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How to Henna Your Hair

by Sara Cifani

Henna protects your hair from sun damage, pollution and other damaging factors without changing its natural composition. “Chemical dyes swell the shaft of the hair, allowing the artificial dyes and chemicals to penetrate into the cuticle of the hair and change the biological composition of the hair which can damage the hair,” says Wanda Malhotra, CEO and Co-Founder of Surya Brasil.

Henna also leaves hair feeling silky soft, can stimulate hair growth and strengthen the strands, making it great for those with hair in need of volume. Also, it is perfect for spot-treating gray hairs as needed. “I do a powder base on my gray roots and then apply the cream over it. When the cream washes out I still have color on my grays and don't have to retouch the roots so often,” says Malhotra.


Henna gradually fades with washes, leaving a natural look as the hair grows. As we know all too well, hair that’s colored with chemicals can reveal a blunt line across the roots as it grows in. In general, a henna treatment can last between seven and 12 shampoos.


Henna application consists of two options: cream or powder. The powder may be a bit more difficult for first-timers, but it lasts longer and works well as a base color on gray.

1. Wear gloves and use a dark towel to avoid messes.

2. Apply barrier cream around the edge of the hairline/crown to prevent coloring the skin

3. Apply the no-mix cream directly to roots with the hair applicator bottle

OR mix powder in a non-metallic bowl with warm water to make a mud-like paste. Use a brush to apply to hair.


  • For longer lasting color, use a safe, sulfate-free, color-protecting shampoo and conditioner. Traditional sulfate shampoos may strip your hair of color, leading to a faster fade.

SEE: Sulfate-Free Shampoos That Actually Work

  • Avoid Compound Henna, often containing heavy metals and metallic salts. These ingredients tend to react unfavorably with synthetic or chemical hair products previously used or for potential future use. Natural Henna will not cause damage to the hair. Instead, it restores and treats damages from past chemical treatment.
  • Always strand test first to ensure that you will be satisfied with your new henna hue, especially if you have chemically treated your hair in the past.


Surya Brasil’s Henna Creams & Powders, with a blend of natural botanicals from the Amazon and India (aloe vera, acai, babacu, and Brazil nut). suryabrasilproducts.com

Light Mountain Natural Hair Color and Conditioner, with certified organic henna, senna and indigo leaf powders. light-mountain-hair-color.com

Saba Botanica’s Henna, Body Art Quality, sourced from Rajasthan, India, where henna has been farmed in the finest quality for generations. sababotanical.com

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