Henna for Hair – My Process from Start to Finish

Henna and indigo is my absolute favorite way to color my hair. It’s relaxing and therapeutic and leaves my hair a lovely shade of blue-black that lasts for up to 12 weeks.

I’ve featured henna and indigo on the site several times and you can catch up on the previous articles at:-

Today, I’m going to share my process for henna and indigo from start to finish with pictures to encourage people who aren’t sure about coloring hair with henna and indigo.

I also used a new brand of henna and indigo and I absolutely loved the results.

Before you get going with the article, be sure to check out the free resource library which features tons of resources for healthy hair care and growth HERE.

Henna for Hair – My Process from Start to Finish
Henna for Hair – My Process from Start to Finish

Henna for Hair

What Does Henna Do to Your Hair?

In addition to covering up grey hair, henna strengthens and conditions hair.

For comprehensive benefits of henna for hair, read Henna and Indigo for Hair – A Comprehensive Guide

Henna is known as lawsone and contains a red-orange pigment. When the lawsone molecules are activated in crushed henna leaves, it penetrates deep into the hair shaft.

It then safely deposits colour particles and leaves a deep dark stain on the hair. Pretty much what commercial hair dyes do without any of the damage.

Does Henna Cover Grey Hair Well?

Yes, it does. I have been using henna and indigo to color my hair since my transitioning days and I’m yet to regret it. My hair loves both powders.

When you use henna only, you end up with orange highlights (pictures below) but when you apply indigo over the henna, you end up with a deep blue-black color (pictures below).

I will write another article discussing how to mix henna to achieve different hair colors from orange to red highlights.

You can read answers to all the FAQs about henna for hair at Can Henna and Indigo Really Loosen Curly Pattern?

I’ve been very lazy with my hair the last few weeks wearing it in a straight bun but I’m about to go into a protective style next week so some major pampering is required.

The products I used for my regimen from start to finish include:-

The entire process took me about 8 hours over the evening because I combined 3 different things – henna and indigo, deep conditioning, and twisting.

Usually, I wouldn’t do as much in the same regimen session, and I’d henna overnight then indigo the next morning.

Here’s my hair in a big bun before I started. Pardon my slightly dirty mirror.

big hair don't care., henna for hairJPG
Big Hair Don’t Care 🙂

How to Mix Henna for Hair

I used a new brand of henna and indigo this time. My hair requires around 180 – 200 gms/session, which is roughly 2 packets.

I mixed the henna with lemon juice 24 hours before my regimen. The purpose of doing this is so the henna can release the dye and allow it to stain hair properly.

In the picture below, I create a circle in the middle of the henna powder and pour the lemon juice into the circle so I can mix effectively without leaving lumps in the dye.

how to mix henna for hair
How To Mix Henna for Hair

I use just enough lemon juice to form a thick paste, then cover the bowl and set aside.

By the next evening, the dye has released well in the paste and it’s ready for use.

henna dye release overnight for hair coloring
Henna Dye Release Overnight

I added more lemon juice to make a thinner paste for application but not too runny or it’ll be messier than necessary.

Once the henna mix was ready, I set aside and shampooed my hair in sections with Aussie Moist Miracle Shampoo. Henna works better when the hair is clean.

Ideally, I should have washed 24 – 48 hours before using the henna but I simply didn’t have the time.

After shampooing, I wrapped my hair in a towel and let my hair dry for an hour.

I placed the bowl in a hot water bath, slid on some gloves, and began applying the henna mix.

henna application before and after

Once my hair was fully covered, I put on a disposable cap, tied a bandanna around my head, and went about my business.

henna and indigo application on 4c hair
Henna & Indigo Application on Type 4 Hair

I left the henna in for 3 hours then rinsed a few times before washing out the rest with a cheapie conditioner.

You can see the lovely orangey highlights left by the henna in the picture below.

I could have continued with the rest of my regimen with just the highlights but I was aiming for a blue-black color so I went on to apply indigo over it. 

orange highlights after henna for hair application
Orange Highlights After Henna for Hair Application

How to Mix Indigo Powder for Hair

Unlike henna, the indigo powder is mixed when you need it and it’s viable for about 30 – 45 minutes after mixing so should be applied ASAP.

I use the same amount of indigo powder as henna for my hair (180 – 200 gms). It’s mixed with water and a tablespoon of salt.

I normally add 1 tablespoon of CMC powder for a creamier mix but I didn’t have any on hand.

how to mix indigo powder for hair
How To Mix Indigo Powder for Hair

After mixing the indigo paste, I placed in a hot water bath. I do this because it goes on easier when it’s warm and I also like the way it feels on my scalp.

Indigo powder is grainy. It doesn’t go on as easily as henna powder so do add CMC powder if you can.

After applying the indigo, I pinned my hair in two sections and covered it with a disposable cap.

You can see the blue-black colour shining through in the picture below as it stains my hair. 

indigo powder before and after
Indigo Powder Before & After

I left the indigo paste in for 2 hours. I would have liked to leave it in longer (up to 6 hours) but I still had deep conditioning and twisting to work my way through.

2 hours is fine as well, especially since I’m putting my hair in a protective style within a few days.

I rinsed out the indigo with water, no conditioner. After rinsing, I applied Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle. I will review this conditioner in a future article.

I then covered with a disposable cap and used my Urban Hair Therapy Wrap to deep condition for 45 minutes.

I reheated the wrap once during the session. After deep conditioning, I rinsed out and observed the results. My hair was a deep blue-black colour just like I wanted. 

Following the deep conditioning, I applied diluted Kinky Curly Knot Today, a little bit of hair oil, Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream, a bit of hair butter and started twisting.

qhemet biologics and hair twisting butter
Hair Twisting Butter

I’ve mentioned before a twisting session takes me 3 – 4 hours depending on how many times I stop to complain about doing it to no one. lol.

Anyway, I eventually made it to the end. I was so damn happy when I was done. I love doing my hair but it does take forever and it’s only APL.

However, the pampering session was necessary since I’m going into a protective style next week.

If you’re wondering what the protective style is, it’s going to be a braided wig. A post is coming up about this with pictures and much more.

Braided wigs might just be the best combination of protective styles ever. I am loving mine and I haven’t even started wearing it yet.

Related Content: Protective Styling With Braided Wigs

Which Henna Powder is Best for Hair? 

Which Indigo is Best for Hair?

If you’re sitting on the fence about dyeing your hair with henna and indigo, I hope this post has helped you make an informed decision.

You can conduct a patch test a few days before the full application if you’re worried about an allergic reaction.

If you have any questions about using henna and indigo for hair, ask in the comments section.

This post may contain affiliate links which means we will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Read full disclosure HERE.

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