How to get Fire Engine Red Hair with Henna

Monday, 7 March 2022

Of all the colour transformations possible with Henna, bright, fire engine red, a colour reminiscent of the brightest Tulips, is our most favourite.

fire engine red hair with henna

Bold, bright and a real statement, the good news is, that unlike with Box dyes, Henna is a natural, non-damaging way to get a bright red shade.

PRO NOTE:  It’s not possible to lighten hair with Henna – if your hair is very dark, you may need a pre-lightener and you shouldn’t use Henna after bleach, so speak to your hairdresser first.

Pre-prepping:

Henna gets brighter with every application, and if you want a very bright look like this,

you’ll need more than one go to get the richness.  Pre-pigment with one or two coats of standard Henna.

To pre-pigment: Simply (after strand testing) colour your hair with a standard henna mix, soaked overnight in water and left on the scalp for up to three hours - depending on how light your hair is.

The Tulip Red Hair Recipe:

The mix for fire engine red involves using a magic ingredient to get the brightness, Beetroot Juice.

Beetroot comes from the species Beta Vulgaris. It’s ideal for use on hair, as it’s a wonderful source of dietary fibers, vitamins (B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, C), minerals (potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorous, selenium), choline, and many other essential nutrients, which make it a true superfood for us.

The Victorians first discovered its potential as a natural hair stain.

It’s effective due to the Betalains in the veg, which are a class of red and yellow indole-derived pigments. The ones we use for hair dye are betacyanins, which are reddish to violet shades. By themselves, they’ll only give your hair a hint of colour, but when mixed with Henna the effect is much more intense

Using Henna with beet juice is a little different. To prepare the mix:

  1. Peel your beets and rinse in vinegar to clean off any soil and residue.  Chop and juice in a juicer or blender

  2. Mix 1-part beet juice to 3 parts henna powder, and stir until it forms a smooth, thick paste.  If you want a super bright shade, you can also add a squeeze of lemon juice for acid balance. Let it sit for 8 to 12 hours (we recommend overnight in the fridge). Remember not to use stainless steel or metal with henna. Make sure to use glass, bamboo or wood supplies, so as not to corrupt the shade. 

  3. Apply a natural barrier cream to the front of the scalp, ears and nape of neck, to protect from staining.

  4. APPLY IMMEDIATELY using a natural fibre brush, in sections, and wear gloves to avoid getting colour on your fingers.

  5. Leave on for the desired amount of time (see below), rinse well and allow to dry.

How long to leave the beetroot henna dye on for?

It’s vital to do a strand test to see how long your hair needs to go the colour you want and to get the blend right.  Our guide to ‘Things that can affect the result of your henna hair dye’ should help you.

After you’ve left the colour on for your amount of time (usually up to six hours for deeper shades), leave your strand test for two days to allow the colour to fully develop.  If it’s not quite opaque enough, re apply for a second covering.

If your hair is very grey, it will be a paler shade of red, with pinky, violet tones.

For more advice on colouring your hair with organic henna, ask our hair colour experts now>