If you’ve always wanted to know how to mix henna for hair, try our step-by-step guide.
What to know before you prepare your henna mix for hair
Henna is a completely natural ingredient, which means it will blend in with your natural or dyed tones. That means it’s not an exact science – there are many factors that will affect the final colour, including any pre-existing dye, the amounts you use when you mix, and your current colour.
For example, grey hair makes dyeing with henna easier. This is because grey hair is translucent, which gives the henna an easier base to attach to. This means you can expect a result that’s more representative of the colour in the mixing bowl.
How to prepare henna for hair
If you have sensitive skin or are susceptible to allergies, you may wish to proceed cautiously. You can try a patch test if you’re not sure. Generally, henna is hypoallergenic (which means it’s less likely to contain allergens) as it is completely natural, but everybody’s skin is different.
Before you even open the box, look at the ingredients list. Some high street products may be mixed with chemicals, which could also present allergens. Avoid products with PPD and parabens.
If you’re not sure, take a look at the henna powder. Is it a green or brown shade, and does it smell like a natural dried plant or grass? If it’s purple, black or has a synthetic odour, the chances are it contains nasty chemicals. Avoid!
How much henna should I use for my hair?
The amount of henna powder you use depends on your hair length. If you have a shorter style, aim for between 50 and 100g. If your hair is medium length, go for 100g, or 200g for long hair.
Remember to be patient. You can leave the mixture for two hours, but for best results and more intense shades, you should leave it in the mixing bowl for 12 hours.
Getting started with your henna mix for hair
To achieve the perfect colour, it all comes down to preparing the henna mix for hair.
- Start by soaking the henna powder in an iron container with coffee or tea-stained water. You need to have a paste-like consistency, so don’t add too much.
- The next day, add a dash of lemon juice, and the yoghurt or egg for extra nourishment. Make sure your hair is dry and free from products.
- Gently apply the paste to individual sections of hair, using a pastry brush or similar to cover every strand. Leave for a minimum of two hours – longer if you want a darker colour.
- Finally, rinse well with water, and do not wash your hair with a chemical shampoo. Instead, wait until the next day and wash your hair with an organic product. Try Eastern-inspired Ayurvedic shampoos, which do not cleanse the hair of its natural oils.
Choosing the right henna hair colour for you
To achieve that perfect colour, you’ll need to mix henna powder with a few natural ingredients as listed above. Generally speaking, you can expect to achieve one of the following shades:
- Varying shades of brown
Dyeing your hair black
Here you need to choose a henna powder that specifically contains indigo powder too. Then, you can follow the same steps as for brown and red/burgundy shades, as outlined below.
Dyeing your hair red or brown
Remember – the longer you leave the colour in, the deeper and richer the result. Start by gathering the following ingredients. You’ll need to prepare a day in advance, as follows:
- Henna powder (with indigo for black hair)
- Coffee or tea (optional – for redder tones)
- Lemon juice
- Yoghurt or one egg for optional extra conditioning.
What about blonde henna hair dye?
Because henna does not bleach the hair, it’s difficult to find lighter henna hair dye colours. However, you can emphasise natural or dyed blonde tones with highlights of browns and reds – every result is different.
The good news is, whether you’re darkening or using henna hair dye for grey hair, you’ll also benefit from organic nourishment.
Remember – the shade you eventually achieve with henna hair dye comes down to two factors:
- Choosing natural henna or henna with indigo powder (black henna for hair)
- How long you leave the powder in.
Always start with a skin test to check for allergies. 48 hours before you dye, add a little of the mixture onto your inner elbow or behind your ear. If there are no reactions within two days, you’re good to go.
Matching your skin tone
Ready to get experimental with henna? Generally, you should choose colours based on ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ skin tones. Look at your wrist for inspiration. If your veins are blue or purple, you’re ‘cool toned’ – which works well with dark browns and jet-black shades.
If you have warmer tones, such as green-looking veins, you can go for more caramel, honey and auburn shades.
Henna mix for hair – a few tips from the experts
While the ingredients list below give you a range of choices for all shades, you can also add a few optional extras. For example:
- While henna cannot guarantee blonde, you can enhance ‘strawberry blonde’ with vinegar or a dash of red wine
- Give red shades a more vibrant look by adding a splash of brandy
- If you’re not a fan of unperfumed hair dyes, add some essential oils, rosewater or cloves.
No time to do it yourself?
If you’re cautious about mixing colour, try our pre-made henna powders, available in browns, burgundy, strawberry blonde and more.