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Uh oh… You have tried henna and are not pleased with the results. It can happen. And now you want it gone. You have probably already read everywhere that henna is a permanent dye, that you should have done a strand test, and more. That’s all great advice, but not really helpful now, right? Don’t worry, in this post I collected the options you have and described them in the best possible way to give you the best possible tips to get the best possible result!

To dye or not to dye?

Remove henna from hair

There are quite some options to remove henna from hair!

The main reason why people do not recommend you doing this is because they do not know what the result will be. Chemicals can interact with the henna in your hair, which might result in even stranger colors or even worse: unrepairable damage. Nobody wants to have that on their conscious.

Now several things need to be taken into account. Dyeing on hair treated with PURE henna is possible but the dye will behave differently on the henna-dyed hair. Usually this will result in a darker color then expected, because henna does not lift easily. The chemical dye will also fade faster than usual since henna-treatments will make your hair less porous, meaning the chemical dyes won’t attach as well resulting in a faster wash out. So if you want to dye your hair and you have used pure henna, go for a darker chemical dye! Lighter dyes require heavy bleaching to lift the henna which will result in your hair being unable to hold the chemical dye as well (plus heavy damage to your hair!). Remember, like always, do a strand test first!

If you have used “compound henna“, henna mixed with other stuff, things get a bit trickier. Everything discussed above still applies, but there are a few extra thing to be taken into account. All that is not pure henna is called compound henna. This other stuff can be “good”, like other plant dyes such as indigo and amla, or “bad”, like metallic salts. If you are in the second category, do NOT use dye or bleach. Seriously! This can damage your hair, scalp, health and more. Also stop using that kind of henna, since you are going to regret it eventually. If you are in the first category, mixing henna with plant dyes, you can dye your hair without worrying too much as long as you don’t use bleach. If you have been using indigo (or a lot of buxus) the peroxides in bleach will remove most of the plant dyes, except for indigo, leaving you with a greenish tint. Going darker than the color you have now is again the way to go.

Remove henna from hair naturally


Always go for the natural options first!

Now, truly removing henna is a near-impossible job. Let’s get that straight. Henna binds to your hair. This is why they call it a permanent dye. What you CAN do however, is fade the henna! The best way to try accomplishing this is by combining certain heavy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. Also argan oil can be added to this mixture. Make sure you have enough to cover all of your hair and apply the mixture starting from the roots working towards the ends. Tie up a towel around your head and leave the oil in it for the night (up to 12 hours). In the morning, shampoo the oil out. It’s best to first apply the shampoo before wetting the hair, since oil and water don’t mix that well. After that rinse it out and shampoo one more time.

Although this process will fade the henna, you might need multiple reapplications in order to achieve the desired effect, so don’t get discouraged! The rate of effect will depend on how old the henna in your hair is, what hair type you have and what color your original color is.

Remove henna from hair less naturally

Another oil you could give a shot is mineral oil, which is a by product of petroleum. This might be able to lift the henna enough for the hair, so that you can use a chemical dye to achieve the color you want. Keep in mind that this could be a damaging process and should thus not be your first choice!

Step 1: First saturate the hair with a mixture of 70% alcohol. Try to avoid touching the scalp and use sterile cotton balls to apply the alcohol.

Step 2: After about 5-10 minutes apply the mineral oil on top of the alcohol, while avoiding the scalp area.

Step 3: Use some clingfilm to cover your hair (or a shower cap if you ran out of clingfilm)

Step 4: Use a blowdryer for about 30 to 45 minutes to heat the hair up. Keep in mind that heating the hair is actually never a good thing to do since it will remove the essential oils from your hair. In this case however, you are trying to lift the henna from the hair, meaning that is a side-effect you have to deal with.

Step 5: Again, for the same reason as above, apply the shampoo first before using any water! Rinse out and shampoo again until all the oil (and hopefully henna) has come out.

Step 6: Since this procedure will seriously dry your hair out, be sure to do a few deep conditioning treatments to restore the hair’s moisture balance. Also an extra moisturizer wouldn’t harm!


If all else fails, visit your hair specialist!

You expected more fading? There are still several things you can try to speed up this process as well. Our recent posts on lightening your natural hair might work very well for fading henna as well. Take a look at this four part series and use a combination of these methods (sun, honey, tea and lemon) to achieve an even better result. Also some people achieve good effects using color removers such as ColorOops or Color B4. Keep in mind that these are not natural products! If all of this still not helps you achieving the desired faded color, a final thing you could try is teeth-whitening toothpaste. Yes, teeth-whitening toothpaste.


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