How to dye your hair with henna from LUSH

posted on: March 5, 2012

One day Cookie and I got this idea. We were both a bit bored with our hair, and as we’ve been brain washed by Sigrid (who works at LUSH, and is also our super-lovely friend), we decided to go for some henna hair dye from LUSH. In short, henna is a natural way of colouring your hair. It takes a lot of time and makes a huge mess, but as there are none of those nasty chemicals in there, your hair will come out of it a lot healthier than when using regular dye.

LUSH has four different colours in their henna – the combination pictured above is what Cookie chose (equal amounts of Noir, black, and Marron, a chestnut brown), whereas I used two squares of Brun (plain ol’ brown without any red in it) and one square of Noir. If you don’t understand what I mean by “squares”, don’t worry, I’ll show you further down. First, I need to stress that henna does make a huge mess everywhere, so it’s important to prepare properly. Here’s our setup:

Nothing of ours got stained, fortunately, except for the chair and Cookie’s ring finger (there was a hole in her glove). Still, better safe than sorry, I say, so remove absolutely everything you can, and cover the rest, especially if you’re a newbie at henna or are doing this alone. Actually, here’s my best advice in this whole post: don’t do this alone. Trust me, a partner in crime will not only make the whole process more doable, but also more bearable in general.

I won’t go into detail about everything you’ll need or do, as that can be found on LUSH’s website or on the instructions they give you when you buy the henna. Still, I’ll try to give you all the tips we discovered on our own, as there are plenty.

The henna comes in these huge blocks that look a bit like chocolate, except it’s green. Don’t be alarmed, though, it’s supposed to look like that. To mix it into hair dye, you’ll need to… well, cook it, sort of. I’ll show you. Just please remember to buy a zillion disposable gloves for your very first time (I think we used about eight pairs, because we suddenly had to remove them to fix something or re-heat the henna).

This is the only photo you’ll see of me wearing this minty blue colour, I promise. But you’ll need to wear something you can throw out, as the stains of henna are the most stubborn bastards you’ll ever meet. They’re worse than exes and bad memories and salopes combined. Really.

And we’re off! First, chop up the henna. See what I meant about “squares”? We used four for Cookie’s long hair, and three for my shoulder length hair. It was a rather perfect amount, I think, especially if we hadn’t made it way too thick and then had some problems spreading it out evenly (more on that later). A lot of websites and YouTube-videos tell you to grate the henna with a cheese grater to avoid lumps; we just chopped each square in four and it was perfectly fine. Save your energy, because you’ll probably need it later.

When the henna is all in little bits, you need to cover it with boiling water. Then simply let it sit for a while, and try to get used to the smell. Many inhabitants of the internet will tell you all sorts of horror stories about how it smells like poo. Neither Cookie nor I thought so; it’s more like super-strong tea combined with incense. To me, the problem wasn’t the smell itself, but how the smell got so strong. You’ve got the stuff on top of your head, all over your bathroom, in your kitchen, and it gets very intense after a while.

Looks a bit like soup, doesn’t it? When the pieces start to melt, you use a fork to blend them with the water. Cookie and I were afraid it would drip all over the place once it was on our head, so we didn’t make it as thin as the LUSH girl told us (like thin yogurt, she said). BIG MISTAKE. When the henna is too thick, it is very hard to distribute on the hair, it dries too quickly and just makes more of a mess than necessary.

See? That is too thick. Poor Cookie was our test bunny, meaning we did her hair first, and even though the result looks good, the process itself was quite frustrating. She definitely did a better job on my hair, and we also made the henna much, much thinner, which helped, too. After you’ve blended the henna, you’re supposed to heat it up again until it’s as warm as you can bear. I know it doesn’t look very… nice when it’s mixed together like that, but be brave.

Once the henna is mixed, you’re all set to go. Cookie and I was so excited about mixing the henna that we forgot to prepare Cookie, so she slipped into a garbage bag as quickly as possible, and covered her hairline and neck and ears with something greasy to prevent staining on the skin. We’d bought one of these brush-thingies to distribute the henna, and it would have been rather impossible without one. You section the hair, cover the roots in henna, then work it out through the lengths. With Cookie I did the lengths and roots of each section at the same time, but that wasn’t such a good idea. Do the roots first, then the lengths. When everything is covered in henna, gather the hair on top of your head, and cover it with clingfilm. Then wait.

From here on there aren’t that many pictures, as I’ve already spilt nail polish remover on my MacBook and didn’t want my camera to suffer injuries as well. Still, we have tips aplenty:

– Better mix too much henna the first time, than to have to make more while half your hair is covered with it, as this would be stressful and make a mess everywhere. Just remember that you can’t re-use henna; once it’s mixed, it has to go in your hair or in the trash.

– Don’t make the henna too thick. If you think it’s just right, it is probably too thick. Add more boiling water.

– Keep the henna warm while you work it into the hair. We had a covered cup of boiling water on the sink, so when the henna got too cool and hard to work with, we could mix in some warm water.

– The neater you section your hair, the easier it is to get the henna evenly into the roots. When henna has been on the hair for a while, it goes stiff and a bit hard, so keeping things tidy makes everything better.

– When you gather the henna-covered hair on top of your head (before the clingfilm), try to balance it so the weight is distributed evenly. The henna is surprisingly heavy, and you’ll be carrying it around for at least three hours.

– We cut a strips of an old towel and fastened it around the head where the clingfoil met the skin. This helped prevent dripping.

We kept the henna in the hair for three hours. Some internet-people say to keep it for as long as possible (even overnight), but the LUSH girl said three hours allows the colour to fully develop, and more than that isn’t really necessary. Washing it out was… interesting. Cookie and I had discussed it, thinking it might be tricky as we don’t have a bathtub and we didn’t want to stain our entire bathroom. Also, the henna gets quite hard and crusty after some hours, so I was afraid it would knot the hair as I tried to wash it out.

Our solution was to fill a bucket with water in the shower, stick the head upside down into it to loosen most of the henna. Cookie said it worked great, and the mess was mostly contained in the bucket. For me, the process was a bit more… humiliating. You see, Cookie is a dancer, so standing with spread, bent legs and the head practically on the floor, without the support of your hands, for many minutes while rinsing out the henna, was pretty much her everyday life anyway. I, however, am not a dancer. Standing naked in the shower, head bent into a bucket with trembling thighs and a shower curtain that clings to you and the smell of henna everywhere… not my proudest moment. Still, the idea is good, so if you’re not a dancer, simply bring in a chair or something else on which to place the bucket.

Phew. Long post, this one, eh? Time for what I know you’re all waiting for: the before and after shots. My starting point was hair that had been chemically dyed about six months before. My hair grows rather quickly, so I’d say about seven centimeters from the roots are my natural colour here.

As you can see, the difference is definitely noticeable. The after picture was taken one and a half week after the dyeing, as the indigo (which gives the black colour) takes some days to fully develop. I’m very pleased with how there aren’t any orange tones there at all, and how natural the colour looks. Also, my hair has become so shiny it looks, as Maja put it, like Disney hair. I’ve always thought my hair generally looks healthy and happy, but now it’s a whole new level of shine up there.

Let’s do some pros and cons, shall we?

Pros:

– very, very shiny result!

– natural, so no nasty chemicals or stained pillow cases the night after you’ve rinsed.

– henna conditions and protects the hair, and mine is definitely healthier and happier than it was before.

– less expensive. One block (six squares) cost 149,- NOK, and I get two rounds of colouring from each block.

– I haven’t tested this personally yet, but they say henna colour lasts longer than chemical hair dye, and also fades more naturally/evenly.

Cons:

– the smell. I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to strong smells, and this was just too much for me. The resulting headache was fierce and lasted the rest of the day, and I still get a bit queasy when I get a whiff of it.

– the mess. It didn’t stain the whole house as I’d feared, but it was still a lot of work cleaning up. Dirty newspapers, bits of towel, all the kitchenware we used, clothing, the shower and shower curtain. The bucket was too dirty to describe, so that had to go in the trash.

– time-consuming. Preparing and applying the colour took at least an hour, then three hours to let the colour set, and then the whole rinsing process.

– nothing I’ll ever attempt to do by myself. I know many people manage alone, but I frankly can’t understand how.

In conclusion:

I love the result. My hair has never felt this healthy, and has never been this shiny. I really want to do it again, but I must admit I dread the smell and the resulting headache. Not everyone reacts as strongly as me, though (Cookie wasn’t much bothered by it). If you’re considering using LUSH’s henna, I suggest you find a shop and give one of those bars of henna a good sniff. Multiply it by five, and see if you think you can handle it. If you can: go for it! My hair has never looked better.

  • Maja H

    I´m sorry, but “worse than exes and bad memories and salopes combined” is too funny for words! As I came to visit right after you had finished dying I feel like I can safely assure everyone that your apartment did not smell like poo at all. Super-strong tea combined with incense describes it pretty perfectly I think! It does look way too labor-intensive and messy for my taste, but I can definitely understand why you´d like to do it again. Disney hair indeed!

  • drifterqueen

    Amazing results! :D I’ve always wondered how henna-dyed hair turned out and yours looks absolutely fabulous!

    Henna sounds like a really healthy alternative to all those scary chemicals! Love learning your how-to’s of a natural, home-dye job ;) It’s a great reference for when/if I ever work up the courage…(*bigscardeycatwhenitcomestoanythingsemi-permanent* >.<)

    Fantastic post as always! <3

    • Maria

      Thank you, kitten! I love the concept of henna, I just need to find a way to deal with the intensity of the smell. Just so you know, colouring your hair with chemical colour AFTER henna isn’t really recommended (and some say it’s pretty much impossible, that the chemical colour won’t stick), so doing a test strand is probably a good idea if you’re a bit uncertain :)

      • Anon

        The smell gives me a migraine. I suggest, if you don’t mind a bit of tingling heat, adding some cinnamon oil or other strong EO to it. The only thing that works for me personally is the cinnamon. I smell like a cake rather than a haystack…

  • Awesome Sophie

    Oh, I had no idea LUSH has henna! I used to dye my hair with henna everytime I was back in Kurdistan which was every summer until I was 19 or so.
    Did you know that you can get addicted to henna? As in if you don’t dye it every so and so long you actually get really bad headaches and basically get sick? Oh yeah, totally true. There are girls with the shiniest and most gorgeous looking heads of hair walking the streets down there, and I always get jealous before I remember they must be addicted. So once in a while is OK, but once every three weeks or so is kind of scary.

    But I’ll definitely be buying this now. I’m used to the smell even thought I haven’t smelled it in like 6 years so I won’t have too much of a hard time I think. Mum can put it in for me! Woho :D

    • Maria

      Addicted?? Wow. Ok, I definitely don’t want that! How is it even possible?

      Good luck on your henna adventure – perhaps you can show us a before/after in that fabulous blog of yours? :)

  • Renate

    LUSH henna is awesome, but like you’ve just said – quite a process! When we (being me and my husband) dyed my hair the first time we made the same mistake you did with making the henna paste too thick. Such a mess. We found it didn’t stain that much – we got some on our white sink, as we kept the bowl floating there in hot water to keep the paste warm, but it washed right off. Same with the shower. I brought a hairbrush with me in the shower to help get the lumps out – if I hadn’t I might still be in there, trying to get it all out.

    Also, I read somewhere in advance that you shouldn’t use metal to stir the warm henna paste, as it might react with the metal and make your hair green. That might be more of an issue with the red hennas though, I don’t know. We used a wooden spoon to be safe. That spoon is no more.

    Anyway – the dye is fantastic. I used Rouge, and my hair turned out an amazing Ginny Weasley meets Black Widow red. Re: fading – mine hasn’t faded much at all, after 3 months. Seems it must grow out if I want to get my (totally boring, now!) natural colour back. Also, regarding the smell, you can mix in spices that might take some of the sting off. I used cinnamon and cloves in mine.

    Sorry about the crazy long comment. :X

    • Maria

      First: never apologize for a long comment, darling, they are always a joy to receive!

      Second: thanks so much for the tip about mixing in spices, I’ll definitely try that the next time (if there is one). Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s nice to know we weren’t the only ones who fell in the too-thick-paste-trap ;)

  • Sigrid

    Haha, yup it is a hassle :P But the result is worth it and as you said SUPER shiny! Your hair looks lovely and I can’t wait to see how the colour turned out on Cookie! Next (if you dare to do it again), can I tag along? It would be a great experience for me since I haven’t really witnessed the whole process before :)

  • Cindy

    *flire*
    Resultate bei vældi fint:)

  • Annabella Freeman

    Wow that is an epic post! You have a beautiful house by the way!

    • Maria

      Oh, thank you, and thank you! It’s more of a small apartment, really, but I love how it’s so light :)

  • Hanna

    i tried dying my hair copper using henna this summer. I was amazed by the colour, as it managed to turn my hair from blonde to bright bright orange/copperish, but the smell was just too much for me. Every time I showered, the scent of wet hay (I think that’s what it smells like) surrounded me.
    It was also abnormally time consuming and the process of dying my hair has never been as boring.
    I was also quite scared by hearing others claim that once you’ve died your hair with henna, you should not use chemical dye as it will mess up your hair, so i waited a few months before using normal hair dye again.
    Although the colour was amazing and my hair felt really healthy, I’ve gone back to using chemical dye now.

    • Maria

      It seems you and I have pretty much the same opinion about henna. How did it go when you used a chemical dye again, by the way? I’ve been wondering about just that, so it would be great to hear about someone else’s experience :)

      • Hanna

        I was fairly scared as I’d heard tons of rumors, so I waited a few months before I died my hair again. It worked out completely fine, and my hair looks the same as it did before.

  • Mel

    Three months ago I finally made the change from chemically coloured dye to Henna.I should have done this a long time ago.I did not wait for my hair to grow out, I started using the henna immediately.I opted for the chestnut shade and the colour is absolutley brilliant on my hair.It deepens with every application. The condition of my hair has improved dramatically, I no longer have hair loss as was the case with the chemical dyes and the henna seems to stimulate hair growth. My hair is shiny and healthy.Henna is an affordable and sensible alternative to salon treatments if you do not wish to change your hair colour every month because as you know is henna is permanent. But being a bit of a romantic I love the notion of thinking that I am following the trends of Cleopatra and so many others who have understood the magic that lies locked up in henna.I certainly plan to have a life long love affair with henna.

  • Natalie

    I’ve recently started dyeing my hair with henna again after many intervening years of chemical dye. I’m also using Lush henna and am really happy with the results. I started with Maron but last time tried 2 squares of Maron with 1 square of Brun but I love your results using Noir so I might try one of each next time. As for the rinsing I find that no problem at all. I rinse for a few minutes under the shower then use a big handful of cheap conditioner which I massage through; rinse out then shampoo and condition as normal. That’s it – all in all the rinsing/washing process takes me about 15-20 minutes which isn’t that much longer than a usual hair wash. Tons of conditioner is the key. All those grainy bits just come right out!

  • Bex

    Hi
    I haven’t dyed my hair for 8 months due to a bad allergic reaction 3 months ago with black dye which scared the hell out of me.

    Bought some henna from Lush yesterday and just about to start the lengthy process of dying my hair.

    Your site and tips have really helped and I feel prepared for what is to come over the next 4 hours…!

    I shall keep you updated

    Bex x
    |,,/\,,|

  • Penny

    This post was SO helpful when I was dying my hair… Thankyou so much!!
    I used Henna for the first time a few months ago, my friend who is a massive lush fan convinced me to give it a go so I did. In all honesty I was a little scared as I have heard so many comments about peoples hair going green etc….
    I started to do my hair on my own – Epic fail, I ended up having to call my partner in to help me as it was super messy and really tricky. We made it far to thick and getting all my hair covered was such a mission! Left it to ‘take’ for a couple of hours then on to the mission of washing it out. It took soooo long….. but I tell you, my hair has never been is such a good condition. It smelt amazing & was unbelievable shiny and smooth. I will NEVER go back to using chemical hair dye again. Lush is the way forward & I LOVE it ;)
    Sat here now after coloring my hair again with it wrapped in cling film to keep it out the way… only another hour to go before the washing commences.
    Thankyou again for this great post – very useful.

  • Kazuya

    Your description is sooo lovely! The instruction from lush is too simply and your passage with picture really help me a lot. Today I do it for the first time, I can accept its smell but I really caring about the color because my hair is totally black and I use the marron.Now, I’m waiting…..I hope it works….

  • chin

    I have been using henna powder from India to dye my almost whole head of grey hair for the past 20 years. Its colour is orangy brown and it does make me appear younger than the grey hair. To avoid the grainy bits leave the henna mixture overnight and the grainy bits will have blend with the mixture. i dont use hot water or any other natural enhancers such as coffee or tea too. the smell is natural and i think it’s better than the chemical smell of commercial dyes. TQ

  • christine

    Hi Maria-
    You seem like you are an expert enough with Henna, I just started using it for healthy hair reasons, but I also have some white hair surrounding the face area that becomes orange after applying the henna, any tips about just keeping it from turning it orange, my hair is originally very dark red/ black.
    Thanks!!

  • Alice

    Wonderful walk-through!
    I redyed my hair just now, yesterday I made it too thick and it cooled to quickly, which resulted in a mess in the bathroom and very unevenly coloured hair…

    Today went much better though thanks to you!
    I have only used henna a couple of times before and that was around two years ago, but I felt like going redhead again so here I am, cling film and towel on head just trying to make these hours pass!

    As Natalie commented, conditioner is the key to getting it all out. I suggest buying a really cheap one (contains less crappy chemicals, too!) so you won’t be afraid to use A LOT.
    And next time I’ll trythe spice thing – I too have problems with the smell, especially afterwards, but cinnamon just might do the trick.

    • Maria

      I’m really glad my blog post made things easier for you, Alice :D If I every try henna again, I’ll definitely use conditioner to rinse.

  • Julia

    Before I found this blog I didn’t think I’d be able to use the Lush henna dye I had gotten for Christmas due to my inexperience and vague understanding of henna dye. But all the advice and the tips here made it so much easier! Now my hair is a super healthy and natural shade of red! Thank you so much! :D

  • How Not to Dye your Hair with Henna « Rhea Babla – The Silver Platypus

    [...] though I just wanted to look after my hair and not kill it any further. I won’t go through a step-by-step guide to dying your hair with henna, mainly because mine will not be as sophisticated and frankly I wouldn’t suggest my methods. [...]

  • Courtney

    Hey, I found this post through google and know I’m super late, but I thought I might be able to help you make this a little less messy and awful. My lush ladies all reccomended that I use a crock pot to mix my henna in. It didn’t take very long and was much easier to clean. Plus, I didn’t have to worry whether or not I had a hot water source in the bathroom, as my slow cooker did all the work. It soaked and washed really easily, too.

    Another tip, it does not stain tile nearly as bad as you hear it does. If you wipe it away quickly, it’s no trouble, plus it fades over time. And don’t forget, ultra balm (or petroleum jely) are your friends! Slather it on exposed fingers and your hairline and you’re good to go. Hope this helps!

    • Maria

      A crock pot sounds like an excellent idea! I don’t own one myself – actually, I don’t know anyone who does, as they’re not very common here in Norway – but I imagine it must make everything much easier. Thank you for commenting, I’m sure anyone coming across this post will find it very helpful :D

  • Caitlin

    Hi, I just stumbled across this blog post so I may be a little late joining the party, but I just wanted to let you know that a good way to cut down on the smell is to add powdered ginger. Just dump in and mix, add more if you have to. It doesn’t get rid of the smell entirely but it does cut it down to a much more tolerable level. I just tried LUSH for the first time and it seemed to work pretty well, and LUSH brand henna has a ton of clove oil and other scents in it that are even stronger than natural, pure 100% henna powder, which mostly just smells like wet hay. Anyway, hope this tip helps if you decide to henna again!

    • Maria

      That’s a wonderful tip, thank you, Caitlin! This is one of my most googled posts, so I’m sure someone stopping by will appreciate the advice :)

  • Jen

    I am reading this while I wait to make it to the 2.5 hour mark so I can wash my henna out. The guy in Oxford Lush said 3 hours but I really will fall asleep if I wait any longer. I don’t know what the end result will be like for me yet but I wanted to say that I think the Caca Marron smells like Turkish Delight mixed with incense which is lovely in my opinion. I do have a headache but I think that is from carrying my long hair plus henna plus a towel on my head for all this time – also making me sleepy!

  • avril

    Loved your post. I used henna/indigo mixture for the first time the night before last… have had a shocking headache ever since… woke up during the night (I’d washed out the henna/indigo by then) feeling sick to my stomach… anybody else had a reaction like this?

    I love the results, hated the process, but am desperate to do the natural thing with my hair because I am super sensitized to chemical dyes.

    Love to hear if anyone else has had a similar ‘side-effect’.

    • Maria

      I’m with you on that one, Avril – for a week or two afterward I’d feel nauseous whenever I got a whiff of the left over henna (and we’d stuffed in in a plastic bag and tied the knot tightly, so that’s saying something). It was so bad for me, I haven’t tried henna since. I, like you, loved the results, but the process and nausea and headache just wasn’t worth it (especially as the henna seemed to wash out of my hair in about four weeks; my hair seems to be extremely “slippery”). Perhaps you can try some of the suggestions above, adding spices and such, to see if it makes it more bearable to you?

  • Alyssa

    You did an excellent job of presenting Lush Henna. I used it in May 2012 and I loved my results. The only downside for me is that I can not dye my hair with chemical dye until all of the hair that was coated in henna grows out. Or atleast that is what my hair stylist learned. Do you know any way around that?

    • Maria

      You know, I, too, read this everywhere online, but it wasn’t a problem for me. Unfortunately I can’t remember exactly how much time passed between my henna adventure and using regular dye again, but it wasn’t more than… three months, tops. It worked just the same way it used to before I tried henna – but as I mentioned in the comment above yours, my hair seems to be extremely “slippery”, so the henna might have simply washed away by then. Perhaps try it on a small, hidden strand of hair and see how it works on your hair?

  • Brenda

    Thank you for posting this!! A friend gave me some “Lush” henna to try but I had heard horror stories. You have given me courage! Going to make my husband help, since he loves Disney Hair! Let you know how it goes!

    Thanks again!

  • Peter

    Hi all. Wonderful tutorial Maria on using Lush henna. I tried the henna treatment on my wife’s hair a while ago and made the typical newbie’s mistake, making the mix too thick. My wife has really thick black hair with some gray hairs, hence the henna treatment. I found that as soon as I applied the henna mix to her hair, the hair sucked out the moisture from the henna mix. I’ll be trying to colour her hair again today and this time the mix will be runny. The last time I henna’d my wife’s hair I got her to sit on a plastic chair in the shower and that seemed to contain the mess. Then I just rinsed the henna off the inside of the shower cubicle.

    Love reading all the great comments.

    Take care all,

    Peter

    • Maria

      Hi Peter,

      thank you for sharing your henna experience – there is some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in making the mix way too thick. Hopefully it went better on your second time around :)

  • Darcie Magaha

    I am so thrilled I found your site. I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Bing for something else. Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a informative post and an all round inspiring blog. (I also like the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute, but I have added your website to my favorites, so when I have time I will be back to read more. Please do keep up the awesome job!

  • Red moon

    Greetings Dear…what an excellent post! Thank you for taking the time to make such a professional presentation for us all. I made it a little thick myself but my hair was clean and slightly damp. OMG though I wasn’t thinking about the metal issue…I used a glass bowl but I used a metal masher for a few stirs…! Oh my I hope it turns out ok… I’m using caca rouge and maroon…I’ve had it in for 4 hours…think I may rinse soon. Let’s hope it comes out beautiful and not green!

  • Red moon

    Turned out beautiful, no green to be seen…however, it appears a bit oily…think I will wait the full 48 hrs to wash and style though. I used a heat cap that I bought years ago from the beauty supply. It’s like a heating pad shaped for the head. You may be able to find one on Amazon or a beauty supply site…its a must have! Its excellent to do salon quality deep conditioning treatments! After I wrapped my head…even thought the mix was thick, I think my hair being slightly damp helped, i put on the cap for two hours. i did take small breaks then did one more solid hour of heat. I let it cool before rinsing (after 4 hours). The warm cap really enhanced the result in my opinion. I have the hair of three people and just could not make too small of sections. I noticed that the heat cap along with the hot henna and my damp hair really created a moist heat penetration of color. I used the lush rouge and the maroon 3:1 ratio on my ombré brunette hair and so far it looks very sultry just in time for Fall fashion week!

    • Maria

      Thank you for sharing your experience, and that heating cap sounds like a brilliant idea! I’m glad your result turned out so well :D

  • Shari

    I grind the henna to a powder in a coffee mill. Then, I use a funnel, pour it into a squeeze bottle ($1), and mix hot coffee into the powder. I use the squeeze bottle and a rattail comb to apply the henna. No mess, no fuss, and if you get the consistency right, no drip. It goes on in about 10-15 minutes. I wash it out 3 hours later: rinse well, then liberally apply a great conditioner. Massage into hair about 2 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Re-apply, rinse again. Perfect! I use Caca Brun on shoulder length hair with gray. (I add 1 tsp lemon juice or cider vinegar to improve coverage.)

    • Maria

      Ooh, a coffee mill, that’s brilliant! All you guys have left so many smart tips in these comments, I’m almost tempted to try it again ;)

  • April

    I have been using lush henna every 3-4 months for almost 2 years. This blog post is the most amazing and closest (not to mention funny) description of the whole experience. Its suuuuuch a pain to go through, but so worth it! my hair has gone from being short and damaged from box colors to long and soft and shiny. Plus the color is so natural and beautiful. I get constant compliments on my hair. Love your blog. Thank you for the laugh ladies. Your hair looks beautiful!

  • Karen

    Second time I have used henna and love the colour (red)… an older lady who is getting a few sprinkles of grey but highlights these beautifully. I’m a bit lazy, just slap it on and hope for the best… just washed out and it looks fabulous!

  • Jackie

    Hello! So I tried dyeing my hair with henna yesterday, and I don’t see any difference today…so I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. I’ve read websites where people say you have to wait 12 hours after mixing the henna before you apply it to your hair. How long did you lovelies weight after mixing it?

    Do you have any other insight as to what I’m doing wrong? I left it on for 2+ hours.

    • Maria

      Hi! I’m afraid I don’t know what might have happened there – we used the henna right after we’d mixed it. Some say you have to avoid using metal tools when mixing the henna (so a plastic fork is preferable to a metal one), but we didn’t adhere to that either. Perhaps googling it might help :)

    • Hannah

      Hi Jackie, I believe that you need to leave the henna for 12 hours or overnight if you are using the pure green henna powder.. however with the Lush block henna you would use it straight away.. maybe you used the powder type? In which case it could be that the powder was old stock, or not a good brand? I am currently trying the Lush block and waiting to rinse it off while typing this! Thanks Maria for your blog, it has kept me entertained while waiting!

  • Ruby

    Hello! I just had a quick question.. I just dyed my hair (which is naturally Black) with Caca Marron from Lush. I see a few red tints but in all, it looks the same. Could it be because it is still wet? Or will the colour develop over time. I was hoping to see more red. Do you think I should wait or talk to the customer service representatives at Lush?

    • Maria

      Hi Ruby!

      Going from naturally black hair to red with henna is, from what I’ve heard, pretty much impossible, because henna doesn’t contain any bleach. Also, Caca Marron is first and foremost brown, albeit with red undertones. Choosing a pure red kind of henna might make more of a difference, but I suspect the henna won’t make much of a change unless you bleech your hair first. Perhaps someone at Lush might be able to explain it better than me :) Good luck!

  • Gillian Nash

    Hi thanks for your blog re this, totes helpful. But just a quick question, how long did the colour last? And did it go a hideous colour after it started to fade – menaing you had to dye it again or live with washed out yukkyness? Ta muchly :)

    • Maria

      Hmm, that’s a good question! The dyed colour wasn’t extremely different from my natural one, so it’s a bit hard to tell, but I’d say it stayed as the after-picture above for at least a few months, then gently faded. When it did fade, it just seemed to get (very) gradually lighter, more like my natural colour again. Nothing hideous at all! I can’t say what would have happened if I was a natural blonde and dyed it red, though, so the transition will depend on your starting point and choice of dye :)

  • Rebecca

    Hi! I went the henna for the first time, alone… felt like sharing for those who might be afraid to go it alone, it was hard but not too horrific.

    It was hard to apply, I think I went a bit on the thick side (melted chocolate) with the mixture so it instantly went to flaking off as soon as it hit the hair if I moved too much. Next time will do thinner. I didnt get perfect coverage on all the roots on my hair but I dont think it will be too noticeable cause I am quite dark, but you might have problems if you are blonde.

    Had old towel on ground, black tshirt this was good decision. Some went on the sink which was ok on porcelain washed off easy, but the other laminate got a bit stained… oops ; /

    For me the smell was not noticeably offensive. There was a lot of oily drippings seeping out from under the gladwrap while waiting with it on my head, which were a blackish green, a bit disturbing cause I was using caca rouge but nothing to worry about. Instead of using towel I clipped a rolled up long piece of toilet paper around my head… so attractive!

    I agree with the bucket idea, I did this too, but the bucket was fine after, and I rinsed the utensils, pot, glass bowl directly after they were easy to clean.

    I only left the stuff on for about 2.5 hours altogether and now my dark mousey brown hair is nicely rouged… yay. Totally worth it for the lack of chemicals : ) Might do it outside with a mirror next time to save crumbs and drips staining the sink!

    Looking forward to see how the colour changes, and I hope I get disney hair too!!

    • Maria

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Rebecca! I’m sure some “lonely wolf” out there will appreciate it. Doing it outside sound like a good idea, as long as there’s no risk of staining a balcony/patio – and the smell must be much more bearable outside, too :)

  • Janice

    I’m wondering if I used a glass bowl to make the paste, can I reuse the bowl as in putting food in it.

  • Janice

    Can I reuse the bowl to make the paste? I mean like putting food in it.

    • Maria

      As long as it isn’t a porous kind of bowl, sure! I just used an ordinary cereal bowl, and it cleaned out with no problems :)

  • Bella

    Lovely results! How long did you leave the mixture before applying it? :)

    • Maria

      Thank you! We didn’t wait long at all, I seem to recall (it’s been a while, after all). I think we mixed the henna, spent five minutes preparing the bathroom, and then got to it :)

  • Pangi

    Regarding what you said about reusing henna: I’ve frozen a homemade batch of henna color/conditioner that was later used with decent results. Maybe Lush is different?

    • Maria

      That might very well be! I just followed the instructions from LUSH, which said that you can’t reuse it :)

  • allison

    I love that color!!! What proportions of which did you use????
    I did 2 blocks of rouge and 1/2 block of noir hoping to get this purpley color. I went back and did another treatment of rouge.

    • Maria

      Hi allison! I used two squares of Brun and one of Noir, as I didn’t want any red in it at all :) No Rouge for me, my sister used that one.