All Natural Brunette Hair Dye

I don’t have the world’s best hair.  It’s very fine and therefore prone to breaking.  It gets dry and frizzy (oh the joys of having curly hair) unless I condition it properly.   That all would actually be kind of ok if I also didn’t start getting gray hairs at the ripe ol’ age of 21. Sigh. What’s a gal to do?


Thankfully, this mask has been my saving grace!

I actually started using henna alone during junior high…my grandma used to dye her hair with henna all the time and used use some on me  for shorter periods of time for its amazing conditioning and strengthening properties.  When I haven’t been looking for any color-boosting properties, I’ve used a henna and yogurt conditioning mask with great success.

Once I started getting gray hairs, however, I started to look for an option that would not only get rid of the grays but also richen up my hair color.  My hair is already pretty dark but I like the sheen and chocolate-y tones this hair dye gives me.  I tried indigo alone but it faded quite quickly and made my hair look kind of flat in the color department.  Then I combined the henna and indigo…I loved the color but I didn’t like the texture it gave my hair so much.  Over time, I’ve added a few final tweaks to the recipe and really love the end result: great color and it actually leaves my hair in better condition!

Note: I’ve only seen this done on brunette or dark blonde hair so I can’t speak for how it will look on someone who is trying to go from light blonde to dark brunette…experiment at your own risk!

Note 2: This recipe was the perfect amount for my shoulder length hair.  If your hair is very thick or long, I suggest doubling or tripling the recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons indigo powder
  • 1 tablespoon henna
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid)
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice (optional, it is for conditioning…you can replace it with 1 tbsp water)
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm water


1.  Combine the indigo, henna, and lime juice/citric acid into an applicator bottle (I actually bought a condiments bottle for $1 at my grocery store instead).

2. Add in your aloe vera juice (if using) and water.  Mix well.

3. While the mix “develops”, wash your hair with shampoo (or whatever it is you use to wash your hair with). I like using more of a “detergent-y” shampoo to remove any build up before doing this mask so I use my homemade shampoo (that works for hard water)…but I have used my soapnut shampoo or homemade moisturizing foaming shampoo when I didn’t feel like I needed that.

4. While still in the shower, gently press excess water out of your hair and then apply the henna and indigo mask all over your hair.

5. Put on a shower cap and get out of the shower.  I suggest wearing clothes that you won’t mind getting a couple drips on and I usually wrap a towel over my shoulders as well.

6.  Leave the mask on anywhere from 30-90 minutes.  I highly suggest starting with a short amount of time and then increasing for the next application as necessary.  I know how this color develops on my hair (plus it is pretty dark to begin with) so I leave mine on for a minimum of 90 minutes.

7.  When it’s time to take the mask off, I either rinse my hair well while bending over my sink or I just hop in the shower again.  I highly recommend finishing off the mask with an apple cider vinegar rinse because it  seals the hair cuticle so that the color stays for longer and because it makes your hair look extra shiny afterwards!

Have you dyed your hair with henna or indigo? Tell me all about it in the comment section below!


29 replies

  1. i just did this and it was easy and worked so well! i did the ACV rinse too. i liked the way it felt and smelled ( i added grapefruit EO). i rinsed my hair with water after the ACV rinse. Or was the ACV rinse supposed to be the last step. I am happy with the rich color!

    • Awesome! Glad to hear it worked out! I’m overdue now myself (those sneaky grays!). I always rinse with water after the ACV rinse 🙂 though I’ve heard people do it both ways.

    • I’ve beeb planning some recipes but I haven’t finished testing them out yet. I’m not sure hiw lught you want to go but I’ve read anecdotes about people using honey to lighten their hair, as well as cassia. I’ll keep everyone posted on what I find though! 🙂

    • Hm, that’s not easy to do naturally but I think a honey, cardamom, olive oil mixture (because of their peroxide levels) would be what I would look into. My favorite website for looking into recipes like that is I’m going to experiment with the lightening over the next few months so I’ll be posting about that!

    • Also, have you seen any of the Morocco Method henna mixes? You can see result pictures on Instagram to see if any of those look like they’d fit what color you want. I’ve seen somepretty significant lightening. 🙂

  2. I have been wanting to try this for so long, but I am hesitant because I have pretty black hair. Well, it’s off black, to be specific. I wonder if it would give me some dimension. I suffer from hair boredom and will absolutely not use harmful chemicals, as I’ve had bad reactions in the past.

    • I can totally relate to the bad reactions with chemicals, I totally fried my hair! The good news with henna and other natural staining herbs is that you can leave them on for 15 minutes or 6 hours, just depending on what effect you want to have. So if you’re nervous, I say just start really low and work your way up. I have pretty dark hair already so I feel like the henna/indigo mostly just gives it dimension and gives me some tint, especially in the sun. Let me know if you have any other questions though about how to play with the recipe! 🙂

  3. Which henna and indigo brands do you suggest using for this recipe ? I’ve seen you mention morocco method, do you feel that brand doesn’t cause breakage or hair loss? How long do you let the mixture sit for before applying ?

    • I’ve think the best quality stuff can be ordered for But I’ve also used the Hesh brand (very cheap). I actually have never personally used the Morocco Method stuff because I’ve heard it’s kind of gritty…on the other hand, I’ve heard some people saying they love it so it must be individual.

      I think some people have hair breakage in general with henna because they don’t add anything to the mixes but water and rinse it out roughly. That’s why I’ve added some extra goodies to this mix and always rinse it out using an apple cider vinegar rinse.

      I have dark hair so I leave it on for 1.5 hours. But I started out with as little as 30 minutes and tested out longer time gradually so that I didn’t end up with something I didn’t like.

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  4. WOW!!!! I was a little worried that the results would be dramatic, like it would turn my hair too dark. but it is perfect!!!! I have dark blonde/light brown hair so I pictured this turning out very dark. That is not the case, and my natural highlight shine through. You would never know that I just dyed my hair. And it is super soft!!!! Thank you sooooo much! 💜

  5. Hi, I’m curious about the natural dye you describe here. I’ve been diy shampooing for 7 months now, and I really want to do all my hair treatment like that – I can really see the difference in the fullness and health of my hair =)
    I’ve got a couple of qs though, and hope you can answer me =). 1) How often do you dye your hair (me too need to fight the greys, and I find myself needing it every three weeks – is that to harsh on the hair with your method?) 2) I’ve got very dark, almost black hair, will it go there for me? And how long should I leave the stuff in my hair?

    • Good questions! That’s awesome to hear hat your hair is doing so much better with the DIY shampoo treatment 🙂 Here goes: 1) I usually need to dye it about every 6 weeks to cover the grays (they lose the color the fastest!) I know people who dye with henna before every shampoo…so it’s definitely safe as much as you want to use it. That often won’t be necessary though for most gray coverage. 2) For darker hair, I recommend adding more indigo and less henna. All indigo yields pretty much black hair dye but without henna, it unfortunately doesn’t last as long. 3) I can’t answer how long to leave it in for each individual person since hair is so different for everyone but I would start low and add time as you go for your personal preference. I have quite dark hair as well and I usually leave on for 1.5 hours. Hope that all helps! Keep me posted on how it goes 🙂

  6. Question about henna hair dying. I’m strongly considering doing this next month.. How permanent is this? Does it fade after a few months? I’ve heard that you can’t dye it afterwards, but that you can’t remove it either. So after you use henna do you just have to only use henna until your whole head of hair grows out again? I’m a little worried about how much of a commitment that is haha.

    • Henna is pretty darn permanent for a lot of folks, especially for people with light hair. I do experience fade each time but I have heard people say that wasn’t the case for them. I’ve heard of people dyeing over it though so not sure there. If you’re worried, you can leave it on for much shorter and work your way up to the color and intensity you want or you can make a henna gloss. A henna gloss is the same recipe but mixed in with coconut milk, coconut oil, or any other oil you’d like. The color is much less saturated and I haven’t personally heard of someone having completely permanent results…though of course I’m sure there are exceptions! My advice is to start low and go slow up to where you want to be 🙂 It’s ultimately much less scary than people think but always nice to be safe.

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