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Henna How-To for your Hair


Our interns aren't just helpful getting our workshops running like clockwork, they've got some awesome personal style tips, too! Check out Hannah's henna how-to!

 Henna plant doing its growing thing.

Henna plant doing its growing thing.

Finding all natural beauty products can be extremely difficult. Even when finding some makeup or shampoo labelled “all natural,” taking one look at the list of ingredients can be disorienting. Does anyone know what that stuff is? There are so many chemicals that are impossible to pronounce, and whose definition of “natural” are we going with here?

I’ve been a red head since I was 17. I started dyeing my hair with hair dye that I would find on shelves at grocery stores. The Garnier, Nice & Easy, and Clairol would do the job of coloring my hair but I remember the horrible smell and the itchy burning of it sitting on my scalp for 15-20 minutes. And then I noticed that my hair was thinning. This was extremely traumatizing so I started looking into natural alternatives immediately when I realized how much damage I was doing.

My first experience with henna was with applying mehndi tattoos on my friend for Eid one year. I loved the rich orange/red color and always had fun doodling different designs and patterns. My friend told me that you could also use it for your hair. Done and done.

 Henna dried and powdered

Henna dried and powdered

Henna has multiple benefits. It conditions and nourishes. It has a bit of a different smell but it is all natural. The henna powder comes directly from the plant’s leaves. Depending on where you get your henna from and how strong of a color it is, henna can be used just as a conditioning treatment that will apply just a tinge of red and not completely transform your hair color. For those with shades of brunette or dark/black hair, henna will give a subtle red glow.

Apply a strand test before you cover your whole head, leave it on for an hour at least to see how the color will look.

Ingredients you will need*:

  • 1-2 cups of henna powder
  • 1 tbsp. curry
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • ¼ cup of tea
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

*Some of these measurements can be altered depending on how much hair you have.

 Get it allll up in there!

Get it allll up in there!

  1. First, use a wooden, stone, or clay bowl for mixing. Anything but metal. Do not use a metal spoon for stirring either. Commit to potentially ruining one wooden utensil for henna mixing because it will probably stain the wood.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients and then add the lemon, vinegar, and tea. After adding those, the powder should be in clumps of damp but still dry-ish henna.
  3. Add oil, sparingly stirring it until you get the correct consistency. You just want to make sure the mixture is thick enough to not run and drip but it also needs to be wet enough to spread around, a semi-thick paste.
  4. Apply all over and leave in for 1-3 hours. I usually cover my hair in a plastic bag or saran wrap to keep the heat and moisture in as well as avoid rubbing the henna all over things in the house. The longer you let it sit, the stronger and brighter the color will be. I even sleep overnight in it sometimes. (Just remember to put a towel down on your pillow)
 Hannah rockin' her henna mane

Hannah rockin' her henna mane

Feel free to change up the recipe. For darker red colors you can use hibiscus or other fruit teas. I sometimes will add a little cayenne pepper (use caution because it will make your scalp burn if you use a large amount). Other times I have added cloves, cassia, yogurt, and eggs.

Good luck on transforming your hair to those beautiful red tones - naturally!