7 Tips to Henna your Hair Without Making a Mess

7 Tips to Henna your Hair Without Making a Mess

I’ve been dying my hair off and on since high school. My natural color is a somewhat mousey brown and never felt vibrant enough for who I am and the me I want to express to the world.

When I started my “chemical free” phase and went a little crunchy, I began using henna to color my hair rather than mainstream toxic dye. I’ve now been experimenting with henna for 10 years off and on. If you want to learn more, I wrote an entire article on the what, why, and how of using henna. Before you ask, I use the brand Light Mountain Natural. 😉

I find that what keeps women from doing henna on themselves is often feeling it’s too hard or messy. 

These reasons apply to any at-home hair dye, mainstream or not. I haven’t found a hair salon that will dye my hair with hennaHenna Mix Light Mountain Natural copy
(though I’m sure they’re out there somewhere) so doing it at home is necessary.

Luckily, over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks to keep it simple(r) and clean(er).

Here are my 7 tips I wish I had known when I first started henna:

  1. Enlist your husband. Or sister or best friend.

    Critical advice. It will keep your stress level down and your bathroom walls will stay clean.

  2. Use plastic hair clips.

    You need to keep your hair up and away from your face to avoid having a tattoo in the shape of a Rorschach ink blot test on your cheek.

  3. Keep your henna mix thick.

    If you have really long hair this may mean purchasing two boxes. Do it. I used to try and thin it out in order to conserve material. But then it just ended up dripping down my face or back, making that hour leave-in period miserable.

  4. Wear your painting Henna Hair Upclothes. Or wrap your shoulders with an old towel.

    You never know when a big blob of dark dye goo is going to randomly plop down on your shoulder, even if your henna assistant is being super careful. And you probably don’t want to apply henna in the buff or you’re going to be getting those Rorschach tattoos in unmentionable places.

  5. Use a shower cap and gloves.

    Duh. But also make sure each person involved (including yourself if there is someone else helping you) has gloves to keep fingers unstained. To go even further, you can wear gloves when you rinse your hair afterwards in the shower.

  6. Don’t get too fancy with application.

    If you have short hair, just plop huge globs on there and massage around. If your hair is long, it may take more precision, but the beauty of henna is that, most of the time, it’s a more subtle color transition so no one will know if its not perfect.

  7. Wear dark colors after your next two showers.

    For the next few washes, your hair will rinse out a light yellow stain. Best to be prepared – use a dark towel also during this time.

Now your turn.

Do you henna your hair? If so, what are your best tips to make it a smoother process? If not, what’s keeping you from trying it? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.

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19 Responses to 7 Tips to Henna your Hair Without Making a Mess

    • Hey Randi! They have henna in many different shades – I believe including blond. Did you check out my older henna article (there’s a link to it in the beginning of the post)? I took before and afters but I’m having technical complications with editing them so didn’t put them up. 😉 Maybe I’ll still add them…

    • Hey Randi! They have henna in many different shades – I believe including blond. Did you check out my older henna article (there’s a link to it in the beginning of the post)? I took before and afters but I’m having technical complications with editing them so didn’t put them up. 😉 Maybe I’ll still add them…

  1. I’m such a scaredy cat when it comes to dyeing my hair! I’ve only done it twice with temporary dyes. The first time was an exact match ( just hiding the beginning of gray hair). The next time, my hair went darker with red highlights in the sun. Not a great color for me. I know the day is coming when the gray becomes harder to blend in (I’ll be 54 the end of July). Right now, lemon juice & the sun do wonders since I have natural blonde highlights.

    • Hi Jacqui!
      I think lemon juice and the sun are a great way to go! No need to do henna if that’s already working for ya. 😉

  2. I’m such a scaredy cat when it comes to dyeing my hair! I’ve only done it twice with temporary dyes. The first time was an exact match ( just hiding the beginning of gray hair). The next time, my hair went darker with red highlights in the sun. Not a great color for me. I know the day is coming when the gray becomes harder to blend in (I’ll be 54 the end of July). Right now, lemon juice & the sun do wonders since I have natural blonde highlights.

    • Hi Jacqui!
      I think lemon juice and the sun are a great way to go! No need to do henna if that’s already working for ya. 😉

  3. Hi Adria 🙂 great job..do you know if henna does cover grey hair??? to know if my mom can use it instead of.. poison…

    • Hi Eleonora, Yes henna does cover grey hair – see fellow reader Susan’s comment. Light Mountain has a specific line just for covering grey. I know exactly what you mean about switching your mom to it! Wish I could do the same. 🙂

  4. Hi Adria 🙂 great job..do you know if henna does cover grey hair??? to know if my mom can use it instead of.. poison…

    • Hi Eleonora, Yes henna does cover grey hair – see fellow reader Susan’s comment. Light Mountain has a specific line just for covering grey. I know exactly what you mean about switching your mom to it! Wish I could do the same. 🙂

  5. Good tips. I think the best thing you can do is know all the steps beforehand (i.e. yes, wrap a towel around your shoulders and wear an old shirt. I use a safety pin to hold the towel in place. Use the gloves and plastic hair cap.) I actually made a bigger mess with chemical dyes than I have with henna. I really like the Henna Color Lab henna. It seems to cover my gray pretty well.

  6. Good tips. I think the best thing you can do is know all the steps beforehand (i.e. yes, wrap a towel around your shoulders and wear an old shirt. I use a safety pin to hold the towel in place. Use the gloves and plastic hair cap.) I actually made a bigger mess with chemical dyes than I have with henna. I really like the Henna Color Lab henna. It seems to cover my gray pretty well.

  7. I’m the husband/sister/best friend you mention. And here’s what I can’t figure out: how to get the henna to cover all of her roots AND not let the rubber gloves catch and pull her hair. Apparently last time she lost a lot of hair. 🙁

    I was trying to divide her hair into small dread like sections so I could squish the henna through each section to get her roots. I didn’t do a half bad job with the roots but not so good with the hair pulling. I think it’s the latex on hair. Latex kinda sticks to hair. But I also don’t want to dye my hands. Help!!

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