How to Apply Henna on Hair

I love coloring my hair. Love it. Like if I am in a bad mood or feeling a little bored, finding a new color for my hair brighten my whole day, even if I don’t end up following through. Over the past 22 years, my hair has been so many shades of red, brown, and blonde that I can’t even tell you which was my favorite. Each shade requires that I alter my makeup a bit as well as what colors of clothes that I wear; resulting in me feeling like a whole new person! It’s magic and much less expensive than a mid- life crisis.

As henna develops, hair will look more red. This is 3 days after my application.

As henna develops, hair will look more red. This is 3 days after my application.

Now although I prefer the comfort of my own home in which to transform from a dark haired beauty to a blonde haired cutie, I do have the advantage of having family members who are actually trained to do hair, so many times I have utilized their expertise and left the guesswork and stress to their capable hands. That being said, there are times in life when blocking out a 3 hour chunk of time to visit the salon is not feasible. In my life, this happens approximately every 3 years when I have a new baby. Back in March (2019) was one such time. We were just a few weeks out from a big surprise party for my mom, and my hair (and spirits) needed a little pick- me -up. Now, one thing about me; I play baby kangaroo with my new babies and have them attached to me in a baby carrier until they no longer want to be there. As you can imagine, this is very inconvenient when it comes to coloring my hair (and washing dishes, but this isn’t a post about washing dishes).

As it so happened, I had been intending on trying out henna for my hair for years. Always held back by the belief that once you go henna, you can’t go back to salon color, I had never taken the plunge. The timing seemed just right to give it a go. As I researched, I determined that I did not want to do straight henna, but rather some combination of henna and indigo. Henna powder is yellow in color and will turn hair red. Indigo is green in color and will turn hair a yucky greenish color unless combined with henna, in which case, the resulting color will be a shade of brown or red brown depending on the ratio of henna: indigo.

When looking for a brand of henna and indigo to use, my tip is to find ones that do not use any other ingredients; no fragrance, no oils, no weird stuff. I used Poofy Organics for both the henna and indigo powders. I decided that I’d like to go for a brownish red color, and since my hair was previously colored a dark brown, I used more henna than indigo. This brings up the question of whether henna can be used over previously colored hair. In my experience, yes. Don’t let me forget to address the question of whether one can use salon color over henna. I’ll get to that later.

henna before and after.jpg

This amount of product will cover hair that is below shoulder length.

1/2 cup henna

3/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup water

Mix together in glass bowl. Consistency should be like thick yogurt.

Let sit overnight or for 6-12 hours,

Then mix together:

1/4 cup indigo + 1/3 -1/2 cup water

Combine the indigo solution with the henna solution.

Applied henna/indigo

Applied henna/indigo

Application Instructions:

  1. Divide hair into 4 sections; down the middle and from ear to ear, holding in place with clips or hair bands.

  2. Beginning with hairline, apply henna using a hair color applicator brush

  3. After applying along the hairline, apply color section by section, beginning with top 2 sections.

  4. Using a comb end, divide each section into smaller sections and apply henna on top and underside of roots out to about 3 inches

  5. Apply to remainder of hair and ends

  6. Wrap head in Saran Wrap or shower cap

  7. Allow to sit on head overnight or for 8 hours

  8. Rinse

Okay, so now to address the burning question; what if you no longer wish to use henna? Are you really stuck forever in an infinite henna loop with your options limited to either growing out your roots for 5 years or shaving your head? In my experience, no. Always one to challenge the rules and never one to accept ‘no’ for an answer, I took on the henna to salon color debate and asked my niece to lift out the henna. Using only bleach and 30 volume developer, my hair lifted quite nicely. No burnt or broken ends; no chunks falling out. Now obviously I can’t guarantee this will work for everyone, but since you asked…..

Henna to blonde in 40 minutes

Henna to blonde in 40 minutes