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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Henna for Gray Hair?

Using henna for gray hair offers a natural, chemical-free dyeing option that can strengthen strands and add shine. However, it's a time-consuming process, results can be unpredictable, and it's difficult to remove. Curious about whether henna is right for you? Dive deeper into the nuances of this ancient hair treatment to make an informed decision.
Alicia Sparks
Alicia Sparks

For some, henna for gray hair offers a natural, adjustable, and cruelty-free alternative to commercial hair dye brands. For others, it does not provide enough color options and can be inconvenient and messy to prepare and apply. Since some pros and cons do not apply across the board, most people will have to try dyeing gray hair with henna for themselves before determining whether it is an option that works for them.

Many types of henna hair dye are considered a natural hair dye and do not contain any chemicals or other synthetic ingredients. Too, many companies that manufacture and market henna hair dye and other henna products do not conduct any animal testing. For many people, the absence of chemicals and animal testing makes the product a worthy one, whether they are using henna for gray hair or for some other purpose.

Henna fortifies the hair by sealing the cuticles.
Henna fortifies the hair by sealing the cuticles.

Some henna hair dye users experience hair that looks and feels healthier than before they used the henna. So, a woman using henna for dyeing gray hair that is not in the healthiest of conditions might find the health of her hair improves after using the henna. Too, similar to other kinds of hair dyes, some henna hair dyes include a product specifically for adding gloss and shine to otherwise dull hair.

A root touch-up brush, which looks similar to a mascara wand, can be used to apply henna specifically to the roots.
A root touch-up brush, which looks similar to a mascara wand, can be used to apply henna specifically to the roots.

Usually, people who use henna for gray hair can adjust the strength of the color themselves. Unlike commercial hair dyes, which are designed to provide one version of a color, henna dyes allow the user to lighten and darken the color by adjusting the mix. This is beneficial for people who might want to try different versions of the color before deciding which looks best on them.

Unfortunately, henna sometimes looks unnatural on gray hair. This might be due to the color or quality of the dye, or the person’s hair type beyond just color. Sometimes, hennaed hair itself, beyond the color, does not look like natural hair. Many people find that when using henna for covering gray hair, they must undergo more than one treatment. For busy people, or those who want to color their gray hair in one sitting, multiple treatments aren’t convenient.

Depending on the product, the user might have to mix her own henna hair dye. This might not bother some users, but others prefer a simpler, less-messy procedure. Also, henna hair dye typically only comes in colors of the red and brown families. For example, it would be difficult or impossible for someone with gray hair to find henna hair dye that would dye her hair blonde. Some users feel dying their gray hair to a drastic red, auburn, or brown color would be more extreme than a blonde or ash color.

Using henna for gray hair does not work for everyone. Some people experience no satisfactory results when dyeing gray hair with henna. This might be because henna has a more difficult time “attaching” to gray hair than it does hair that has not yet turned gray.

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Discussion Comments


If you already have natural red hair, then you're lucky. Henna will turn your grey roots to red or deep orange. There are ways to make the henna release its darkest shade of red. Mix it with cloves and black tea, you'll get deep red. Mix it with coffee and you'll get brownish red.

Also, the longer you leave henna on your hair, the darker the shade or red.

I have black hair and grey roots. I turn the greys into red using henna, black tea and cloves with some lavender oil. I leave the henna on my hair as long as I can handle (> 5 hours) . When I rinse it off, my greys will be red and the rest of my hair will be black. I then mix 100 grams of indigo powder in warm water, leave it for 15 minutes and apply it to the roots and wait for 1 hour. I wash and condition as usual. This will turn my roots to the same color as my black hair. It looks quite natural unlike chemical-laden hair colors.


I have grey hair, and I tried henna. I mixed about 150 to 200 g of paste with warm water, put some water on two black tea tea bags and added them to the mix and also added two tablespoons of coffee, and just for trial purposes, left them overnight and while showering and my hair was wet, I added the paste to my hair and left it 10 minutes. I shampooed my hair, and guess what? All my greys turned shinny blond and I must admit my greys are very resistant. So I hope this will help someone.

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    • Henna fortifies the hair by sealing the cuticles.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      Henna fortifies the hair by sealing the cuticles.
    • A root touch-up brush, which looks similar to a mascara wand, can be used to apply henna specifically to the roots.
      By: bedya
      A root touch-up brush, which looks similar to a mascara wand, can be used to apply henna specifically to the roots.