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How To Use Henna And/or Indigo To Naturally Dye Your Hair Reddish To Brown To Black Tones

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Here are some simple recipes for mixing your natural hair products. Please visit www.forums.longhaircommunity.com and www.longhaircareforum.com as you will find a wealth of information, along with techniques and various recipes. You can even ask questions on their forum! Please remember when using any new hair product it is always recommended that you do hair strand tests first!

Important: Please keep in mind that everyone has their own unique hair texture. Herbal treatments can be drying for some, and it is recommended that you add hair oil to your recipe, or deep condition your hair afterwards. We recommend that everyone keep an open mind when using henna and natural herbs on their hair, and use the recipe that works best for you!

Henna, also known as lawsonia inermis

Mixing henna for healthy hair and beautiful red tones:

-Mix henna with warm water, or warm lemon juice, and allow the paste to sit from 2-12 hours (as this depends on the dye release of your henna powder chosen). Add enough liquid to make a paste the consistency of pancake batter.

-After dye release has been achieved, then apply the henna paste to your (damp or dry) hair by sections starting from the back and moving forward. Make sure you wear gloves when applying henna, as it will stain your hands.

-Wrap your hair and allow to sit from 1 to 6 hours. The longer you leave the henna in, the more dye will penetrate your hair.

-Rinse or wash the paste out.

-Your hair’s color will settle over the next 2 days.

Optional

  • For redder tones you may add hibiscus or paprika.
  • For browner tones you may add coffee, black tea, or even amla powder (this will tone down the red dye and give you great volume all at the same time).
  • You may also try out a henna gloss. You can do this by adding some henna powder to your conditioner and let it sit in your hair for 30 minutes as a deep conditioning treatment and be able to achieve a less amount of dyeing.
  • Feel free to add orange blossom water, rose water or essential oils to leave your hair smelling great!

How to store your powder: freezer.

How to store your henna paste: freezer.

Indigo, also known as indigofera tinctoria

Mixing indigo for jet-black hair:

-Follow the instructions on how to henna your hair first, then you will indigo your hair as soon as you have rinsed/washed the henna out of your hair.

-Mix indigo with warm water and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Add enough water to make the paste the consistency of pancake batter. Optional, add some salt (1 tsp per 100 grams of powder) to help darken the indigo or add CMC to thicken up your paste.

-Apply the indigo paste to your hair be sections starting from the back and moving forward. Make sure you wear gloves when applying indigo, as it will stain your hands.

-Wrap your hair and allow to sit for 1-2 hours.

-Rinse or wash the paste out. Some prefer to use only conditioner when washing the paste out.

-Your hair’s color will settle over the next 2 days.

-This method is called a two-step process.

How to store your powder: fridge, or cool dark place.

How to store your paste: throw leftovers away as indigo paste does not freeze or keep well.

Mixing indigo for brown hair:

-Prepare the henna paste as directed.

-Once henna is ready, mix your indigo as directed (with warm water and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes). Mix these two together. The more indigo you add the darker the brown.

-Apply the paste to your hair by sections starting from the back and moving forward. Make sure you wear gloves, as it will stain your hands.

-Wrap your hair and allow to sit for 1 to 6 hours.

-Rinse or wash your paste out

-This process is called a one-step process.

-Your hair’s color will settle over the next 2 days.

Optional: You can also add CMC (Carboxyl Methyl Cellulose) to your indigo paste as it tends to be drippy. This will thicken your paste up, and is used to thicken up store-bought salad dressing and in the making of silk paper. You only need 1 gram per 100 grams of indigo.

How to store your powder: henna in your freezer and indigo in your fridge or cool dark place

How to store your paste: throw leftovers away as the paste does not freeze or keep well.

  1. Welcome. Yes you can receive a more detail recommendation by emailing us via Ask the Sooq. Unfortunately with henna and herbs you can’t go lighter for hair color. You have to work with your natural hair color, or bleach some of your hair or use chemicals for lighter tones that are lighter then your natural hair color. But if you wanted brown and all varieties of brown and darker, you could achieve this with henna and indigo together in 1 recipe.

  2. Hi. After reading lots of good reviews i decided to buy henna products my hair colour is dark brown i dyed lots of time…. This henna product will work on my hair i want to dye my hair very chocolaty coco brownish colour. Wat is indigo??? Is it must dat i use in henna mixture..which henna is for me…i add oil or conditioner in the mixture or apply after colour…plz tell me how can i make the mixture wid exact measurements…. I hve long thin hair …thanx

  3. Thank you for your post Sana.
    To naturally color your hair brown we recommend you use henna and indigo. That’s what we carry and we specialize in natural henna and herbal hair care.
    I’m having a very hard time reading and understanding your post. If you could use full words and complete sentences.
    With Henna Sooq products you’d use 60% indigo and 40% henna.

  4. Thanks for the info. Can henna be used safely on african american hair? If so before or after chemical straightening? I was told I could use henna to cover My grays. Thanks

  5. Welcome Celia. Yes absolutely. It’s safe to be used on all hair types. The only different is the care of each hair type as the ayurvedic herbs can be drying and for oily hair that doesn’t make much of a difference usually but for dry hair and dry herbs it can be too drying. So you just tweak the recipe or the aftercare with deep conditioning, and co-washs.

    Yes henna will cover grey hair. I’d recommend using henna after a chemical treatment.

  6. Hi, I am interested in using henna to dye my hair and have been doing a lot of research on it. I have light brown, rather thin, wavy/curly hair. I want to dye it a richer brown color, something that will stand out. But I also do not want my curls to loosen, I heard adding amla powder may help, is this true? And of course I would mix the henna with indigo, but is there any way I could know how much of each product to use? The amla and indigo in particular. Please and thank you.

  7. Hi Nancy. For your hair I’d recommend at least 50/50 of each henna and indigo and at least 3-4 tbsp of amla powder per 100 grams you need to use.

  8. I have fine dark brown hair (with some gray!) and have tried using just henna and a mix of 50/50 henna and indigo, with a little amla powder to tone down the red in the henna. I prefer the henna/indigo/amla mix…I love the color…a rich brown with some red undertones which become more pronounced as time passes from the time of application. I also notice that when I use henna only, my hair is much dryer and prone to breakage. Not sure why that is, and it may just be unique to my hair. But I can definitely say that you have read a lot (and this blog is great!) and then experiment a bit to find the recipe and combination that works best for you. I will NEVER go back to industrial dyes again…..I love using natural products…and my hair loves it too!

  9. Hi Lyen.
    Thank you so so much! DO you happen to use a hair oil to help bring back that moisture?

  10. Hi! I haven’t used an oil or herb to bring back moisture and increase strength…mostly because I don’t know which one or ones to use! Suggestions? I do find that my hair seems to prefer the mix of indigo with henna…and using water rather than lemon juice in my mix. Any tips would be appreciated! Right now I’m eagerly anticipating my first Red Raj henna!!!!!

  11. Hi Lyen. Yes not using the lemon juice was step number 1 in feeling better. For oils then perhaps when we get our Organic Argan Oil in stock by next week you could try that or our Organic Camellia oil. Those are both amazing and not too heavy.

  12. Hi, I’ve been using henna for a few years, but want to try something a bit new, and maybe tone down the orangey-ness of pure henna. I was thinking about adding a bit of indigo, but wasn’t sure of quantities. What henna/indigo ratio would you recommend, if I still wanted the distinct red tones to significantly come through?
    Thanks!

  13. Hi! I have black hair and I have gray roots in my dark hair. And I dyed my hair a lots of time just to cover my gray hair. What product can you recomend me to use. I’m tired using chemical products and decided to use herbal this time.

  14. Hello Livvy. Thank you for your post. Distinct red is best achieved with our Red Raj and to tone it down slightly amla powder is better and a little stronger would be adding indigo. Add only about 25% of your whole recipe of amla or indigo depending on which one you find would work better for you

    Anna, it really depends what color do you want? You didn’t mention which color you’d like so I can’t make any recommendations. Our website is http://www.hennasooq.com for all of our products and colors.

  15. I want the black tone.

  16. Hello Anna. For black tones please go here: http://www.hennasooq.com/color/black-tones/

  17. I am pregnant and would like to avoid chemicals but would still like to cover my grey. I’ve always had a salon use a permanent colour and in between colourings I would use a demi-permanent store brand in “brown-black” or “darkest-brown” to successfully mask the regrowth.

    Can you suggest what ratio of henna and indigo I should use please? I would only like to do my roots, not my whole head of hair. I would also prefer that any highlights that come through after washing have a more brown tinge than a red. What might help me achieve that? Thank you!

  18. Hi.
    I currently have your Jamila Henna, and I want to buy indigo to dye my hair black. I’ll be travelling for two years, and i’ll be freezing my henna. Can I buy indigo and freeze it? or will refrigeration be sufficient to keep the powder fresh and effective for this amount of time?

  19. Hi Sam. For a dark brown you would use 70% indigo and 30% henna. Moroccan henna would be best with indigo for hair.

    Hi Vanessa. You can freeze the powders, but the paste only freeze henna, as indigo paste doesn’t freeze well. Fridge is okay if you can’t freeze as well :) I hope this helps.

  20. Thank you. I will buy indigo too and freeze the powder :)

  21. Hi! I tried 2 step process. I used henna first and let it sit for 3 hours and rinse it. The color is reddish for my gray hair. And then I did the 2nd processing, the indigo. I let it 3 hours to my hair and rinse it, but the color is still reddish. Did I miss something. I just put salt on it. I want to try it again but I want to ask you how long before I wait to do it again, can I do it right away? I have reddish color for my gray roots and black color for the rest.

  22. Anna which indigo did you use. Organic or the regular indigo we have? How long did you allow the indigo to sit for dye release and what temperature is your liquid used?

  23. Roshni Bhojwani says:

    Hi I have gray / silver roots and black hair . I want to use henna and indigo to get dark brown /black hair .What are your recommendations ?

  24. I used the regular indigo and warm water on it. And let it sit for 25 to 30 minutes before I used it then let it sit to my hair for 3 hours.

  25. Hello Roshni. Yes henna and indigo would be perfect and a good choice. I don’t have any other recommendations except henna and indigo. Instructions come with your products as well. Please shop with us at http://www.hennasooq.com

    Anna, did your indigo have a blue-black sheen on it? Did you add any salt? Once washed out was it darker at all? Or did it fade? It’s better if the liquid is between warm to hot, so warmer then just warm but not boiling. It helps dye release.

  26. From where I can find indigo paste?? Plz tell me ! Thxx

  27. Hi Khadija,

    Thank u 4 sharing your expertise so generously w/ those who need it. :)
    My question: I have tailbone-length, super super fine, super thin, S-curl pattern, natural, virgin, very dark (ALMOST black) hair. (Yes! It’s AWFUL!:( Single strand knots EVERYWHERE! :( I CANNOT do a 2-step process & want to know what is MAXIMUM proportion of INDIGO to HENNA I can use to try to get DARKEST coverage possible FOR GRAY STRANDS w/o doing 2-step process. I have SEVERAL FULL-LENGTH GRAY strands but ONLY strands. It is NOT coming in gray at the roots at all yet. What color will these grays be w/a one-step process. I understand the rest of my hair will NOT lighten in color (that’s fine w/me) but it would just be a conditioning treatment basically for my hair that is NOT gray—99%.

    Also…I bought a lot of obovata cassia from your site 3-4 years ago. I did not freeze it and it was unopened in the foil packages. Is it any good now?

    Thank you

  28. P.S. How much of each do I need 2 buy 4 1 treatment? ALSO. do u recommend adding coconut milk to the henna/indigo mix 4 conditioning properties or will it compromise the color deposit? If it is ok to add, do I add AFTER color development has taken place?

    Would plain yogurt be a better moisturizing/conditioning ingredient than coconut milk?

    Thank you
    :-)

  29. Hi Hope. Thank you for your message.
    Maximum proportions for a dark color would be with moroccan henna/jamila henna and indigo for hair at 70% indigo and 30% henna. The cassia should still be good but not as potent as fresh herbs. I’d personally still use it as the herbs don’t go bad or spoil.
    For your hair length you’d have to use at least 300 grams of powder per application, maybe 250 grams. I don’t recommend adding any yoghurt or coconut milk to a coloring treatment as it does dilute the color and you won’t get the same dark rich results. Use heavy liquids with your cassia or other treatments you do. I hope this helps :)

  30. Thank you for your reply, Khadija. Since I will be combining the indigo & henna for a one-step process and the dye release time is different for each herb how much time do I allow for dye release with them combined? Afterwards, how much leave-in time? Is heat necessary to insure color deposit?

    If you have already made a video (or instruction page) on the ONE-STEP DYING HAIR BLACK process please link me to it.

    :-)

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