Henna Hair Dye

Today’s post is by LeCrecia M. Ali, a Gazelle Skirt reader and participant in the Week of Outfits. We’ve asked (and would have begged!) for her to share the secret of her trademark red hair.

Henna is best known for henna tattoos, but henna is also a great natural hair dye. Henna is a permanent hair dye that ranges from bright orange to dark auburn depending on your starting hair color. If you are light blonde, your hair will be orange. Dark brown/black will turn out dark auburn.

I started using henna for hair color when I started going noticeable gray during my second pregnancy. Because it is natural (no chemicals), henna is safe to use during pregnancy.

I had a conversation with Valerie Stephens about henna hair dyeing before she left for the US. I’m including some of her tips.

What You’ll Need:


Henna powder: You can get this for 100 cfa per dose in the local markets. If you aren’t a local market gal, Hypermarche carries the henna powder pictured here. It is about 1200 for about 2-3 doses. I use about 1 c. for my shoulder length hair.

Warm Water or Coffee: Valerie uses coffee to tone down the red. I just use water because I like the red. So use whichever fits your preference.

Olive Oil: The olive oil moisturizes and protects your hair during the treatment.

Lemon/Lime Juice: The acid in the juice is activates the color in the henna.

Disposable gloves: Henna will stain your hands orange. If you like orange hands, feel free to leave this off!

Conditioner of your choice

TIP: Valerie suggests using Vaseline to line your hairline to keep the henna off your skin. I just wipe the henna off and deal with a little orange tinge to my hairline for a day.


Place measured henna powder in ceramic bowl. (It will stain plastic).

Add enough warm water to get a thick paste.

Add about a tablespoon or two of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon/lime. Mix
until thoroughly blended.


Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow color to activate. I suggest covering the top of the mix with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. (Just in case you’re called away for some important thing and don’t get back to the hair dyeing for awhile… like 2 days in my case!).

Before you start applying the henna, make sure you have plenty of warm water. (For example, when I got my mix ready this time, we had no water in our tanks, so I had to wait to apply it. I’m very thankful that I found out there was no water BEFORE I applied the henna!)

Also you might want to change into an old wide-neck or button-up shirt or dress so that if some drops on it, you won’t be ruining one of your beautiful “Gazelle Skirt” outfits!

Using gloves, apply the henna as you would any other hair color. I recommend a hair application brush. It makes things much easier.


Cover the henna-ed hair with a plastic bag and wait as long as you can. I usually wait 1-2 hours. The longer it sits on your hair the darker it will be.


This is a good time to give yourself a facial and a pedicure! I enjoyed my homemade oatmeal facial.

Rinse with lots of warm water until water runs clear.

Apply hair conditioner, comb through and rinse again until water runs clear.

Dry and style as normal!



4 thoughts on “Henna Hair Dye

  1. What a cool post and a great, natural way to add color to your hair. Looks great. I think orange hands would look nice with the new ‘do. 😉

  2. What I notice is your hair looks so HEALTHY! My hair has been so dry and frizzy lately. I’m not sure I’m ready to go red, but I would like the healthy look! Thanks for sharing! It’s beautiful on you!

  3. Pingback: 3 beauty secrets I learned in Senegal | The Gazelle Skirt

  4. Pingback: Go hippy with homemade henna | Chronically Bored

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