How to Darken the Henna Hair Color

Get the picture perfect henna coloring with a second application.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

You thought you'd dye your hair with henna. It's natural, eco-friendly and conditions your hair. What you didn't know was that with henna, there are no guarantees. Blondes and sandy brunettes shooting for sexy strawberry or auburn locks may find themselves saddled with pylon-colored hair instead. No worries, though. Henna reacts badly with chemical dyes, but darkens with every application. You can still achieve alluring autumn color by applying henna twice.


Pour 2 cups of henna powder into a bowl for short hair. For shoulder length hair, use 4 cups. If you have hip-length locks, use 6 cups. Mix enough lemon juice with the powder to make a paste the consistency of cake frosting. Just don't taste it.


Let the henna mixture stand overnight to release the dyes. The next day, divide the mixture in half, setting half aside for your second application.


Wash your hair as normal, but don't dry it. Wrap an old towel around your shoulders and put on plastic gloves to protect your clothes and fingers from stains.


Roll most of your hair into a neat bun on top of your head and secure it with a claw clip. Leave a ¼-inch layer of hair on the nape of your neck. Scoop up some henna with your fingers and smear it onto the loose strands evenly, like putting frosting on a cupcake -- except with your hands.


Release a second layer of hair and apply more henna, continuing until you get to your hairline. Swirl your hair into a loose bun on top of your head and slip on a shower cap. Relax in a hot bath or give yourself a home facial while the henna soaks for an hour.


Rinse away the henna, combing out your hair as before. Apply the second half of your henna paste as you did before, and wait another hour. Rinse again; your hair should be fiery Amazon red or sexy auburn.

Things You'll Need


1.Henna powder


5.Plastic gloves

7.Shower cap

2.Lemon juice


6.Old towel


Tips & Tricks


If you want to go from red to brown, mix equal parts henna and indigo powder rather than using straight henna.

Ladies with very dark hair trying henna shouldn't sweat it. Most dark hair comes through henna dyeing with sparkling red highlights. If you want to go darker, mix up some indigo powder with water and use it just like henna.

Always get body-art quality henna to make sure your hair comes through shiny, healthy and frizz-free.


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