How to Create Your Henna Mix

Are you allergic to chemical hair dye?  Do you want to cover your gray?

Learn to dye your hair with safe, pure Ancient SunriseŽ henna, indigo and cassia mixed with fruit juices.
Learn to mix dozens of colors, and your PERFECT color with the
Ancient SunriseŽ Henna for Hair ebook.
Ancient Sunrise hairhennahennahennahenna

For five thousand years, women knew how to create the perfect henna mixes for hair.  Each woman probably learned the mix from her family or a friend, and used only plants growing in the area. When chemical dyes were introduced, the intimate person-to person transmission of henna knowledge stopped.


Pre-packaged henna with unlisted ingredients, chemicals, and chemical salts became consumer products.  Adulterated mixes comprise over 90% of the henna hair dye market and have given henna a terrible reputation because they cross-react, often disastrously, with oxidative hair dyes.  

You can do better.  Ancient SunriseŽ will help you.
Mixing henna requires both science and art.  The basic natural chemistry of the plants must be respected.  Learn here how to get the results you want. You cannot box up the powders together, pour boiling water on them and expect good results; the molecules will not play nice together. 


Working with plant dyes does not quite follow the color theory of crayons or chemical dyes.  Plant dye molecules are different sizes and shapes, and those shapes fit differently on the dye molecule attachment points of keratin molecules, just as different tetromino shapes lock down in the game of Tetris.  Plant dye molecules also change with time, heat, oxidation and pH.  The acidic fruit juices you mix into henna also vary the dye color when they contain anthocyanins or anti-oxidants.
How do you get all of these colors from three plants, some fruit, and some time?  We can show you how!

Once, each woman knew the perfect henna mix for her hair.  She probably learned the mix from her family or a friend. When chemical dyes were introduced, the intimate person-to person transmission of henna knowledge stopped. 

Some people get info about henna on packages for sale, and the information is is always woefully inadequate. Pre-mixed henna colors often contain unlisted additives, chemicals, and adulterants.  Simply mixing all the powders together will never work very well; the dye chemistry is conflicted.  Other people look for information about henna online, and most of the henna info online is dead wrong. I wrote
the Ancient SunriseŽ Henna for Hair ebook to provide people with thorough, accurate information about henna so they can have lovely, healthy hair. This may seem complicated and confusing at first, but we'll answer your questions!   I think you deserve the best research, solid science, and reliable techniques, and not something dumbed down.  

If you're confused, or just want convenience, we have kits that have everything you need. 

If you want to learn more and save money by buying the supplies separately, or in bulk, keep reading.

The  basics

When it comes to henna for hair, the simplest mix is the best. Having a basic understanding of the nature of henna and other plant dye powders will lead to beautiful results. Henna is different from boxed dye, so some nervousness or confusion is normal. The internet is filled with conflicting information which makes henna seem more complicated than it is. Ancient Sunrise is built upon decades of research with the goal of providing knowledge and high quality product to the public. The purpose of this article and others in the Henna for Hair 101 series is to educate new henna users so they will feel confident in their knowledge, and excited to begin.

Henna has been used for centuries across the world, in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and South Asia, where the lawsonia inermis plant grows in hot, arid climates. Henna as a hair dye has grown in popularity as many choose to move away from conventional hair dyes. And for good reason. PPD (para-phenylenediamine) and related chemicals are common ingredients in the majority of commercial hair dyes, and can cause serious reactions which will worsen with each exposure. 100% pure BAQ henna is an effective and permanent way to get a beautiful hair color that strengthens and conditions the hair rather than damaging it. Pure henna is safe to use. Adverse reactions are extremely rare.

Click HERE or on the image above to learn the absolute basics before you start.
formulate your mix

The quick and dirty facts about henna for hair are the following:

Henna by itself stains keratin a range of shades between copper and dark auburn.

Indigo darkens and browns these shades, and cassia lightens these shades, adding golden tones.

Equal parts henna and indigo will result in a medium brunette on most. More indigo will result in darker and darker shades of brunette.

Equal parts of henna and cassia results in bright, fiery tones of copper and orange. More cassia will result in lighter and brighter tones of strawberry blonde.

Henna first, then indigo second in a two-step process results in a shiny jet black color.

Click HERE or on the image above to learn more.

Well… you can if you really want to, but please keep it out of your henna.

If you’ve surfed around the internet looking for information on dyeing hair with henna, chances are that you’ve found dozens of articles and videos on how to create a henna mix for your hair, and many of them have told you to add any of a variety of things into the mix. How do you decide which to use? Should you add coffee? Should you add coconut milk? Eggs? Spices? Oils? Yogurt? Beet juice?

The answer is no. Click HERE or on the image above to learn why.

People frequently ask what they should or should not do to their hair before applying henna. Does hair need to be clean, or left unwashed? Can it have conditioner on it? Should it be wet or dry? As henna works differently from conventional hair dyes and treatments, these questions are valid. This article will explain the best ways to prepare your hair for your henna treatment to obtain the best results.

Click HERE or on the image above to learn how to prepare your hair for henna.
dye release

For the best coverage and permanent results, it is important to mix henna powder with a mild acid and allow the paste to sit for a period of time. This process is referred to as “dye-release.” Improper dye release can lead to weak stains that fade over time, and undesired color results.

“Orange Panic”

If you are new to using henna for hair or have just tried a new mix you may be startled by the color of your hair upon rinsing out the henna paste. You may have been going for a deep red, or even a brunette tone, but now you think you look more like Bozo the Clown or Carrot Top. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “Orange Panic” within the henna for hair community. Luckily, it is completely normal to see a brighter color at first, and this brightness will go away with time. Henna’s dye molecule is naturally orange or copper in tone. Deepening occurs as the dye oxidizes and settles permanently into the keratin.

Click HERE to learn more about the oxidation process of henna and hair.

For those who are new to applying henna, this process may seem daunting. It is actually quite simple and fun, especially after you get the hang of it. Make sure your floor is covered, and that you have towels on hand to clean up messes. I like to put some music on to help pass the time.

 If you feel you are unable to apply the paste by yourself, see if you can enlist the help of a friend, or find a stylist who is open to applying the paste for you. These stylists use Ancient SunriseŽ Henna for Hair in their salons. Some stylists, even if they are not on this list, are familiar with henna for hair and willing to apply it on their clients for a fee. If your stylist is interested in using Ancient SunriseŽ products in their salon, let them know that they can get a special discount!

Click HERE to learn more about how to apply henna to your hair.

Click HERE to watch a "how to" video.

Full Coverage: Why Henna Color Darkens and How to Prevent It

Unlike boxed dyes, henna is permanent and does not fade. With continued applications and exposure to heat or mineral buildup, the color darkens. For those who find their color results too bright, darkening with subsequent applications or heat appliances is a handy technique for adjusting their color. For others who are happy with their color and want to keep it, this can be frustrating. Depending on the cause, you may be able to brighten hennaed hair that has deepened and dulled. In other cases, chemical lightening may be the only option. If you love your result and want to keep it, it is best to be proactive in preventing darkening.

Click HERE or on the image above to learn to prevent oxidation and darkening.  If you want to prevent it.


Full Coverage:
How to Achieve Neutral or Cool Tones
Using Henna for Hair

A common concern voiced by new henna users is that even a henna/indigo mixture will result in a brunette shade that is too warm for their liking. Many prefer neutral to cool tones in their hair, as they believe it better suits their complexions. While somewhat tricky, neutral and cool toned hair colors are possible using the right combination of henna and indigo (and sometimes cassia), and the right fruit acid. Because each person’s hair varies on undertone, porosity, and dye-resistance, getting the perfect color may take some patience and strand-testing. Remember that our henna experts are available to talk you through the process, and help you troubleshoot if needed, until you achieve your perfect color.

Click HERE or on the image above if you want to learn to reduce the red color of henna as much as possible.

Full Coverage: How to Dye Hair Blonde with Plant Dye Powders

Henna dyes hair shades of red. Add indigo, and you’ll get brunettes. But what if you have gray, white, or light blonde hair and you’d like to keep your hair light? Mixes that have a higher amount of cassia, and a smaller amount of henna and indigo will help you achieve blonde tones that range from sun-kissed straw to deep, “dishwater” blonde. These mixes are great for those who don’t want red, brown or black hair, and for those who wish to tint their grays to blend naturally with their root growth. This article will cover everything you might need to achieve your ideal blonde.

Click HERE or on the image above if you want to brighten your greying or bleached blonde hair

Full Coverage: Dyeing Roots and How to Rescue Resistant Roots

After the first initial application(s) of henna, there is no need to continue dyeing the full length of your hair each time. Because henna stains hair permanently and does not fade, repeated applications will darken the color over time as henna saturates the hair more and more. If you are not concerned with darkening, or intend to darken the color, you are welcome to continue applying henna to the full length of your hair until you achieve the desired effect. Repeated applications will not cause damage; in fact, additional henna will continue to strengthen and thicken the hair.

Click HERE or on the image above if you want to learn to dye your roots and to get better results with resistant gray.
The sections below are links are to PDF files of complete chapters of the Ancient SunriseŽ Henna for Hair ebook

Learn about the plants.  

chapter 5

Ancient SunriseŽ Chapter 5: Plants that Dye Hair

This chapter discusses henna, indigo, and cassia, (lawsonia inermis, indigofera tinctoria, and cassia obovata) and the chemistry of each of these dye plants. Understanding the botany of these plants will help you understand how to get the best results from your henna hair dye.

Links to specific topics in this chapter:
"Ancient SunriseŽ Henna for Hair" is a FREE ebook researched and written by Catherine Cartwright-Jones PhD, a researcher who focused her graduate and doctoral work on henna. Ancient SunriseŽ Henna for Hair is meant to help you understand how to dye their hair without chemicals, to protect your own health and the health of the planet you live on, to correct the misconceptions that have lead to chemical hair dye industry replacing henna, and to dispel the abundant misinformation about henna.
Chapter 6

This chapter discusses the necessary chemistry of mixing henna and cassia with a mildly acidic liquid.  This chapter discusses several sources of fruit acids, and how each has a different effect on henna.

This chapter discusses the necessary chemistry of mixing henna and cassia with a mildly acidic liquid.  This chapter discusses several sources of fruit acids, and how each has a different effect on henna.

Links to specific topics in this chapter:
Chapter 7

This chapter discusses the mixing, dye release, formulation, and testing of a wide range of non-chemical permanent colors from henna, indigo, and cassia.  This chapter includes step-by-step instructions to produce the color you want for your hair.

Links to specific topics in this chapter:
Mix and apply

This chapter has step-by-step instructions for first time users dyeing hair blonde, red, brunette or black with henna indigo, and cassia.

Links to specific topics in this chapter:

This chapter has step-by-step instructions for maintaining your gray roots as they grow in; dyeing them red, brunette, or black.
Links to specific topics in this chapter:

This chapter discusses the application of henna over chemically lightened hair, and chemically lightening hennaed hair.
The outcome of your Ancient SunriseŽ dye will be a color overlay over your base color, unless you work with bleach.  Yes, you can lighten your hair before and after using Ancient SunriseŽ henna!

This chapter demonstrates the technique of highlights with henna and foils.
Do you want to henna your relaxed or natural hair or your locs?  Here's how to do this, here's why Ancient SunriseŽ does it best.  

This chapter contains step-by-step instructions for mixing and using henna, cassia, and indigo to dye relaxed hair, natural hair, and locs.
Links to specific topics in this chapter:

Not every person gets perfect results on the first try, but everyone can achieve perfection.  Here's your guide to troubleshooting.  


Ancient SunriseŽ Chapter 12

This chapter provides answers to the most frequent questions from people who henna their hair; these include problems with hard water, slight adjustments in color, getting complete and permanent color, and the occasional surprise.

Links to specific topics in this chapter:
  • Why Are My Cassia and Henna Turning Brownish, or Worse? (hard water problems)
  • Henna and You
    • I Itch
    • Why Is My Urine Green the Morning After Applying Henna? (harmless but startling)
    • I Don’t Have Enough Time
    • My Hair Feels Dry After Henna
    • I Have a Headache
  • Troubleshooting Paste and Application
    • I Missed a Spot.
    • I Want to Slightly Change My Hair Color
    • My Roots didn’t Take Up Enough Color
    • I Mixed My Paste and it’s Too Tunny
    • I Mixed My Paste and It Is Too Thick
    • I Mixed My Henna, Got Interrupted, and Forgot About It
  • Understanding the Nature of Henna
    • My Hair Smells Like a Wet Dog
    • Indigo Turned My Hair Green
    • My hennaed hair is getting too dark
    • I Just Hennaed My Hair and It Is Too Orange
    • I Don’t Know What I Have
    • I Made a Mess
    • I Mixed My Indigo, Got Interrupted, and Forgot About It
    • My Forehead and Ears are Orange
    • My Hands are Orange 
    • I Hate This, I Want My Chemicals Back

Join Facebook's Ancient SunriseŽ group to talk to other people who have used Ancient SunriseŽ products to permanently, perfectly, dye their hair and cover their gray.

If you are a stylist who would like to offer permanent hair color with NO para-phenylenediamine to your clients who are allergic, pregnant, or whose physicians have told them to stay away from chemicals ... or if YOU have become sensitized to PPD ... call us toll-free at 1-855-MEHANDI!  We'll help you learn to use chemical-free hair dye. You can be eligible for a 25% discount on products. Ask about our stylists' training program, discounts and support:
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