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How To Remove Henna From Hair


As more and more consumers look for healthier alternatives to traditional hair coloring services, many salon professionals are faced with an increasing number of clients that have used henna on their hair. Once henna builds up on the hair, hair can feel coated and coarse. Most clients are unhappy with henna results, and have discovered organic hair color options like Organic Way (Oway) and Original & Mineral (O&M).

For some of us, this is a “back to the future” situation that we can fondly reminisce about. For others who are newer to our profession, this is a first time, “what do I do about this” situation that can be an unwelcome complication to a fully booked day. Regardless of your perspective, all of us need to know how to prepare hair that has been colored with Henna to ensure predictable results.

A Note of Caution:

Henna can contain metallic salts which can react with oxidative dyes to create heat.

This can be a disconcerting experience for both stylist and client. None of us want to have a client ask us, “Is this supposed to be this hot?”, and then rush the client to the bowl, praying that when we rinse the color that we are not rinsing her hair down the drain as well. Many clients are not aware that Henna can contain metallic salts and they may not know if the Henna that they used contained this ingredient. Don’t be afraid to “be the expert” and let the client know the steps that need to be taken to ensure the best possible results.

How to Remove Henna from Hair

  1. Shampoo the hair twice using a clarifying shampoo such as Htech by Organic Way. It effectively removes product residue for optimal technical results.
  2. Using a sponge, work vodka (yes, you read it right) through the hair and leave on for 15 minutes. Vodka helps strip off the henna by breaking down the metal salts into smaller molecules, preparing the hair for the next step.
  3. Then, rinse and shampoo twice with Organic Way Hbalance Shampoo, leaving the second lather on for 5 minutes. The gentle surfactants in Hbalance Shampoo help rebalance the hair’s pH after the Henna has been removed and neutralizes remaining alkaline residues.
  4. Rinse and apply Organic Way Hmilk No Stress to restore moisture to the hair and strengthen the strands.
  5. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse.

As more and more clients “go green” you may find this tip increasingly useful. There is no doubt the the green movement is here to stay and there has never been a better time in our industry to be identified as a leader in offering healthier, less toxic chemical services.

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  1. Robin Grissom

    Thank you so much for the information about removing henna. We used your process of “vodkaing the henna out” and it worked perfectly! My sister’s hair is now colored over the henna with Madison Reed hair color and it is all one great brunette color! I’m now enjoying a nice drink with the left over vodka!

    • Perfect! So glad we could help. While we can appreciate why people choose henna (health reasons), but is poses real challenges for the hair and hair stylist!

      • cynthia

        I started graying years ago and used Bigen until I developed an intolerance to the dye. I started using Henna a few months ago, but now I’m thinking I would be better off just letting my gray grow out. Any suggestions?

        • Ernest Brooks

          yes, OWAY Organic infused color. Nothing toxic, and your hair will look and feel amazing. This website is the distributor, and they can help you find a salon in your area or close to you. I would do it, but I’m in San Diego, so unless your close contact Simply Organic Beauty. There is no other color line this great on the market.

    • Ernest Brooks

      why use Madison Reed when your talking to the best company around with the best color in the world? OWAY Organic infused ammonia free REAL color will have you coming back for more. Smells amazing too

  2. Ernest Brooks

    Great job gal’s. I have a client on Tuesday coming in for the first time and can’t wait to get the Henna out of her hair. We are going to color with the Best color in the world, OWAY, of course. Will post Pic’s on FB Hairstylist group.

  3. barbara

    Hi! I have been colouring my hair with henna/indigo for almost a year and the build up made it so dark, it is almost black! I tried some decolour products without much result. My natural colour is a dark blonde/light brown. If I use the alcohol procedure and look for an oway hairdresser in the Netherlands, would I be able to go some tints ligther? Can you please advise? Appreciate it! My dark brown and green hair is making me feel a bit desperate… Thanks!

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