Saturday, 16 August 2014

LUSH Henna Hair Dye Tutorial and Review...

Yay I have finally written up this review and tutorial and I'm so excited to share it with everyone as it's definitely my favourite new cruelty free find! 

So, about two weeks ago I dyed my hair using Henna. Henna is a natural (and cruelty-free) alternative to chemical/synthetic hair dyes and has been used for centuries to colour the skin and hair. Unlike synthetic hair dyes it is not damaging to the hair as it does not enter the cuticle but simply coats the strand, making your hair look thicker and shinier! I purchased my Henna from one of my favourite cruelty free companies LUSH for approximately £8 a block, a little pricey but as you'll see I think it's worth it. LUSH creates their dye blocks by mixing the finest Persian Henna with cocoa butter and essential oils - so lots of extra conditioning goodness for your hair. One of the most important things to note before you dye your hair with Henna is that all Henna hair dyes contain a red pigment. LUSH combines different quantities of indigo with the red Henna to give different results. They come in four different colours: Caca Brun, Caca Marron, Caca Rouge and Caca Noir. Here's a rough guide to the colours you can expect from their Henna's:

            Caca Brun:  Beautiful Brunette           Caca Noir: Inky Black
            Caca Marron: Glossy Chestnut         Caca Rouge: Fiery Red                       

So, Henna is good for your hair, cruelty free and 100% natural. Sounds good! But how do you use it? Dying hair with Henna can be lengthy and just a little messy, so to make it easier I've broken it up into six easy to follow steps...


Test the (Henna-ry) waters...

Let's get started! Before you do anything you need to choose your Henna and make sure you're happy with the colour. I popped into my local LUSH and they were more than happy to give me a couple of squares of Henna (at no charge) with which to do a strand test. I took home the Caca Marron and Caca Brun and did a strand of each and then a strand of the two mixed together. Once you've done your strand test and are happy with your chosen colour (remember the colour continues to develop for 24 hours after you've washed it off) you can do the whole head!


Be prepared...

Okay so you've chosen your colour(s) and now it's time to commit. No joke. An important thing to know about Henna is that it's very very permanent and can take years to fully get out of your hair. The colour will of course fade however the Henna remains and this can and will react with chemical hair dyes in the future. You don't flirt with Henna, you marry it! 

First things first, get all your gear together. You will need:

  • Rubber gloves (These should be provided when you buy your Henna)
  • A Bain-Marie or heat-proof bowl
  • A saucepan
  • A mixing spoon
  • A knife or grater
  • Chopping board
  • Newspaper to protect floor and work surfaces
  • Clingfilm
  • Old towels
  • Moisturiser
  • A free evening where you can hide from the world and watch films for about four hours

Before you start cover the area in which you'll be applying the Henna with newspaper, this makes clearing up a lot easier and quicker later on! It's important that the Henna is hot when you apply it so having everything ready saves time so the Henna stays hot for maximum effect.


Chop, chop, chop, chop, chopping...

Next, chop up your block of Henna. If your hair is very long you may need to use more than one block of Henna. To create my colour I mixed approximately two-third's of Caca Marron with a third of the Caca-Brun. You can break up your blocks using a knife or a grater. The finer you chop your block the less lumpy your Henna paste will be when melted which makes applying it much easier!  Once chopped, pop all of your Henna into a heat-proof bowl ready for melting and put the kettle on for step four...


Just add water...

 Place the bowl into a pan of hot boiling water (or use a proper bain-marie if you have one). Add hot water to the chopped Henna and using a wooden spoon stir the mixture, keep adding boiling water until the consistency is that of a smooth paste. It may not be the most attractive dye in the world but your hair will thank you later:


Slap it on...

First make sure you've applied a thick moisturiser to your forehead, temples, ears and back of the neck. This will make it easy to wipe off any Henna that splats there (as you can see above) and prevent staining the skin.

Now, the official instructions say to part your hair into sections using clips and to then use a tint brush to apply the mixture section by section. This is probably a good idea. I did not do this. In all honesty I just scooped the mixture up using a gloved hand and slapped it on any which way. I made sure to rub the mixture in well but getting into all the strands was difficult as the paste is so thick and grainy (that'll be the coffee beans in the Caca Marron). Anyway, after about ten minutes all of the mixture was in my hair which I then piled on top of my head and wrapped in cling film for good measure! Note: wrapping the hair in cling film is also a good idea if you want to bring out the red colour as it prevents oxidisation, if you want to go darker then leave your hair open to the air!

Next is the wait... being a natural dye Henna takes quite a bit longer than synthetic dyes for the colour to develop. If you just want to add a gloss to your hair then an hour is fine but if you're looking for a deep colour change then you'll want to leave the paste on your hair for at least three hours. 


Scrub it off and... Ta-Da!

Before and after using LUSH Henna Hair Dye
This part isn't a 'rinse and go' job. You'll need some commitment to really scrub the thick paste out of your hair. Cocoa butter hardens as it cools so whilst the Henna might have been creamy when you applied it hot, after three hours of sitting on your head the paste dries around your hair. 

You can't really do this over the bath so I suggest standing under a powerful hot shower for a few minutes. I remember wondering if I'd ever get it all out... but do persevere as it will eventually begin to slide off! Once you've got a good chunk of it out use some shampoo to start washing out any residue and you'll soon be marvelling at how soft your hair is feeling - even when wet! Once it's all out, dry, style and enjoy!


Pros: Wow. I have to say, this is a wonder product. It may be quite pricey with a lengthy application process but it is definitely worth it. Unlike the synthetic dyes I have used in the past that claimed to be nourishing for your hair (whilst in reality they left me with a day of shine and weeks of straw like damaged strands) this stuff really is GOOD for your hair. As well as the gorgeous colour it imparts, the essential oils and cocoa butter act as a deep conditioning treatment that really did leave my hair feeling the healthiest it has in years. I cannot praise this stuff enough. After using it I immediately decided to top up my colour once every two months simply to keep my hair in this amazing condition.

Cons: The price and lengthy application have been mentioned however the colours are also, sadly, not suitable for all. Being a natural dye, there's obviously no lightening agents in there. Therefore it is unfortunately not the perfect alternative for those looking to go lighter or blondes looking to retain their colour. (Although those with fair hair wishing to go dark or a bright red would achieve fantastic results with Henna).

10/10 from me!

Have you used Henna before? Did you enjoy this post? Do you have any questions about the process? Please comment below I'd love to hear from you!!!


  1. Great tutorial. Your hair looks beautiful. I'm thinking of using this when my purple dye has grown out to bring out the natural almost black shine in my hair. I have really thick long hair so dyes that are running go all over the room! I like that this sort of sets on your head.

    1. Thank you! It's so lovely to get feedback so thank you for commenting! It sounds like Caca Noir would be perfect in your hair, and you could mix it with the Rouge if you wanted some red tones in there! And I agree; lthough applying it was slightly messy it was drip free and so practical once I'd clingfilmed it! Good luck with it and keep checking back for more cruelty free reviews :)

  2. Wow it looks amazing! I am a bit scared of Henna, not sure I'd want to make the commitment!

    1. Thank you! Yes me too! I was very nervous whilst it was on my head but so so pleased with the results! If you didn't want to fully commit but want to try out the effects you could mix a square or two with some conditioner and just leave it on for an hour as a deep conditioning treatment? It should just add some gloss and shine and give your hair a treat :) :)

  3. This is beautiful! I love love love your long hair and the henna is gorgeous! I am kind of curious to check this out now! Thanks for this great post! xx

    1. Thank you very much! Do check it out it really does work wonders for your hair, but it is (scarily) a two/three year - if not life long - commitment haha! Thank you for posting it's lovely to know it's being read by someone! :)

  4. This is so cool I want to try it!!

  5. I dye my hair so much it's awful so I'm quite tempted to try this out, it looks lovely! Your hair looks so healthy in the 'after' photo, also a really helpful tutorial (: x

  6. So tempted to try this , loved your tutorial :)

  7. Hi,

    How much did it fade over the two months? I have dirty blond hair (which is basically a shineless light brown with golden highlights in sunlight) and I'm thinking about trying caca brun for the summer when I get a tan. Do you think it'd fade out significally after 6 months?

    1. I would really love an answer to this, as I have the same hair color and would love to go darker this summer to match my tan.
      Also, how red is the caca marron on its own compared to caca brun?
      Thanks in advance :)

  8. Hi, I'm the last commenter and forgot to ask: did you notice a change in the hair's growth speed after you started using henna?

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  10. Wow it looks amazing! I am a bit scared of Henna, not sure I'd want to make the commitment!

    Henna Hair Dye

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Hi thanks for commenting! It's really great to get feedback :) Keep visiting for more cruelty free beauty!