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Application And Coloring Tips For Grey Hair

29 comments

Dyeing silvers with any dye can be a challenge due to the lack of pigment within the hair (no base), and in some cases the coarseness. Following is a short guide to help assist those that are considering using henna and herbs to colour their hair, or are having trouble with colouring their silvers with herbs. At Henna Sooq, we stock fresh Organic Cassia Powder, Henna Powder and Indigo Powder for Hair.

  1. Make sure the hair has no waxy or silicone build up prior to hennaing. Silvers are already resistant enough, so clarifying the hair prior to the first few hennas will assist with the dyeing process.
  2. Choose a high lawsone henna unless you’re wanting to stain your hair copper/ginger. Great hennas for hennaing silvers are Red Raj, Fresh Jamila Powder, Fresh Yemeni Powder and Fresh Moroccan henna powders. The lower the lawsone content, the weaker the stain. For blending silvers into brown or black hair, Indigo is a recommended addition. For fragile silvers, Fresh Jamila Powder  and Red Raj are highly recommended. For those that want brown and black tones with very little to no red, our Fresh Moroccan Powder is the best choice due to its muted red tones.  If  Organic Cassia Powder  is to be used to create coppers and strawberry blondes, then other hennas may be used. Katam is not recommended for silvers due to it’s temporary nature.
  3. Avoid adding heavy acids to your henna. If the mix is too acidic, it can dry out the hair. Instead, mix your henna with warm water, unsweetened fruit  juice (no citrus juices, only diluted), or herbal teas. It is not recommended to use black/green/white tea if your hair is dryer due to the tannin content of the tea as henna already contains tannins.
  4. Leave henna paste on for a longer time on silvers. The longer the paste is left on, the deeper the colour penetrates. Silvers are coarser than the rest of the hair, so it takes a little while longer to get a stain on them. Opt for at least 4 hours ‘processing’ time. If your hair is particularly coarse, opt for overnight henna treatments.
  5. Silvers have no colour base, so the colour can be very light on the first application so for some, the colour may have to be built up over several applications.  This is completely normal.  If you’re worried that you’re using too much henna in full head applications and not getting good coverage on your silvers, paint henna on the silvers with a paint brush, cover and leave on for several hours until you’re satisfied with the colour.  Remember, it takes 3 days for herbal colours to deepen (oxidise).  For black tones, it is recommended to start off with a one step henna-and-indigo, then follow this with a full Indigo application.
  6.  Keep your hair moisturized. Silvers are more prone to dryness. It has been reported that butters and heavier oils help to keep the hair moisturized, especially if they are used on damp hair. Choose oils such as olive, coconut and butters such as shea and cocoa. Some great recommendations for coarse dry silvers are Henna Sooq’s Cocoveda Oil, Sweet Mimosa Butter and Organic Argan Oil.  It is advised to avoid Shea, cocoa and Argan products if you have a nut allergy.  Check with your doctor,  just in case.
  7.  If using indigo, it is recommended to add 2 pinches of baking soda (per 100g of Indigo powder) to your indigo paste to assist dye release.

Keep in mind, other herbs such as Bhringraj Powder, Brahmi Powder, Organic Hibiscus Petal Powder and Organic Alma Powder may stain silvers and lighter hair temporarily.  These are great if you’re after subtle tinting for a natural streak effect.  Also, Organic Cassia Powder can be used without tinting the greys by using distilled water and no acids in the mix.  Always strand test just to make sure as porosity may affect the results.

 

  1. Belinda says:

    Thank you so much for this information. This is very timely seeing that I am a NEW henna head. I’m African American and I’m transitioning from a relaxed hair to natural. Transitioning is hard enough with out having to fight with trying to cover my gray (silver) hair. I’m about 30 to 40% bright silver gray. My first henna treatment was May 27. I used the Red Raj and loved it! I used 2 cups of red herbal tea, about a teaspoon of ACV and about a teaspoon and a half of olive oil (just before app). I let the henna sit for 3 hours for dye release. I left it on for about 12 hours (overnight). My gray was completely covered but pumpkin orange (LOL). I about freaked out but then I remembered that it needed time to oxidize. In the end (about 4 days) I ended up with a nice coppery orange with some red tones on my gray. My goal is red. In the article you mention to use “unsweetened fruit juice” to reduce some of the dryness. My question is would cranberry juice work instead of red herbal tea or should I use about half and half (juice/tea) to help boost the red color and minimize dryness? Should I add a little honey? I’ve read where people have added honey. What is the benefit of the honey? Okay, my last question, for my next app should I leave the henna on just as long as I did before (12hrs) or just for 4-6 six hours?

    Sorry I’m so long winded but I’m SOOOO EXCITED!!! :-) Thanks for your help in advance!

  2. Hi Belinda, thanks for your post. Cranberry juice could work nicely as well. A little honey would dilute it a bit as it’s a natural hydrogen peroxide. I’d really recommend for added moisturizing and without altering your color that you use our Organic Aloe Vera Powder. Only 1-2 tsp are needed per 50 grams.

  3. Another thing about the honey:
    It will only release peroxide if the pH is right (neutral), so in your acidic mix, there is no danger of bleaching with honey as acids render the peroxides inert. Honey needs to be mixed with distilled water and left to sit for an hour in order to activate the peroxide. :)

    Some people have reported getting a weaker stain with the addition of honey, especially if it is a henna like Red Raj or Yemeni (stringy hennas). I myself have had issues adding honey to the mix (it was only 1TBS). Aloe Vera powder is not a good addition to Red Raj, as Red Raj is very ‘slippery’ and adding aloe will equal harder application and cause the henna to slip off some of the hair which causes patchy dying. With other henna powders, the Aloe powder is fine. I haven’t tried adding aloe gel or juice to red Raj, but if I were to go on a limb, I’d day pure aloe juice is better for Red Raj than the gel or powder as it is not as ‘sticky’ and does not cause the

    With the cranberry juice/tea, you do not need any extra acids such as ACV. A too acidic mix can dry out the hair.

    The oil is a good addition, and one can oil with coconut after hennaing as well to minimise the dryness. Lawsone binds to the keratins inside the hair.

  4. Belinda says:

    Thanks ladies for the advise! Ahh, I didn’t know honey doesn’t mix well with the “stringy” hennas. That is so good to know! I’ve heard people say that the Red Raj is stingier than other hennas. I didn’t notice because Red Raj is the only henna I’ve ever used. Okay, I’ll just try the honey treatment separate from the henna some time in the future. The next time I henna I’ll try the unsweetened cranberry juice and red tea and see what happens. I’ll also try the coconut oil after and see how that works. That ‘s a great idea!! I think I’ll how off on aloe in the henna. My DC has aloe in that so I should be good.
    You ladies know your stuff!!!! ;-) Thanks again!

  5. melissa says:

    Hello,

    I purchased the fresh Jamila powder, alma and indigo not to long ago. My goal is to cover my stubborn grays with an overall brown tone, black does’t look as natural on me. I am African american with natural unprocessed hair. I haven’t had good luck covering my grays so far. What am I doing wrong? I did the two step process the first time which was way too time consuming and my hair came out too dark with weird tones in the front. The second time I used acv and did the one step process mixing the indigo and henna together before applying it. The two step was nice and natural looking but no luck covering the grays, instead I got the copper strands which is not what I wanted. I read above about the baking soda which I’ve never heard before! I will have to try that. What about salt? And any other suggestions?

    Thanks, Love your site!

  6. Hi Melissa. Do you use indigo for hair or organic indigo for hair?
    The grey hair do sound a bit stubborn. A 1 step sounds best for you. For sure adding salt does help the indigo cling better. Do you also use warm to hot water for dye release of indigo and let it sit only 10-15 mins?

  7. Hello. After reading about your company and products on various websites I purchased the Lush Brown kit with Organic Rajasthani Indian Henna in the beginning of June. I have finally mixed it and am waiting for dye release as I write this. I have used “cheap” henna in the past and was unhappy with the nonresults. I have been reading your blog daily for a week and after all the wonderful comments and suggestions and sure this is where I want to be. I had signed up for your newsletter and this particular post regarding covering grey is what finally pushed me to take the plunge. I am 43 and have been going grey since I was 16! Anyway I have already purchased more product from you and haven’t even done my first process yet, that is how confident I am that I will be a lifelong customer. Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and I will post (shorter) again in a few days with the results.

  8. Hello Helen.

    You’re more then welcome. If you have any questions or concerns about your recipe please let me know right away. Enjoy!!

  9. Jacqueline Lewis says:

    I purchased the Cassia Obovata powder to color my many grey strands. Should I have purchased henna with this. I have medium brown hair and so many gray pathces. What should I have purchased along with the Cassia powder.

  10. Hello Jacqueline. Organic cassia won’t make a drastic change as it only adds golden tones temporarily. Did you want some golden tones on your grey tones? Henna will color your hair more on the red side. What color were you aiming for?

  11. Jacqueline Lewis says:

    Yes, I would like my grey to have golden tones.

  12. Jacqueline,
    Cassia would be the perfect product for you! Cassia dyes greys a golden tone. :)

  13. Belinda says:

    Hello ladies,

    Okay I’m back again (see my post above 6/1 & 6/2). Since my last post I have BC (Big Chopped…YAY ME :-)) and have hennaed my hair a total of three time. One of the three times was right after I BC. I used left over frozen henna(Red Raj)from the second time I hennaed. My henna recipe included:
    1 cup red tea
    1 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
    I made a paste and added the following to the frozen henna:
    2 tbsp of Alma powder
    4 tbsp of Hibiscus powder

    The new recipe worked in that I didn’t have the dryness I had before (thanks again) and it covered my new silvers great!!!! However my silver hair is still more orange than the red/burgundy I desire after oxidation. I think my natural hair color is either dark brown or black (too much dying over the years). (1) Should I switch hennas. I have thought about changing to Yemeni and mixing it with Red Raj since I have four boxes left. I also thought about using Jamila since that’s what other naturals use but the lawsone is lower than Red Raj. I have searched all over the net and have found conflicting results of all three hennas. I am very frustrated have thought about giving up on henna. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way it makes my hair feels and it does cover my silvers, I just wish I could get the color I’m looking for. HELP!!!!!!!

    One other thing, even with using the Alma paste in the henna, I still got curl loosening after oxidation :-O (3c/4a texture). I did two Alma treatment and my curls were back in action (whew!!!) :-). (2) Should I just do the Alma treatments alone right after I henna?? I really DON’T want to loose my curls.

    Sorry so long again.

    ~Belinda

  14. Belinda says:

    Oh, one other thing,(3) would mixing my henna in a cast iron bowl make a difference in the final results. I’ve been using an aluminum bowl up to this point. My friend has used both and she said she got more of the burgundy tones with the cast iron and more orange with aluminum.

    Thanks!
    ~Belinda

  15. LaWanda Sykes says:

    I really appreciate the tips especially using herbal tea, I have used black tea since it was cheaper, but I will change this going forth.

  16. Most of my hair is grey, I would like to color it so that I get an ash darker grey. Away from orange red as possible. What would be the best herb and combination? I used Moroccan henna and the result was too oranve and just awful on me. Your experience and knowledge are greatly appreicated. Thanks for your site and forum, a much needed venue.

    Regards,,
    dora

  17. Hello Dora. Do you happen to have a photo of this color you’d like to achieve. I’ve never been asked about ash grey before. Or do you want it more brown?

  18. Hello Khadija,
    Thanks for the data for coloring my also stubborn 25% gray right in the middle and around edges hair. I would appreciate some more advice on coloring please, when I mix the Henna with the indigo and possible the alma power, and a alma oil, can I leave the indigo mixture with henna,alma, oil, in hair over night more then 12 hours, now I looking for a nice brown color. thanks

  19. I have been getting grays since I was 15 years old. I am on my third henna treatment right now. I purchased the Organic Rajasthani Indian Henna Powder along with the Organic Indigo.

    The first time it did nothing much because I mixed the henna with the indigo in a one-step process. Then second time I went for the two step process and made my mixture a little looser as I have very thick, coily, African American hair and needed to really work it through. I used green tea, recommended by another blogger. This worked so much better. My grays were bright orange, but definitely colored. I only left the henna on for 4 hours (after letting it release for 6) The indigo really gave my gray hair a more subtle coppery color. I was rushing a bit so this time I ‘plan to leave it in longer and get it a bit darker. My hair is about 7-10% gray, at age 38, but most of it is around the edges and the temples. But I am still putting henna through my entire head. This time I’m also adding Aloe Vera powder in the Indigo process to reduce dryness. What I’ve noticed so far… My hair does seem smoother, but no less curly. I wash with an amla shampoo bar that has been amazing and not drying. I have noticed less frizz. I use tons of butter and ghee to moisturize. I’ve had no dryness issues and my hair is typically dry. But it’s been one year since I big chopped and I finally have my moisture balance figured out.

    I plan to try Red Raj. It wasn’t in this time, but the next time I purchase I will try it out. Definitely do your indigo in a two-step process instead of one if you have thick, coarse, African American hair! I’m still looking for that perfect color, too. But I’m not stressing it. I will figure it out.

  20. I am chinese and have lots of white. Which henna products should I buy? Thanks.

  21. Hello Amy. It depends as we have over 250 products. What are you trying to achieve and what color results?

  22. How long does one need to wait between applications if I were trying to build deeper color? Using Red Raj. Thank you!

  23. Hello JC. In order to avoid over drying your hair, give it at least 2-3 weeks.

  24. I am 22 years Old.Have Indian black hair(male).I am about to try henna+Indigo treatment. I have dry hair. I have lots of silvers in front part.As well as some on the sides.I am trying to blend those into my natural black colour. Is it possible .If it is then how to do it? this will be my first henna or IndIigo application..

  25. I am 62, black hair with grey hair framinig my face. which henna kit/indigo mixture should I use to turn my greys black? Should I use the mixture all through my hair? I have very little grey hair throughout the rest of my hair, and am ok with it. Also, it has been 6 months since I had color or perm. My hair is shoulder length. Thanks for any help.

  26. Anurag, Yes it would have to be henna first and then indigo as your second step.

    Sharon, You could do a root touch up if you prefer. You could use our Lush Brown Kit: http://www.hennasooq.com/lush-brown-for-hair-kit/
    Just use the henna first and indigo as your second step.

  27. guina jean says:

    Hello, thanks for the blog. I’m AA. I have what you call 4b relaxed hair. My hair is black now and I have a lot of grey roots. Have been using the rinses. I like to transition to something that is not as strong. Just did a henna treatment and its copper. ( didn’t read your advise for greys). I want a dark red color like the model with the afro.

    I want to purchase the Moroccan powder. Do I need to purchase the indigo to achieve that look? and If so How long should I keep the Moroccan powder on for? How long should I leave the indigo on for? or can I mix the two together?
    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

  28. Hi Khadija,

    Thank you for your response of Dec 2, 2012. I’ve never used a blog before and didn’t realize you had answered. Sorry I missed it and thank you again for writing. I’d be happy with medium/brown tones to cover my grey but try as I might, I keep getting orange/copper/red with the moroccan henna and indigo in a two step. It seems the indigo has very little effect on the first step henna colored hair. Also my scalp burns alittle and is itchy after I use indigo. Is this common or might have a bit of a reaction. I buy the hennasooq organic indigo. Any advice on how to get this right would be so great. Main issue: to get medium/light brown hair from grey hair and using indigo without it making my scalp burn.

    Regards,

    Dora

  29. I am 63 years old with about 75 t0 80% gray hair I purchared Henna Maiden natural red and auburn powder which suppose to be a 2 step process to obtain an auburn result. this is my first time coloring my hair in over ten years. I washed my hair last night with a homemade all netural shampoo and then conditioned withan homemade herbal conditioner containing essential oils. The next day i applied the natural red and will be letting it stay onfor about 10-12 hours. When I made the mixture I only added warm water and 10 drops each of eucalypus and tea tree oils. How long do you recommond i wait before applying the auburn color to my hair.

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