How to Dye Hair with Henna

Using henna to dye your hair is no small feat. It can be messy and time consuming, but it’s a natural, plant-based method of applying dye to your hair. You should plan to spend at least a week of prep and application time—although it may take less time than that. So if you’re considering using henna on your hair, here are the steps you’ll need to take.

Preparing the Henna Mixture

All you need to do is add the henna to boiling water. Applying an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar helps the dye to be released faster. Don’t use anything metal when preparing your henna—use glass or plastic.

Once you mix it together, it will turn into a paste with the consistency of yogurt. At this point, let it sit overnight to allow all of the dye to be released.

Test the Color 

This is a crucial step. Not only will it allow you to see if you like the color in your hair, but it will also tell you how long you’ll need to leave the henna on your hair. The best way to test the color is to perform a strand test, which means harvesting hair from your hairbrush and placing it in the henna mix. Leave the strands of hair in for as long as you plan on leaving the henna in your hair. It will take a few days before you’ll see the final results of your strand test.

Apply Henna to Your Hair

If you’re satisfied with the results of your strand test, it’s time to apply the henna to your hair. Wear rubber gloves or else you’ll stain your hands. Apply a cream or oil to the skin around your hairline to prevent the henna from coloring your skin. Wear old clothes or a bathrobe that you don’t mind staining. Start applying henna on your roots, and then move to the rest of your hair. Make sure to get it over every part of your hair without missing any.

Wrap your hair in plastic when finished. Wrapping a warm towel around your head can also hasten the process and provide more vivid results. Leave the henna in your hair for 20 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the results of your strand test.

Rinse Out the Henna

Shower and rinse your hair out with warm water. Don’t use shampoo to rinse out your hair and for at least 24 hours. Once all the henna has been rinsed off, condition your hair. It will take 1 or 2 days for your hair’s final color to start to show. Your strand test will have given you a good idea of how long the process takes. Applying an oil to your hair overnight can help to darken it. Otherwise, you can treat your hair with henna several times to get a darker shade.


Your new hair color should last 2 to 3 months. For the best results, you should repeat this process every 1 to 2 months.


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