How To Use Honey To Lighten Henna Dyed Hair (Easy Guide)

Henna dye is permanent and tends to darken your hair with multiple applications. If you want lighter and brighter hennaed locks, consider henna honey lightening.

How To Use Honey To Lighten Henna Dyed Hair

You can lighten henna-dyed hair with honey. This is because honey releases natural peroxide when mixed with water. The peroxide penetrates the innermost layer of each strand, lifting off some of the color.

What Is Henna Hair Dye?

Henna hair dye is a natural pigment obtained from the ground leaves of the henna plant (Lawsonia Inermis).

It’s a permanent dye, and when used on hair, the color typically stays vibrant for up to six weeks.

The active ingredient in the plant is lawsone, a red-orange pigment that naturally colors hair by binding to hair proteins.

That means henna only dyes orange-red tones, though you can create more color variations by mixing with other natural dyes, spices, and ingredients. 

For instance, some brands that sell henna hair dye add indigo and coffee grounds to their product.

Whatever brand or product type you go with, it’s essential to ensure the product is free of pesticides or other harmful additives. That way, you can maximize the benefits of using henna hair dye. 

Benefits Of Henna Hair Dye

Has Medicinal Properties

Henna is used in traditional medicine because of its antifungal properties. It helps those with dandruff problems and may help treat other microbial issues that irritate the scalp.

Reduces Premature Graying

Henna is packed with tannins, which can help you darken your hair over time and prevent gray hairs.

Reduces Oxidative Stress

Henna is also loaded with antioxidants. It neutralizes free radicals that contribute to hair damage and loss.

Supports Hair Health And Growth

Henna contains various nutrients like Vitamin E and proteins that soften hair and improve follicle health. Healthy hair follicles result in healthy hair growth. 

Free Of Harmful Additives

Henna is a viable option for people looking for natural hair dye alternatives. It doesn’t contain harmful additives like ammonia, peroxide, parabens, or alcohol.

Generally, you can use henna hair dye as often as you like without damaging your hair. On the other hand, repeated chemical color treatments result in delicate, damaged hair.

Conditions Hair

Henna hair dye can be a good conditioner for your hair. It seals the cuticle, helping your hair lock in moisture. This leads to stronger, thicker, and shinier hair.

Of course, you should always apply a regular conditioner after dyeing your hair with henna.

Restores The Scalp’s Ph

Henna helps to rebalance your scalp’s pH levels. This helps strengthen hair follicles and encourages optimum production of sebum.

Fades More Naturally

Compared to chemical colors, henna grows out more naturally. It fades in a better progression without leaving noticeable demarcation lines.

Disadvantages of Henna Hair Dye 

Can’t Be Used To Lighten Hair

The main disadvantage of henna hair day is that it’s difficult to go lighter once you dye your hair with it.

Multiple applications of henna hair dye produce darker orange-red tones, so henna can’t be used to lighten hair.

That means you may not be able to get your hair highlighted after using henna hair dye.

Can’t Be Bleached Easily

Henna intensely stains your hair cuticles.

You have to wait for the color to fade naturally, otherwise using bleach too early opens the cuticles and forces the pigment deeper into the hair shaft.

In addition, bleaching henna hair is an involved process and is not always successful.

It’s Difficult To Remove

The best way to remove henna entirely from your hair is to let it grow out or cut your hennaed hair.

However, you may still be able to even out the color using other dyes, though your hair will not be as receptive to absorbing different colors after using henna.

Lengthy Application Process

Applying henna to hair is an involved process that requires many hours for optimum results.

How Does Honey Lighten Hair?

How Does Honey Lighten Hair

You may have heard that honey has medicinal and antibacterial properties. These properties come from the hydrogen peroxide in honey.

You can find hydrogen peroxide sold in pharmacies as an antibacterial substance. It’s also an essential component of hair dye and is responsible for lightening hair.

To be more precise, honey doesn’t contain hydrogen peroxide in its pure form. Instead, it contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which breaks down glucose sugars and generates hydrogen peroxide.

However, this chemical reaction only happens under the right conditions.

Honey can produce peroxide via a slow-release mechanism when the conditions are right. The peroxide is the bleaching agent that then works to lighten henna hair. I

t’s impossible to fully bleach henna hair using peroxide from honey because the peroxide concentration is too low. 

But the effect is still significant enough to lighten the color. In addition, the low concentration means the peroxide does not damage your hair.

Instead, using honey this way can be beneficial for your hennaed hair. Honey is a hair humectant that draws in water and binds it to your hair, so it will leave your hair moisturized.

How Do You Activate Hydrogen Peroxide With Honey?

You need a specific pH for effective henna honey lightening. The pH of honey is acidic (between 3.2 and 4.5), and it needs to be higher to activate the production of peroxide.

The best way to raise the pH of honey is by mixing it with water.

As mentioned, glucose oxidase is the enzyme involved in peroxide production.

Therefore, glucose oxidase is only active when the honey is diluted with water and becomes less acidic.

The reason why honey slowly releases hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water is that the presence of water can potentially spoil the honey. 

So, nature has provided a way to help bees preserve their food supply by activating the production of peroxide if the honey is contaminated with water.

Remember, peroxide has antibacterial properties that help keep the honey from spoiling.

How To Use Honey To Lighten Henna Dyed Hair

How To Use Honey To Lighten Henna Dyed Hair

You can use the following procedure for henna honey lightening:


  • Raw honey
  • Distilled water
  • Towel
  • Shower cap


  1. Mix honey and water by adding four parts distilled water to one part honey. It’s essential to use raw honey and distilled water that’s free of interfering mineral deposits.
  2. Leave the mixture to sit for an hour to allow for the slow release of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. You can also add booster ingredients like olive oil which contain small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Ground cinnamon is another great addition used to activate the hydrogen peroxide in honey.
  4. Pour the mixture onto clean, dry hair. Apply to the scalp and work your way towards the ends. 
  5. Cover with a shower cap and wrap a towel on top to absorb any moisture that seeps out.
  6. Let the honey sit in your hair for between 30 minutes and 1 hour, so the peroxide has enough time to lighten your hair. Do not apply additional heat.
  7. Rinse the mixture from your hair, then shampoo and condition as usual.
  8. If your hair is not light enough, you may have to repeat the process over several days and leave the honey in your hair for longer each time.

Tips On How To Best Dye Hair With Henna

These tips will help you achieve the best look when using henna hair dye.

Use High-Quality Henna

To begin with, use quality, fresh henna for a richer, vibrant color. You can buy a ready-made paste or use a simple recipe to make your paste. Do your research to find the best henna hair dye that works for you.

Use Warm Water

When making your own paste, add warm water to henna until you have a creamy mixture. Leave the mixture to sit for several hours before applying to maximize pigment development.

Add Acidic Ingredient

Adding an acidic ingredient like lemon juice and vinegar may help improve color release. You can also add natural ingredients like aloe vera and vegetable oils to moisturize and nourish your hair.

Patch Test

Dye a strand of hair to see if the results are what you want before applying henna to a full head of hair.

Wash Hair Before Application

Apply henna to clean hair, working from the roots to the tips. Remember to wear gloves to prevent the henna from staining your hands.

Don’t Wash Too Soon

After application, let the hair dye sit. This allows the pigment to penetrate the cuticle. You can leave the dye for between 1 and 3 hours, depending on scalp sensitivity and desired color intensity.

Use Heat

Humidity and heat improve color development. Therefore, it helps to cover your head with plastic film then wear a wool hat on top.

Rinse In Cold Water

Use cold water and vinegar to rinse the henna out. This closes the cuticle and fixes the color. Waiting longer before applying shampoo helps ensure better color development.

Repeat Application

Use multiple applications of henna if you want darker, multi-dimensional locks. Henna is generally safe, so you can layer the color as often as you wish.

Don’t Recolor Straight Away

Don’t apply a permanent chemical dye to hair treated with henna, as the results can be unpredictable.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Dee Poulsen

Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she's always happy to recommend you her favorites.