Reader Questions: Henna Aftercare, Permanence + Recommendations For Australians

I got this in my mailbox the other day:

I am quite I inspired by your blog on Ayluna hair color. I am in Australia, of Indian origin with dark brown hair.  have been dying my grey (more than 50%) hair with permanent hair dye (Jeval). I use L'Oreal color protection shampoo and conditioner. My aunt uses henna for a long time and I know for sure that henna is a temporary dye, it fades away. But My questions are:
  • Why henna powder is called semi permanent? 
  • Is preparing with Khadi detox mask is enough? Or do I need further prep?
  • Khadi and Ayluna are difficult to get in Australia. Can you refer any other brand?
  • Can you also give an idea of how to maintain the color? Do I need to use organic shampoo?

Is Henna Semi-permanent?

The short answer -- depends on your hair and on the exact dye, but it's pretty much permanent.

Henna is not something that will completely wash out in a few weeks. My hair is half very dark brown, half gray, and I use Henna only on the roots and crow. On the photo above you can see how the ends, which haven been last dyed with Henna some two years ago, look like.
I feel like Henna "clings" better to porous hair, while really smooth hair may have trouble holding on to it.  I find that on my hair after a few weeks the colour is less intensive and softens. Red shades get ruddier. If your hair is very dark, then the reddish glow goes away with time. At this time I am letting my greys grow out and there is no sharp "edge" between the greys and the hennaed hair like there is with dyed hair, the transition is soft.
If you are using not pure Henna but Henna-based dye, then the other ingredients can influence how long the colour stays true -- Indigo does fade with time, walnut seems to last quite long.
Finally, the actual type of Henna -- both the strain of the plant, as well as how well it has been processed, can influence it's permanence.

Henna Prep

The Khadi Detox mask is pretty good at removing products from the hair, so it's normally enough. However if you have been using a lot of styling products, especially the "string hold" kind, you can clarify your hair with shampoo with a teaspoon of baking soda in it, followed by an acidic rinse (1:1 apple cider vinegar and water).

Henna Aftercare

Henna doesn't demand much aftercare, still there are some things you can do to prolong the intensity of the colour. Wash out the Henna with plain water or conditioner (if it's not coming out), not shampoo. Don't wash your hair for at least the next three days after dyeing, that helps the dye to oxidise to a deeper tone. Finally, a bit of oil spread on the hair deepens the colour and protects it.

Washing Henna Dyed Hair

(Certified!) Organic shampoos are great because you know for sure that there are no sulfates which are harsh detergents that pull out the colour. Both the shampoo you mentioned as well as the conditioner contain sulfates (I can't understand why the conditioner contains sulfates!).
But you can also a "regular" SLS-free shampoo, or -- my secret tip -- a feminine cleanser meant for sensitive skin. No really! These are pH-neutral and very mild.
You can also try washing your hair with just conditioner. I have written more about how to do it and what conditioner to pick here. If you prefer shampoo, conditioning afterwards is generally a good idea, as Henna can make the hair texture a bit coarse and dry. I also highly recommend acidic rinses (diluted cider vinegar) at the end.

Recommended Henna Brands In Australia

Khadi is available from Sattvic, it costs a bit more than it does in Germany. I searched for other Here are some recommendations I found:

  • Desert Shadow Hair Colours
  • Radico Colour Me
  • Jamila Henna (pure Henna)
  • Organic Henna from NatureShop, along with Indigo and Senna, if you want to mix your colours yourself.

Any Aussie readers that could chime in with their Henna hair dye recommendations?


Check these out: