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Basic Henna Recipes: From Burgundy To Black

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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. :)

  1. MotherOf3 says:

    Any idea of how to achieve a mahogany tone using henna?

  2. tasheena says:

    what about us curly girls with extremely dark hair to begin with? how can i make my hair lighter with henna?? or at least make it look more red or brown?

  3. Hi there, MotherOf3!
    The best way to achieve a mahogany would be to use Jamila and Katam (perhaps 60/40 henna to Katam) if you hair is dark-blonde-medium brown. If your hair is medium-dark brown, use Jamila on its own and dye hair for 2-3 hours/ Of course, strand test before you dye your whole head to make sure you get the right colour. There are different versions of Mahogany..anywhere from a gingery tone all the way to almost burgundy, so it’s hard to say for sure.

    Hello, tasheena!
    unfortunately, henna will not lighten hair as it is a translucent dye. However, girls with extremely dark hair may get a red-burgundy tint by using Red Raj several times to build up the colour. The red Raj is very smooth and creamy, making it a great option for super-curly or fragile hair.

    You could try honey lightning to lighten your tresses a little:
    http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showpost.php?p=134083&postcount=1096

    Keep in mind that this can get rather tricky as you’d need to do root touch ups to keep the colour uniform. I suggest, if you’d like to henna, to henna several times without the lightening. You will most definitely get that gorgeous reddish glow in sunlight! :)

  4. I have dark brown color hair with some greys. I am trying to use Henna to get burgundy color on greys. When I mix henna with warm water/tea, what consistency should it have? I am going to use Rajastani organic henna for which I saw that I have to wait 3-4 hours after mixing.

  5. Hello An. The consistency should be that of thick yoghurt. Yes it does need 3-4 hours for that henna for dye release. Thank you! I hope this helps.

  6. Lynne NaturallyBlessed Hannah says:

    Hi, I want to use henna in conjunction with other ayurvedic products, mostly for conditioning purposes, but, also for altering the color of my pukey brown hair. I’m not looking for an drastic color change i just want to make my natural color not look so drab. I also want to cover the gray. I used a henna before and i probably didn’t use it correctly because my gray turned almost a golden, orangish color. I don’t want that. Any suggestions?

  7. Hello Lynne. Thanks for posting.
    How many grey hairs do you have? Which henna powder did you use? A good henna would come out more red toned. If you want to use a henna that is better for covering grey it should have a higher dye content. I’d recommend our Red Raj: http://www.hennasooq.com/red-raj/

  8. shorty-shufflez says:

    i have really dark brown hair is there any possible way that i can achieve a blonde tone color or sumthing for my dark brown hair using henna or any non chemical product??

  9. I have black hair with gray.im trying to use burgundy henna.but want the burgundy henna make it black how do i mix it with what stuff to trun it black thanx

  10. Hi im trying to dye my hair black with burgundy henna how do i go about doing that plus i have gray hair what is the mixing plz ….thanx

  11. Hi there, Nadia.

    To colour your hair black, you must do a henna application first, then wash the henna paste out and apply the same amount of indigo over your hennaed hair. The colours of the henna and indigo ‘blend’ to create black tones. Just use warm water to mix your henna and indigo; the indigo paste only requires a 10-15 minute ‘resting time’ before application, while the henna may take longer (it depends on the type of henna used).

    Which burgundy henna are you using? Some of the mixes I have seen already have indigo in them, so that would be enough to create a decent base on the greys before applying the indigo.

  12. Thanx Venassa. i have a box of the name is Noorani it doesnt say indigo in it,but its burgundy henna.how do i use indigo into it what is the mix plz .thanx alotfor ur help

  13. Hi i got 100%pure Yemeni Henna brand name “Henna Al-ebtesama” from kuwait….i want to know whether its good quality henna?and also i want to acheive deep red tone colour..so what i have to Mix with it…can i mix with lemon juice and tea decoction and water?is it enough or anything left to mix with it…thanks

  14. Sorry forgot to mention my hair colour is deep brown and also have some chesnut copper highlights…can i apply it on coconut oiled hair?wil colour develops?

  15. Divya, sorry we don’t know other brand names like that as we carry our own brand of henna powders. But yemeni henna is a very good rich red henna powder. Make sure your hair not over oiled or greasy as it can prevent the coloring to get really rich and dark if it’s too much. Lemon juice would be great or an herbal tea as well. Dark teas can be darkening.

  16. July Grenier says:

    Hi It’s difficult for me to choose the perfect henna because I’m naturally red hair. But since I had ma daughter 7 years ago my hair turned little darker just a little brownish. I just want to get back my gorgeous colour I had in the past So I tried Red Raj the first time I kept the henna paste 4 hours and it turned orange… 6 months later I tried again with Red Raj and I get about the exact same color then I use to have nobody saw the différence with my natural color. I did a third time and its more burgandy…:(( i usually dye my hair every 4-5 months.. I don’t want it turn burgandy… I love when it’s like on the picture of Red Raj that’s is my natural color!!How to keep that color?

  17. Hi there, July! :)

    It looks as though you left the henna on for a bit too long, unfortunately. Henna Sooq’s henna is rather strong, so for the colour you’re after, 2 hours would have been sufficient. It may be best to henna with a mixture of 60% cassia, 40% henna and apply to the roots only from now on. Any henna you apply to your length will encourage more burgundy tones. Allow your length to fade for now.

    Good luck! :)

  18. On the cassia + indigo gloss for previously hennaed hair, it says to mix with water. How long should this sit before adding the 1-2 tbsp indigo? Also, can conditioner be used instead of water or would this inhibit color deposit?

    Many thanks for your time!

  19. Heather thanks for your message. Conditioner could inhibit some of the dye. It won’t be as strong as with water it’s full strength. What tone are you trying to achieve with this recipe?
    You have to mix your indigo separately as well.

  20. I have black-brown and gray hair .i used Burgundy it turn my white hair bright red but my black hair didn’t do much of a change…how can I put the same tones on my white hair to the black hair??

  21. Hello Greysie. What product were you using? Was it henna? But basically if it’s a natural product you can’t make your black hair turn as vibrant as the grey came out as natural coloring herbs will work with only your natural hair color. If you use chemicals then the red on the black hair will probably show up which we don’t recommend any chemical use.

  22. I have dark blonde hair with light brown at the roots. I want my hair to be close to strawberry blonde or light copper(not dark red). I think the 75% cassia and 25% henna mixes to get strawberry blonde hair are for light-medium blonde hair, which I don’t have. What is the right mix of cassia, henna + amla (for curl retention) for my hair color to achieve a light golden- red color?

  23. Hi Candice, good morning ! Is the dark blonde your natural hair color?

    For a light copper yes you could do the recipe you just mentioned with cassia, henna and amla powder. About 50% of each, so equal parts. Do a hair strand test first just to be sure of the results :)

  24. Yes dark blonde is my natural hair color, but it is getting darker with age (light brown at roots). I dyed my hair dark golden blonde about 5 months ago and my roots have grown in. So is my hair too dark to achieve strawberry blonde with henna? If so, you’re saying I need 50% henna, 50% cassia and 50% amla for light copper hair and to keep my curls, 300 grams total to cover hair to my mid back? I’ve read henna and cassia straightens hair and that amla enhances curls but may also darken the henna, is that true and would I really need amla and how much?

  25. I meant to ask if equal parts henna, cassia and amla is the right ratio for light coppper color and to keep the curl in my hair. Thanks.

  26. I have medium to light brown hair that is TB length. Would it be possible for me to achieve the “5.66″ color above? I was thinking to use your Red Raj henna. Should I use 100% henna mixture? How many grams would I need to acquire for my hair length per application?

  27. Candice yes equal proportions would be great.

    For 5.66 color tone yes you could achieve that with Red Raj or our Organic Rajasthani indian henna powder. Also do note you might need a few applications to deepen it which is usual for henna use and for the first time. Yes 100% henna as your recipe. For TB length is it average thickness? If so then about 300 grams should be good. You might have some leftovers which you can freeze for use next time :)

  28. Michelle says:

    Hello Candice,
    I am hoping that you will be able to help me. I have naturally red hair that has faded to strawberry blonde (with age). I have been using pure henna to dye my hair for over a year. The color that I get is a deep auburn. I would like to tone the color down a bit to a more natural looking auburn color. Do you have any suggestions for me?? In addition, is there anything that can be added to henna to improve the smell?

  29. Shandra Grace says:

    I have naturally dark brown (almost black but visibly brown) hair right now. : And am hoping to achieve this color with henna (A little bit more toned down but still the same color): http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-i__SqmdDLGo/T9kXcqaBtyI/AAAAAAAAAA8/Ccvq51T4LTc/s1600/red.jpg
    Also I tried using a henna previously but the color did not last, any tips on how to apply it etc., so the color will be richer and it will last longer? Thanks! :)

  30. I have dark brown and burgandy mix hair I would like to achive redish burgandy hair.what should i addd in henna to get this beautiful redish burgandy color
    Mostly I m using hemani red henna this is herbal brand and also tell me is hemani henna good???

  31. Shandra have you tried our Red Raj? This would yield a very nice deep rich red and is very long lasting in the hair.

    Sara, we’d just recommend using henna alone. The Organic Rajasthani indian henna is best for burgundy reddish tones. I hope this helps. Don’t use a herbal blend. We have Organic Rajasthani indian henna here at http://www.hennasooq.com which you’ll love.

  32. lena ansley says:

    I used surya brazil mahogany powder , i want auburn, what should i use. Its gold/red from previous use of henna. Want to get natural looking auburn color.please help. How soon can i color over it.

  33. lena ansley says:

    How to change red henna outcome to natural looking auburn?

  34. You can make it look more auburn toned if you use our Organic Rajasthani Indian henna powder

  35. Hello,

    I have light blonde hair now with light brown and 5-10% grey roots- my natural is dirty blonde/sb blonde. I want to stay in light sb range- can I do this with henna sb/persian blonde and cassia? Someone at amazon said to use 90% cassia and 10% henna. Will that work to get this color and cover grey? I have purchased rainbow persian blonde henna and ordered cassia.Thanks!

    My hair was damaged from regular dyes. i used henna years ago and it turned my hair bright red, then went to auburn and took forever to grow out. I don’t want that deep red again although it looks very natural on me- my grandmother was red head. I have fair skin and my color as a child was sb blonde.

  36. Great article!
    I was wondering what you’d recommend for my naturally soft black hair (not jet black). I have been doing hendigo at 40% henna and 60% indigo and I have added amla at 25% of dry henna powder. I have about 30% gray, which now is dark orange, but I can see that by the time my dark orange roots reach full length (currently my gray roots are approximately 3 inches from my scalp), my very dark hair will have dark orange highlights. This is not desired. Since my natural hair has more dark red low-lights, I was thinking of doing a high dye content Raj henna all over with a paste mixed with sage tea and brahmi, and depending on how red my roots get, I thought I would follow up with a hendigo application in my roots only. Question: would this help me achieve dark red (more towards burgundy) root in my gray? The henna I currently use is local from my neighborhood Indian store, and I have a suspension that it might be stale even though I keep it unopened in the freezer until I use it. Can I expect redder and more vibrant dye from the Raj henna that has 3.29% lawsone dye? Would repeated use of this Raj high dye henna enable me to obtain the dark/burgundy gray roots I am after?
    I am looking forward to your comments. Thank you in advance.

  37. hi, i have a light brown hair and grey roots, i applied a different brand on my roots using dark brown or sometimes brown but my problem is after just 3-4 days the greys are showing again and the roots are again lighter brown,what can you suggest and advise really needed,thank you!

  38. Thank you Gloria.
    I would agree that would be a great recipe with Raj Henna. Red Raj is the henna with the higher dye content of 3.29%. The local henna powders tend to not be BAQ nor have that extra high dye content which will give you better coverage and no orange hues.
    Yes you could repeat use of the henna for those color results.

  39. Hi Reich. You could also do just a root touch up. It sounds like it’s fading very quickly. Have you checked to see if your products are all color safe, especially the ones you use to wash out the recipe with? DO you use clay (treatments) at all or soapnuts?

  40. Thank you for your reply Khadija!

    I tried the 3.29% dye content Raj henna. What a difference from my locally obtained henna that I bought at my local India food store. I could see the quality right away!

    I did an all-over henna treatment with henna into which I mixed amla powder, but also added (after reading many Indian blogs and articles) strong black tea and strong black coffee, and the biggest change I implemented was the use of an iron skillet to soak the paste in for a minimum of 24 hours. This procedure, they say, is a way to cancel out some of the red vibrancy of the henna dye which is ideal for my soft black hair.

    After I removed the paste from my hair, which I left on for 6 hours (I wanted a very good henna base), I noticed that my gray roots were red-orange but not as bright as I thought. So, I think that to a degree soaking the henna paste with the strong black tea/coffee in the iron skillet did manage to tone down the shockingly red-orange appearance on my gray roots.

    I removed it with just plain water and since it was late that day, I decided to follow up with hendigo the next day. By the next morning my roots had darkened considerably, so I was very happy :)
    I prepared the hendigo paste with 70% indigo and 30% Raj henna and applied it for 3 hours. The results are fantastic! My roots have never been so dark and evened out with the rest of my hair. I had not been able to get my gray roots to be dark enough before, and all I managed to accomplish was a good blending in of my gray with the rest of my hair. But with this new process and with Raj henna, a week later, my roots are still very dark and I could probably go close to 4 weeks without having to do a root treatment again.

    However, I want to build up my overall hair color to a warm and soft black color. So, I will do another allover henna treatment following the same soaking process and leave it on for just 3 hours this time. Immediately upon rinsing this out, I will follow up with a hendigo root treatment of no more than 3 hours with an indigo-henna proportion of 50-50%.

    I plan to repeat this process every week for the next 3 to 4 weeks and see if my hair has graduated to the warm red low lights I am after and also to see if after this significant root darkening treatment, my roots are able to match the rest of my hair. I am so excited to get the initial results and will definitely stay away from Indian food store low dye content henna! :)
    Happy Girl! :)

  41. Hey I have your typical brunette medium brown hair and I want to go for the 5.66 tone up in the picture. Any tips on how to best achieve it? Thanks

  42. Hi Annie

    For that tone our Red Raj would be your best choice. That comes back in stock in about 4-6 weeks

  43. Khadija Thanks for the response. I watched the video for red raj and it seemed that the women who used it had a result more closer to 7.64. I’m really going for a 5.66 or in other words a burgundy/marroon color, but I don’t want it too bright.

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