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Going gray? Or maybe just craving a different look? Consider using henna hair dye for gray hair. Most people associate henna with body art. However, henna is also very effective for dyeing hair.
There are several reasons why using henna dye for hair coloring is beneficial:
- It’s safe and completely non-toxic
- Can be used on all types/textures of hair
- Retains natural moisture and shine of your hair
- Does not change the structure of your hair fibers
- Each application lasts several weeks
Before going into more detail about henna hair dye, here’s some basic info on henna….
What is henna?
Henna is a natural dye that has been used for over 5,000 years for hair coloring. Henna hair dye comes from the plant Lawsonia inermis. This plant is native to northern Africa. It’s also found in India and northern Australia.
To prepare henna hair dye the traditional way involves first drying the henna leaves. Next, they are ground into a powder. This powder then mixes with, most commonly, lemon juice or other citrus juice.
If you stay tuned to the end of this post, we’ll explore how to use henna hair dye for gray hair….
However, first, there are different ratios of henna powder for each corresponding hair color.
Different henna combinations for hair dyeing
In order to dye your hair with henna, you usually use another dye. In fact, the most common dye to combine with henna powder is indigo. On its own, henna looks like matcha green tea powder. And similar to how matcha powder is traditionally made, henna is also made into a fine powder by manually pulverizing the dried leaves.
Here are the most common dye ratios for corresponding hair colors:
- Red: 100% Henna
- Light Brown: 2/3 Henna, 1/3 Indigo
- Medium Brown: 1/2 Henna, 1/2 Indigo
- Dark Brown: 1/3 Henna, 2/3 Indigo
- Blonde: frequently made by combining henna with marigold or chamomile tea leaves
Why is Henna better than other hair dyes?
First, there’s the environmental and health impact. Henna is all-natural. And unlike synthetic chemical dyes, it’s safe for your overall health. And whether your hair is wavy, kinky, curly or coily, henna can be applied to any hair type or texture.
In addition, another advantage of using henna over synthetic dyes: henna does not alter the structure of your hair shafts. In fact, henna only covers the cuticle area of the hair.
What does that mean for your hair? Henna both preserves the moisture of your hair as well as the shine. As opposed to man-made chemical dyes, henna will not dye your hair at the expense of drying it out and damaging hair proteins.
Moreover, henna dye hides root colors much better than synthetic dyes. Also, henna seems to act as a hair protectant. Although it’s not sure exactly why, perhaps it has something to do with the tannin molecules….
How does henna work?
Tannins are antioxidants that give red grapes their color. The tannin dye is found in the leaves of the Lawsonia inermis plant. In fact, the tannins in henna is called Lawsone. And when you pound the leaves and mix them with lemon juice, the cell walls of the plant break down. It is at this point when the dye escapes the glue-like mixture. Finally, the dye can enter the hair shaft, where it binds with the major hair protein, keratin.
The reason for adding lemon juice to the henna powder mix is that it releases the tannins. And if left at room temperature overnight, the lemon juice and henna powder mix is able to bind effectively into your hair’s keratin.
In addition to henna powder and indigo, many prepared dyes you can buy online also contain other natural ingredients. For example, some blends contain cocoa butter, various essential oils, and even coffee.
Where to buy henna hair dye for gray hair
Speaking of buying henna hair dye online, there’s plenty of websites that sell it. In fact, there’s nearly three-quarters of a million Google results for “buy henna hair dye.”
And if you’re hoping to dye your hair naturally at a budget price, you’re in luck. Henna hair dye powders are inexpensive, roughly $10 per application. More expensive are the henna hair dye kits, which come with everything you need to make your own hair dye and apply it without staining your skin. You may also want a hair dye set which includes a bowl and brush.
How long does henna hair dye for gray hair last?
A typical application of henna hair dye will last several weeks. It’s common for henna dyed-hair to remain colored without fading for about a month and a half. However, you don’t have to wait before your hair turns gray again to re-apply. You can add new layers of dye as needed. In fact, you can add different colors if you want.
How to use henna hair dye for gray hair
Without further ado, let’s discuss how to use henna hair dye for gray hair. You will need the skill of a baker, plumber and surgeon. Just kidding! Although henna hair dyeing is a messy operation and can stain your furniture and floors, it’s not that difficult of an operation. It’s best if you get a friend, or better yet, group of friends to help. In fact, dyeing hair with henna is a traditional group activity.
The first ingredient is obviously the henna powder. If you buy a kit, it may come with indigo. Unless the dye is pre-mixed, you can use two separate bowls. One will be for the henna powder, the other for the indigo powder. Look above for the appropriate ratio depending on the hair dye color you want.
Some henna dye kits like this one come with black tea. You first mix the tea with the henna powder. But before mixing, you brew the tea for up to 20 minutes. The reason for this is to make sure the tea is cool enough to mix with the henna powder.
Next, you’ll need a wooden spoon. You may see videos of people mixing henna powder concoctions with metal spoons. But do try and only use wooden. Metal or plastic could leach synthetic molecules into the dye. Likewise, use a wooden bowl for the mix.
You can then add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the mix. Apple cider vinegar offers several health benefits, including helping preserve and fortify keratin, your hair’s main protein.
Yet another thing you can add to your henna dye mix is several drops of your favorite essential oil. The oil will protect the natural moisture of your hair. In fact, if the henna powder does not contain lemon juice or lemon oil, add a tablespoon or two to your mix.
Henna hair dye for gray hair: materials you’ll need
To properly prepare the henna hair dye mix and apply it, you’ll need the following:
- Newspaper: lay it all over the floor and/or counters as henna dye can stain
- Surgical or rubber gloves: henna will stain your hands and it’s hard to come off
- Shower cap: place it over your head after applying the henna mixture
- Saran wrap: for additional protection from staining; wrap your head and place the shower cap over the plastic wrap
- Coloring brush: this is in case you don’t want to apply the henna with gloved hands
- Hair clips: section your hair in ½ inch to 1-inch segments; only apply enough henna to cover this amount at one time
When applying the henna, start at the back of the head at the bottom of the neck. Apply the dye from the roots to the tips.
You’ll need to let the henna mix remain in your hair for up to a few hours. After that, you can shampoo your hair. However, just keep in mind the coloring can continue long after you’ve washed your hair out. In light of this, it might be best to test a very small swath of your hair. Doing this will determine if you like your new hair color. Wait a full 24 hours to assess if you like the color.
If you buy a block of henna rather than a powder, simply place the henna in a wood bowl. Then, add boiling water to it and stir until you get a chocolate-mousse like texture. The mix should slide off the spoon.
More advice for when you dye your hair with henna: use clothes that you would put on to paint your house. In case you didn’t get the hint, henna stains. Think about it, it’s used for bodyart; by nature it sticks to skin.