How to dye your hair with henna – the easy guide to organic hair color.

Evidence Based

Fact Checked

Are you looking for a way to color your hair without using harsh chemicals? Henna is an all-natural dye that has been used for centuries to create beautiful and vibrant colors without any of the harsh chemicals found in conventional hair dyes.

So if you’re looking for a safe and natural way to transform your look, keep reading this guide on how to dye your hair with henna!

Today, henna is becoming increasingly popular among trendsetters and fashionistas who want to experiment with unique shades of color while avoiding the damaging effects of chemical dyes. Here is your guide to dyeing your hair with henna – everything you need to know before you take the plunge!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to use henna hair dye step-by-step.

What you’ll need:

If you’re looking to rock a new hair color, you’ll need a few supplies in order to make it happen. Grab yourself:

  • A mixing bowl
  • An old towel (to protect your surfaces)
  • Gloves and a tinting brush – trust us, you don’t want to use your hands!
  • Your newly-purchased henna hair dye kit should come with instructions, but make sure to have additional towels and cotton swabs on hand – just in case.
  • Barrier cream
  • Patience!

Always do a patch test first to check for any allergies!

Step 1: Prepare the dye

It typically comes as a powder which you have to mix with water into a sticky paste before you can apply it to your hair. You can also use yoghurt!

Start by mixing one cup of warm water with one cup of powdered henna in a bowl until it forms a thick paste. Mix the powder with warm water until the paste becomes the consistency of mashed potatoes. This is so it can stay in your hair and not drip off.

Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight so that all the ingredients can properly infuse into each other. When ready, apply this mixture directly onto dry hair using an applicator brush or bottle applicator tip. Wear gloves while applying as henna can temporarily stain skin if left on too long!

Step 2: Shampoo your hair

Wash your hair with a good clarifying shampoo to remove all oils, grease and dirt from your hair strands.

DON’T CONDITION YOUR HAIR as it will provide a barrier to the dye.

Towel dry your hair. Add a little water to the mixture if it has dried, and get ready to apply it.

Step 3: Apply barrier cream

Watch out! It stains your skin and can be difficult to remove. So it’s a good idea to apply a barrier cream before you begin.

Use a petroleum jelly like Vaseline around your hair line, ears and nape of your neck.

Step 4: Apply the paste

Apply the paste-like mixture onto clean damp hair evenly throughout your head. Make sure to properly saturate your roots.

As we said previously, it’s good for your scalp but be careful around your hairline and parting as it will stain your skin.

Make sure every hair strand is covered from root to tip.

Step 5: Let it develop

Pop your hair in a shower cap and relax.

The solution time will need anywhere between 4 hours up until 8 hours depending on the desired depth of shade and vibrancy.

Keep checking on the color of your hair as time goes on. It’s safe to use so don’t worry about leaving it on for too long. It’s not possible!

It’s ready when you’re happy with the color. And remember it will be more vibrant when your hair is dry.

Step 5: Rinse your hair

Step into the shower and rinse your hair until the water runs clear.

You’ll need your gloves to work the paste through your hair and wash it out without staining your skin.

Use a good sulfate-free conditioner to seal the color in. You should feel the softness already!

Step 6: Style and admire!

Blow dry and style your hair as usual to see the final results.

Use a good heat protectant spray to lock in your color.

Congratulations! You have gorgeous hair!

Watch and learn: How to dye your hair with henna.

Here’s a great tutorial that shows you how to dye your hair black with henna and indigo powder, step-by-step.

What is henna hair dye?

Henna hair dye is a natural alternative to chemical-based dyes, sourced from the henna plant.

It has been used since way back when as an elegant form of body art in many parts of the world and is now becoming increasingly popular among people who are looking for a healthier, safer way to add color to their hair.

Unlike conventional hair dyes that can contain harsh ingredients which smell unpleasant and can cause damage over time, henna is a gentle product that feels and smells lovely.

It is also thought to condition hair, keeping it strong and healthy.

Check out the latest looks for ideas and inspiration.

henna hair color collection pinterest board
  • Save

10 benefits of dying your hair with henna

  1. Improved hair growth
  2. Stops hair falling out
  3. Deep conditioning
  4. Prevents dandruff
  5. Controls scalp itchiness
  6. Repairs split ends and smooths flyaways
  7. Makes hair soft and shiny
  8. Makes hair more manageable
  9. Good for dry hair
  10. Good for oily scalp

What is the best henna hair dye?

There are many organic natural henna hair dye products available to use at home. Here are our top picks. You can read more about each one in our henna hair dye reviews.

Best henna hair dyes at a glance.

Hair dyeLooks likeBest forBuy it now
100% Pure Henna Powder For Hair Dye

Natural-looking red hues on light hair.
Just Jaivik 100% Organic USDA Certified Henna Powder (Lawsonia Inermis) 

Dark and rich hues on medium to dark hair.
Reshma Beauty 30 Minute Henna Hair Color Natural Black

Black hues on all hair types.
H&C 100% Natural Organically Cultivated Henna Powder Specially For Hair Coloring

Gray coverage.
SURYA Brasil Henna Dark Brown Cream

Ready to use, dark chocolate brown hues.
It's Pure Organics Herbal Hair Colour Dark Brown

Bright auburn shades on light hair.

What about indigo?

You may have noticed that some people mix henna with an indigo powder.

It creates an awesome rich brown tone that looks great on darker hair colors – especially if you’re looking for a soft, natural look which isn’t too bold.

Like henna, indigo is generally regarded as a very safe dye to use. It’s also natural and has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world.

There are many different ways to mix these two dyes together – so you might need to try out a few before finding your favourite formula!

The basic concept is to add some water or another liquid (such as lemon juice) into the powder until you get a mixture that’s thick enough to paint on your scalp easily.   

As with anything, always patch test first!

Does henna cover gray hair?

Yes! It’s a type of hair dye that can cover grey hair, but you’ll need to do a few rounds of henna dyes.

The more you apply it, the stronger and longer-lasting the results will be. We recommend doing 3 or 4 rounds over about 8 weeks to get enough pigment that your grays will blend right in.

However, it won’t cover your gray hair 100% for long. It will gradually lighten and blend out some of the gray hairs you already have growing – leaving a more natural look.

If your grays are particularly stubborn, and you want more permanent results, then it might not be for you.

Can I use henna on hair extensions?

Natural hair extensions

Yes! You can use it just like you would to dye normal hair. Check with the manufacturer of your hair first just in case.

If you want a really smooth finish, it’s best to apply it to dry hair so you can clearly see where it’s going.

Synthetic hair extensions

No! The dye simply won’t stick to or penetrate the synthetic fibres and you may end up ruining your hair piece.

Far better to buy new hair extensions in the color your heart desires!

How long does henna last on your hair?

Henna lasts around 4-6 weeks, depending on your hair thickness and how many coats (or rounds) you manage to apply.

This is because it contains antioxidants that protect against damage from UV rays as well sunlight exposure.

It will fade eventually though – especially if you swim in a pool or the sea regularly as chlorine and salt water speeds up the fading process!

The dye lasts longest on clean, deep-conditioned locks and will begin fading after two weeks if you’re shampooing more than twice per week.

How do I care for my henna hair?

To maintain your new color as long as possible, try using shampoos and conditioners specifically designed for colored hair.

Also avoid washing your hair too often (once every three days should be enough), as frequent washing can strip away color molecules prematurely.

Make sure not to use too much heat when styling as this can also cause fading over time – air drying or blowdrying on low heat settings should do just fine! And always use a heat protection spray when you do.

Finally, remember that any each application builds upon previous ones which means your hair will get darker! If you’re going for a lighter shade, consider adding some warm water or lemon juice into your mix before applying again!

Parting words.

Dyeing your hair with henna is a fun way to switch up your style without having to worry about harsh chemicals or damaging effects.

Not only is it safe and easy to use but it also offers some great benefits like nourishment and protection for your hair – plus some seriously Instagrammable results too!

With glossy, natural, flowing and healthy locks, you’ll never look back.


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    • Save

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!