I found my sense of adventure and did my first henna treatment this weekend. Instead of doing one long, pic heavy post I’ll be breaking up my first henna treatment: recipe, application, and results.


  1. Rajasthani Indian Henna – 100g
  2. Indigo – 50g
  3. Coconut milk – 1 can
  4. Conditioner – Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner
  5. Hot water – 1/2 cup

Here’s What I Did

Step 1:

I combined 100g of rajasthani Indian henna + 50g of indigo in a bowl.


Step 2:

After mixing the powders together, I poured in 1 can of coconut milk.

Benefits of adding coconut milk to henna: shine, provides moisture and conditions the hair, makes it easier to rinse out henna.

Step 3:

(After switching to a bigger bowl because I was foolish to think I’d be able to mix in coconut milk in that too-small bowl) I mixed the powders and coconut milk together and it ended up looking like a very unappealing bowl of baby poop. Smell wasn’t great either. Smelled like strong hay to me (I’m definitely adding an essential oil the next time I henna my hair).

Step 4:

I mixed in Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner for additional moisture. I added the amount pictured below twice.

Step 5:

My henna paste was still much too thick so I added 1/2 cup of near boiling water. The hot water did the trick and  I was able to achieve what I’ve read over and over is the target consistency for henna paste: smooth, creamy, like pancake batter, and runs off the spoon slowly.

After getting the henna paste to the right consistency, I covered the bowl while the dye released to prevent the top layer from crusting.

I stressed over how long to let the henna sit for optimal dye release. Thank God for the internet and the ever-increasing number of henna notes I have saved. I had this note starred: “henna may be slightly browned when there has been a dye release. Is the henna below the surface a different color from the top? Dig into the henna with a spoon and see if the middle of the henna is a different green from the part that’s been in contact with the air. If the surface is darkened, lawsone molecules have been released and have oxidized where they were in contact with air.” – Henna for Hair, by Dr. Catherine Cartwright-Jones Source

In hindsight I should have prepared my henna paste the night before to give it plenty of time for dye release. After 2 hours I checked on my henna paste and noticed it had browned so I stirred it per the note above. Seeing that the middle was a different color I figured it was ready to use.

Changes I’ll be making next time I mix up some henna

  1. Not mixing in indigo
  2. Maybe letting the henna paste sit longer
  3. Adding an essential oil to mask the smell of the henna + scalp benefits – I’ll most likely use peppermint oil

I’ll post how the application process went tomorrow. Thank you for reading!

Pin me!

Henna recipe 1 collage


  1. Yay! I’m happy you took the plunge! I do henna to get the brownish tone but I mix the indigo and henna separately. I mix the henna with the coconut milk I add a small amount of lemon juice to aid in dye release and let that sit overnight. When I am ready to apply the henna I then mix the indigo with water and mix that into the henna mix. I then leave on until my patience runs out. One day I will do only henna but I am worried about how red my hair will be. Also I am using it to cover greys and don’t want that bright red hue. Good luck on your next application!

  2. Welcome to the club! I’ve been doing henna for about 4 years now and I love it. I would’t recommend adding peppermint oil to the henna because it will most likely irritate your scalp. It’s one thing leaving peppermint oil in with a conditioner that will be rinsed out in an hour or so. But since henna is in for multiple hours, you really start to feel the tingle/burn. Also by adding conditioner to the henna your first application was really more of a gloss–which is what I do for maintenance and conditioning. If you want the most color deposit leave out the conditioner and mix the powder with the coconut milk and tea (green, black it doesn’t matter). And you’re right that the indigo will darken/brown the red tones of the henna. To get the most color, the longer you leave it on, the more color deposit you’ll get–but I’ve never done overnight, I just don’t trust the mess it could leave in my bed. If you made it through the first time and you didn’t hate it, you’ll be hooked!

    1. I second your suggestions. I would use lavender oil to both mask the smell and to intensify the dye release. Indigo has a stronger smell than henna to me so leaving it out next time may be the only adjustment you need to make for smell. The more “moisturizing” ingredients you put in henna, the less color is deposited.

      1. Author

        That’s a great to hear, I have lavender oil in the stash. Thank you for the tip!

    2. Author

      Thank you for the tip and the insight on the conditioner! I plan on doing another henna application in a month and I’ll be sure to follow your instruction and leave out the conditioner. I just bought a new box of green tea so I’ll go with that. Your right, I’m hooked. I wish I had done it sooner!

  3. Congratulation on your big plunge. I normally mix henna and the indigo after I have rinsed out the henna.

  4. This looks doable question though what was the indigo meant to do???

    1. Author

      Indigo changes the color henna will dye the hair – for reddish-brown tones: 70% henna + 30% indigo. To achieve brown tones, mix 50% henna + 50% indigo

  5. Why would you not ad indigo next time?
    Looking foward to see your results.

    1. Author

      The results were a little browner than I wanted. I want to try henna on its own next time for a more burgundy/redder tone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.