Monday, March 11, 2013

Henna for your Hair!

The first recipe I want to post about is my henna recipe. I have been using henna to naturally dye and strengthen my hair for years and I LOVE it. I've completely abandoned commercial dyes.

Before I give you the recipe though, I few words about henna and why it's amazing:

1) Henna is an all natural hair dye and therefore it will not damage your skin or hair and it is 100% nature-friendly.

2) Henna doesn't just dye your hair, it makes your hair super-hair! Henna makes hair softer, silkier, shinier, and stronger.

3) If you are sick of having to re-do your dye then henna is a nice change! Henna is completely permanent and only fades slightly through sun and chlorine exposure.

4) The color is VERY rich and looks all natural. A lot of auburn hair dyes are obviously fake, but henna makes your hair look naturally red/burgundy. Yay!

That being said, I also feel like I should warn you of the few (potential) cons of henna:

1) Henna is FOREVER. Not only does the color more or less never fade, but it is also near impossible to dye over or bleach out. You can dye over it a little, but the chemical dyes fade away much faster on henna colored hair. So if you pick henna, make sure you can live with auburn until your hair grows out.

2) Henna is VERY messy. I personally find that to be fun, but then again I like crazy things like that. Henna is not only messy to mix up and apply, but you also have to leave this poop-esque mixture on your head for a while.

3) Henna can dye your skin for a short period. Make sure you dye your hair with henna well before any big events. Your scalp and hairline will be an odd orange color for a day or two.

4) Henna takes time. It's worth it! But it is a 5 - 6 hour commitment. I recommend doing this on a weekend if you can.


Let's begin the actual instructions now! :-)

TOOLS - What you need to mix and apply your henna!
- Large mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Steel baking pan
- Rubber gloves
- LOTS of plastic wrap
- Paper towels
- Petroleum jelly or some kind of similar product
- Vinegar hair rinse: 50/50 mix of vinegar (any type is fine) and water

THE MIX - What you're mixing together to put on your head

- 100% PURE henna powder (NEVER use premixed kits). My hair requires about 200 grams of henna powder. My hair is rather thick and hits my upper middle back. (Photo)

This is the henna that I've used for the past 8 years. I've tried other types and brands but this one is still my favorite! I call it "zeppelin-boob-girl henna" because really, who has boobs like that chick?? They look like the front ends of zeppelins...


* No Indian stores in your area? Online shopping!

- OJ, Lemon juice, Vinegar, or Grapefruit juice (or any combination thereof.) I sometimes use red wine too!
- (OPTIONAL) Essential oil: tea tree or eucalyptus is best. For overall hair and scalp wellness.
- (OPTIONAL) Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, etc. For the smell! - Be careful though because some spices can tint the color of your henna!
- (OPTIONAL) Honey. A natural hair conditioner

* NEVER EVER EVER put oils in your henna mix! (Essential oils not being 'real' oils). Oil seems like a good idea but it creates a barrier over your hair that the dyes from the henna have difficulties penetrating and thus makes the colors dull.

STEP 1 - Mix the henna
Put the henna powder into your mixing bowl and add any spices you wish to add. Begin adding your acidic liquids (juices and/or vinegar.) Mix together until the goo is about as thick as cake batter or plain yogurt. If it's TOO thick it will be impossible to get into your hair. Too thin and it will run down your scalp, onto your face and back, and be an awful mess! Add a little honey and some essential oils IF desired. For every 100 grams of henna I would add 1 - 2 tbsp of honey and 6 - 8 drops of the essential oil.

STEP 2 - Getting the dye to release
Your henna is now mixed up and smelling awful. It should be an olive-brown color. If you were to try and use this mixture as-is then you won't get much of a result. You have to get the dye in the henna to release before you can use it for dying hair and skin. You have two options for this:

Option 1: Let the henna mixture sit out (covered in plastic) at room temperature for about 12 hours.

Option 2: (I prefer this one!) Put the mixture in your baking pan and put it in the oven on LOW (150 - 170 F) for about an hour.

You will know that the dye has released when the mixture starts to look more brown than green. If it looks like chocolate cake batter (with a tint of green) then you're good to go!

STEP 3 - Prepping your hair for the henna
If you're using Option 1 for the dye release, then begin this process about 1hr to 30min before you apply your henna. If you are using Option 2, which is that I use, then do this while your henna is warming in the oven.

Wash your hair with shampoo as you normally would but do NOT use conditioner. Conditioner creates a layer over your hair so no conditioner means that the henna can dye your hair more easily. After you have shampooed, use your vinegar rinse. Pour the rinse all over your hair and massage it in so that all parts of your hair is covered. Let it sit for about 5 mins and then rinse it out. Why a vinegar rinse? Vinegar rinses help strip your hair of mineral and chemical build up. So the aftermath of any hair products (including conditioner) you use will be stripped away. This rinse will also help strip mineral build up. I live in an area that has hard water, so over time the minerals can build up on my hair. The vinegar strips the hair and prepares it for the dying process.

STEP 4 - Applying the henna
Doing this while your hair is still wet will make your life way easier, especially if you have long and thick hair. Before you apply henna, put your petroleum jelly on your ears and on your forehead right along your hairline. You may also want to put some at your hairline on your neck. Henna will ooze a little and if you do not use this protection then this excess henna can stain your hairline for a few days, which tends to draw confused looks. Also, unless you want orange hands and PERMANENTLY orange nails, be sure to put on your rubber gloves!!

If you have hair clips then you may want to clip up the upper layers of your hair and apply the henna is stages. This ensures thorough coverage. Apply the henna as best you can and massage it into the scalp to get all those roots. Don't be afraid to get henna on your scalp. The orange coloration will not last more than a few days.

STEP 5 - Wrapping your henna-hair all up
Here comes the waiting game. You need to let the henna sit on your hair for 3 - 4 hours. You could just let it sit for 2 - 3 but I really recommend longer. Once henna dries and cracks, the dying process ends. So you have to make sure the beautiful brown goo on your hair stays moist. Here's where the plastic wrap comes into play. Wrap your hair in plastic wrap as well as you can. I tend to blob all my hair on top of my head like a poo-covered bee-hive hairstyle just because it's easier to manage that way. Once your hair is wrapped up, wipe off any henna that is oozing around your hair line, your face, your neck, and your ears.

STEP 6 - Wait 3 - 4 hours
Enough said. :-P I just browse Pinterest, Facebook, and online shopping sites to kill time. Watching a movie or TV is a great idea too though if you're a movie/TV person.

STEP 7 - Washing it all out
Finally! You've made it to the last stage! Now it's time to rinse it all out. If you have medium to long hair then you should probably get in the tub and bend your head under the faucet so the initial rinse can be focused and all the black gunk can go down the drain easily. After you've gotten the majority out, turn on the shower and rinse away! I would wait to shampoo or condition your hair for about 24 hours to allow the dye to really set in. Rinse until the water is a light brown-orange. You won't be able to get clear water, so the 'rinse-until-clear' motto doesn't apply here.

STEP 8 - You're DONE!
Now you can enjoy your henna colored hair!! Avoid resting your wet hair on anything white or lightly colored for the first few days and be prepared to have your hair smell of henna and earth for about a week. (I love the smell personally. Others, not so much.) You can treat your hair just as you always have only now you should be able to tell that not only does it have a rich and beautiful auburn tint to it, but it's also stronger, shinier, smoother, softer, and (if you have curls) more relaxed. If the color isn't a deep and rich as you'd like, henna again after a month or so! The more you henna, the more rich the color will become! :-) Enjoy!!

For your reference - three of my favorite sites:

Get other recipes for henna mix, ask Qs on the forums, and read about other all natural haircare!


  1. Ah! This is an old post but an awesome one! How light is your natural hair? That red is so vibrant!

  2. Im about to do this entire process. Thank you so much for the detailed and informative instructions! My hair was bleached twice and is extreme damaged and brittle. Im hoping this helps. You have beautiful hair ! Thanks again. ;)

  3. Thanks for this informative article. Just got my 100% pure henna powder in the mail. Will try it over the weekend with your recipe. I'm excited :)

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  5. Thank you for sharing so much information in clear and easy to follow steps.