How to Quickly Fade Henna Hair Dye

Real henna is a very vivid, very fade-resistant, very permanent hair dye. As such, it should be used only after strand testing and much deliberation! These methods will probably not remove all traces of henna, particularly on fair hair; they may, however, remove enough of the dye that the red is significantly less pronounced.

Some methods may initially lighten the hair, only to have the henna colour reappear some days later. Henna is removed more easily shortly after application.

Using Mineral Oil to Remove Henna

One popular technique for removing henna is to slather the hair and scalp with mineral oil, wrap it in a plastic bag and leave to soak for several hours. The hair is then washed as normal, and some of the henna colour may come away with the oil.

Using Acid to Remove Henna

Some henna users have reported fading of henna after soaking their hair in mildly acidic liquids such as lemon juice, vinegar or yoghurt. Acidic liquids may make hair dry and brittle when undiluted, so it is recommended to cut the lemon juice or vinegar with conditioner. It should be noted that many people use yoghurt or apple cider vinegar on their hair regularly as part of a natural haircare routine without noticing any effect on their henna colour.

Using Fruit-Based Strippers to Remove Henna

A former henna-head known as Shawn has given a description online of how she successfully removed her henna by stages with the help of a stylist. Fruit-based strippers were used, and her waist-length hair was given plenty of deep conditioning treatments throughout the process to minimise damage.

Shawn described the process as expensive but was pleased with the final result in which no traces of the henna remained.

Using Clarifying Shampoos and Crystals to Remove Henna

A few people have reported mild success in stripping henna with clarifying shampoos. Clarifying crystals, which can be found at beauty supply stores, require mixing with water before using until they form a gel.

Is it Safe to Bleach Over Henna?

Reports vary as to the safety of bleaching over henna. Some people report complete success (albeit damage due to the harshness of bleach); others report that the bleach lightened their hennaed hair to a garish, flaming orange.

While bleach can never be considered “safe” by natural haircare standards, as it damages hair severely, it will not react badly with pure henna.

Bleach may react disastrously with the metallic salts present in some brands of compound henna; in fact, it may melt hair. As a result bleaching should never be attempted unless you are absolutely sure the henna you used was 100% pure.

Other Ways to Cope With a Disastrous Henna Dye Job

  • Wait a few days. Henna oxidises over two or three days, darkening and deepening in colour. What looked like a fire-engine red upon emerging from the shower might calm down to auburn or copper after it has oxidised.
  • Repeated hennaing might seem like the worst idea in the world, but it will darken the red.
  • Another way to darken henna to red-brown or even black is to dye over with indigo, a process known as henndigoing.

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