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Beauty Tip #4: Dye Your Hair with Henna

Red Hair

Have you ever wanted to dye your hair?

I have. When I was ten years old my family moved to a small village in Multan where my parents were conducting a study. It was soon discovered that I had an adverse reaction to the water in that area. Almost overnight all my hair turned white.

While since then we have succeeded in reducing the severity of the issue by using many medicines and supplements; some of the problem remains.  So, I have been dyeing my hair periodically ever since I was 14 years old (very wisely, my mum would not allow me to dye my hair any younger).

I say periodically because I do not really dye my hair regularly but instead I refresh it on special occasions, such as weddings, new school admissions etc.  I am way too lazy to dye my hair every month.  So I have a lot of experience with hair dye. For me synthetic hair dyes adversely affected the health of my hair and caused increased hair-fall. I am not the only one either, look at this chart by a study Published in The International Journal of Trichology:

Fig 1. Adverse Reactions to Hair Dyes[i]


Therefore, I do not use synthetic dyes any longer, I stick to using Mehndi/Henna and it has made a world of difference to the health of my hair.

The Ingredients

This natural hair dye consists of two wonderful, nourishing ingredients:

  • Mehndi/Henna Powder (in pure form with no additives)
  • Mustard Seed Oil

Optional Ingredients Include:

  • Instant Coffee Powder
  • Indigo Powder
  • Lemon Juice/Vinegar

Why Mehndi/Henna?

Mehndi is a natural dye derived from the leaves of the Henna Plant, in Asian countries it has been used for dyeing hair and skin for thousands of years. It has many benefits for your hair and does no damage, is safe for even pregnant women and gives a rich shine to your hair.
Its benefits for hair are:


Picture Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • It promotes hair growth.
  • It reduces hair-fall.
  • Rejuvenates hair with its own nutrients preventing breakage and adding elasticity.
  • It prevents dandruff.
  • Henna has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties that cool and soothe your scalp.
  • Henna repairs split ends.
  • Regular use of henna makes your hair thick and lustrous as well as soft and shiny.

Properties of henna hair dye you need to be aware of before dyeing:

  • It is a naturally a RED dye; so if you apply it as is it will give you a red hair colour.
  • Henna gives a unique colour to every person who uses it; it does not dye your hair like a synthetic dye. This is because henna works like paint over your hair, the end-result colour is largely a combination of the dye colour and your base hair colour.
  • Henna does not give a uniform colour, if you have highlights; they will most likely show through. If your roots are white, and rest of the hair is dyed with permanent hair dye, it will not mesh together.
  • It is messy and will stain most other surfaces as well as hair. I recommend dying your hair in the bathroom and using gloves. Contrary to popular belief henna will not dye your forehead and ears if you follow proper procedure. If by chance it does, then you can easily exfoliate away the colour.
  • Henna is a permanent hair dye. It can fade a little with time but generally it stays the same as when you dyed it.
  • Henna dye builds upon itself with each application. If you are not happy with the pigmentation achieved upon first dying your hair, subsequent sessions will make the colour richer and more pigmented.
  • You can dye your hair with permanent hair dyes afterwards if you stick to using only pure henna.

Recommendations when picking out henna hair dye:


Picture Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • I encourage you to use pure henna, not pre-mixed henna hair dyes (such as Lush hair dye, or Moroccan Method etc.) so as to get the best colour and also avoid any unsavoury ingredients in those pre-packaged dyes.
  • Pick out henna that says it is body art quality.
  • Pick henna which has a green, earthy colour, and smells like grass. Pure henna powder is somewhere between brown and green when dry.
  • Try buying Indian branded henna; it is likely to be better quality

Why Mustard Seed Oil?

The main benefits of using Mustard Seed Oil in this dye are:

  • Gives henna a richer and more vibrant colour.
  • Adds moisture to the scalp.
  • Gives a more even colour saturation.

Why Extra Ingredients?

  1. Instant Coffee Powder
    1. It can be mixed into henna for a browner colour. It makes henna less orangey for lighter hair shades.
  2. Indigo Powder
    1. It is used to change the colour of henna from red to browner or even black shades.
      • Red: 100% Henna
      • Light Brown Henna: 2/3 Henna, 1/3 Indigo
      • Medium Brown Henna: 1/2 Henna, 1/2 Indigo
      • Dark Brown Henna: 1/3 Henna, 2/3 Indigo
  1. Lemon Juice/Vinegar
    1. Helps in activating the henna and giving a richer pigment.

The Method

How to Make?


This amount can be used by 1 person with fairly long hair (to the middle of back).

250 gm. Henna

2 Tbsp. Mustard Seed Oil

1 ½ – 2 ½ Cups Water


  1. Mix henna with enough water to form a paste that has a yogurt like consistency
  2. Add the oil and mix together with the henna paste.
  3. Let the henna sit over night or for a minimum of 4 hours before applying.
  4. Optional: Do a test strand by sectioning out one strand of hair and dyeing it first to understand what kind of colour your hair will get, you can now adjust the recipe to better suit you.

*Can keep henna paste in fridge for two to three days. Ideally you should make a fresh batch every time you use it.

Alternative Method for Browner hair Colour with Coffee Powder:


This amount can be used by 1 person with fairly long hair (to the middle of back).

250 gm. Henna

½ Cup Coffee Powder

2 Tbsp. Mustard Seed Oil

1 ½ – 2 ½ Cups Water


Mix henna and Coffee powder with enough water to form a paste that has a yogurt like consistency

Add the oil and mix together with the henna paste.

Let the henna sit over night or for a minimum of 4 hours before applying

Alternative Method for Browner hair Colour with Indigo Powder:

Just adjust the ratio of henna and indigo according to the instructions In the previous section and mix as given above in the main method.

For adding lemon Juice:

Just add juice of one large or two small lemons to the henna paste before resting in the main method.

How to Use?

Apply all over hair as you would hair dye, sectioning hair and paying careful attention to roots. Cover your head in plastic wrap to keep the henna wet and get the maximum benefits. Leave in for a minimum of two hours, (for best results leave in for 6 hours) and wash out with water (can be left longer).  Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner after.

[i] (Dharmistha Patel, 2013 Jul-Sep)

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  1. Henna plant is filled in Sojat, Rajasthan. Henna makes a defensive covering around the hair. It makes hair thicker and more grounded. It is a protein treatment for hair, and whenever applied consistently, it advances hair development, causing hair to feel delicate and look gleaming. I am attaching here a link to my blog where I have mentioned top natural herbal henna powder brands. You can there not only read about them but you can also buy them online at a very reasonable cost.

  2. great post, it’ll be very useful for those (girls)

  3. This is a great tip ! Thank you for explaining the methods clearly !

  4. I used to do this when I was younger, remember my hair was so shiny and healthy 🙂 thanks for reminding me!

  5. Zubaida Hussain

    I have used this and it worked

  6. Please follow me at markanthonysthings
    thank you

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