Henna Hair Dye 101

Henna Hair Dye – How & Why I Tried It

I FINALLY tried henna hair dye & I’m never looking back!
(& check out my full video below)

When we decided to start trying for a baby, I stopped dying my hair.  By that point I had already been eating clean and making most of my body care products but I’d been ‘enhancing’ my reddish-blonde hair for over a decade.
Unfortunately, hair dye is one of the worst things you can put on your body, chemically speaking. It’s full of endocrine disruptors, eco-toxins, immunotoxins, organ and reproductive toxins…. You get the idea. Check out the EWG site to get the breakdown on what each ingredient of your favorite color does. Just a warning, it’s gross.

Red hair dye is even more awful than most because many red (and some black) dyes contain small amounts of LEAD to help develop the color – which is the last thing you want when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding!


Henna is a natural dye

From the henna tree (Lawsonia inermis), it soaks into hair and stains and strengthens it with no synthetic chemicals. It’s been used for thousands of years all over India and parts of Asia and Africa.

In it’s pure form it will dye hair a deep rich red / brown. You can find powders mixed with indigo and other plants that end up more brown to more maroon, all the way to jet black.

I was super scared of trying henna.  I’ve had the block of henna for 3 years.  Yep – just couldn’t do it.  You can’t use regular dye over henna and it doesn’t cover like chemical dyes, it stains, so if your hair is different shades to start (like if you have highlights or lots of gray) it will still be different shades after.  So while me hair hasn’t had any dye in it in nearly 3 years I was so scared to do it. 

But I really miss my red hair.  So I figured if I look stupid, it’s just hair and it will grow out.

Why I Used Lush Henna

Caca Rouge Henna(They didn’t pay me & have never even heard of me)
Henna is COMPLICATED. Because it’s all-natural, there are no stabilizers, no conditioners, no developers – so you have to do it all. Powdered henna needs an acid to help it develop and whether to let it cool or not, dry or not and how long to let it set all change the outcome.

Lush Henna is a pre-mixed brick of dye, acid, cocoa butter and oils. It’s just the easiest way to start and I didn’t want to mess up the first time!

The Process

Chop Up the BlockHenna Lush Caca Rouge

This is only for Lush. Other henna brands typically come in a fine powder form

Some bloggers will tell you just to cut it into a few pieces and let it melt when you add water but that will take you foreverrrr. So just grate it.


Add Hot Water

Add water slowly until the henna is completely dissolved.
You want a thin brownie batter consistency.
Mine really was not wet enough to start and it dried too fast in the back.  You want it to almost drip off your head.

Appling Henna

We used cardboard and towels on the floor & towels and coconut oil on me!
I did this at my parents house so there was plenty of room and extra hands to help.  Check out how excited I look in the before pic – like i said, I was nervous!


Wrap (or don’t)

Wrapping with a towel and/or plastic wrap will hold in the heat and keep it wet, making the final color more red.
If you are going for a more brunette finish, keep unwrapped or let it cool for an hour or so before wrapping up (it’s also less messy wrapped).
I did a layer of plastic wrap then the towel for 3 hours then let it cool for the last hour. Honestly I don’t know if this made a huge difference but I wanted bright red that wasn’t a neon red, so that was my compromise.


It should set for several hours at least.  I waited 4.
It’s heavy but it really didn’t bother me much.  I have seen people complain about it itching or being terribly uncomfortable.  I have a lot of hair and used a lot of henna, but I was fine.
I also went out to lunch like this (for my mother’s birthday). Yes,  I have no shame.

Rinse (and rinse and rinse and rinse)

Don’t shampoo. Instead, use a good organic conditioner or coconut oil to help remove the henna and wash it out. It won’t stain your shower at this point but it takes a while. I finished with ACV because henna loves acid and it seals the hair nicely.

The Results

I really like the color, although the nape of my neck area is a good deal darker than the rest.  That part we did first so it was dried and cooled before I wrapped my hair – oops.  It’s a pretty natural fade though, I’ll make sure not to do that next time.

A lot of people talk about how much stronger and healthier their hair feels.  Not to be a humbraggle but my hair was super strong before – it hasn’t seen a hairdryer in years – so I didn’t notice a huge difference.  It did make my hair super shiny.

Mostly I am just relieved to be a real redhead again (well you know what I mean).  I missed it, even if you can’t tell from my serious selfie face.  I feel stupid smiling in selfies.  I’ll work on that.

I will stick with henna in the future. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I was expecting & I love the color.  I don’t feel the need to branch out to a different kind of henna either.  Lush was easy and I don’t want to mess with the acid / color development science yet.

Check Out the My Second Time with Henna Below

Have you tried henna? Would you like to?
Comment below!


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