How should I wash my hair after Henna? Which Shampoo, Conditioners and Oils are best
Freshly dyed hair is the best - bright, vibrant and rich with light-reflecting colour.
If you dye your hair with Henna, you know it can be a time consuming process, and you will obviously want to work hard to protect your fabulous results.
But how long your henna looks fresh and glossy for is dependent on a couple of things:
The condition of your hair to start with
And how you look after your hair following your dye job
It is super important to think about how and when you wash, condition, treat and style your hair after colouring with any hair colour, but especially with red tones like those from Henna.
In this guide, our Henna experts will recommend how often to wash and what sort of haircare to use to make sure your rich red tones last for as long as possible.
When Should I Wash My Hair after Henna?
No matter what type of hair you have, you should always leave it at least 48 hours after rinsing out your henna to shampoo with any kind of detergent at all.
This is because it takes 48-hours for Henna to fully oxidise (which means deepening exposure to light). If you interfere with this process, you can prevent your colour from fully developing, and may even have to re-colour.
What Sort of Shampoo is Best for Henna Dyed Hair?
BEFORE you dye your hair, and especially if you use a silicone based conditioner, we recommend using a clarifying treatment to ensure no oils or residue remains on your hair.
We’d advise avoiding one with harsh degreasers, like SleS (sodium laureth sulfate), which strips the scalp and hair of natural oils which keep it hydrated and prevent snapping. Instead use a natural clay hair cleanser, which is strong enough to budge chemicals, without harming the hair.
DURING your hair colouring process, simply rinse your hair with cold, plain water (preferably filtered if possible to avoid heavy metal residue deposits).
You can use a tiny bit of shampoo to wash out, but make sure it is a natural shampoo and check that it is sulphate free.
Don’t pull at, or try to break up the henna, just let the water break it down as you rinse. It does require patience, but not only is the colour result better, the water seals the hair shaft shut, leading to better shine.
AFTER you dye your hair, and 48-72 hours have passed, you can resume washing your hair as usual.
AVOID sulphate shampoos and anti-dandruff shampoos which are extremely harsh and will fade your colour. Soaps and shower gels are also likely to damage your colour very quickly.
Instead, choose a natural shampoo, free from sulphates, parabens and silicones to let the natural beauty shine through. Ingredients like coconut oil help with hydration and aloe vera soothes sensitive scalps.
Many henna lovers find their hair responds to a ‘no poo’ (shampoo) hair washing method. You can try soapnuts, which are detergent free and very gentle.
Can I Condition my Henna Dyed Hair?
It is best to avoid mainstream conditioners, which rely on silicone to coat the hair, eventually weighing it down and dulling your colour.
If you have curly hair, you may find that dying your hair with henna can loosen your curl pattern. Simply using amla as a masque to condition your hair can restore your curls almost instantly.
If you’re ‘no poo’ you might like using shikakai as a gentle weekly hair restoring conditioner. With its roots in Ayurveda, shikakai works with the hair to reduce hair fall, increase shine and improve fullness. It is silicone free so won’t ‘coat’ the hair and dull your colour.
Cassia, or neutral henna is a lovely conditioning option for a regular ‘shine’ treatment.
If your hair is particularly tangle-prone or fragile, an organic conditioner with ingredients like horsetail and coconut can help your hair shine, have bounce and be easy to comb.
Is it OK to use Oils on Henna Hair?
Before colouring it is best to avoid using oil on your hair. It creates a barrier between your hair and the colourant and may cause patchy colouring and an uneven result.
Traditional wisdom says that once the 48-hour settling time has passed, oiling your hair with argan or macadamia oils, then leaving overnight, will soften and restore hydration to your hair - and we have to say, we love this method.
We then recommend using a small amount of protective hair oil on the ends of your hair before any heat styling treatment, to protect from damage.
Further to this, avoid mousses, gels and hair sprays with alcohol as it will dry the hair and damage your colour result.
For further advice on caring for your henna colour result, email our experts here