The Right Way To Fix A Bad Henna Dye Job (And When To See A Hair Stylist)

Getting a bad dye job should be considered a rite of passage at this point because we all have our horror stories. Whether you used a box dye at home by yourself or you went to a shady stylist, a bad coloring job is never an exciting time. Because of the harshness of chemical dyes on hair, more people are opting for the more natural alternative — henna. If you're wondering how henna dyes work, they use natural pigments to cover the entire shaft and are known to condition and strengthen hair. They are also considered safer because the dye doesn't penetrate into the cuticles. 

The safety of henna, however, doesn't exempt the dye job from going haywire. Henna dyes can still go sour if your color doesn't come out the way you wanted. Since henna can only darken hair, not lighten it, it has the tendency of turning out much darker than you had originally hoped for. You might end up wanting the color scrapped altogether. Because the purity of henna dye isn't always guaranteed, you may not have the option of bleaching the dye out. 

If it comes to this, you can try removing it from your hair at home. If that doesn't work either, you'd better just ease on down the road to the nearest hair salon.

Use natural oils to lift the dye from your hair

If you aren't a fan of your henna dye job and you're looking to lighten your hair up without using bleach, then using natural plant oils is a decent place to start. While the results may not be over-the-top right away, you will see slow changes after a while. Plus, you get to keep your hair safe from chemical harm.

Silk & Stone carried out a range of tests to see which natural oils were most effective in stripping hair of henna dye. They found that leaving coconut oil in henna-dyed hair for 12 hours definitely brightened it up, but more applications would be required for a lighter color. Grapeseed oil had a similar effect. When they mixed coconut and grapeseed oil, the henna faded considerably from the hair and gave it a vivid color. Olive oil lifted the color a bit but gave it a browner hue.

In order to try out this oil hack, you apply the oil directly onto the henna dyed hair you want to change and leave it on for 12 hours. Then, wash off the oil with shampoo and view your results. If the color isn't as light as you would like, you can repeat the process. Experimenting with the oils is necessary to make sure you end up with your desired color, so you should try strand tests first with different oils.

Other ways to lighten henna dyed hair

In addition to natural oils, Silk & Stone tried out other substances to brighten up the hair. Lemon juice was the most effective, even more so than the oils. Unfortunately, it isn't advisable to employ this method because lemon juice is strongly acidic and can dry out your hair, leaving it damaged and brittle. They also tried toothpaste which actually worked — but who wants toothpaste in their hair?

We think you're better off using natural oils to alter your henna dyed hair, but patience is key. You have to keep in mind that this isn't going to be like using fast-acting bleaching agents on your hair. This process takes time and the results are gradual and subtle. You have to keep at it if you want to see drastic results. Also, not everyone's hair is the same. Hair comes in too many types, textures, and thickness grades for the results to come out exactly the same. If no DIY recipes to lighten your hair at home work, then you need to schedule an appointment with your hair stylist — just not the one who gave you the bad dye job.