DIY: Become a ‘Natural’ Redhead with Henna

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I wish I had been born a redhead, but I’ve been faking my crimson locks for many years now.

If you’ve ever had your hair dyed red at a salon, you know how quickly it fades. I’d regularly drop between $60-120 for cut and color only to have the red fade into oblivion within weeks of the dye job. It was incredibly frustrating – and expensive. I even used color-depositing shampoos to try to preserve the color, but to no avail.

Disgusted and unwilling to waste further money on transforming my hair color, I let my hair color return to its natural light brown state. When the urge to be a redhead struck again some years later, I wasn’t willing to put those nasty chemicals on my head anymore. So I turned to a natural solution—henna.

For me, discovering henna has been something of a God-send for many reasons. It is all natural and contains no harsh chemicals. It makes my hair softer, fuller, shinier, and healthier than it has ever been. The color doesn’t fade—I just touch up my roots every six weeks and the rest of my hair stays the same glorious shade of red month after month. Also, each packet of henna costs about $8 – and when my hair was shoulder-length and shorter, I was able to get two uses from each packet. $4 for everlasting red tresses sure as heck beats the fortune I was spending at the salon. You can barely get a cup of coffee for less than $4 these days.


So what is red henna? Otherwise known as Lawsonia inermis, red henna is a green powder with a lovely earthy scent. The leaves of the henna plant have an orange-red dye molecule that stains your hair, though the stain is translucent and will combine with your natural color. This is the same dye used for henna body art, and in fact, the body art quality henna is the highest quality available and the best to use on your hair. Be very weary of anything claiming to be “black henna” or “blonde henna.” Henna is red. Anything claiming otherwise has chemical additives that may be harmful to you. Do your research.

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