How to make dark hair redder with henna

Written by megan shoop
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Henna is a vegetable powder traditionally used to stain skin for temporary tattoos, usually for Indian weddings and ceremonies. However, henna is also a popular hair dye. Unlike chemical dyes, henna does not strip your hair of its nutrients. Instead, the henna binds to the cuticles of your hair, coating it instead of penetrating. Henna turns hair invariably red, but your natural hair colour will affect the type of red. For brunettes, henna treatments usually produce a lovely deep auburn colour.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Henna powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Old comb
  • Shower cap
  • Towel
  • Plastic gloves (optional)

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  1. 1

    Mix enough henna powder and lemon juice in a bowl to make a yoghurt-like paste. For short hair, mix about a cup of dye. For medium to long hair, mix 2 to 3 cups.

  2. 2

    Allow the henna mixture to sit overnight. This allows the henna to break down and release dye. Wash and towel your hair dry before applying henna.

  3. 3

    Comb your hair so it is smooth. Pick up a small glob of henna paste and smooth it onto the roots of your hair at the nape of your neck. Spread it down to the ends of your hair.

  4. 4

    Continue applying henna paste from back to front, beginning with the roots and smearing it to the ends. Make sure the henna is evenly applied. Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands and wrap your shoulders in an old towel to protect your clothes.

  5. 5

    Coil your hair into a loose, unpinned bun and tuck it under a shower cap. Wipe excess henna from your hairline, neck and ears. Allow the paste to set on your hair for about three hours.

  6. 6

    Pull off the shower cap and rinse the henna from your hair. Shampoo to remove the henna completely and comb it out. Your hair should feel soft and be a dark auburn colour.

Tips and warnings

  • Use body-art quality henna. This henna is usually free of additives and chemicals and is a stronger dye than hair-dye quality henna.
  • Do not use henna on grey or colour-treated hair. The henna could turn your hair green or orange or severely dry out your hair.

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