Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Henna

Things I wish I would have known about henna before I used it to dye my hair…

Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Henna

When I was first looking for a good cruelty free and vegan hair dye, tons and tons of people suggested that I try using henna. It’s a natural plant-based dye, has an affordable price tag, and was totally animal friendly. I read over and over again about how great it is for your hair, how it comes in a variety of shades if you buy the boxed variety, that the henna dye will combine with your hair color, and that it’s not 100% permanent.

Everything that I read made it seem like a great option. Natural, animal friendly, and great for my hair? I’m on board! So I picked up a box of henna and gave it a shot. I used Light Mountain Henna because it’s one I’ve seen in stores for as long as I can remember and it came in a variety of shades. I bought Medium Brown, which is actually my natural hair color. At first, I liked the henna. It wasn’t too difficult to make and apply (just very time consuming and I smelled like a barn for a few hours), it did seem to make my hair softer, and at first the color was great. It looked natural and I was happy with it.

So what changed? Why am I now wishing that people had told me more about henna? Because dying my hair with henna was probably the worst hair disaster I’ve ever had. This is coming from a girl who once ended up with algae green hair after a dying accident. So, trust me, when I say that it’s bad now I mean it.

Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Henna before I dyed my hair with it :

  • Despite all the henna color having washed out within 2 weeks, the henna itself is very, very permanent. I am now stuck with a dark red tint to my hair no matter what I do. I have never naturally had any red in my hair. As a brunette, the sun brings out gold tones in my hair. Even after the color fades, the henna itself is stuck in your hair until you grow it out.
  • You can’t use normal color removers on henna. You can only use fruit based color removers or you run the risk of your hair breaking off completely. This is a very tedious process on its own and is even more so using fruit based color removers. I found a blog where the person used them to remove the henna from her hair. It was a 2 month process to get the henna stripped from their hair.
  • You can’t use most chemical dyes after henna. You run the risk of your hair breaking off. I saw on a forum where a girl described this happening to her friend and said that it was literally like watching her friends hair melt off her head. Horrifying! Thankfully, Light Mountain is completely plant-based, so this isn’t a risk with that brand. If you use henna that isn’t 100% plant-based, you’re stuck using henna only, dealing with roots as your hair grows out, or chopping off all your hair in order to continue.
  • Chemical dyes have a hell of a time sticking over henna. Apparently henna completely closes your hair shaft. So if you are lucky enough to have used a 100% plant-based henna and are able to dye over it, it’s going to fade incredibly fast. I now have to dye my hair every 1-2 weeks with dark brown dye or else it fades to a bright auburn. Now I have nothing against this color but, when I want my hair to be dark golden brown, that’s the color that I want. I don’t want this red business going on.
  • You are taking a gamble on the end color. Apparently I’m extremely lucky that my hair has taken on a red tint as it typically will take on a green tint for most people. A green tint! Even yesterday, I dyed my hair with one shade different from what I normally do. I used dark brown instead of dark golden brown. My hair is currently black with random orange streaks. It’s absolutely terrible and, apparently (according to what I am reading and my friend who does hair), absolutely because of the henna that’s in my hair that kept the dye from absorbing correctly and evenly.

These are all things that I didn’t read on any website or blog about dying your hair with henna. I really really wish that I had.What I’ve learned is that it’s just a different type of girl who uses henna than what I am. While it may be great for some people, if you want any options for the future of your hair color you should avoid it at all costs. Also, there aren’t nearly enough warnings about the negative and incredibly long-term effects that henna can have on your hair. These are important to know!

In order to correct all the issues that I’ve had with my hair because of using henna, I’ve spent way more money than if I had actually paid to get it done at a salon. Now, I may even have to find a salon with fruit color removed and go through the process of getting the henna color stripped from my hair. I don’t even want to know what that is going to run me. All from a $7.00 box of dye.

So what are the options if you want to have animal friendly hair color??

Have you used henna on your hair? What were your results?

Edited on February 29, 2012 – Check out this post from Snowflake Says… on How To Do A Henna Strand Test. It’s something I wish would have been available to me before I used henna.

Images : WeHeartIt

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6 comments for “Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Henna

  1. EM
    Friday - May 17, 2013 at 9:21 am is a good website for people who are curious about dying their hair with henna. It has how-to instructions about making and using your own henna dyes, gives a list of potential problems and how to avoid them, and has several articles about the nature of henna and why it works as a dye.

    Henna is a RED dye, so don’t use it if you don’t want red hair. I cannot stress that enough.

  2. Jennifer
    Saturday - January 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    doesn’t henna also strip your hair of moisture? Have only used it once, my hair color is a very dark brown, and didn’t have very good results as far as color impact. But I seem to recall something about rally deep conditioning your hair whenever you are using henna because, although being a natural product, henna can be very harsh on your hair.

  3. Saturday - January 28, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Good grief, post a freaking picture!

    That sounds really frustrating. Having the wrong TONE to your hair is a lot worse than the wrong color. My hair goes really brassy when I go blond and only a professional job will correct it, even when going back to dark brown/black. I’ve sworn off going lighter ever again – I will stick to dark reds and browns – but we’ll see. I’ve said it before.

    Maybe this would be a good opportunity to try a new cut? What is the shortest your hair has ever been?

  4. Friday - January 27, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Ohh man, just last week I was about to dye my hair with henna! I was looking for a natural way to dye my hair too, luckily I decided to do test strands before I dyed all my hair because my results were NOT GOOD! I bought my henna dyes from LUSH, I tried the chesnut color first and my test strand turned a really ugly orange-ish color. Then I tried just the brown color and my test strand turned GREEN! My hair has been chemically treated and dyed (but they said it was okay as long as it’s been more than 3 months since the last time) but that I should still do test strands but you never know the results. So I’m VERY glad I did, sorry you had to go through this, what a pain…we live and we learn :)

  5. Friday - January 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I’m sorry to read about your experience but I’m glad that you posted about it! Thank you! x

  6. Stephanie
    Friday - January 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I’ve never personally used it, but one of my college friends/roommates used it all of the time with fabulous results…but she was starting out with very, very strawberry blonde hair and used it to waaay amp up that red. And that’s exactly what it did. It turned it from the gorgeous strawberry blonde to gorgeous red hair. So I think you hit the nail on the head, “it’s just a different type of girl who uses henna…” :) My sister was looking into henna-ing her hair for the conditioning aspects of it, and to pull out the reds that are naturally in her dark brown hair. I’ll be sharing this article with her for sure!

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