How To Henna Your Hair

Answering your henna questions

What is Henna?

Henna is a natural hair dye. The henna powder is a greenish brown colour powder. When mixed with water it releases lawsone, the dye molecule which colours hair. The temperature of the water affects how fast or how long it takes for the henna powder to release its dye before it’s ready to colour your hair. This can vary from 15 to 20 minutes with freshly boiled hot water to 5 or 6 hours with cold water. What is henna.

Where to Start the Henna Hair Colour Journey :

Predicting your henna hair colour

Henna your hair for beautiful shades of auburn

woman with auburn hair with leaf in front of her face

Indigo after henna gives brown hair colour and black hair colour.

First Time Henna in Your Hair

For your first time henna application, we recommend applying henna to pre-shampooed, dry, grease free hair. We do not recommend that you add oil  to your henna paste.

how to henna your hair

Should you apply henna to wet or dry hair?

This is entirely up to you. It doesn’t make any difference to the end result henna hair colour. Go with the weather ! Try hot henna on dry hair in winter time, and freshly defrosted cool henna on damp hair in the heat of summer time. You can apply the paste hot or cold to wet or dry hair. You can warm up cold henna in the microwave or on gentle heat on your stove. It takes between  30 minutes to 2 hours to colour your hair with henna depending on how strong and long lasting you want the colour to be.

Should I add oil to henna? 

Many people, especially in eastern cultures, do apply greased henna to their hair and get stunning hair colour results. Too much oil, however, may act as a barrier and interfere with colour take. We suggest adding a teaspoon or more of oil to your henna paste if you have exceptionally dry hair. Add it just before you use it. If it works for you, experiment by adding a bit more oil next time to see how much oil you can manage in your henna mix without it interfering with your colour take.

Some people prefer to apply henna to their hair just when it’s ready to be washed and this may suit you better if you have dry hair and you don’t want to put oil in your henna paste. It’s all about what works for you and there are really no hard and fast rules.

You can apply henna paste to your hair the same way you would apply a home hair dye or any way you like really as long as it touches the hair roots and covers the hair. Covering your hair with plastic wrap such as cling film helps to retain heat. Henna likes heat. It also keeps the paste moist, as well as making sure the paste stays in contact with the hair lengths.


Top half of Woman with shoulder length reddish brown hair wearing a green top over a black turtle neck, standing in front of pink blossoms
Henna gives beautiful shades of auburn red


Lemon Juice or Water in Henna for Hair ?

People throughout the Asian sub-continent and elsewhere manage just fine to get dye release from their henna using just plain water to mix up their henna (cold, warm,and hot water temperatures), and most have never heard of adding lemon juice to henna.

Henna ‘s Best  Best Dye Release with Water – a German study by a Henna Specialist

Our trials indicate that henna does not need acidic liquid to trigger dye release. Plain water works just fine. However, acid liquids like lemon juice can help henna dye release but may take longer to work than water.

If you want to lighten your henna colour, provided you are not citrus sensitive, you can add something acidic such as lemon juice, lime juice, cider vinegar or  orange juice  to your henna. But don’t squeeze or handle oranges yourself if you are allergic to PPD as the dye in orange peel is high in PPD content. However, for  henna rich, deep, hair colour you need only water.

Adding lemon juice to henna  in your hair for many hours carries the risk of drying your hair in the long run, and can also increase the risk of photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight). So you may need to avoid direct sun exposure immediately after using henna mixed with lemon juice. We prefer cider vinegar in henna for hair to lemon juice. It’s naturally alkalising.

Our tests have shown that adding acidic liquid to henna lightens the resulting henna hair colour. You’ll notice the difference in colour just from a comparison of pastes mixed with plain water compared to  mixed with water and acid liquid – have a look at these photos :

henna paste mixed with plain hot waterhenna paste mixed with hot water and cidar vinegar
henna paste mixed with plain hot waterhenna paste mixed with hot water and cider vinegar

For the best henna dye release, we recommend that you use  henna with plain hot water.


Henna Hair Salons

We do not currently operate any henna hair colour salons. If you are not comfortable applying henna/indigo yourself, you could ask your hair dresser to apply it for you. Please refer your hair dresser to this site and tell them to feel free to get in touch to discuss any concerns or questions they may have regarding Renaissance Henna products.


More Henna Hair Questions ?

We recommend that you read through the resources in the menu on the left side of this page, and look through our customer feedback galleries to find answers to frequently asked questions.


Renaissance Henna Customer Feedback : 

Renaissance Henna Hair Dye Reviews

How to Henna Your Henna FAQs
Article Name
How to Henna Your Henna FAQs
How to henna your hair tends to be a matter of personal preference.Should you apply henna to wet or dry hair? It doesn’t make any difference.
Publisher Name
Renaissance Henna
Publisher Logo