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How To Prep Your Hair For Dyeing With Natural Hair Dye

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When dyeing your hair with ANY colour it’s important to make sure your hair is clean, but it’s extra important when working with henna.

This is our guide to prepping your hair, to ensure you get the best result possible


Henna works differently to mainstream ‘chemical’ dyes, which alter the hair shaft. Henna is a stain, but can easily be affected by:

·        Oils

·        Environmental residue

·        Hair products (like spray or dry shampoo)

If you don’t thoroughly clean your hair before applying your hair dye, you can end up with:

·        Patchy colour results

·        More transparent colour

·        Dried out hair

·        Inconsistent colour

The answer is a thorough ‘pre-shampoo’, known as a pre-clarifying treatment.  We advise using a natural alternative to mainstream ranges, which often contain sulphates, designed to ‘strip’ the hair of all additives.

A natural pre-clarifying uses ingredients like clays to remove toxins like silicone effectively, but gently, leaving your hair in great condition.

Strand and Patch Test:

Natural hair dyes can be unpredictable and will react differently to different people’s hair.

Henna colours can be affected by so many factors, it’s vital to make sure you test your colour to get the results you want. 


Which hair for a strand test? Some options...

1. Cut a strand out of your hair

2. Leave the hair on your head, and test in an area where it won’t show.

2. When you have your hair cut ask the hairdresser to give you a bit of your cut-off hair.


How to strand test

If you have different colours in your hair (say, areas of chemical dye or highlights, or partly grey hair) then you should strand test your dye over some of all the different areas of your hair.

This is because the colour result will be different over the grey, highlighted, and brown hair.

For a strand test to be useful, you must dye the strand in the same way as you will dye the rest of your hair. Follow the dye instructions exactly as you would if doing our whole head. Coat the strand with the dye and leave it on for the same length of time that you would leave the dye on your whole head of hair.

If the strand is still attached to your head, cover it with some plastic such as cling film.

If the strand is not attached to your head, it is good to keep the strand at body temperature. If you put the strand in a cold place, it will not work as well.

One way of keeping the strand warm is to wrap the strand in some plastic such as cling film or a plastic bag and keep it close to your body. You could put it in your pocket to do this. Make sure the plastic bag is sealed so no paste can escape onto and stain your clothes!

Strand testing also gives you an idea of how long to leave the colour on your hair for. It will usually be darker the longer you leave it on for. The degree of redness (even in brown dyes) can also change, depending on how long you leave the dye on for. 

Remember that Henna also oxidises, so you may want to leave it for a couple of days to see how it settles.


Rinsing out the strand

If the strand is not attached to your head, and there are only a few hairs, rinse it in a small bowl and then rinse it through a sieve so you don’t lose the hairs down the sink!

If you are using a dye that contains a lot of henna and indigo, we recommend waiting for at least 24 hours after you have dyed the strand and rinsed it out, to see how the colour develops. This is because the colour changes and darkens over time as the colour oxidises.

Patch Test

Whilst natural hair dyes are less allergenic than mainstream ranges, anyone can effectively be allergic to anything.  You must do a patch test 48- hours before dying to make sure it’s safe.

Mix up a measure of your dye, then apply either behind the ear or wrist.  Leave to dry.  If the skin becomes itchy or inflamed, do not use.

For both patch and sample tests, we have tester sizes mixes of henna available.

Protect the Scalp:

Nobody wants bright orange ears, or black stains on their neck.  We advise using an organic barrier cream thickly applied on the hairline, ears and neck.

Tuck an old towel into a t shirt to protect clothes.

For further advise on getting the best results from your hair dye, contact our natural hair experts now >

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