Henna is a popular natural hair dye that comes from the henna plant. It is temporary, non-toxic, and has many potential benefits for hair health.
When you dye your hair with henna, it’s important to know that there are certain shampoos that you should avoid using. Henna and shampoo don’t always mix well, and if you’re not careful, you could end up with a mess on your hands.
Below, we’ll take a look at what happens if you shampoo henna, and we’ll also give you some tips on how to avoid any unwanted results.
So if you’re curious about how to best care for your henna-dyed hair, keep reading!
When you shampoo henna, you should aim to be as gentle as possible. The key thing is to let the henna color settle into your hair, and let it dry on its own. Typically, you should give the color about two days to settle in before washing your hair again.
Henna is soluble in water, which means that once the henna dye has been wet, it will dissolve. This means if you shampoo before the dye dries, it will strip away the pigment unexpectedly – or worse yet, you might not get any of that pretty hue at all.
Choosing Henna for Your Hair
There are some henna dyes out there that are less soluble than others.
The indigo plant works by binding to your hair strands rather than dissolving into the water. So while indigo does have properties that make it soluble in water, it is a much stronger dye and does not dissolve as easily.
If you use henna dye that has indigo in it, you can safely shampoo your hair at any time after coloring without worrying about the color coming out.
Henna that is freshly made has a pH of around 4 or 5, whereas hair has a pH between 4 and 6.
This means the outer layer of your hair (the cuticle) will repel the henna pigment when it’s fresh from being mixed. Henna needs to sit in your hair for a few hours before it can attach itself to your strands properly.
If you want to be able to wash your hair with regular shampoo after coloring it with henna, don’t apply heat directly to your hair. Heat opens up the cuticle, making it easier for henna to attach to your strands.
If you’re only coloring small sections of your hair with henna, try using gloves when applying so that the dye won’t touch other parts of your hair by accident.
How long to wait to shampoo hair after henna?
If you are thinking about using henna, you may be wondering how long you should wait to shampoo your hair after applying it.
Shampooing too soon after coloring can cause the bright henna dye to fade and reveal the original color of your hair.
A full shampoo wash is completely safe after 3 days, however, some shampoos may strip the henna stain from your hair more quickly than that if they contain sulfates or clarifying agents.
If you don’t want to use a sulfate-free shampoo while waiting 3 days before washing again with one, then I would suggest covering your head in coconut oil or shea butter and sitting under a hooded dryer for 30 minutes.
Washing hair before henna
When it comes to henna, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. One of the most common ones is whether or not you should wash your hair before applying it. So, should you wash your hair before hennaing it?
It’s a question that has puzzled many beauty enthusiasts. On the one hand, some say that the natural oils on your hair will help the henna adhere better. But others warn that washing your hair first will strip it of its protective oils and make the henna less effective.
As a rule of thumb, if you have dry hair, spraying it with some water before application can help the paste stick better. On the other hand, if your hair is already damp from being freshly washed or from a shower, that’s also fine to use henna on it too.
It is important to note that the roots of your hair will absorb more henna dye than the rest of your head – but this does not necessarily mean you’re applying too much henna!
Hennaing dry hair may result in an uneven pattern because different parts of your strands are absorbing different amounts of color.
Will henna damage your hair?
Henna will not permanently damage your hair
However, if you’ve colored your hair in the past with any kind of chemical dye, it’s important to wait at least 6 weeks between applications before using henna again.
It’s always best to do a strand test before applying henna or any other treatment to all-over color or highlights on an entire head. Even if you have used chemical dye in the past, doing a strand test is still necessary to check how your hair will react to the henna.
A strand test is simple enough to do – just pull a few strands of hair out at the roots and dye them with henna. Wait 48 hours before rinsing out the henna dye, then wait another 6 weeks before dying your entire head if you’re happy with how it turned out.
Once you know whether or not your hair reacts well with henna, you can make a plan for coloring your hair.
If you’re seeing any kind of color fade, then you can simply dye over the top with chemical dye and condition with an oil treatment to replenish the cuticles. If you want to try using henna as a once-in-a-while maintenance color, that’s a great option too!