Do you feel young and energetic for your age? Do people ever say you look younger than you are? Yeah, me too. However, as a family inheritance, I have grey hairs since I was a teenager. Nothing that really bothered me, only a few scattered hairs here and there, but has I got older they also grew in number. I never really did much about them because chemically dyeing is damaging to our hair, it’s expensive and I really don’t have the patience to go to a hairstylist and spend hours on end there. So my solution, since I started going natural is using henna as a natural hair dye. Did you know you can achieve different colours with it?
If you’re curious about henna, don’t know much about it and would like to know more about its application in health and beauty you can read an article I wrote where I explain in length all about it. Henna truly is amazing, just to give an idea of its benefits here are some:
- It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
- Good in the treatment of skin eczema and burns
- Prevents dandruff and itchy scalp
- Eliminates head lice
- Provides UV protection
- Conditions hair
- Works as a protein treatment, filling holes in hair structure and strengthening it
- Improves moisture retention
- Good for high porosity hair
- Gives hair a nice shine
These are just a few advantages I can think of at the top of my head if you want to use henna in you hair care regimen. I initially started using it mainly to cover my grey hairs, but now I also use it as a protein treatment every 6 – 8 weeks. I love it because there are no chemicals involved. It not only colours my hair but it also strengthens it, conditions it, and gives it shine.
Why You May Dismiss It?
The only disadvantage to using henna in my perspective is how messy it can get. Be sure to wear gloves to avoid orange hand palms and be prepared to stain a few clothing items. Although this last one can actually turn out to be a good opportunity to “accidently” get rid of that outdated birthday blouse your auntie gave you last year (am just saying..).
While I may understand that some of you may prefer to seek similar results with a chemical dye or store bought products some of the complaints associated with the use of henna are due to bad information. It is common to hear testimonials of people who had their hair turn green, or some other crazy colour, or had a serious allergic reaction. The thing is unless you’re using BAQ (body art quality) henna you can never be sure it’s 100% natural with no other things mixed in. BAQ Henna is what you must buy always.
Commercial henna is very often mixed with other chemical compounds to be able to be sold as “blond Henna” for instance or because there are less scrupulous people out there. Be warned that henna will never dye your hair another colour other than red-orange. To get a lighter hair tone on dark hair, you need to bleach it. Here is a guide to henna’s natural dye colour on unpigmented hair. On dark hair, you can expect to see auburn or chestnuts highlights especially visible under sunlight.
If you’re afraid to have your hair turn orange or don’t want beautiful red highlights on your dark brown hair there is a way you can get darker hair tones. My hair is has a very dark brown colour and I’ve always dreamed of it being black-blue (not anymore, though. Don’t want to walk around looking like a Goth with the dark eye circles I have, I guess it’s passed my age now), anyway if you want something similar or within auburn or chestnut know that it’s totally possible to do it. Keep reading to see how you can mix some magic and grab your Free 10-page guide to help you at the end of this post.
What Can You Mix With Henna?
To get you those beautiful tones of auburn, chestnut or black-blue there are a few plant dyes you can mix with henna such as cassia and indigo. These plant herbs all have dye molecules in their leaves which can be use to dye hair.This dye is translucent on your hair, but when it binds to the keratin proteins on your hair and combine with your natural hair colour they will give different shades of brown or a coppery look, depending on what plant dyes and herbs you combine to make your hair dye.
And because henna will work better when an acidic liquid is mixed in, rather than just water, you can also use citrus fruits or juices to have some degree of control on the final hair colour you achieve. Shall we have a look at them?
If your hair is dark like mine you won’t notice any colour change just by using cassia alone unless, like me, you have grey hairs then you will notice a light golden wheat tone, similar to the picture shown bellow. However, it is a very good hair conditioner helping to smooth your hair, making it glossy and preventing any scalp conditions. Here’s a tip, using as a hair conditioning treatment.
You might be wondering why then mix cassia with henna if the dye is very faint or unnoticeable on dark hair. Well, the reason is that when mixed with henna and even indigo it allows you to control the final hair colour. You just need to try a few different combinations until you find the one you like. When mixed with just a hint of henna, colours can range from pale blond to light copper. You may end up with some cute highlights if you have grey hair or a light tone of brown. However, if you add too much henna it will dominate the cassia so be careful. Here’s a simple chart guide.
Cassia takes the same time to release its dye has henna, so you can mix both powdered dyes and then add your acidic liquid. On a cool weather of 64F/18˚C, you should make it the night before (+-12 hours). If the weather is warmer or colder adjust the time. Cold temperatures will take more time for dyes to be released.
Indigo is a name you are probably more familiar with as a dye that will colour your hair black or black-blue. However, if you’re looking to cover grey hair like me you’ll be disappointed to know that indigo on grey hair will come out as a dull greyish bark blue, similar to blue jeans. You need to mix in some henna to get a darker tone. These are approximately the hair colours you’ll get with different mixes of henna and indigo.
Important Note! Indigo is a quick release dye so has soon as you mix it with distilled or purified water (no acidic liquid is needed) to make a cake batter consistency you have approximately 20 – 30-minutes to work it on your hair. If you have short hair this is OK, however, if your hair is long like mine by the time you finish applying the dye on your hair you’ll pass the recommended time and the indigo dye won’t bind to your hair after 30-minutes, only the henna dye.
I know this is a little tricky, so my advice would be to have your henna or henna/cassia dye ready, make maybe half of the indigo you wish to use and then mix that with half of your henna. When you finish that batch mix the remaining indigo in the same manner. This way you’ll make sure you are getting the desired hair colour. Alternatively, you could have a friend or family member help to make the application quicker.
CITRUS FRUITS OR FRUIT JUICES TO MIX
Citrus fruits or fruit juices can be mixed in your distilled or filtered water to add to the henna or henna/cassia mix. Different fruits have a different pH and it’s their individual composition along with the plant dye molecules that will give you different hues of brown, auburn, chestnut, dark browns or black. The final impact on the colour acidity of the fruits impact they’ll make on your henna, cassia and indigo What can you use then? Well, take a look at the picture below.
As far as their influence on hair colour it can go from deep auburn (lemon) to a mid-red tone (cranberry juice) or darker hair tone (lime), in the end, the impact will be subtle but it may be just enough to give you the hair colour you’re looking for.
Final Note! Don’t forget to wash your hair to remove hair butters and vegetable oils that create a barrier and prevent the dyes from binding with your hair. Ideally, you should clarify to remove build up and hard water mineral since they can influence your final results. If you have done so recently, then just shampoo. We don’t want your final results to be skewed.
Where To Buy
As I said previously when you go off to buy henna make sure you buy BAQ Henna, this is guaranteed to not cause you any allergic reactions or unwanted results. If you’re unsure about the quality you can always make a strand test or take a few shed hairs and apply the dye on it.
You can also make this test with your other plant dyes. As people for guidance as there are other herbs you can also mix to strengthen your hair, foster hair growth and hair health. You can check a henna recipe I made where I added a few extras.
I normally only buy my henna and other plant dyes or herbs here in England from the SheaButter Cottage. You’ll find an array of vegetable butters and oils, herbs, essential oils and other goodies. They have a fair trade policy and they support communities in Ghana. In the US, check out Henna Sooq they have some praise from known blogger Curli Nikki, vlogger Yolanda Renee and some magazines.
Ready To Start? Then Here’s a Little Something
If you were curious about henna until now and never tried it because of the red-orange hues then you have here your chance to try. If you’re a fan, like me, then this is a good opportunity to give yourself a new look. Get yourself some cassia or indigo, or both, add some citrus fruit or citrus fruit juice and you can get the colour you want without chemically damaging your hair.
The benefits are many, as numbered previously, therefore, to get you active and ready to start I prepared a 1) a plant dye colour chart with their natural colours as a reference, 2) a plant dye mixture chart with colour approximations, 3) measurement guide for different mixture and 4) a record sheet for you keep note of all the different mixtures you make until you find the on you love. To get this FREE 10-PAGE GUIDE TO “HENNA DYE” YOUR HAIR simply click on the image below.