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How to use henna

Henna’s not just the hippie colour your mum experimented with in the ‘70s. It’s the choice of natural hair dye for anyone who wants colour, gloss, and vibrance, without damaging their hair. Lush co-founder Mark Constantine created Lush's bespoke blends after decades of henna hair-dying experience, and fellow co-founder Helen Ambrosen reinvented them in an easy-to-use cocoa butter brick that gives beautiful results.

Before you start boiling the kettle, please read this FAQ to find everything you need to know about getting your desired shade from Lush henna.


How to apply Lush henna

Having assessed your hair and done your strand test, you’re ready to get cracking. Here’s exactly what you’ll need:

  • Your chosen henna brick (more than one if your hair is very long and thick).

  • A friend to help out, if possible.

  • A pair of rubber gloves or trusty marigolds.

  • A bain-marie (or heat-proof bowl in a saucepan), and a stirring spoon.

  • An easy-to-clean henna station (we recommend your bathroom or kitchen with newspaper on the floor).

  • Clips to section your hair.

  • Dark coloured towels and clothing for you and your friend.

  • Shampoo and conditioner, plus a protective balm, like Ultrabland.

  • Wide brush to apply henna (optional).

  • Cling film or a shower cap if you’d like a more vibrant result.

Henna is best applied with a bit of help from a friend, especially if you are changing colour more dramatically but you can do it yourself - just allow extra time.

Step 1. Make sure your hair is clean and free of styling product. Wear dark clothing that you don’t mind getting a bit messy and apply your Ultrabland to the hairline and ears to prevent staining. Clip your hair up, leaving a section down at the back.

Step 2: Prepare your henna. Each brick is designed to be enough for one head of mid-length to long hair so short crops will need less, and very long hair will need more. Break the sections up carefully with a sharp knife, and place in your heat-proof container.

Step 3: Add some hot water to your saucepan and place your heat-proof bowl over the top, adding a little hot water gradually. Each cube roughly requires about 100ml of water, which should be added slowly during the process until you have a paste that resembles melted chocolate.

Step 4: Apply your henna in sections from the back of the head to the front, and from the roots downwards, using a brush or your hands. Henna takes longer to adhere to newer hair at the roots than more weathered or porous ends, so this technique enables a more even application and better coverage. Even if you’ve used a brush, you might want to finish with (gloved) hands to really coat the hair.

Step 5: If you are using Rouge or Marron and want a redder, more vibrant result, wrap your hair in cling film or a natty shower cap. This warms the hair and encourages the red colour in the henna to develop more fully. If you’ve used Brun or Noir and want a darker colour, keep the hair exposed to encourage the indigo to oxidise more fully. Taking a steamy bath is a great way to encourage your colour to develop. New henna applications should stay on the head for about two hours, but top-ups can take less time.

Step 6: Give your hair a really good rinse and shampoo to remove the henna (you may need to repeat this process), if possible, over the bath using a detachable showerhead. Rinse until the water runs clear. 

You can apply another coat of henna as soon as your hair is dry if this is part of a two-step application, or wait a while. Both henna and indigo will continue to develop over a few days and so your end result may be subtly different from your first rinse away.  

Want to see the process in detail? Check out this henna masterclass from Mark Constantine which also has plenty of background information on Lush’s passion for henna, or choose your henna brick here.


Further questions? Contact our UK Customer Care team on 01202 930051.


We’d love to see your results! Tag them with #lushhairlab and share them with @lushhairlabhq on Instagram.

Lush henna bricks

Henna How-To with Mark Constantine and Milly Ahlquist

Comments (103)


about 2 months ago

I found the theory very interesting. I am the 1970s hippie mother who has been using henna ever since. I chose it becuse, as a ldiagnostic lab technician, we suspected certain severe anaemias were caused by hair dyes. I didn't henna during my pregancies, but still do today. Literally.


about 9 months ago

My hair is dark brown, I got Marron and Brun, but I'm still afraid to use them, I just want to know how it would turn out before I take the risk?


about 1 month ago

there will be a hint of red with any henna. Try a test patch of hair. Its a bit drying but I find it strengthens my hair.


about 8 months ago

I’ve used every henna on my hair both with my natural dark brown hair and bone white bleached hair and as long as you haven’t very recently dyed your hair those colors should add orangey-red highlights and lowlights to darker brown hair. It won’t drastically lighten your hair but I would say to expect a little lightening but henna fades over time too so it should calm down more towards your natural color with time.


about 9 months ago

Hi my hair was light brown but very grey root used the Marron my hair has gone very copper, don’t hate it but I’d rather go darker. Would the hot choc be better .? It has covered all my grey and hair feels great it’s just not the colour I wanted .sally

about 8 months ago

you could mix 2 colours together; I use Rouge & Brun and get an auburn colour


about 9 months ago

my hair is dark brown at the roots then has been ombred at the bottom from bleach. can I use henna on bleached hair??


about 8 months ago

Yes, I used henna to get my bleached ends back towards my natural hair colour! I started with rouge and worked my way up. Rouge will give you a bright orangey red, marron more of a fiery red, brun, brown and noir, black. I do suggest leaving it on for the full 4 hours and using rouge first so you have a base to work with and building the colour you want from there. Good luck!


about 9 months ago

I bought the Caca Rouge and Ultrabalm to apply. First I made a strand test and there was not a problem. Because I had 2-3 dying process before wit natural and unnatural hair dyes. After 24 hours I applied all the dye to my hair. I used all of them. I think there may be some difficulties for the first time if you did not apply henna to your hair before. Because I had some... I could not adjust the consistency and the henna pieces fell off to floor during the applying process. I should have added more water. And it's better to begin to apply from back to front of the head. Also, I should have given extra care to the roots. Because, as they say in the article, the henna does not dye the roots easily. So my hair roots are like they did not get the dye. But it still needs time to see the real color because it has not become 24 hours. Also during the washing and rinsing process, most of my hairs fell but I can say that, I experience this after every dying process. So I think it's normal. I recommend Lush henna but also I highly recommend doing the strand test before you go for everything.

about 9 months ago

I liked the coppery red that it came out as originally, but gradually it's looking too dark, can I do anything to make it lighter coloured without lightening my hair?
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