Henna Recipes

A couple of weeks back, I wrote about how to dye your hair with henna. If your ideal is red hair, henna is perfect for you. But I suppose now everyone wants to look like Pippi Longstocking. Therefore I have gathered some information about some henna mixtures and mixtures that will dye your hair in other shades.

However, dying your hair with natural extracts is a very personal project. I can not tell you which hair color you will get if you put this and that in your hair. It all depends on various things, such as your original hair color and type, how and with what you have treated your hair before, the exact amounts you use and time you let it the mixture sit. But I hope you will be bold enough to try stuff out, make mistakes and try again until you find a shade that you’re comfortable with. That’s only part of the fun, in my opinion.
If unsure, you can always do a strand test. Just take some hairs from your hair brush and try a mixture out on them to get an idea of how it will look.

On the 17th October I will post the third and final text in this mini series. Then you’ll find out about some other natural ways of toning and even dying your hair.


One of the amazing things with henna is that apart from the color it also has other fantastic properties for the hair! Hennaed hair will be conditioned and shiny, easy-manageable and soft. It helps fight oily hair, you will find that you don’t need to wash your hair for a good while after hennaing. Additionally, henna helps remove dandruff and cure itchy scalp.

So if you’re interested in henna for it’s properties for your hair, but not the dye in itself, there’s a couple of possibilities.

A henna gloss basically means that you add only a little bit of henna to something else, for instance conditioner. If you have light hair it will give you hair a light red shimmer, but still condition and strengthen your hair.

To make a henna gloss, prepare a small amount of henna paste (the instructions can be found in the last post). 2 TBS should be enough, but you can always make more and store in the freezer for up to a year. Add the paste to your favourite conditioner, or some yogurt.  Apply to towel dry hair and leave on for at least 30 minutes.

I also mentioned cassia in my last post. Cassia is just as good for your hair as henna, only without the color. You can also try doing a mixture of henna and cassia – the ration depends on how red you want your hair. Prepare and apply cassia as you would henna. You might feel that you want to do cassia more often, as the effects aren’t quite as long lasting as henna is.


If you’re more interested in a dark or black color, try indigo. Also here you can mix with henna according to how you want it. Check out the PDF called  Quick henna mix chart on this link to get an idea of what your color will be; it also features more exact application instruction for cassia and indigo. If unsure, remember to do a strand test.


If you want a red shade, but not quite the simple bright red that henna often gives you, you can try to add other ingredients to your henna paste to get the desired shade. There are zillions of herbs and other natural ingredients that will alter your color in one way or another, and I will only tell you about a few ones now. Next post I will write more about toning your hair and then I will provide you with a long list of toning herbs. But these are typically combined with henna (credits mostly to

  • Intensified color: cloves, brandy
  • Less intense color (i.e. less red, more brown): coffee, black tea
  • Darker color: nettles, walnut extract
  • Lighter, more golden tones: anything acidic (lemon juice, vinegar, red wine)

The liquid ingredients can be added instead of the water (part of the water or all of it, depending on how strong you want it).

With the dried ingredients, make strong infusions, strain if you wish, and use instead of the water.

Remember, however, that these ingredients will not permanently dye your hair – most will fade after one or two washes. If you don’t henna that often, you can do rinses with these ingredients to keep your desired shade. More on that next time.


My major sites for henna info are two: Henna for hair and long hair community. At henna for hair, you will find all kinds of info about henna, indigo and cassia, also pictures (like the ones that I borrowed for my bars) and recipes. At LHC you can find lots of forum discussions on henna. Also, if you’re lucky enough to speak or understand swedish, is fantastic as well.

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  5. janet

    henna does NOT wash out either with a full application or gloss. I used a lush henna and cannot shift it, despite being told that it would wash out. Ive tried everything and nothing shifts it.

    1. hilda

      Yeah, that’s the downside with henna, once you’ve done it it’s kind of there to stay. Did the people at Lush tell you it would wash out? If so, that’s pretty darn bad… I’m really sorry that you can’t get your henna out! What color would you like to have? If you still wanna go natural you could use some indigo (so called “black henna”) if you want dark or black hair. Other wise, you can check out these posts at the long hair community: there are loads of tips on how to (try and) get it out. Btu unfortunately henna is very permanent, which I also mention in my other henna post, so there’s no guarantee… Good luck and let me know if something works for you!

    1. hilda

      Hi Karen,
      You will get a red shade with just the basic henna, and if you want a more auburn shade, I would say nettles, walnut extract or coffee are your best bet. But again, it totally varies depending on the henna you happened to get and your original hair color. Good luck!

      1. karen kellett

        Thank you for the advice keep them coming. I want to go back to using henna again, but I do have some gray about 25% now. I use to use all hot apple cider vinegar to mix the henna I feel it grabs the gray better. What do you think? Do you have any better suggestions. Maybe use an additional product I don’t know what is out there now it’s been years since I’ve used henna.
        Please let me know!
        Thank you,

    1. hilda

      Hi! Henna’s effect on gray hair can be rather strong, like you apparently have noticed 🙂 You can try mixing some herbs that will give you a similar color that you had before, to avoid big differences between the gray parts and your old hair color. One herb that I’ve heard is great for covering grays is sage. Just make a strong infusion with sage leaves, dried or fresh, and mix in the henna. Or, you can dye your hair with henna and afterwards, after you’ve washed all the powder out, finish off with rinsing your hair with the sage infusion, massaging it through your scalp and lengths – you don’t even have to rinse it out if you don’t want. Sage will give a darker hue to the gray parts nad is even said to prevent hair from going gray! Good luck 🙂

      1. Curly50

        Hello, I used the sage to mix with henna. My gray hair came out golden / brass. I used about a handful of dried sage steeped in 1 and half cup of boiling water. Did I use too much?

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