Henna for Hair- Tips and Usage

Hi Everyone,

Colouring hair has taken completely new dimensions in the past decade. Earlier only moms and aunties used the ‘looked down upon’ Hair dye! But nowadays everyone wants to colour his/her hair. It is now a sign of being trendy and fashion conscious, what with the ‘in’ colours changing ever so often!!

I have always been a bit wary of using chemical colouring crèmes :?. I buy them, chicken out at the last moment and my mom ends up having the best hair colour in town..!!! Though it never harmed her hair in anyway, I never dared to take the final plunge.. 😀

I have used henna to colour my hair for a long time. I especially love it in the summers, as it is very cooling. I have used many local brands, pure henna powders and the fortified mehndi mixtures. Some were great; some had “not so pure’ ingredients and some were just hair dyes sold in the name of mehndi.

I finally found the perfect mix in the name of “Godrej Nupur Mehndi”. It has all the goodness of mehndi with additives like-

  • Brahmi- Promotes hair growth
  • Shikakai- natural cleanser and adds shine
  • Aloe vera- moisturizes and makes hair silky
  • Methi- conditions and nourishes
  • Bhringraj- Makes hair luxuriant
  • Amla- Darkens hair colour, adds shine and luster
  • Neem- Fights scalp infection and prevents dandruff
  • Hibiscus- Rejuvenates hair making it shiny and silky
  • Jatamansi- prevents graying

Godrej nupur mehndi

Many women are wary of using mehndi too. Henna can be used on almost any hair. But there are few conditions where exceptions need to be made. So let’s see who should or should not use Henna.

Mehndi is good for you if-

  • You have a few grey hair which you want to camouflage.
  • You are allergic to chemicals so you want an herbal alternative.
  • You want a nourishing hair pack.
  • You want a little tinge of colour in you hair without going all the way with chemical hair colours (like me…. :D)
  • You want to protect your hair from Sun. (Henna coats your hair strands semi-permanently; thus protecting from Sun rays and pollution.) It’s a natural sunscreen… 😀
  • You have dandruff or other minor scalp infections; but still want to colour your hair. (Chemical colorants are very irritating on infected scalp and can aggravate the problem.)
  • You have treated your hair (permed, straightened or exposed to chemicals otherwise) and don’t want to use any more chemicals on them.

Chemical treatments generally damage the cuticle (protective covering on hair) and leave it exposed and vulnerable to damage. As Henna coats the hair strand it acts as a temporary covering and protects hair from breaking.

Following are actual hair shafts seen under Electron microscope-
Hair Shaft

  • The cuticle when peels off like this, it leads to problems like brittle hair, split ends and hair fall.
  • The additives like Shikakai, lemon juice, methi, ritha, etc. (as in the Godrej Nupur mehndi) also compliment the protective action of Henna and help reverse the damage.

Mehndi is not for you if-

  • You have excessive dry hair. As mehndi coats your hair it also causes a bit of dryness and rough feel. However, this can be overcome by using a good conditioner for dry hair; immediately after you wash off the mehndi.
  • You have coloured your hair less than 2 months ago with chemical colorant. You need to wait for at least 2 months as henna won’t sit on the coloured hair and you won’t get any benefits.
  • You have naturally light coloured hair. The resulting colour may be very unpredictable and dramatic. Do the Harvest test (Described below) beforehand to get an exact idea. Henna is best suited for black and dark brown hair colours.
  • You have a large number of grey hair. Your hair will look an ugly orange. After a particular stage, hennaed hair look awkward and stand out as if you have brass wires in place of hair… :X
  • You have severe scalp infections (not just routine dandruff or flakiness). You need to check with a dermatologist before going ahead.

Quick tips for using Henna-

  • Harvest test- Be sure of the colour and texture you will have after you apply henna. Take some hair harvested from your hair brush. (Gross.. I know. But very helpful!!) Apply henna on these hair. The colour and texture would be exactly same on your head and you won’t have to take anybody’s word for it.
  • ALWAYS use gloves when applying and washing off henna. Your skin will shed the colour soon but your nails will not do so easily.
  • Wrap yourself in an old towel before applying henna.
  • Apply Vaseline or any petroleum jelly generously along your hairline and at the back of the neck, to prevent ugly red blotches.
  • It’s best to soak henna overnight in an Iron (not steel) utensil. I use an ancient Iron kadhai. It forms a blackish pigment with iron which covers grey efficiently. It’s OK to use plastic or glass bowls too.
  • You can replace water with Curd in the henna paste to make your hair softer.
  • The soaked paste should be the consistency of a mousse.
  • I always shampoo my hair before applying henna. No conditioner. Henna won’t sit properly on the hair. I apply the henna on towel dried, semi-wet hair. Application is easier and more even.
  • Always apply henna section wise with a brush or fingertips. Make eight sections of your hair- 4 on top of the head and 4 at the back. This way you won’t miss any greys.
  • Roll in the sections and pin them on the head. You can use sectioning clips or our simple black hair pins. Pull on a shower cap to prevent dripping.
  • Leave it on for at least 4 hrs.
  • Wash off ALL the henna. It is very important to wash off every single particle of Henna from your hair. If you don’t, the particles will stick to your hair and scalp because of your natural oils. This may lead to dryness, roughness and dandruff.
  • Do this in a wide basin or you will destroy your bathroom floor.
  • Wash until the water runs clear through the hair. And then wash some more. And some more… 😀
  • Always use a conditioner after you wash off henna. Not only it seals in the colour but also diminishes the odour. Many people don’t like the odour of mehndi (I am one of them). You can also give a final rinse of half a lemon squeezed into a mug of water. Takes care of odour as well as adds shine. 😀
  • Condition generously if you have dry hair.
  • Try and avoid using a blow dryer on the same day. Towel dry or if you have to use a hair dryer; use the low heat setting.
  • Don’t wash your hair for at least 2 days after you have applied henna.
  • Most importantly- Don’t hesitate to go to a professional if you are not comfortable applying it yourself. J
  • Never use anything that says ‘Henna based hair colour’ or Henna powder that comes in more than one shade.
  • Nothing is Henna except for the herb ‘Lawsonia inermis’. Check this on the pack before buying.

My freshly hennaed hair..

I hennaed my hair yesterday. It’s silky, soft and shiny with a subtle hint of colour. 😀

I love it. Hope you will too. Go on. Try it.

Until next time…

Ta Ta…

Image Source

Thank you, Mrunmayee You have got gorgeous hair. 🙂


67 thoughts on “Henna for Hair- Tips and Usage

  1. Mrunmayee, you have gorgeous hair!!!! I hv never applied heena to my hair as I m nt really sure wht kind of color my hair wud pick up but I knw many females who heena their hair regularly and it really works gr8 for thm

    1. Hey HD, thanks for the compliments..
      If you want to be sure abt the colour, the harvest test is very helpful…

      As a rule of thumb- lighter the natural hair colour redder it would be.

      You can give it a try..;)

      1. Hey..your hair looks awesome..awesome..just like in teh Nupur mehendi ad.. 🙂 I have dry hair and oily scalp..i have tried to apply henna but always resulted in extra dry frizzy hair after it.. 🙁 .Buti used to shampoo it afterwards i wash off the henna. Was that the problem. I love applying homemade hair packs and would like to try it again..In fact i already bought Nupur mehendi today.. 😀 Can you help, Sush and the gals here who has dry hair and use henna..
        What would be the correct way to apply it..

  2. WOW….is that your hair….its gorgeous…..tell me if its henna only and not some other secret stuff that you are using……

      1. Yes Jomol, that’s my hair… Thanks for the compliments.. 😀

        I didn’ add eggs to it.. Though you can if you want.. But add them just before you apply henna and not when you are soaking it the previous night.. Or you will end up with the most foul smell.. 😆

  3. Wow Mrunmayee…gorgeous hair!! do tell all your other hair care secrets..!!!
    I love henna not only for hair but also on hands…love the smell on hands too..

    1. Thanks Smita.. I love henna on my hands too.. And a secret… I am quite good at mehndi art.. Did it for all my family at my brother’s wedding… 😀 Ooooh.. I’m bragging… :O

  4. Heena coats the hair and does not penetrate into the cuticle. So yes one way it is safe. But repeated coating of henna on hair will make your hair brittle. Eventually you’ll end up with dry hair coz the coating will not let oil or any other nourishing treatment reach the hair – result is dry, broken hair. Check out the auntijies with frizzy , orange coloured hair and you will know what I’m talking about.
    Use of heena as a mild conditioner is fine since it adds sheen but use it sparingly.

    1. I understand your concern Sangeeta..
      But as I wrote in my post you should not use Henna if you have lots of grey.. Then it becomes a hideous orange..

      Also I use it once a month.. By the time I reapply, most of it is washed away by regular shampooing..

      And to emphasize once more… You have to wash off the Henna thoroughly the first time itself..

  5. Mrunmayee

    The texture of your hair is awesome. How long is your hair?

    I have applied henna as a hair treatment twice. I bought the VLCC pack and used it.

    Btw, love the smell of mehndi…

    1. Thanks Poornima, I have shoulder length hair right now.. I used to have hip length.. But I cut them short when I was 16..

      A mistake i still regret.. 🙁

      1. same here.. i had a long curly hair waist length… i got a summer hair cut above my shoulder length and didnt like the new luk.. cannt get my hair back now.. once its cut its done! :chewnails:

  6. ooooh i love your hair! .. I used henna packs a few times.. but i ended getting a bad cold each time i used it.. I guess it doesnt suit people who have sinus issues.

    1. You know my mom used to face the same problem earlier. Now when she applies Heena she sunbaths for a while and she does the same after she washes her hair. This has helped her and her hair is just like Mrunmayee’s. 🙂

    2. Thanks wanderlust… Even I have sinus issues..

      I completely avoid henna in winters.. I don’t have greys so I can get away with it.. 😀

  7. once my aunt mixed henna with hot coffee for a browner color. Previously, after years of chemical dyes , it had a really dry texture. Yet, her whites remained white but her hair had an overall brownish-red highlight. have you tried or heard anything about coffee added in henna?
    btw your hair look gorgeous

    1. My mum used do to it all the time.. she put all the good things curd, egg, coffee, brahmi……… list goes on. But after using it for some years her hair were all dry and brittle. So now she has shifted to hair color from 2 yrs i guess and believe me, some softness and sheen has come back in her hair.

      1. Hey Priyanka, Henna does cause dryness if used repeatitively for a really long time. 🙁

        I plan to use it for a few more years..

        Then I’ll graduate on to chemical colours when I have enough greys.. 😆

        Just don’t want to expose myself to chemicals so soon.. 🙂

    2. Hi sarah.. I’ve not heard abt coffee.. But some people soak henna in tea water for darker colour.. Maybe tannins in tea and coffee darken the colour.. haven’t tried meself…

      Thanks for the compliments.. 😀

  8. Sarah,

    In many beauty parlours, they mix coffee or even tea decoction with heena for getting the colour. I have never tried it that way, so no idea about the outcome.

  9. Wow, your hair looks so pretty. The color is amazing. Great post on henna usage. i esp loved the harvest test – LOL 😀

    sadly I can’t use henna on my hair. I find it too drying, like you said I have dry hair to begin with so. 🙂

    1. Thanks Tanveer.. 😀

      I found that bit abt harvest test from my parlour gal… and i was laughing too.. 😆 😆

      But it is useful..

  10. Your hair looks beautiful, I wish I could buy this product here in the Netherlands but I don’t think it’s available here. I could find a similar product. Never tried Henna before. I’m curious!

  11. Hi Sunaina, Maybe if you have a shop closeby which has Indian products, you may be able to find this one… Beware of mud sold on the name of henna though… 🙄

  12. WOW! Ive been using Henna for years but my hair has never been as shiny as yours! Do you mix anything to give your hair more colour?

  13. hii.. i have a lil more dandruff than regular prob.. but m under no medication.. also i have done permanent hair straightening so my hair is long silky and dry with lots of greys.!!! do u think it wud b apt for mi to apply GODREJ NUPUR MEHENDI

  14. really interesting blog…..love mehndi as well…looooooooove it!!!! infact just about to use it….
    some suggestions—add about 10-15 drops of clove oil, cinnamon oil and eucalyptus oil each for an even better colour (the hair also smells great after washing). Also add about 2 tea-spoons of olive oil and some clove and cinnamon powder….extremely great results (with regard to colour) and very very conditioning for the scalp.

    PS—your hair is absolutely stunning 🙂

  15. Hi Mrunmayee,
    I am Shruthi. I live in chennai. Hope you are doing good. I followed your tips. They were really helpful for me :thanks: . I have a long hair, hence applying Henna (atleast once a month) will make my hair manageable. I applied henna on my own for the first time after reading your article. I am happy to see my hair, It is really soft. Thank you once again. Can you please post some herbal or home remedies for hair care? Take care :teddy:

  16. Hey ur hair is lovely,hope mine will like that.Are u henna or godrej nupur for ur hair?I am using henna,but it doesn’t look like urs.Thks for the tips very useful.

  17. hi,
    i use heena regularly but i don’t know where i go wrong using heena and my hair gives orange look. initially it used to look dark brown and natural but now it doesn’t give that impact. please tell me what all i m suppose to put in heena and wat not so i should get the right colour.

  18. hey…your blog is very helpfull :thanks:
    am african and i use henna on my hair,actually the same brand that you use…
    Ws jst wondering is it good for my hair?and if i wnt to use it to color my hair do i only and vinegar to the mix?

  19. Been using Nupur henna (suggested by lady working at lakme parlor)..I get it applied by a pro..she soaks it overnight and mixes curd, beetroot juice, tea decoction..I want natural burgandy color and hair colors are a big :nonono: for me due to hairfall issue..love it and shall continue using nupur henna once a month

  20. Hello girls! I’m from Russia, I have black hair, I dyed their usual chemical paint, but they began to fall (I bought NUPUR but do not know whether to try it. What do you think should I do?
    I apologize for my English, translated by Google))))

    1. Victoria, i think you should go fr it. Give that mehndi a try. Follow the tips mentioned in this post. I’m sure it’ ll help you. 🙂

      PS – Your english is just fine. 🙂

  21. ur hair looking awesome. i coloured my hair before 5 months and its turned into light brownish colour. can i use this nupur mehandhi for my hair to change that color……..plz suggest me

  22. Nice article, pretty hair! For dry hair apply lots of oil on hair before applying henna. If possible steam the oiled hair and then apply. This works for me. However you need to shampoo the hair after washing off all the henna. Also use 10-12 hibiscus leaves ground up with water to condition your hair after the shampoo.

  23. Hi
    Iam applying Heena/Mehndi on my hairs from last 10 yrs …i apply heena almost every weekend previously my hairs gave good shine n became softer after applying it but nowadays they are becoming rough…nowadays Iam applying Neha Mehndi as used by most of the people in noida..
    also i have some geey hairs aand have increased in number from last few mnths i guess….i want to go for straightning or rebonding also but just cant do as i have to apply mehndi due to some grey hairs and parlour suggested me to go for hair color but on consulting doc and some experts found that it will harm my hair and will make my hairs more grey….
    Please suggest me
    1) should i change Neha mehndi
    2) Should i go for Rebonding or straightning
    3)Which will be the best Mehndi /Heena without any chemicals

  24. I used this mehendi on my hair this weekend and loved the result… normal mahendi makes my hair rough but this was not like that… 🙂

  25. but i want that red shade , like i put tea with the henna , to make it lighter , and it gives this red shade under the sun , i dont want a black hair ..any idea what can i actually do ?

  26. WOW your hair is soooo nice! its the kind of silky i’ve always wanted and had untill i got my hair layered. from then on my hairs been rough. will the henna help make it soft? and can you tell me where i can buy the henna pack from? Thanks! 😀 once again i absolutely LURVEEEEE your hair!!! <3<3<3<3<3<3

  27. Please help! I don’t know if this will work on recently colored hair? I heard stories of people who used henna mixes after having permanently colored their hair to try and darken it, but turned the hair a greenish color. Do you know if I can be able to use this on previously lifted and colored hair?

  28. I used to swear by Nupur Mehndi….my hair became unbelievable. a month ago I finished with the pack which Ma had given me(bought from my hometown:Bhilai). I bought one from my local market in Delhi. I dont know what’s wrong with this package, but I have the flattest hair rite now which is brittle and dry and frizzy. Even a month ago my hair was my pride and joy and I felt pity on the folks with a frizz. Well….who’s laughing now!!
    What i wanna know is how do i ascertain that da pack I have is not adulterated in neway? Any ideas ladies??

  29. I had highlighted my hair red 6 months back for which they had bleached my hair nd then applied the red colour. And the sad part is the bleached highlights are stil there and they look so ugly now. Golden coloured sort of highlights. Can I use this henna on my hair so that al the golden cokoured highlights would go away! Also my hair is very dry. Please reply asap.

  30. Hey everyone facing a problem of dry hair after the regular application of henna , add 1 -2 tablespoon of oil into the henna when you soak it.I use dabur bramhi amla and it doen’t dry my hair 🙂

  31. Hi there!
    I just wanna know one thing I dont like that Orange Colour of henna what if i want black Colour Using henna coz Hair colour Smetyms Becmes difficult To apply On All The Hairs Nd Costly Too. I Used To Apply Henna Alot but Then My Hubby suggested Me To Go Fr Hair Color coz He Doesnt Likes The Smell Of Henna . So plz cud U Suggest Smethng and Can we Mix egg In Nupur Henna And Will It Control Hair Fall n Give healthy growth Or Not ??

  32. Hi All,

    Nupur henna has good immediate effect but in long run it damages hair texture. You have nice texture so use good old henna and if that makes hair dry then add coconut oil while applying henna on your hairs. Nupur henna has chemicals and I have experienced the same thing. I had hardly 2-3 gray hairs but repeated use showed increase in grey hairs. When I went back to good old henna + brahmi+ coconut oil then my hair texture improved. Chemicals actually gives immediate good effect but then they will make you dependent on that. So you will have to use it always.


  33. Hey…can I apply henna to permenantly smoothened hair? I hate hair colours n tats stopping me frm doing hair smoothening till now. But since they say the hair bonds between hair r broken in smoothening treatment…i think henna shouldn’t be a problem.What say?

  34. Hi,before I had frizzy and dry hair used to put henna on my hair.last year in November I went to India I had treatment on my hair I’ve had smoothning treatment.so I want to ask you can I still put henna on my hair or no? Can henna make my hair frizzy again? Because I don’t want to dye my hair with chemicals as I had smoothning..thanks. Reena Bhardwaj

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *