How To Use Henna And Indigo To Dye Your Hair Black And Brown

Medically reviewed by Vd. Babita Sharma, Ayurveda Physician
by Arshiya Syeda

When it comes to aging, there’s no more obvious sign than gray hair. While store-bought hair dyes are a convenient solution to this problem and are certified safe for use, the chemicals that they contain may not be good for your hair in the long run.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, a natural and healthier alternative that will help you cut down on chemicals while giving you gorgeous, dark black tresses – a henna and indigo hair treatment.

Now, you may already know what henna is, considering it’s the most popular natural hair dye in the world. Let’s talk about the more obscure coloring agent that is indigo.

What Is Indigo?

Indigo is a natural dye that is obtained from the Indigofera tinctoria plant. It is rich, dark blue and is mainly used for dyeing clothes, especially denim. It is known to be one of the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing. However, it is now also being used in combination with henna as a natural hair dye (1).

What Are The Advantages Of Using Indigo?

  • It is an all-natural hair dye that does not harm your hair in any way.
  • When mixed with henna, it gives your hair a rich brown color.
  • When applied over henna treated hair, it gives a lush black color.
  • Regular use of indigo on hair can treat and prevent premature graying.
  • Indigo extracts were found to stimulate new hair growth in rat studies (2).
  • Indigo was also found to enhance hair color and shine and provide a cooling sensation (3).

Who knew this largely obscure natural hair dye could offer such a range of benefits, right? Well, now that you do, let’s look at how you can color your hair black using henna and indigo!

Precaution: Although Indigofera tinctoria is used in many dyes, it may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions (4). Before you use it on your hair, do a patch test on your skin to check for any reaction.

[ Read: 5 Basic Steps To Apply Henna For Grey Hair ]

How To Use Henna And Indigo To Color Your Hair Black

When it comes to dyeing your hair with henna and indigo for black hair, it’s a two-step process. You can’t simply mix the two together as that will give you brown or auburn locks. To get gorgeous black tresses, you need to first treat your hair with henna and then go in with the indigo.

What You Need
  • Henna powder (100 g for short hair, 200 g for shoulder-length hair, 300 g for long hair)
  • Indigo powder (100 g for short hair, 200 g for shoulder-length hair, 300 g for long hair)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Cornstarch (2 teaspoons)
  • Water
  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Big spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Hair coloring brush
  • Old towel
  • Shower cap
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sectioning clips
What To Do

Step 1: Applying Henna And Indigo Mix For Black Hair

  1. Combine the henna powder and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
  2. Slowly start adding water and stir this mixture until you have a thick pudding-like paste.
  3. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and leave it on overnight for the dye in the henna to release.
  4. Drape an old towel around your shoulders and put on your rubber gloves.
  5. Divide your hair into as many sections as you want and clip them up.
  6. Working with one section at a time, start applying henna with a hair coloring brush right from the roots to the ends.
  7. Roll this section around your finger into a little curl and stick it to your head.
  8. Once you are done with applying henna to all the sections, apply the rest of the henna all over your head and work it in with your hands for complete coverage.
  9. Put on a shower cap.
  10. You can leave in the henna for anywhere between 2 hours and overnight.
  11. Rinse off the henna with just water. Do not use shampoo or conditioner.

Step 2: Applying Indigo

  1. Mix the indigo powder, salt, and cornstarch and slowly add water to it until you have a thick paste.
  2. Divide your hair into sections and apply the indigo paste to it the same way you applied henna.
  3. Put on a shower cap and leave it on overnight.
  4. Wash off the indigo paste with water. Do not use any shampoo or conditioner on it for the next 2-3 days.

The black color of your hair may take a couple of days to develop fully.

If black doesn’t really suit your style and you want to go for a soft brown/auburn hair color, here’s some good news for you! Not only is it possible to get this hair color with henna and indigo, but you can also actually do it much quicker as you don’t need to process the hair dyes separately. Here’s what you need to do.

How To Use Henna And Indigo To Color Your Hair Brown

This is a one-step process that requires about half the processing time as using it to color your hair black.

What You Need
  • Henna powder (200 g)
  • Indigo powder (100 g)
  • Yogurt (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt (½ teaspoon)
  • Water
  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Big spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Hair coloring brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old towel
  • Shower cap
  • Sectioning clips
What To Do
  1. Combine the henna powder and yogurt in the glass bowl and slowly add and stir water into it until you have a thick paste.
  2. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and leave it on overnight for the henna’s dye to release.
  3. Mix the indigo powder and salt into the henna paste the next morning. You can add more water to adjust the consistency of the paste.
  4. Drape an old towel around your shoulders to prevent your clothes from getting stained.
  5. Divide your hair into as many sections as you want to make the coloring process convenient and clip them up.
  6. Put on your rubber gloves.
  7. Working with one section of hair at a time, apply the henna and indigo paste from the roots to the tips.
  8. Once you have applied the paste to all your hair, roll it up in a bun and put on a shower cap.
  9. Leave the henna and indigo paste on for 2 hours.
  10. Wash it off with cool water and do not use any shampoo or conditioner.

And that’s it! That’s how easy it is to use henna and indigo to color your hair. Indigo natural hair dye imparts a smooth texture to your hair. Have any more questions? Leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you!

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Is it safe to use henna and indigo on your hair?

Yes, it is safe to use henna and indigo on your hair as they are all-natural ingredients. However, to ensure that you are not allergic to either of these natural hair dyes, do a patch test on the inside of your forearm before proceeding with coloring your hair.

How long does the color last if you wash it weekly?

Typically, the color lasts for 4-6 weeks, but it depends on the thickness and natural color of your hair.

How often can indigo be used on your hair?

You can use indigo on your hair weekly.

4 sources

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Arshiya Syeda

Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).
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