Basic Henna Recipes: From Burgundy To Black
This is part 2 of a 2 part series Basic Henna Recipes. For part one, please read here.
In part one, we discussed how to achieve tones from strawberry blonde to copper penny/red tones as well as how to strand test henna on shed hair from your brush.
Burgundy with Henna
Burgundy tones can be achieved in a few different ways.
1. A few applications of henna on medium brown to dark brown hair.
2. Several applications of pure henna on all blonde to medium brown hair. The amount of applications depends on your starting colour. Light blondes may need at least 7-8 henna applications to achieve something close to hurgundy, while medium browns may only need around 4-5. Also, the longer the henna is left on the hair (some like to henna over night), the faster burgundy may be achieved. Great hennas for burgundy tones are Jamila (with long repeated applications), Yemeni (a light wine burgundy, doesn’t build up too much), and Red Raj ( a nice, rich, vivid burgundy). For brownish burgundy tones, use Moroccan henna.
3. Henna with indigo blends from 10/90- to 50/50 indigo/Henna. Henna with Indigo may be the absolute best option if you’re not interested in doing several repeat applications to achieve a burgundy. Proceed with root applications after the desired colour has been obtained.
For Chestnut Tones
The best henna to produce chestnut tones on mid blonde to mid brown hair is Jamila. Use equal amounts of Jamila and Katam mixed with chamomile tea and honey. To cool down the tone, add up to 2 TBS of amla per 100g of henna powder.
Brown Tones with Henna
Browns can be a little tricky to achieve with henna since the red likes to shine through. To achieve browns, use Moroccan Henna, which produces the most muted red tones out of all the hennas. Jamila can be used as well. Start off with an equal blend of Cassia, Henna and Amla to tone down the red and create a more golden Henna tone. Now, this is the tricky part. Adding the Katam. To start, you may want to do equal amounts of Henna, Amla, Cassia and Katam to do your strand tests. This mix requires the most experimenting and strand testing to get the perfect colour. Play around with the ratios until you achieve the colour you’re after. For a medium brownish tone, use equal amounts of all powders, for a darker tone, use more Katam.
For darker browns, it may be necessary to decrease or leave out the cassia all together, though the cassia does help with creating brown tones instead of burgundy as the henna becomes more yellow toned due to the dilution with Cassia; the yellow tones along with the blue/green tones from the Indigo and Katam create browns. Try ratios of henna to katam (or even indigo) anywhere from 40/60 for medium browns to 15/85 for a rich dark brown. The best liquid for mixing the powders to achieve a brown tone is sage tea. To make sage tea, simmer 2-3TBS of dried sage leaves in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain the sage tea and let it cool until it is nice and warm. Other additives that can help achieve brunette with Henna are coffee (as the liquid) and molasses (1tsp per 100g of powder).
Leave the mix on for approximately 2-3 hours. This mix is suitable for all hair tones from light blondes to medium brown and will add golden shimmer in the sun to darker hair.
An Indigo or Katam gloss over previously hennaed hair can produce rich brown tones and possible dark burgundies. To make a gloss, prepare enough cassia to cover your hair with water, then prepare 1-2 TBS of indigo or Katam and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the Indigo/Katam to the cassia and apply immediately for 30 minutes to an hour.
Rich Deep Black with Henna+Katam and Indigo
A rich black tone can be achieved doing a special two step application that involves a one-step with equal amounts of henna and katam mixed with sage tea and brahmi, with a standard indigo application over the top. To start, prepare the henna. For black tones, Moroccan Henna is best as it is a muted , but rich-toned henna, but any henna with a high lawsone content will work. Mix the with sage tea (recipe in the ‘Browns with Henna’ section above) and 1-2 TBS Brahmi. Let the henna dye release then mix the katam and add it to the henna. Apply this mixture immediately to freshly washed damp hair and leave it on the hair for up to 6 hours to achieve a deep base. Wash out well with water only. When the hair is damp, mix the indigo with some brewed warm peppermint tea (peppermint tea is alkaline, which is what indigo likes) and 1tsp of salt per 100g of indigo powder. Let the indigo sit for 10 minutes before applying to the hair. Cover and let the mixture sit for up to 2 hours. After the indigo has been rinsed from the hair (conditioner really helps with this!), do an acidic rinse (1TBS vinegar to 2.5 cups of cool water) to minimise Indigo bleed and fading, and to restore the hairs pH. Do not shampoo, deep oil or do deep treatments for up to 4 days after indigo application to give the indigo time to ‘adhere’ to the hair. The colour will deepen over the next 2-3 days.
Root Application Methods
I’ve reached my perfect colour. Now what? Root applications are a great way to keep the colour on the length while colouring the roots. With root applications, it is important that you stick with the mix recipe that you used to dye your hair previously to keep the colour as even as possible. Great ways to do root applications is to use a tint brush to apply the henna, the braid method which involves making many loose braids all over and ‘smooshing’ the henna at the base of each braid, using Plastic Squeeze Bottles to apply henna to the roots, or simply spooning henna into a zip-lock bag, cutting the corner off and squeezing the henna as you’re parting the hair.
Don’t forget: Experimenting is part of the fun.