How to Use Henna on Gray Hair: 4 Steps

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How to Use Henna on Gray Hair: 4 Steps
How to Use Henna on Gray Hair: 4 Steps

Henna is a plant sold in powdered form and is widely used as a dye for hair and skin. Prepare a paste to dye your gray hair or to touch up your roots if you're afraid to use the chemicals present in commercial dyes. The process is relatively simple, but as each hair is unique, it is important to test the application on a strand and on the skin before proceeding with dyeing the entire scalp.


Part 1 of 3: Dyeing all your hair

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 1

Step 1. Choose the red henna

There are several colors of henna on the market, but red is the one that works best on gray hair as it has the best coverage. After dyeing, your hair will have a reddish tint with hints of orange.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 2

Step 2. Prepare a henna paste

To dye your hair, you need to create a paste with henna powder and warm water. The powder is sold in sachets, and the amount needed will depend on your hair type. If the strands hit your shoulder, you'll only need one sachet. If your hair reaches mid-back, use two sachets. If the threads reach the waist, use three sachets.

  • Pour the henna powder into a 1 liter bowl. Because henna stains things easily, it's a good idea to cover your work surface and wear old clothes that you don't mind ruining.
  • Add hot water - around 50 °C should suffice - in small amounts, mixing well with the powder. There is no exact measure, the important thing is to form a paste.
Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 3

Step 3. Wash your hair

It is important that the strands are very clean before applying the henna, thus preventing dirt and residue from getting stuck in the hair. Wash your hair normally with shampoo.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 4

Step 4. Dry with a towel

After washing your hair, wipe off excess moisture with a towel - there is no need to use a hair dryer. As henna dries out the strands, it is good that they are slightly damp.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 5

Step 5. Part the hair

It is important to divide the locks into areas of similar size, securing with barrettes or staples, as the application of henna must be done in parts. The number of sections depends on the length of your hair: if the strands are short, just divide them into two parts; in the case of long hair, it may need to be divided into four or six sections.

Remember that henna stains. It's good to use cheap fasteners and you don't mind staining in the process. Ideally, use plastic tabs, which can be washed

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 6

Step 6. Apply the henna wearing gloves

Release a section of hair and start working on it, as the idea is to apply the henna directly to the scalp, one part at a time. For best results, wear plastic disposable gloves and use them for application.

  • Take a little of the paste and apply it over a section of hair, going from the roots to the ends.
  • Fill each section well with the henna mixture. When finished with a piece of hair, pin it back and touch up the roots with henna. Then move on to the next section and repeat the process.
Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 7

Step 7. Let the paste act for one to two hours

An hour is usually enough, but the hue should get stronger after two hours. After that time, the hair is unlikely to get any darker, and there is no need to insist.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 8

Step 8. Rinse and dry your hair

Rinse the strands after letting the henna work, but do not shampoo it. Remove any henna residue from your hair - be prepared as this will likely take a while. When you're done, blow-dry the strands for ten minutes and you'll probably already notice the difference in color.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 9

Step 9. Do not shampoo your hair for at least 24 hours

It's important to let the color settle into the strands, and washing them ahead of time will prevent this. Do not wash your hair for at least a full day after dyeing.

Part 2 of 3: Touching Up Roots

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 10

Step 1. Prepare a paste with ¼ of a sachet of henna

Henna fades over time, leaving its gray roots to show again. You'll need to dye the roots and touch up your hair from time to time, and for that you'll need to make more henna paste, but you'll need to use less of the product.

As with the original mix, use hot water - around 50 °C. There is no exact amount, just add enough water to the henna powder to form a thick paste

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 11

Step 2. Apply the paste directly to the roots

Wear disposable plastic gloves over your hands and apply a generous layer of henna to the roots, covering all gray areas. Take care that a little of the paste remains when you finish.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 12

Step 3. Rinse off after one hour

Leave the paste on the hair for at least an hour. Then rinse the strands, but do not wash them. Remove all henna residues from the head.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 13

Step 4. Apply the remaining paste to the hair

The idea is to apply a light coat of henna all over your hair - again using disposable gloves. As there is less paste, the coverage should be very light, and its purpose is simply to darken the color of the hair, so that it is uniform with the newly retouched root.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 14

Step 5. Rinse

When finished, rinse all hair and remove henna residue, again without shampooing. Wait at least 24 hours to wash your hair.

Part 3 of 3: Avoiding Common Mistakes

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 15

Step 1. Do a strand test first

It's always a good idea to test the henna paste on a strand before dyeing all your hair so you can check the final color. It's possible that your hair also reacts poorly to dyeing and becomes dry, and testing can help identify this. Use a lock from the back of the neck so you can cover it in case something goes wrong.

As you would when dyeing all your hair, let the paste sit for one to two hours before rinsing the lock

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 16

Step 2. Make sure you don't have any skin allergies

Henna can cause skin irritation and it is important to get tested first. Apply a small amount to your skin and let it work for a few minutes. Then rinse and wait a day. If there is any adverse reaction, such as redness or swelling, it is best to avoid using henna to dye your hair.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 17

Step 3. Wait a month to use the henna if you have dyed your hair recently

Henna does not usually react well to commercial dyes. So if you've used any chemicals on your hair recently, wait at least a month before using henna.

Use Henna on Gray Hair Step 18

Step 4. Be careful and avoid getting the henna into your mouth and eyes

Henna should not be ingested, nor should it come into contact with your eyes. It is important to take this care when painting your hair.

If the paste gets into your eyes, wash them with plenty of running water. If irritation persists, seek medical attention


  • If you have long hair, ask a friend for help with the henna application.
  • If you dampen your hair before applying the henna, the paste should end up running heavily over your face. As much as the moisture in the hair makes the application easier, you will probably get stains on your skin or clothes.


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