How to Prepare Henna Hair Color

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29-09-2017, 18:00
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By mixing henna powder with a slightly acidic liquid, you can dye your hair a temporary shade of red. Henna hair dye is safer on your hair than synthetic dyes because it contains no harsh chemicals. Before you apply henna to your hair, you will need to choose the right henna for your hair so it blends well with your natural color. You'll also need to learn how to mix henna and watch for signs of dye release after it has set.

Choosing the Right Henna

  1. Pick henna that will blend well with your natural hair color. Henna does not change your hair color entirely but instead blends with it. As the dye fades, it will return to your natural color. Choose a color you think would blend well with your natural hair color. If you have dark hair, choose a darker, richer henna color. If your hair is light, keep in mind that you may need to dye it multiple times to darken it.
    • Grey or white hair will dye closely to the color created by the dye. You will, however, have to apply the henna evenly to avoid darkening one part of your hair more than another.
    • Most henna will dye your hair in tints of red. Darker henna (indigo henna) will dye your hair black, but still may have a red tint. Even blonde henna dye will result in a strawberry blonde.
  2. Choose henna with a green, earthy color. Pure henna, when dry, will be a color between green and brown. It will also smell like grass clippings. Do not buy henna in other colors, or henna that smells like chemicals. Henna with either of those qualities may have been mixed with artificial hair dye.
  3. Use indigo henna as an alternative for dark hair. Although indigo henna is not pure henna (as it is mixed with indigo powder), it is safe to use and ideal for darker hair colors. Indigo henna will dye your hair a deep black with tints of red. Unlike most henna, indigo henna has to be used quickly after mixing. Plan to use the indigo henna the same day that you mix it.
    • Make sure that your indigo henna does not contain PPD, which can be a skin irritant.
  4. Make sure your henna is body art quality. Body art quality henna does not contain any additives or chemicals. This henna also contains more lawsone, a molecule that rinses out of your hair better and has a richer hair color. If you want to use henna alongside synthetic hair dye, you can dye over body art quality hair dye without damaging your hair.
    • If the henna is body art quality, it will say so on the package. Do not buy henna if it does not say this on the label.

Mixing the Henna

  1. Gather your henna and any desired additives. Besides your henna, you can also combine additives for different effects. If you dislike the smell of henna, you can add essential oils or rosewater for a pleasant scent and better setting dye. For smoother henna, add sugar. Lemon juice or vinegar can create brighter colors.
    • If you do not want to change the color or properties of the henna, just add water with a dash of lemon to oxidize the dye.
  2. Pour the henna powder and liquids into a bowl. Pour the henna into a bowl and gradually incorporate the liquid. How much liquid you need will depend on the henna box you purchased. Add a little at a time to avoid making your henna too watery.
    • Consult the henna packaging for specifics on how much liquid to add.
    • Henna is messy and will stain most surfaces. Wear gloves while you mix the henna, and wipe it immediately off of anything it spills on.
  3. Mix until the henna's consistency resembles yogurt. Continue mixing the henna and slowly adding liquids until your henna meets the right consistency. When your henna is finished mixing, it should be somewhere between the consistency of cake batter and yogurt.
  4. Cover the henna bowl with plastic wrap. After you have mixed the henna and found an ideal consistency, wrap the henna bowl tightly in plastic wrap. Wrapping your bowl will allow your henna to set and oxidize. Your henna will now need to undergo dye release, where it will darken in color

Monitoring Dye Release

  1. Let the henna paste sit overnight. Let the bowl sit in room temperature as it releases the dye. Make certain that the plastic wrap is tightly covered to quicken the process. If you do not have time to wait overnight, put the henna in a closed pot over a stove for 1-2 hours. Take the temperature of the henna and make sure it's around 90°F (or 32°C). Any hotter, and your henna may not have ideal consistency.
    • If you are using indigo henna dye, use it after mixing. Indigo henna has a shorter oxidation time.
    • Dye release will occur best in room temperature. Do not place the henna in the refrigerator or freezer until after it has exhibited dye release.
  2. Check for dye release. You will be able to spot dye release by the surface. Your henna should be a dark brown color (or black, if using indigo dye) and have liquid pooling at the top. You can check the surface by pulling back the top layer with a spoon. If the top layer is darker than the bottom, your henna is ready to use.
    • To test for dye release, put your paste in a plastic baggie. Put the baggie on top of a white paper towel. Dye molecules are small enough that they will slip through the plastic. If your paper towel turns slightly orange after a few minutes, your henna is exhibiting dye release.
  3. Test the color before you dye your hair. Before you apply the mixture to your hair, put a small amount of henna paste on a spoon. Remove some of your hair from your hairbrush, and let the henna sit on the hair for several hours. After the henna has dyed the hair sample, decide whether the color is ideal for you. If not, prepare a new mixture.
  4. Use your henna within three to four days. Unless you are using indigo henna (which lasts for a shorter amount of time), your henna will last in the refrigerator for three or four days. If you need it to last longer, you can freeze it. Frozen henna can last up to several months with the same freshness as newly-mixed henna.
    • Keep the henna covered with plastic wrap while in the fridge or freezer to avoid drying your henna out.

Tips

  • Henna will mostly dye hair in shades or tints of red. If you do not want a reddish tint in your hair, you may want an alternative way to dye your hair.
  • Henna will dye wet hair best. Dampen your hair before you apply the henna.
  • Henna cannot lighten your hair. Do not use a lighter henna on dark brown or black hair.
  • Lemon juice is acidic and can dry out hair. Mix the lemon juice with other liquids (like water or essential oils) if you apply it to your henna.

Things You'll Need

  • Henna powder
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Plastic wrap
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