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How to Apply Henna Hair Dye for Gray Hair in 5 Easy Steps

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

Do you want to dye your hair, but you’re intimidated by commercial hair dyes? Understandable. Those things can damage your hair and leave it looking worse than before.

An excellent solution is to use henna dyes instead. The mixture will be mostly safer, composed of natural ingredients easily accessible at home.

Key takeaways:

  • Henna hair dye is great for gray hair because of its natural anti-microbial properties and scalp-soothing effects. It also clings to gray hair strands easily and blends well.
  • To apply henna hair dye to grey hair, you need to follow 5 steps: gather natural ingredients, mix the ingredients until paste-like, do a patch test to check for allergic reactions, slowly coat your hair with the mixture, and let it sit for 1-3 hours.
  • The best henna hair dyes you can use for gray hair are The Henna Guys 100% Pure Henna Powder and Reshma Beauty 30 Minute Henna Hair Color.
  • Henna dye for gray hair is not permanent, and will only last for about 8-12 weeks.

Why Use Henna for Gray Hair?

Henna powder is a plant-based dye that comes from the henna leaf. If you’ve heard of “henna tattoos,” they use the same mixtures to create body art.

Besides color, henna has multiple health benefits, such as anti-microbial properties, a cooling effect for dry scalps, and minimizing scalp acne.

It works wonderfully, covering grey hair. Note that different shades are possible depending on henna powder – such as auburn color, indigo, and black.

How to Use Henna on Gray Hair [Step-By-Step Guide]

Applying henna to your hair is easy. Instructions might differ per brand, but most packs come with clear explanations. But in case you have zero clue, here’s a general guide.

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

You’ll need a couple of ingredients to mix into the henna powder. Prepare the following:

  • Two (2) cups of black tea
  • Three (3) tablespoons of Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (these are color releasers)
  • One (1) cup of warm water
  • Optional: cinnamon or ginger if you’re sensitive to strong smells
  • Optional: natural oils for moisture
  • Optional: amla powder, coffee, etc. (these are not required, but added herbs can also help with color release)
  • Mixing bowl or glass bowl
  • Gloves
  • Shower cap or plastic wrap

Step 2: Mix the Henna Powder with Ingredients

  1. Pour out the henna powder into the bowl. Assess if it’s the color you want. If not, mix henna powder with ingredients for color release (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) to go darker.
  2. Gradually add the black tea into the henna mixture until it’s paste-like. You don’t have to pour the whole two cups if you already have the right consistency. (REMEMBER: it should neither be too watery nor too thick. It’s somewhere in the middle, like yogurt.)
  3. At this point, feel free to add in the oil if you’ve added a lot of the releasers. These could be drying, and a bit of oil can help – but not too much!
  4. Let the henna paste sit out with the bowl covered. The color takes about 8 hours to release, or even more if you use dye release.
  5. You’ll know it’s ready when the color turns into a red henna dye.
  6. If you’re using a brown henna and indigo powder (for neutral henna), you repeat the same steps with the indigo powder and mix in the two once the first mixture (dark red henna) is ready.
  7. But you don’t have to let the indigo one sit out anymore. Quickly mix the two and conduct some trials and errors to achieve our desired color and consistency. If it’s too thick, add more warm water.

Step 3: Check for Allergic Reactions Before You Apply Henna to Hair

Even commercial dyes encourage you to conduct a test before starting the henna process. You may be unknowingly allergic to some chemicals in the dye mixture.

Do a patch test on your skin and leave the dye for a while. You’re good to go if you don’t see or feel reactions (redness, inflammation, itchiness) within an hour.

Step 4: Slowly Coat the Hair with Henna Mixture

You don’t have to be aggressive when applying henna, especially if it’s your first time. You can do a strand test first, where you try using it on one to two strands and see the effect.

As you get the hang of it, apply henna paste on your whole head – from the gray roots to the stubborn greys.

Step 5: Let the Henna Application Sit on Hair

After the henna application, wrap your hair in a shower cap or plastic wrap. The goal is to trap the moisture so your hair can absorb it better.

Let it sit for 1-3 hours only. Don’t exceed this duration, or else you’ll have dried hair. Wash off the henna hair dye with warm water, and do NOT apply shampoo (conditioners will do).

Which Henna Is Best for Gray Hair?

Looking for trusted products? Here are some of the best henna dye options that cover gray hair perfectly:

1. The Henna Guys 100% Pure Henna Powder for Hair Dye

Detailed review

This natural henna powder is 100% vegan without all harmful chemicals. It’s red henna that turns grey hair into a beautiful auburn color.

It may not work as much on black and dark hair, though. But the color pops out beautifully on graying hairs!

Technical specs

  • It has six different sizes, from 100 grams to 1000 grams
  • Safe for all (men, women, children, pets)
  • Free from metallic salts, chemicals, and gluten

How to use it?

The Henna Guys have a detailed guide on using their natural henna. Refer to this for a successful hair dye procedure.


  • It doesn’t have harmful chemicals
  • It works exceptionally well for grey hairs and grey roots
  • It’s affordable and can be used long-term


  • It’s not as apparent on a darker hair color
  • It may cause hair loss if unsuitable for your hair (that’s why pre-tests for allergic reactions are crucial!)

2. Reshma Beauty 30 Minute Henna Hair Color Infused with Goodness of Herbs

Detailed review

Most henna hair dye options are reddish-brown or medium brown because that’s the most common color of natural henna powder.

It requires a whole set of processes to achieve other shades. Reshma Beauty already does the job for you; you only need to prepare the mixture as instructed.

It’s not as D.I.Y. as those that come as a pure powder, which are the ones that still don’t have anything, and you’re in charge of preparing your black tea and other ingredients.

If you ask us, this one from Reshma Beauty saves time.

Technical specs

  • Alcohol-free and Paraben-free
  • Application is only 30 minutes, and the hair dye lasts up to 4-6 weeks
  • 100% organic henna powder

How to use it?

  • Pour the already-prepared mixture into a bowl and mix with warm water.
  • Apply the paste onto the hair and leave for 30-45 minutes.
  • Wash off the henna dye from your hair until the water is clear. Shampoo and conditioner as needed.


  • Easy way to dye your hair black
  • Saves time (30 minutes vs. 1-3 hours!)
  • Impressive henna color on graying hair, white hair, and even blonde hair
  • Affordable


  • Slightly more similar to chemical dyes than all-natural D.I.Y. ones
  • It only lasts for 4-6 weeks

Henna on Gray Hair – Before & After

Hear it from people who used henna hair dye on their gray hairs. Most, if not all, of them, loved it and haven’t gone back to chemical dyes since.

“I can’t say enough about this product. It fully covered my grays from the roots to the ends and softened my hair as well. A little oil on my hair makes my grays a silvery color, which I love. Without the oil it’s a dingy, dusty type gray and I am not a fan. It’s been a love/hate relationship for a minute. Who knows, I may be using this product well into my 90’s. Easy application process and the directions are easy to follow.”Rhonda from Amazon


Before using Hair Dye for Gray Hair


After using Hair Dye for Gray Hair

“(…) I have never seen such a gorgeous color in real life. It was everything I ever hoped to see and it was so simple. My hair is thicker, healthier, more vibrant, and better than ever. This product is worth more than a $300 salon visit. (…)”Samantha from Amazon

(NOTE: This is only an excerpt from her complete review.)


Before and after Hair Dye for Gray Hair

Henna Hair Dye – Risks, Side Effects, & Warnings

As great as natural henna powder sounds, you must remember some considerations. But don’t worry, they’re not as harmful!


Some people are less careful when coloring hair with henna because they think it’s plant-based, so it’s safe.

Remember that even vegan ingredients can also cause allergic reactions. Don’t ignore the pre-tests as instructed.

Drying Tendencies

Dyeing your hair with henna can also lead to dry hair. Don’t leave it on your hair for too long, and respect the prescribed time.

This is especially true if you used releasers like apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.

Works Best on Grey Hair Only

Henna is best for gray coverage. Don’t expect brown henna shades to appear on dark hairs, as it’ll only make it even darker.

Grow Out Dyed Henna Hair Before Applying Commercial and Permanent Dyes

It’s best not to overlap commercial dyes with henna because of potential chemical reactions. Although it may happen less on 100% natural powders, don’t risk it.

Cut it out if possible, or keep applying henna on grey hair in the meantime until it grows out.

Henna Hair Dye Frequently Asked Questions [F.A.Q.s]


Henna is the best natural hair color for gray hair. The coverage is impeccable and is also not a permanent color for those who aren’t ready to commit.

It’s worth a shot! Skip the chemical dye and go all-natural for healthier and damage-free hair.

aida turner


Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist

I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!