if you want to heat it again.

You can wait until the henna paste becomes cold to apply it. But the warmer it is, the faster the color will activate in your hair.

Ideally, you should work the henna paste through your hair in a dry shower, especially if you have longer locks. If you do it this way, it will be easier to wash away any mess you make while the henna is processing in your hair.

You may find the muddy paste a bit awkward to apply to your hair, but make sure that you coat each strand by applying it in sections, starting from back to front.

Also, you need to be aware that the henna will stain your skin (it’s famous for those beautiful long-lasting tattoo-like designs), as well as any clothing or towels, that the paste might drip on.

And believe us when we say you will experience some dripping, especially if it’s your first time using henna and you’re not used to how it works.

Believe us when we say you will experience some dripping, especially if it’s your first time using henna and you’re not used to how it works.

Therefore, you will want to immediately wipe away any drips that land on your skin with an old towel. So, make sure that you have a couple of old towels to hand that you don’t mind getting stained. Alternatively, you can have a fresh roll of paper towels available to clear up any messy spills.

After you’ve applied the henna throughout your hair, you’ll need to put your hair up in a shower cap. Applying some plastic wrap around your head a few times will also do the job, especially if you don’t have a spare shower cap available.

Following this step will not only stop the henna from dripping from your hair but will also keep the paste warm, which makes it more effective in dyeing your locks.

After about two hours, you can then rinse your hair with water to reveal the stunning results, making sure you get all the paste out.


Should You Apply Henna On Wet Or Dry Hair?

You may now be wondering whether you should apply your henna after you’ve shampooed it, or when it’s still dry. Well, this is a question that comes up whenever someone uses henna for the first time: should you use it on wet or dry hair?

Whether or not you apply the henna paste on your hair when it’s wet or when it’s dry doesn’t matter.

The choice you make all comes down to your personal preference. The temperature and moisture content of your hair has nothing to do with the way you apply the henna.


Keeping It Red

Now that your hair has been colored with henna, you’ll be pleased to know that it won’t require the same level of maintenance as it would with other permanent hair dyes. However, there are still a few tips to consider to keep your hair in the best condition.

1. Limit Washing

For starters, you should try and limit how often you wash your hair. If you’re used to washing it every day, for example, try doing it on alternate days instead. And when you do wash your hair, make sure that you don’t use hot water and that your shampoo is sulfate free, which will keep the color more vibrant.

2. Use a Henna-Enhancing Shampoo

When it comes to choosing a shampoo, our recommendation is Mill Creek Botanicals Henna Enhancing Formula Shampoo .It contains a pure blend of panthenol, keratin, and chamomile to naturally condition and strengthen your hair, as well as accent its hidden highlights and tones.

Mill Creek Henna Shampoo(Natural & Organic) - 16 fl. oz. (473ml)
  • With Panthenol, Keratin and Chamomile
  • Helps build stronger, healthier looking...
  • Does not impart color so it can be used...
  • Free of: Parabens, Synthetic Fragrances,...
  • Free of PARABENS, SLS/SLES, ARTIFICIAL...

And not only will it help to build stronger, healthier, and shinier-looking hair while enhancing its color, this shampoo doesn’t contain parabens or synthetic fragrances, and it’s sulfate free.

3. Keep it Cool

It’s always a good idea to turn the temperature in the shower down a bit for hair washing. Wash your hair with lukewarm water (or even cool water), as shampooing with hot water will make the color fade faster.

4. Stay Out of the Pool!

Another thing you’ll need to do is avoid swimming in pools with chlorinated water. It is impossible to predict how your hair color will react to the harsh chemicals used to keep the water sterilized.

Swimming in salt water won’t cause the same problem, although you should wait at least two days before doing so. Any dye that runs off may also affect aquatic life.

Avoid swimming in pools with chlorinated water. It is impossible to predict how your hair color will react to the harsh chemicals used to keep the water sterilized.

5. Careful of the Sun

The last thing to consider is that you should wear a hat whenever you’re out in the sun (why aren’t you doing this anyway?). This is because the sun’s UV rays will fade your henna color.


Accentuate The Positive

Now that you know how to henna hair, you can enjoy the vibrant color that henna can give your locks, safe in the knowledge that it is also keeping your hair in good condition.

Of course, you will need to touch up your roots every six to eight weeks to keep your hair looking its best. But with regular application, you can prevent premature breakage, eliminate dandruff, and benefit from a whole host of other natural properties that will leave your hair in optimum health.

Written by Kayla Young

What Shoes To Wear With A Maxi Dress

How to Dry Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light