You may be familiar with henna tattoos, but did you know it can be used to dye your hair? Here is our list of pros and cons to help you decide if henna hair dye is right for you.
So what are the pros and cons of henna hair dye?
- It’s a natural hair dye
- It’s good for your hair
- It makes hair thicker
- Provides natural hair color
- Doesn’t need to be applied often
- Fades nicely
- Difficult to remove
- Long and messy process
- Will stain your hairline
- Can alter curl pattern
- Doesn’t always work
- Color change may not be significant
What Is Henna?
When mixed with water or an acidic liquid like lemon juice, it forms a thick, brown paste that looks similar to mud.
Typically, henna would be used to create temporary body ‘tatoos’ due to its powerful staining abilities. When used on the skin, these henna stains will typically fade and wear away within a week or two.
The color of henna is a red/orange tint. When mixed with indigo, it can produce darker shades like deep red, brown, or even black. When mixed with cassia, it can produce a lighter, golden shade.
If you’re looking for intense color, check out our top 10 orange hair dyes.
Benefits Of Using Henna Hair Dye
It’s A Natural Hair Dye
Interestingly, when henna is used on the hair it becomes permanent. Unlike other permanent hair dyes, henna will remain in the hair forever.
Of course, it won’t remain bright and bold forever, but there will always be a hint of color.
Henna Strengthens Hair
Henna works by binding with the keratin in the hair, which strengthens the hair strands and makes it more resistant to fading.
Furthermore, henna coats the hair, protecting it from damage from harsh weather conditions and heat tools. So it doesn’t just deposit color to the hair, it actually improves the health of the hair.
Great For Sensitive Skin and Damaged Hair
A huge benefit to henna is that it’s completely natural so it’s the best dye for those who have a sensitive scalp or damaged hair.
While the color isn’t as bold or vibrant as typical hair dye, it is 100% permanent. And you won’t be sacrificing the health of your hair in the process.
Also Read: How To Get Hair Dye Off Tile (7 Easy Ways)
Who Is Henna For?
Henna is suitable for most people but it’s particularly beneficial to those who try to follow a natural lifestyle and hair regime.
As long as you get 100% pure, natural henna, then there is unlikely to be any adverse effects on the hair.
Typical hair dye can make the scalp itchy, dry, and irritated, but henna hair dye actually helps to soothe the scalp.
For example, some people with sensitive or irritated scalps may try to mix hair dye with conditioner in order to counteract the harsh chemicals. These people would greatly benefit from using henna because it’s natural and unlikely to cause any further irritation.
If your hair is in bad condition you can also use henna without the worry of causing further damage. This is because henna is shown to actually improve the health of the hair.
Using it alongside natural oils can help to strengthen the hair and reverse damage.
Why Henna Isn’t Always Best
Despite the benefits of using henna, it isn’t right for everyone.
If you are looking for bright, bold-colored hair then henna isn’t going to help you achieve that, unless you already have very light-colored hair, to begin with.
When used on its own, henna provides hair with a red or auburn tint, to give the hair a natural appearance.
If you are looking for blue or pink hair, then you will have no choice but to use normal hair dye to achieve that look. You can also try to mix colors like brown and red to get your desired shade.
On the flip side, some people have reported that henna made their hair feel dry and dull.
It’s unclear why some people have this reaction to henna, but it’s something to consider before using it on your hair for the first time.
Pros Of Using Henna Hair Dye
There are so many incredible benefits to using henna hair dye instead of conventional hair dye that contains chemicals. Just make sure that you always look for 100% pure henna powder and add water to it yourself. This ensures that you are getting the full benefits.
It’s Completely Natural
The most appealing part of using henna hair dye is knowing that you’re not putting any chemicals on your hair and scalp.
100% pure henna is simply made from a plant. There are no other additional ingredients that could be harmful to your hair.
Since it’s free of ammonia and peroxide, there is significantly less risk of a reaction.
You may still want to conduct a patch test to be safe, but typically, people who have used henna have reported no adverse effects.
That’s a huge difference compared to those who have used conventional hair dye!
It’s Good For The Hair
Henna coats the hair and binds with the keratin to help fill in split ends and repair damage. It also forms a barrier and protects against further damage.
Many people who use henna report that it makes their hair stronger and less prone to breakage.
Henna also gently conditions the hair and can make it appear shinier. Unlike conventional hair dye that can give the illusion of shinier hair, henna’s natural properties actually improve the condition of the hair.
There are no chemicals or ingredients that will strip the hair’s oils or weaken the hair. Instead, henna can be used over time as a way of maintaining great hair health.
It Makes Hair Thicker
Henna is great for people with thin hair or anyone looking to give their hair more volume.
As it coats the hair, it actually thickens the hair strands and makes the hair look fuller. The hair strands will also be much stronger, which means they are less likely to snap or break off.
Hair Color Looks Natural
If you are looking for a hair color that looks even and natural then henna is the best option for you.
Henna can be mixed with cassia or indigo for either a lighter or darker shade, depending on the preference.
The shade does also depends on your natural hair color.
The benefit to having a natural hair color is that it is low maintenance and it doesn’t need to be regularly re-dyed.
This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to dye their hair every 6 to 8 weeks.
It Doesn’t Need To Be Applied Often
Henna is permanent and doesn’t need to be applied every 4 to 6 weeks like many other hair dyes suggest.
In fact, if you apply henna too frequently the color may darken considerably over time.
To prevent your hair from getting too dark it’s recommended that you only touch up the roots when it’s necessary.
Some people will do this every 8 weeks if they have light hair but darker hair may only need to be touched up once or twice a year.
That means once you’ve done a couple of applications, you won’t have to think about it until much further down the line. That’s a huge bonus.
It Fades Nicely
Unlike conventional boxed hair dyes that leave a very obvious root growth line, henna will typically fade naturally and evenly.
On darker hair, you may not even notice a line at all. This means touch ups do not need to be done very often.
Cons Of Using Henna Hair Dye
While there are many benefits to using henna, there are some downsides that you need to be aware of before applying it:
It’s Extremely Difficult To Remove
Henna is one of the most permanent dyes that you can ever put on your hair.
You may need several attempts to completely remove it and you risk damaging your hair in the process.
It’s possible that you can remove it with a combination of mineral oil and clarifying shampoo, but it could be a long process before you get back to your natural color.
Therefore, henna is a commitment. If you often change your mind about your hair color, it’s probably best to avoid henna.
It’s A Long and Messy Process
Unlike conventional box dye that is usually easier to apply, henna hair dye is thick and has the same kind of texture as mud. This makes applying it difficult and tiring.
There is a preparation process before you can start to apply it.
This involves covering the floor with paper towels or old towels to avoid staining the floor, removing any items from the bathroom that you want to avoid staining, and using an old bowl and spoon to mix the solution.
Henna will stain anything it touches so you have to be very careful when applying it and you must wear gloves at all times.
Another point to make is that henna takes a much longer time to color the hair compared to conventional dye.
It’s recommended that you leave it on for at least 3 hours, but some people leave it on overnight.
During this time you will have to wear a plastic cap and it can feel very heavy on your head.
It Will Stain Your Hairline
Before applying henna you must make sure that you apply Vaseline, conditioner, or another kind of lubricant along your hairline.
This minimizes the amount of staining that occurs. Despite this, henna will still stain the skin and it often leaves the scalp a very vibrant orange color.
During the first few days, it can be very bright and noticeable. This could be a big disadvantage for many people as it’s not easy to cover up this kind of staining.
It Can Alter Curl Pattern
Depending on your hair type, using henna can affect your natural curl pattern. It can make curls appear more relaxed or loose, which understandably, could make people avoid using henna in future.
However, not everyone reports any changes in their curls. It depends on several factors including how often you use henna, the type of henna you are using, what you are mixing it with, and how your hair takes to it.
It Doesn’t Always Take To The Hair
Henna is quite unpredictable and it reacts to all hair differently.
While it might take to one person’s hair from the very first application, other people may need 2 or 3 applications to get the color to stay in their hair.
It can be disheartening when you spend hours going through the long, messy process of applying henna to then see your hair color fading after just a week or two.
The Color Change Might Not Be Significant
Henna works wonders on naturally light hair or for those who already have natural red hues in their hair, but it doesn’t significantly change the color of dark hair.
People who have medium brown or black hair may only be able to see a red tint when they are out in the sun.
In natural lighting, the hair will probably look no different. Of course, this does depend on the hair type and how well your hair takes to the henna, but there is no guarantee that you will see a huge color difference.
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Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.