What Is A Henna Rinse?

Most people know that henna is used for temporary tattoos and coloring one’s hair. But, what is a Henna rinse?

There are many rinses used in No Poo, so finding out what a Henna rinse can do for your hair should be a top priority for you.

Henna rinses are fabulous moisturizers for your hair. If you leave the henna on too long you will notice that your hair will take on the Henna hues. Henna is permanent, so careful application is necessary. Petroleum jelly can be used to protect the hairline and ears from being stained red.

In this article, you will learn how to mix henna for hair. Read on to discover the best ways to make and use a Henna rinse; the benefits and the drawbacks you may encounter. 

What Is A Henna Rinse?

Henna comes from a tropical shrub and is made from dried and powdered leaves. Henna is so versatile that you may not be aware of all its uses:

  • Hair Dye: Henna stains your hair reddish brown, all the way to black depending upon the other ingredients used.
  • Grey Coverage: As a dye, Henna is invaluable for covering up grey hair.
  • Temporary Tattoos: Often used in Asian ceremonies temporary Henna tattoos are beautiful to look at and are often used to decorate the hands.
  • Fabric dye: Henna can also be used to dye fabrics, giving a long-lasting deep color.

But why use Henna?

  • Natural: Unlike modern hair dyes Henna is a natural product with no added chemicals.
  • Hair Loss: Henna has been shown to reduce hair loss.
  • Shine: Henna can leave your hair with a glorious natural shine.
  • Symbolism:  Henna has been used for centuries and carries on the age-old myths and traditions.
  • Sensitivity: Unlike modern hair dyes Henna does not tend to aggravate the scalp making it suitable for all hair and scalp types.
  • Versatility: Adding lemon juice or coffee can alter the hue of the Henna so you can achieve any color you desire.

A henna rinse can enhance your natural color, or gradually darken your grey hair.

It is a permanent coloring so needs careful use, but the moisture and shine it will impart to your hair is worth the extra care and time needed (source 1,2,3).

Is a different type of henna used for different hair colorings?

Whilst Henna is more or less all the same, Henna often has additions made that change its color. From a commercial point of view, Henna is generally sold as ‘black’ or ‘natural’.

Adding various ingredients to the powdered Henna can drastically alter the results you can achieve on your hair:

  • Coffee/Tea: Brewed tea or coffee can add a rich brown color to the henna and works as a great rinse for grey hair.
  • Paprika: A henna rinse for dark hair using paprika will result in a bright red fiery edge.
  • Saffron: Saffron is added for lighter-colored hair, and for blondes.
  • Beetroot: Another henna rinse for red hair uses boiled beetroot water. Helping to add another shade of deep red to your hair.
  • Chamomile: A camomile infusion with your henna will result in a more muted red which is perfect for those will lighter brown hair.
  • Turmeric: Henna is often thought of for dark hair. Adding turmeric to your henna can make it suitable for lighter hair too.
  • Indian rhubarb root powder: Another addition for those with lighter-colored hair, the rhubarb root powder will help highlight your blonde.
  • Amla: Mixing in amla powder with your henna will tone down the henna red.
  • Lemon juice: Adding a little lemon juice will enhance the burgundy hues in your hair.

Many other herbs and ingredients can be added to henna to subtly alter the tone you achieve.

Remember that you should always do a strand test, and if you’re using henna for the first time just use it plain.

This way, you can see how it works and use additional ingredients, later on, to get the perfect hair tone for you (source 1,2).

Benefits Of Henna For Hair

Henna has been used for centuries to color hair and skin.

This is not simply because it can stain everything in sight, but more to do with the many benefits that henna can have on your hair and skin.

Read on to find out the main benefits of henna:

  • Protein: Henna leaves contain proteins that are important for the health and strength of your hair.
  • Antioxidants: These are present in henna and can help hair growth.
  • Dandruff: Henna is good for your scalp and can keep dandruff at bay.
  • Nourishing: Henna is almost like food for your hair, leaving it strong, smooth, and healthy-looking.
  • Growth: Rich in vitamins and minerals, henna helps protect against hair damage and encourages growth.
  • Versatile color: Henna is a wonderful coloring agent on its own, but it can also be mixed with a huge number of other ingredients so you can achieve the exact shade you are after.
  • Sebum control: Henna naturally controls the amount of sebum that your scalp produces.
  • Natural: Henna is a sustainable and natural product which means that you can color your hair without having to use chemical products.

These are just some of the benefits of using henna on your hair.

The great thing about henna is that it can be enhanced by the use of essential oils, herbs, and other natural ingredients to alter and add to its many existing plus points (source 1).

Disadvantages Of Henna For Hair?

Although henna is a brilliant product it is wise to be aware of its potential disadvantages:

  • Permanent: Henna binds with your hair, so once it is in, it is in.
  • Patchy: If you have previously dyed your hair, or simply do not get the application process right, then you may find that the end result is poor.
  • Staining: Wear old clothes, and cover everything you do not want to change color. Henna will not only stain your hair but everything else that it comes into contact with.
  • Side Effects: The side effects of henna are unusual. It may dry your hair if used too frequently.

Be aware that black henna (which has added chemicals) has a longer list of disadvantages and can cause allergic reactions in some people.

It is recommended that only natural henna is used, and only natural ingredients are added to obtain the color you want.

Regardless of which henna you use, do not get it in your eyes (rinse well and seek medical advice), or use it with metals, and always do a patch test first (source 1,2).

Best Henna For Hair

With people becoming more and more interested in using natural products for hair care routines, henna is becoming more commercially available.

Other products can be added to henna to alter the color that it dyes your hair. Some even claim to cover 100% of greys.

Regardless of what you are looking for, there will be a henna recipe for you.

Whether you are looking for a simple henna product to dye your hair or the best henna for hair growth, there is something available that will suit you.

Three of the best henna products on the market are as follows:

1. 100% Pure Henna Powder

I love this basic red henna powder that you mix at home. You can add additional ingredients, or leave it in its natural state.

Vegan, and free of metallic salts, this henna is as natural as can be.

If you are interested in reading more information about it, click the Amazon link to see what others have to say about this 100% pure henna powder.

2. Kangana Henna Powder

Having used henna in my hair for the last year, I particularly like that this henna powder on Amazon claims to cover 100% grey.

We all know that henna usually takes a more concerted effort to cover our grey hair, so why not give this product a go?

Additionally, this henna is enhanced with other ingredients to give your hair a wonderful boost.

3. Quick Hair Color

This quick hair color by Nisha, on Amazon, could become your new ‘go-to’ colorant.

Instead of waiting many hours to mix and use your henna dye, this can be mixed and applied within an hour.

This is a henna-based product rather than pure henna, so will not be appropriate if you are looking for 100% henna powder.

Click the picture or link to read additional product details.

How To Do A Henna Rinse

By far the most common form of henna is in a powder.

The powder cannot be applied to your hair straight away but needs time for the color dyes within to be activated.

Below you will find out how to apply henna to hair at home in the most effective way:

Warning: Always do a patch test before application.


  • Henna powder: Approximately 100g
  • Hot water


  1. Place the henna powder in a plastic or wooden bowl.
  2. Mix hot water into the henna with a wooden spoon a little at a time, until it becomes a batter consistency (like a cake mixture).
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film.
  4. Allow to sit for at least 12 hours, or overnight. It is ready to use once the color has changed to dark brown. This means that the oxidisation process has happened and the dye is at its strongest.
  5. Wearing old clothes and gloves, make sure that everything everywhere that the dye could come into contact with is covered – if the dye touches something it WILL stain.
  6. Separate your hair into segments.
  7. Smooth a reasonable amount of Vaseline or similar around your hairline, including your ears.
  8. Working through each segment one at a time apply the dye making sure that each strand is evenly covered.
  9. Once all your hair is covered with henna, wrap it in an old towel that you do not mind being dyed. Alternatively, use a disposable shower cap.
  10. Leave the mixture on for a minimum of two hours. Some people keep it in overnight – if you plan to do this then make sure that your bedding is fully protected from the dye.
  11. Rinse henna out of your hair with cool water, over the sink. Try not to use a shower or you stand the risk of dying your whole body a shade of henna!
  12. Allow your hair to air dry.
  13. If your hair seems to be a little dry use a hair oil that is compatible with henna to reintroduce the moisture.
  14. Wash and condition your hair with sulfate-free products 48 hours after dying it.

You may wonder whether it makes a difference whether you rinse henna with hot or cold water. Let me tell you now that it does.

If you use anything other than cool water you risk stripping the color from your hair before it has set. This is also why you should try to avoid washing your hair within 48 hours (source 1,2).

How Long Do I Leave Henna On Hair?

The length of time that you leave the henna on your hair depends upon the following factors:

  • Hair Condition: If your hair is porous you may be able to shorten the time that you leave the henna in. If your hair is dry you may also want to shorten the time as some henna recipes can dry it out still further.
  • Henna Recipe: Each henna product has its own instructions that you should read fully and follow carefully.
  • Added Ingredients: Some henna products speed up the efficiency of the henna dye. 100% henna powder takes longer than some creams that contain another active coloring ingredient.
  • Tone: As a general guide, the longer the henna is left in your hair, the deeper the color.

If you are using 100% henna the minimum time is generally agreed to be 2 hours from application.

Many people leave henna overnight so that the color can develop to its full potential.

That said, if you were to ask can you leave henna on too long, then most would agree that you can. The longest period for leaving henna on your hair has been reported as 5 hours before the henna can be potentially drying (source 1).

How Long Does Henna Last On Hair?

How long henna lasts on your hair will be affected by the:

  • Type of hair you have
  • Henna preparation you use
  • Frequency of your hair washing schedule

Henna will start off bright and vibrant, but like other dyes, it will fade over time.

Because henna clings to the cuticles, the color will remain in your hair for many months, just at a reduced vibrancy.

The benefit of henna is that it will fade naturally, still giving your hair a henna sheen, although reducing over time, especially from 3 months onwards (source 1).

How Often To Apply Henna To Hair

How often you need to apply henna to your hair depends upon the following factors:

  • The condition of your hair.
  • The look you want to achieve
  • The depth of color
  • Any grey you wish to cover

If you notice at any point that your hair is becoming dry or brittle, then increasing the length of time before coloring with henna could be the answer.

If you apply a deep conditioning hair mask 48 hours before applying the henna your hair may withstand the process better (source 1).

Does Henna Wash Out?

Henna is a natural product that you can use to successfully give a new lease of color life to your hair.

Most often red hues are chosen, but adding other ingredients like coffee, or cloves can darken the henna dye and give you a deep brown hue.

Although it is natural and will fade over time and wash, it is notoriously difficult to fully remove.

If you want to know how to wash henna out of your hair most effectively, then read on:

What You Will Need

  • Oils: Mix a combination of oils (coconut, argan, olive) in equal parts together.
  • Clarifying Shampoo: Any brand, although a sulfate-free brand will be kinder to your hair.
  • Shower Cap: To keep your hair where you want it.


  1. Wash your hair thoroughly with clarifying shampoo.
  2. Smooth and massage the mixed oils all through your hair until your hair is completely drenched.
  3. Put on a shower cap.
  4. Leave for as long as possible, preferably overnight.
  5. Wash out the oil.
  6. Dry and style hair as usual.

Whilst this method is unlikely to remove all the henna on the first go, you should notice a definite change in your hair color.

The oils will also leave your hair highly moisturized and silky.

There are other methods for henna removal, such as alcohol, but the method listed above is the kindest to your hair and scalp.

How To Wash Out Henna Without Shampoo

Henna is incredibly difficult to remove from your hair, especially if you want to remove it without the use of shampoo.

Using oil, alcohol, or lemon juice to remove the color is popular, but no method is immediately effective.

Furthermore, too much use of lemon juice and alcohol on your hair and scalp can cause:

  • Dryness
  • Brittleness
  • Increased Breakage

It may take your hair some time to recover from the overuse of these products.

Ideally, you should wait until the henna grows out.

Be very careful about trying to dye over the top of your hair if you have previously used henna; a trip to a professional hair salon is highly recommended in this instance.


What is a henna rinse is a question that crops up when trying to find a natural product to dye your hair and/or cover grays.

Henna is a natural product that has many advantages, though also has disadvantages too. For example, it can be drying to your hair and scalp and can be difficult, if not impossible to remove.

Related Questions

Can I Use Henna Twice A Week?

Even if your hair is in fabulous condition it is unwise to use henna more than every 3 weeks. Your hair and scalp are very likely to be damaged by this approach.

Why I Stopped Using Henna

If you notice that after using henna your hair becomes dry and brittle, reduce the frequency or stop altogether. If you use additional ingredients such as lemon juice this may be part of the problem.

Katrina Stewardson

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I've been obsessed for almost ever with discovering the best natural hair methods for my own hair. For years I longed for one website to tell me everything I needed to know about the amazing No Poo Method movement. I just couldn't find one though, so I decided to create it myself! I dearly hope this website will save all you lovely ladies (and gents!) from wasting hours scrolling the internet looking for natural hair-related information like I did.

Recent Posts