How to Correct the Most Common Henna Hair Dye Mistake

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Henna is a natural, safe and non-toxic way to colour your hair, but it’s not always as easy a process as traditional box dyes. 

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our expert tips to correct the most common Henna Hair Colour mistakes, so you can enjoy your colour, comfortable with the effect you’ve created.

MISTAKE:  YOUR COLOUR RESULT IS FAR TOO BRIGHT

There are a few reasons your henna result might initially look a little too vibrant.

1:  Settling time: If you’re new to using Henna to colour your hair, you might not know that it needs time to oxidise. Over a period of about two days, it will get darker, setting at about 48-72 hours after application. 

To Fix This: Firstly, make sure you do a strand test.  Snip an inch long section of hair from the back of your head and test it with your colour mix

2: Developing Time: It may also be too bright if you haven’t left the mix on your hair for long enough.  Typically, the richer results require the longer end of the advised time on the instructions. For pure red Henna it can take around six to eight hours to achieve full colour.

To Fix This: Leave enough time to colour your hair. Henna gives a beautiful result but it does need longer to ‘stain’ the hair then commercial dyes, which use harmful chemicals to open the hair shaft and penetrate the strands. Again, a decent strand test should give you a clear idea on timings, and don’t leave your colour to the last minute.

3. Your Hair Texture:

If your hair is very light, very porous or has been pre-treated, then you may need to re-apply your colour to get the opacity you want.

To Fix This:  At the risk of repeating ourselves, do a – you guessed it – strand test.  This will show how many applications you need. If you have already applied your colour, just reapply it again.

4.  Your Mix Wasn’t Right:

Your colour result will be darker, or lighter depending on what you mix the Henna powder with.  If you want a more predictable result, you can use our pre-prepared Henna Herbal Colour kits, which are much easier to control.

In general, the more acidic the mix – so lemon juice, or vinegar -  the brighter the colour.  If you mix it with yoghurt, it’s likely to be closer to a red shade and if you want it to be darker, you can use Indigo or Katam.  If you wish to tone it down, try Amla powder.

To Fix This:  Once you’ve left the hair to oxidise, try a second application with a different mixing agent, or use a little indigo powder (again, check the results first).  

MISTAKE: I’VE LOST MY CURL

Lots of people, especially those with 4c hair, which is naturally very porous, see a loosening of their curls when they use henna.  It's not guaranteed that this will happen to everyone, but it can be a worry.

To Fix This:  This is an easy fix – simply use some Amla powder.  We like it best when it’s mixed with warm (not hot) organic coconut oil and heated until it goes brown, then combed through the hair and massaged into the scalp for an hour.  It’s also relaxing and soothing for the scalp and will leave you with a beautiful shine.  

MISTAKE: MY HAIR FEELS DRY

Some people find that Henna can leave their ends feeling a little dry.

How to fix this: this will usually settle down after a day when the scalp replenishes its own scalp oils, lost through the dying and rinsing process. 

However, in the interim and to save the Henna dripping, you can apply a light hair oil prior to dying.  Just remember that your colour is likely to be less intense if you do this as it can’t stain the hair as easily.

Also make sure you rinse the henna out really thoroughly, for as long as you can, otherwise the hair may have residue which can feel a little coated and gritty

MISTAKE: MY HAIR LOOKS PATCHY, OR ISN’T STAINING

If you apply red Henna correctly, it should be even and fairly opaque but there are some reasons why it may not ‘take’.

1.       You need to let the colour ‘sit’:  Before applying the mix to you hair, it needs time to release the colour into the mix.

How to fix this: Leave it to sit for at least half an hour.  Many people cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight to ensure it’s completely ready to go.

2.       Your mix wasn’t thick enough:  Your henna should be thick enough to cover each strand thoroughly, and liquid enough to go through your hair easily.  If your result isn’t even, it suggests your mix may have been too liquid.

How to fix this:  Remix your henna, adding your liquid a tiny bit at a time to get to a thicker consistency.

3.        Your hair wasn’t clean when you started: If your hair isn’t clean, or has residue from styling products it could affect the end result.

How to fix this:  Wash your hair gently first. If you’re a no poo method follower, soap nuts are a great option for this.  You could also try Organic Skikakai Powder to clarify and clean. 

4.       You missed areas:  If your hair is very long or thick, it can be hard to get to every strand.  You need to partition your hair.  Start at the top and divide it down the middle and then again across the top from ear to ear, so you have four sections.

Clip these up, then take out bits of the hair and apply colour thoroughly from root to tip.

 

MISTAKE: MY SCALP, EARS OR HANDS ARE STAINED:

Henna is a permanent dye and can be very difficult to get off if you get it on your skin.

How to fix this:

This is a relatively easy fix.

Simply apply a barrier cream to your exposed areas - for an organic barrier cream, we recommend Odylique Ultra Rich balm which is available in small pots here and is perfect for protecting your skin.  

Also make sure you’re wearing gloves. They don’t have to be latex disposables; you can use gardening gloves or kitchen gloves.  A small hairdressers brush to apply your mix can be helpful and, as already mentioned, make sure it is thick enough. 

Wrap the hair in an old towel when you let it sit, and if you do get drips remove it with lemon juice and sugar mixed into a paste immediately.

Learn more about our Henna Hair Dye here >