Home » Hair Color » How Long Should You Leave Henna on Your Hair?

How Long Should You Leave Henna on Your Hair?

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

Hair color is gaining ground recently. There is an increasing number of people who have dyed hair compared to those of natural hair color.

However, what is the ideal dyeing hair recently?

At the moment, the best way is henna.

The sooner you inform yourself about it, the sooner you will realize just how much it could be the best choice for you to achieve that perfect hair color you’ve been longing for.

See also: How long does it take to dye hair?


How long should you leave Henna on your Hair?

The short answer is: 4 hours 

The length of time you leave Henna on your hair will vary depending on the kind of result you want on your hair:

  • If you like some highlights, you can keep the henna for 2-3 hours, depending on how more or less intense you want the color to be.
  • If you are looking to dye your graying hair or want a deep, intense color, you can keep the henna mixture on your hair for longer.

The ideal time for leaving henna on your hair is 4 hours. However, this is subjective depending on:

  • The intensity of the color you like
  • The absorbing power and porosity of your hair. Porous hair is more receptive to the dying molecules while resistant hair is less receptive to the dying molecules
  • Your skin’s sensitivity.

It is not recommended that you leave Henna on your hair for more than 4-5 hours.

Leave henna on your hair for two hours
You should leave henna on your hair for two hours (Image: Detoxinista)

Why shouldn’t you leave Henna on your hair too long?

You only should leave Henna on your hair for two hours. If Henna stays on your hair for too long (more than 4-5 hours as I mentioned), it can be:

  • The bonds between dying molecules and the keratin on your hair weaken after some time, which means the henna is no longer useful.
  • It can cause skin and hair dryness. The longer the henna stays on, the more it will re-hydrate itself by taking from the moisture in your own hair.
  • The more you continue letting the mixture stay on your face, the Henna can start irritating the skin and making it a little sensitive. They may be 100% natural, but this doesn’t mean they are completely harmless.

Even before you start worrying about how long henna should stay on your hair, you need to understand how your hair responds to it and if your skin can even tolerate it.

If you want to avoid all the problems mentioned above make sure you keep the henna mixture on your hair for the right amount of time.

Hair dye Henna
Make sure do not leave Henna on your hair too long to avoid irritating the skin (Image: Detoxinista)

To know if your skin and hair can tolerate the henna mix, do a test on some hidden strands and an allergy test on your skin.

I mean, prevention is better than cure, so for the first time, just remember to keep the henna mixture on your hair for only a short period.

Henna is known to be great on most hair types, but it is best for people with fine hair who usually use shampoo and conditioner for fine hair.

Henna dye is available for all hair colors, blond and dark blond, light and dark brown, red, black, and even blond.

Tips for making Henna application work

Make sure henna works best on your hair
Make sure henna works best on your hair

After you have made sure to leave henna in the right amount of time, there are some tips to ensure it works best on your hair:

  1. Let your is be damp.
    The henna or any other herb will get on your hair much more comfortably at that time
  2. Pre-oil your hair before applying henna.
    That would give your hair the moisture boost it needs before dyeing. Oiling your hair also prevents the henna from dripping as you are dying the hair. You can use olive, argan, camellia, or coconut oil.
    (Jump to: How to Use Coconut Oil Before Coloring Your Hair?).
  3. Use fresh henna for deeper and richer red tones
    Fresh henna powder, such as the Yemeni henna gives rich red and orange tones to the hair. After several applications, the color will become even deeper.
    See also: How to make natural red hair redder?
  4. Use high-quality herbal hair treatments to wash your hair really well after applying henna.
    Conditioning the hair will also help with the cleaning process. If you don’t clean out the henna well, your scalp will itch, and your hair will feel gritty.
  5. Always be open-minded and adjust the ingredients to suit your hair type.
    Just because it is right on someone else doesn’t mean it will be right for you.
  6. Always keep your recipe as simple as possible.
    Don’t overwhelm your hair with all these recommendations for extra ingredients that should be added to the henna mix recipe.
  7. Only add warm/hot water to your henna dye mix.
    Don’t add other unnecessary ingredients. If you do, the final result will definitely be influenced. Many people believe that adding extra ingredients will give them a better color. This is untrue.

See also:

Benefits of using henna dye

Using hair dye henna before & after
Using hair dye henna before & after (Image: Henna Hut’s)

Compared to chemical dyes, Henna is considered a good hair dye because:

  • Henna is most often allergy-free. Most hair dyes in the market have ingredients that can cause allergic reactions. However, with henna, this is unlikely to happen.
  • Henna leaves your hair looking healthy and shiny.
  • Henna stimulates hair growth while strengthening it. It is also mild on the scalp so that it leaves your hair healthy.
  • As it fades out, it leaves your hair with natural color. People will not be able to tell that it’s time you recolor your hair again. The good news is that the color can stay up to six weeks before it starts to fade off.
  • Even better, henna dye is cheaper compared to the chemical dyes you can get in the market. If you are going to get your hair colored using chemical dyes in the salon, you will most likely use even more money.

The frequency of henna applications

How often should you apply henna on your hair depends on the color of your roots? How fast your hair grows?

  • If your roots have a different color or start to grey, you might like to apply henna more frequently.
  • If your roots are noticeable, you should apply henna after at least 3-4 weeks. It really depends on how fast your hair grows.
Effect of henna on hair
Apply henna frequently for the best result

What if you apply henna or other herbal colors and you don’t like the results?

Unlike chemical dyes, they must only be applied at least once every few weeks. Henna can be re-applied immediately.

You can re-apply it the same day or a few days after you first applied it.

Of course, you don’t have to make frequent applications a habit because, as mentioned earlier, it will result in hair dryness and scalp sensitivity.

And remember again, you only should leave Henna on your hair for two hours!

See also:

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!