How Long to Leave Henna on Hair (And Why?)

Exact Answer: Up to 4 hours

Dyeing the hair in different colours is always seen as a major fashion statement and has been in vogue. Some people love to experiment with vivid and vibrant shades while others are just happy with their natural colour with a tinge of difference. People love to experiment with hair colours but dealing with the consequences of the chemicals can be tiresome.

The best solution for this as evidenced by many people is an alternative plant-based natural hair dye, that is, henna. Henna only allows the hair to attain one colour, reddish-brown but it is a popular favourite among its users because of its safety and useful properties for the hair.

How Long to Leave Henna on Hair

How Long to Leave Henna on Hair?

Unlike the hair colour treatments offered at hair salons, henna does not do the job very quickly. It needs to stay on the hair for a much longer time to gain the appropriate results. It needs at least a few hours to soak into the roots and shafts of the hair and bring out the colour properly.

It is also very important to prepare the henna paste correctly before applying it. The powder must be mixed in the correct ratio and left for a couple of hours (overnight) so that it is ready for application. Many people add several other ingredients for a richer colour and more luxurious looking hair, however, that is entirely up to the user.

How long to leave the henna on the hair also depends on the kind of hair dyeing and coverage required:


In the case of highlights much less hair will be used as well as a much less amount of henna. Hence the henna will be able to soak quicker and produce good results. So in the case of highlights leaving the henna on the hair for 2-3 hours is enough.

Full hair dye

In the case of dyeing the full hair, a lot more amount of henna is required and the entire scalp and all the hair on the person’s head are coated with henna. Hence it is required to leave the henna on the head for 4 hours.

Type of hair dyeingTime
Highlights2-3 hours
Full hair dyeUp to 4 hours

Why Leave Henna on Hair for That Long?

Henna being a natural hair dye takes longer to be effective. It needs to sit for hours so that henna can properly soak into the roots of the hair and bring out the colour. Even after the henna is washed off it takes up to 48 hours for the colour to show on the hair. This is a process that requires a lot of patience since it is time taking and can also get messy.

It also depends on the user to decide how long to keep the henna on their hair. It might be natural and plant-based but that does not always make it completely safe no matter what. Sometimes it can cause allergies, these allergies can occur if the henna is left on the hair for too long.

The best way to deal with this is to do an allergy test on the skin and hair before using it on the head completely. It is believed that the longer the henna is kept on the head the darker the colour becomes. But this is not always true. In many cases it causes the scalp to dehydrate and become very sensitive.

It is also very important to pick the right kind of henna. Natural henna can only dye the hair reddish-brown or orange in case of grey or white hair. Therefore all the other henna claiming to dye the hair black, burgundy or indigo should be avoided if the user wants to use the real henna for their hair.


Experimenting with hair dyes is always fun but it is important to do it safely and harmlessly. Henna helps in this to a great extent. Despite its certain limitations like providing one colour only and taking a longer time, it is a great choice as a natural hair dye. When using henna as a hair dye it is important to take care of a few precautions.

It is important to pick the correct natural henna. It is also important to prepare the paste with the right ratio of ingredients. And lastly, it should be left on the hair for 2 to 4 hours depending on the need of the user.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I appreciate that the article highlights the importance of conducting an allergy test before using henna on the head, as it can cause allergies if left on the hair for too long. Safety is paramount!

  2. The detailed explanation about the type of hair dyeing and the corresponding time needed for henna application is quite helpful for anyone interested in trying natural hair dyes.

  3. This article provides a comprehensive overview of henna as a natural hair dye and emphasizes the importance of taking necessary precautions. Great read!

  4. It’s evident from this article that using henna for hair dyeing requires careful consideration and maintenance. It’s not a process to rush through, but the natural properties of henna are beneficial.

  5. The detailed explanation about henna hair dyeing encourages readers to make informed decisions, considering both its advantages and potential drawbacks.

  6. The slow process of henna hair dyeing might not be suitable for everyone, especially those who are looking for quick results. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

  7. While henna offers natural hair dyeing benefits, the potential allergic reactions and the lengthy process of application may deter some individuals.

  8. This article provides great insights into how henna can be used as a natural hair dye and the importance of leaving it on the hair for an extended period of time to achieve the desired results. Very informative!

    1. I totally agree with your point about the importance of patience when using henna as a natural hair dye. It’s important to understand the process and take necessary precautions.

    2. The detailed explanation in this article is helpful and encouraging for anyone considering using henna for hair dyeing. It’s always good to have an understanding of the process to make informed decisions.

  9. It’s interesting to learn about the process and time required for henna hair dyeing, but some users may find the extended hours of application to be inconvenient and time-consuming.

  10. The article effectively highlights the benefits and limitations of using henna as a natural hair dye. It’s important for readers to be well-informed before making a decision.

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