Is Henna for Hair Bad? | Henna Hair Dye Reviews

Henna for hair and tattoos has been widely used worldwide for many centuries.

Approximately 75% of American women dye their hair regularly or occasionally. In fact, the hair color industries have a combined business turnover of $7 billion globally.

With increasing awareness of the adverse effects of synthetic and ammonia-based hair dyes, most users of hair dyes are switching over to organic and natural hair coloring products, and henna is the most popular choice for many.

Undoubtedly, henna for hair coloring is the best natural alternative to synthetic hair dyes.

What Is Henna?

Henna (Lawsonia inermis), also known as hina, hena, the henna tree, the mignonette tree, or the Egyptian privet, is a flowering plant and the sole species of the Lawsonia genus.

The name ‘henna’ generally refers to the dye that is prepared from the semi-dried and pounded leaves of the Lawsonia plant.

Henna is the Lawsonia plant leaves in powdered form or compressed blocks used for hair dye or body art.

Another variation of henna is Mehndi, a henna paste usually packed into cone-shaped tubes to conveniently draw tattoo-like designs on the skin. Mehndi is used by most women in India, Pakistan, and Arab Countries on auspicious occasions such as weddings, religious events, and traditional ceremonies.

Henna is used extensively to dye the skin, hair, and nails, as well as on fabrics and leather.

Types of Henna

The natural henna is modified into several variations by adding different natural ingredients to produce henna in different colors and shades.

There are also different varieties of henna hair care products available.

When used as hair dye gi, textural henna’ (Lawsonia inermis) gives the hair a reddish-brown color. Of course, the color will vary a lot according to the hair’s original color.

The other henna products popularly sold in beauty shops, like the “black henna” and “neutral henna,” may not contain the original henna. These varieties are instead made from other plants or other substances altogether.

The ‘neutral henna,’ the powder obtained from Cassia obovate leaf, is used as a hair conditioner to make hair glossy and thick with a healthy scalp. It is also useful for fighting dandruff and head lice.

The ‘black henna’ is the powder obtained from the leaves of the indigo plant (Indigofera tinctoria). Usually, the manufacturers might also add other unlisted dyes and chemicals like p-phenylenediamine (PPD) to increase the depth and brightness of the black color. It is commonly sold as a natural hair dye, but the FDA does not approve it as it can cause skin irritations and other side effects in some of the users. Nothing is called ‘black henna’ because it is a different form of the natural dye obtained from the indigo plant leaf.

Is Henna for Hair Good or Bad?

Henna is one of the best alternative options to chemical-rich hair dye. It can give you ‘shiny and bouncy hair without the chemicals normally found in the hectic dye. Dyes are known for blocking the harmful UV rays of the sunlight that can otherwise cause damage to the hair.

The natural ingredients in henna do not cause hair fall, and it promotes better hair growth. It is an excellent hair conditioner that works like other synthetic conditioners but without harmful chemicals.

However, henna may only suit some people. It can be dangerous to people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD deficiency), which mostly happens to men and children.

Some of the reported cases of side effects associated with henna are mostly found with the henna paste used for body art or tattooing. It can cause occasional allergic reactions, darkened stains on skin, or alter skin color.

The ready-to-use premixed henna paste often comes with adulterated ingredients that are found to be bad and unhealthy. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale and import of henna paste.

Some unhealthy ingredients in the henna paste are silver nitrate, carmine, pyrogallol, dispersed orange dye, and chromium. These substances are capable of causing severe allergic and inflammatory reactions. These reactions become more active when the henna-laden skin comes in contact with hairdressing products and hair dyes.

The natural henna paste you can prepare at home is safe and best for your health.

Henna Hair Dye for Hair Coloring

Henna is the oldest known hair dye used by women and men since the ancient Egyptian historical period.

The use of henna as hair dye and for body art has been very popular in all the countries in Asia and Africa since ancient times. For a century or two, the popularity of henna hair dye has increased in Europe and America.

Many hair dye manufacturers have come out with several combinations of henna for hair with various other natural ingredients to create several shades and colors of natural hair dye.

Originally, the preparation and application of natural henna dye were a cumbersome process that involved a few lengthy procedures.

Like synthetic hair dye, this natural hair coloring substance is also used in different ways with unique application procedures.

Now, the henna packs are available in ready-to-use form, which must be evenly spread onto the hair and left for a few hours to let the hair absorb the color.

However, the finest form of henna dye must be prepared by you at home, especially for the pure quality of this dye.

The natural color of pure henna on hair is normally reddish-brown…however other natural ingredients are added to the henna to form various color options like synthetic hair dye.

Some of the natural ingredients added to henna are cassia obovata and indigo leaf powder…the color will vary according to the proportion of ingredients used.

The color also depends on the quality of the henna and the actual color of the hair itself.

Some henna dye manufacturers also include certain chemical ingredients in pure henna to bring more shine and softness to the hair and create different color shades. But these henna dyes can damage the hair in the long run.

Benefits of Henna Hair Dye

Using henna hair dye has several advantages over synthetic or chemical hair dyes. Let us see some of the major advantages of this hair care solution.

Free of Chemicals

Constant use of chemical-rich shampoos and hair dyes will damage our hair sooner than ever. Pure henna is 100% natural and does not have any serious side effects associated with it.

Of course, please don’t take all the henna hair coloring solutions for granted, as some of them come with added chemical ingredients or a mixture of other organic ingredients that may not be safe for the hair and skin. As mentioned earlier, the ‘black henna’ and ‘neutral henna’ differ greatly from the genuine henna.

Henna Is A Natural Hair Conditioner

Just like synthetic hair conditioners, henna can also be used as a hair conditioner that adds shine and silkiness. It will also strengthen the hair and remove the hair’s dryness.

The organic and safe substance in henna stains the hair to form a protective layer around the hair. The hair is well protected from the external pollutants in the air and water and also shields the hair from the harmful UV rays in the sunlight.

It has also been found that when henna is mixed with other natural hair care solutions like olive oil, coconut oil, or yogurt, it becomes an excellent natural hair conditioner.

Fights Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the major causes of hair fall that affects many people. Henna contains natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that will gradually work on the scalp to remove dandruff and other fungal infections.

Most natural remedies for dandruff problems usually have henna as a major ingredient. As a DIY method, if you have a dandruff problem, you could add two teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a sufficient amount of henna powder and apply this paste onto your scalp. Repeat this procedure twice a week, and you will notice that dandruff is gradually vanishing from your scalp.

Healthy for The Scalp

Some persons experience increasing hair fall because of the imbalanced levels of acid-alkaline balance on the scalp. Henna is healthy for the scalp as it does not alter the natural acid-alkaline balance of your scalp, unlike the chemical-rich hair dyes and shampoos.

Promotes Hair Growth

Another big advantage of henna is its effect on promoting the healthy growth of hair. It strengthens the hair and avoids premature thinning and breakage of hair. When the hair strands are strengthened, they will grow longer and thicker. Most people who regularly use henna are experiencing less amount of hair fall compared to others who use chemical hair dyes and shampoos.

Protects the Natural Hair Color

Pure henna is a transparent dye that reflects your hair’s natural color. People with deep black/dark hair color would see that their hair has turned into a shining dark color with the henna application.

However, if your hair is gray or light-dark, it may add a bit of reddish-brown color to the hair. Henna is not meant for the reversal of gray hair.

You will also see the henna hair colors in different shades of colors; it is actually because of the other natural/chemical coloring ingredients mixed into the henna powder.

How to Use the Henna Hair Dye?

If you are buying the ready-to-use henna dye pack, it is very simple and straightforward. But if you make the henna dye by yourself, the procedure is a bit cumbersome but more effective and beneficial to the hair.


Mix the required amount of henna powder or pieces of brick/bar into lukewarm water and thoroughly until a paste-like consistency is achieved. Usually, the pack cover will have the manufacturer’s instructions on preparing the mixture.


Make sure to protect your face and neck (use Vaseline/ultra-balm or olive oil) as you do before other normal hair-dying procedures. Instead of using a hair dyeing brush and comb, you will need to wear a suitable pair of gloves and apply the henna paste to your hair with the help of your hands and fingers, just like you do shampoo your hair.


Once the application is over, use hairpins to gather your hairs together over the head and cover the hair with a plastic scalp cover (the heat produced by the plastic scalp cover has added benefits). It is good to leave the hair with the henna application untouched for about 5 to 6 hours.


5 to 6 hours after the application, thoroughly rinse your hair with cold water till all loose particles of henna powder are gone from your hair and scalp. Finally, you have henna-dyed hair with beautiful color and shine. You may also use any mild organic shampoo just once to cleanse your scalp.

Some Precautions

After dyeing your hair with henna, you should not use any other permanent hair dye over it for at least 30 days. If you are unhappy with the henna dye color, then you could remove the henna color first to get back the natural color or apply any other hair dye.

Methods to Remove Henna Dye from Hair

You may not be pleased with the hair color after dyeing, and you wish to remove the henna stain from the hair.

Henna is quite a stubborn stain, and removing the henna stain from the hair takes work. Normally, it takes about 2 to 3 months for the henna color to fade away naturally.

Try to reduce the henna color on the hair over a week by following any of the three tips below:

1. Use a mixture of coconut and olive oil….apply this mixture to an insufficient amount all over your hair. Then, wrap your scalp and hair in a thick cotton towel and let it stay overnight on your head. In the morning, you can shampoo the hair and thoroughly rinse the hair with lukewarm water. Most of the henna color will disappear with this process.

2. You can also apply mineral oil (a petroleum byproduct). After an hour or two, shampoo the hair and then thoroughly rinse the hair with water. The mineral oil is a good solvent that will lift most of the henna colors from the hair. Repeat this process to remove the leftover henna colors on your hair the next day. However, this could damage hair if the mineral oil is repeatedly used on hair.

3. Gently soak the hair with diluted alcohol ( 70% alcohol and 30% water). And then, with sterile cotton balls, apply the pure alcohol all over the hair (avoid the scalp). After 5 to 10 minutes, apply the mineral oil over the alcohol-drenched hair. About 45 minutes after the mineral oil application, shampoo the hair and thoroughly rinse the hair with water. A good portion of the henna color from the hair will disappear with this process. However, this procedure will dry and dull your hair for a few days.

That is all for now on henna hair dye. Natural hair care solutions like henna are always better for hair and health.