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Tips for dealing hair that’s gone too red/orange from henna

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Tips for dealing hair that’s gone too red/orange from henna

How to avoid orange with henna treatment (orange reddish tones)

Please note, these tips only apply if you have used pure natural henna to dye hair, or pure natural henna powders mixed with other plant products. They do not apply if you have used traditional hair dye / chemical dye, or a henna mix / henna paste / henna powder which is not pure and has artificial chemicals mixed with it.

You can try to remove some of your unwanted colour and/or tone the colour down by adding another colour on top. You can see lots of methods to lift unwanted dye on this page including soaking your hair in olive oil, or using vitamin C powder or baking soda

Putting a brown or black natural hair colour on top

In general when a hair dye has gone too red (hair turned orange) because of too much henna, putting a brown or black natural hair dye on top should counteract the red tone. This is because the darker dyes contain indigo, which is a bluish-black colour that darkens the red/orange colour of the henna, making it go dark brown.


Dyes that are natural and contain indigo include It's Pure Organics Natural Brown or Dark Brown or Very Dark Brown. The Logona brown's do not contain a lot of indigo and are not very dark. The It's Pure Organics Dark Brown hair dye contains a lot of indigo so this will a darker shade. Any of these would help to darken your too-bright henna hair colour, but if none of these are sufficient to tone down the red, or if you have already used one of the brown shades, then you could try 100% pure indigo.

Pure Indigo is the most powerful darkening dye to use over henna. Mix the indigo powder into a paste with water and apply it to the hair. To tone the red down very slightly leave the indigo on for a short time (5 or 10 minutes). If you leave the indigo on for a longer time you can darken the henna to red-brown, brown (up to 2 hours) or even black shade (usually you have to leave it on for at least 2 hours to get a black shade). Be careful you don't leave it on too long, so it doesn't go darker than you want it. The longer you leave the indigo on, the darker and less red your hair will be.


There is no fixed rule about how long to leave indigo paste on for - the timings given above are very approximate. It depends on how porous or how resistant to dye your hair is. The only way to tell before putting it all over your hair is to do a STRAND TEST FIRST (if you like you can buy a tester sized packet to strand test before you even buy a whole packet).

One way of helping to ensure the indigo does not go too dark is to dilute it with cassia powder about 20% to 25% indigo powder to 80% to 75% cassia powder. If mixed with water the cassia is colourless and so dilutes the colour of the indigo. Again STRAND TEST FIRST to avoid an unwanted result. The full instructions on how to use indigo are included when you buy any size packet of indigo from Suvarna.

Other ways to cope with henna that is too orange, red or brassy

Wait a few days. Henna oxidises over 2 to 7 days, darkening and deepening in colour. What looked like brassy orange immediately after washing out the dye may calm down to auburn or copper after it has oxidised. Repeated hennaing or hennaed hair might seem like a bad idea but it can darken the colour to make it more red, rather than orange. If you are worried that it will make it worse, strand test first.

How to avoid henna being too brassy in the first place

The golden rule to avoid all hair dye mistakes is to STRAND TEST FIRST.

Different hennas will have slightly different qualities - some more red, or more orange, some deeper, some more burgundy. You can ask your supplier about the quality of the henna you buy.

Soaking the pure henna in something acidic overnight facilitates the maximum dye release. This generally makes the colour deeper, more red and less orange. (This applies to pure henna only, not henna mixtures such as Logona dyes).

Be cautious when putting pure red henna on hair which is very light coloured. Generally henna will be much more brassy/orange when you put it on its own directly on to white or very light grey or light blonde hair. If you put it onto light brown or brown hair it is much less red/orange; the darker brown your hair is the less red/orange it will be.

Mix a little indigo with the henna - not enough indigo to make it go brown, but just a little to tone down the red/copper.

If you are mixing henna and indigo together to achieve a brown shade you need to use more indigo than henna in the mix (as stated in the instructions you get from us). Adding some amla to the henna/indigo mixture can also help to tone down the red of the henna to achieve a less reddish brown and more ash brown. Amla powder on its own doesn't tone down the red of henna.

If you are very fair and want a more strawberry blonde, not bright ginger, colour, mix a little henna with a lot of cassia (which is a leaf powder that gives a golden colour on its own).

I can't guarantee any of the above will be right for you because there are so many variables (for example, your starting colour, your hair chemistry – how porous or resistant your hair is). For these reasons, the same product will be different on different people's hair.

Don't be put off by being afraid of a disaster. Without experimenting you will never know if it will work. If you're worried, just experiment on a little bit of your hair - STRAND TEST FIRST!

Notes about differences between the products we sell

The It's Pure Organics Dark Brown and Very Dark Brown Shades are the coolest and least red browns we sell.

The Logona Herbal Hair Colour Powders are not as dark and cool coloured as the It's Pure Organics. Out of the Logona range the least red are Brown Umber, Natural Brown, Coffee Brown, Chocolate and Henna Black. The Logona Herbal Hair Colours with more henna in them that tend to be brassy when you put them directly on to white hair are the Henna Red, Flame Red and Mahogany.

The Logona Colour Cream with the least red in it is the Nougat Brown (though this is not very dark, more of a blondish beige on grey hair). Because the Nougat is not very dark and it does not contain any Indigo it will not seriously tone down a colour that is too red.

The It's Pure Organics Body Art Quality Henna, as hennas go, is a little more red and less brassy orange on white hair. Some cheaper, poorer-quality henna tends to be a lighter orange and less of a rich red colour.

Remember, pure henna doesn't have to be red / orange / copper - you can mix it with indigo powder to get different shades of red brown, brown or black, or with cassia to get strawberry blonde shades.

Ask Becca a Hair Dye Question here.

See all the natural hair colour dyes we sell here.

Dark hair tips: How to remove unwanted dark hair dye.

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