Experiments with Henna Hair Dye

Ok, so I have a habit of trying and testing things and never bothering to tell anyone how it went or posting “progress” photos (like when I got braces, or when I tried microdermabrasion…). Well, anyway, I started experimenting with henna a few months ago so here’s how that went…

How it started was I was bleach blonde for many years (many, many years). My natural hair color is too ugly to ever consider not-dying. But every time I dyed my hair blonde (out of a bottle because: hairdressers are expensive!) I could never get the “new” color of the roots to match the “old” ends, so I stupidly just kept dying my whole hair every 6-8 weeks…. with peroxide… I know, right?!

Fast forward many years of treating my hair like crap and last October I finally found a decent hairdresser and she straight up told me: my hair’s disintegrating!

By the way, my hair had been in terrible condition for years and I just thought it was my hair type… oops! I know this makes me sound typically blonde that I didn’t know I was wrecking my hair :shrug: I’d been dyeing it so long I just didn’t think…

So, after this she said I could continue to just dye the roots blonde (at a hairdressers) but I couldn’t afford that and I didn’t want to keep damaging my hair so that’s when I started looking into henna.

I’ve only used it twice so far but I’m hooked! What I like about henna is not only does it not damage your hair but it actually improves it’s condition (which I desperately need).

Here’s my brief run down of some pros and cons…


  1. Improves hair’s condition
  2. No more expensive than regular hair dyes
  3. Can help heal hair that has prolonged damage (like mine!)
  4. Henna color can build up over long-time use and make your hair vivid and shiny.
  5. Vibrant colors (of red)


  1. Hope you like red. Henna comes in light red, medium red, and dark red. Ok, also brown (brownish red) and black (black-red) and straight up orange.
  2. It stains everything (including you, so be careful!). You only need to spill one drop and – that’s it – kiss your white blouse goodbye!
  3. Can be problematic if you want to return to traditional dyes.
  4. It’s like mud when you put it on!
  5. You’re supposed to leave it on for hours! What if the doorbell rings?
  6. Can reduce the curls in curly hair (my hair’s a lot straighter since using henna, but the curl returns as the dye fades)
  7. Can fade fast, especially on light hair
  8. Can leave your hair feeling dry (this can be fixed by moisturizing your hair)

While this looks like more negatives than positives, I really like using henna! Sometimes I miss my blonde but I get way more compliments as a redhead and it makes me look less tired – and of course, my hair’s in better condition.

My biggest complaints are the fuss of applying it and the speed with which it fades. And the red tends to fade to orange on my hair… but hopefully as the henna color builds up and my bleach blonde grows out, this won’t happen as much.

These are the henna dyes I tried:

Name: Hemani Henna Burgundy powder

Cost: £8 for two bags (2 x 150g)

Where: Ebay

Amount used: 1 bag per go

Developing Time: 3 hours (you can leave it as long as you want)

Result: Fiery dark red (on my ex-bleach blonde)

After 2 weeks: Chestnut-ginger

Opinion: I love it! Because it’s a powder it’s easy to apply and even though the color was supposed to be burgundy, the fiery deep red looked awesome. I’m just sad it faded so fast.

Name: Lush Hennna Brun

Cost: £9.99

Where: in-store

Amount used: The whole block

Developing time: All night (you can leave it as long as you want)

Result: Brun

After 2 weeks: Faded brun

Opinion: Jeez, this was a massive block and hard to turn into mud-liquid, it also dried my hair out a lot and the color wasn’t very bright. Most people I know who use henna recommend the Lush one but I wasn’t impressed. For the price and quality, I prefer Hemani.

Tip 1: Be careful to read the ingredients when buying “henna hair dyes” cause some are not natural henna and cause damage to your hair.

Tip 2: If you want to go back to dying with ordinary dyes, it’s best to consult a hairdresser first.

Tip 3: Try natural henna shampoo to help maintain your color longer.

Tip 4: For darker or lighter shades, use e.g., lemon juice in with the mix or tea/coffee.

And finally…

Here’s a well-rounded guide by someone with more motivation than me:




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