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The Essential Guide for Dyeing Hair with Henna Hair Color

4 mins

Radhika Bhatia

Henna hair color has emerged as a great way to naturally color your hair without any chemical damage. In this article, we explore how henna works on your hair while providing some tips on making the hair color vibrancy last longer.

Dyeing hair with henna has become all the rage these days. However, using henna as a hair dye is far from a recent phenomenon. This is something that has been practiced in various South Asian and Middle Eastern countries since ancient times. The art of using indigo or henna as a plant-based natural hair dye is a centuries-old practice in these regions.

If you're wondering why it's catching up in the world again, it's because henna does more for your hair than just dyeing it. It is widely known that henna helps in strengthening, conditioning, and nourishing your strands from deep within. 

If you're thinking of using henna for your hair or wondering how long the color will last, then this guide is for you. We'll tell you everything you need to know about henna, from its benefits to aftercare tips. So, let's jump right into it.

Table of Contents:

  • What is Henna?
  • Types of Henna
  • How to Use Henna for Hair Dyeing?
  • How Long Does the Henna Hair Color Last?
  • Hair Care Tips After Using Henna
  • Wash your hair with the right products
  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Use a nourishing hair mask
  • Hair protection while swimming

What is Henna?

Mehndi, another name for henna in the Middle East and South Asia, is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhikā. It was mostly used for body art in these regions but also has become quite a popular method of hair dyeing.

Before the invention of box hair dyes, this was the only method used for coloring hair in Egypt and India. When applied to hair, henna enhances the natural auburn and brown tones of the hair while also giving a glossy and softening sheen to the hair strands.

brown hair

Henna is obtained from the Lawsonia inermis, specifically the leaves of the henna plant. This plant is usually found in the Mediterranean region; however, it can also be found in semi-arid and tropical regions of the world these days. 

The leaves of this plant are ground into powdered form, which is combined with water to make a paste. This is then applied to the hair. Henna contains a molecule that bonds to the proteins of the hair. It is also known to contain antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

There are various traditional recipes for making henna hair dye in South Asian countries. Some people even like to add coffee and tea (tannin-containing liquids) to enhance the staining potential of the henna hair dye. Besides covering the greys, this natural hair dye also strengthens the hair from deep within.

Types of Henna

There are basically three varieties of Henna that you can use:

  • Natural Henna

This is the pure form of henna that stains the hair with a rich brown color. If you apply natural henna to your hair, the hair color will darken with time. If you want a henna hair dyeing solution without any chemicals, then natural henna is the right choice for you.

hair coloring
  • Neutral Henna

This henna is obtained from a plant known as Senna Italica. As is evident from its name, it doesn't impart any color to the hair. If you want to use henna to condition your hair without dyeing it, then this is the best choice.

  • Black Henna

This type of henna is made from indigo, and it often contains chemicals and dyes. People often go with this if they don't like the red tint that comes with natural henna. However, black henna with chemicals can be harmful to the hair, so it's better to use pure indigo powder if you're interested in dyeing your hair black naturally.

How to Use Henna for Hair Dyeing?

When water is added to henna, a tannic substance known as lawsone becomes activated. This then binds to the hair protein (keratin) to stain the hair strands with a rich reddish-brown color. To achieve a darker shade, you can also mix henna with tea and 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon. 

Essential oils like tea tree and eucalyptus can also help in setting the dye better in your hair.

Now that you know how it works, let's go through the application process:

  1. Apply henna on towel-dried, clean hair.
  2. Wrap the hair in plastic to prevent hair from drying out.
  3. Leave the henna in the hair for 1 to 3 hours.
  4. Gently rinse out the henna from your hair. 

How Long Does the Henna Hair Color Last?

Henna is a permanent hair color, so the question of the color getting washed off doesn't arise here. However, the vibrancy of the color can diminish after some time, which is why reapplication is essential. 

After you've applied henna to your hair, the hair color from the henna will remain vivid and rich for four to six weeks. As you keep applying henna to your hair, the color will keep building, which will give your hair a more multidimensional look. So, hair dyeing with henna is essentially a continuous process.

henna hair color, naturally coloring hair

The vibrancy of the henna hair dye depends on certain factors, such as:

  • How long was the mixture left on the hair?
  • If there was any liquid used during the mixing process?
  • How was the mixture washed from the hair?

If you apply henna correctly on your hair and keep up with some essential haircare practices, you'll find that the henna hair color will remain constant.

Hair Care Tips After Using Henna

Henna is an excellent chemical-free and natural way to dye your hair; however, it can also leave your hair dry. If you're using black henna, which comes with some chemical dyes added to it, it can affect your hair texture adversely too. Here are some haircare tips to follow after henna application:

  • Wash your hair with the right products

When washing your hair after henna application, it's best to use a sulfate-free shampoo to clarify your hair. This is because shampoos containing sulfates can fade the vibrancy of the hair color.

Also, henna can sometimes make your hair dry, so using sulfate-containing products can make it even drier and coarse. The same goes for conditioners too. The right conditioners can help in enhancing the natural sheen of your henna-dyed hair while keeping it moisturized.

It's a good idea to pick shampoos and conditioners made from natural ingredients. Here are some of our recommendations:

green tea shampoo and conditioner
  • Avoid sun exposure

UV light can damage the cuticle of your hair, which is the part henna molecules attach themselves to during the process of dyeing. If you want to protect your colored hair, it's best to avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

  • Use a nourishing hair mask

Even if you dye your hair with a natural product like henna, some of the natural moisture will be lost. A good hair mask can significantly improve the texture of your hair. You can consider using any of these hair masks which are made from plant-based derivates:

wow skin hair mask
  • Hair protection while swimming

The chlorine, which is usually added to pool water to keep it clean, is not good for your hair in general. If you've applied henna to your hair, the pool water can also affect the hair color vibrancy. It's best to use a product like Wow Skin Science Moroccan Argan Hair Oil to protect the hair strands from chlorine damage.

moroccan argan oil, what are benefits of argan oil for hair

Henna is a great way alternative to box hair dyes, which are often laden with chemicals. It not only helps in coloring your hair but can also provide nourishment to your hair from deep within. 

The benefits of henna are numerous; it makes your hair vibrant, smooth, silky, and nourished at the same time. If you follow the tips provided in this article, your henna hair dye will last on your hair longer too. Use it yourself, and experience the benefits of henna.

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Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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