How to remove henna from your hair

Dear Hair Doctor,

Please could you tell me how I can remove henna from my hair? I’ve been told I’ll have to grow it out as when my hairdresser tried to highlight it, it went blue.

Please help!

Anon, UK

Hi there,

Unfortunately once henna is in your hair, it really needs to be cut out before any further colouring can take place.

Although it is a 'natural, plant-based' product, it contains metallic salts, which when mixed with professional salon colours, can create a reaction (blue hair).

However if you are desperately fed up and can't wait for it to be cut out then a non-oxidising colour would be best for you such as Wella Colour Fresh (this is a true semi-permanent and is not mixed with any peroxide in order to activate it).

Ultimately avoid anything thats going to lighten the hair, have regular haircuts and the henna will be out before you know it.

Crombie, Browns

I know so many people who have had this predicament - even me when I was about 16! The only way to get henna out of the hair is unfortunately to cut it out. This sounds harsh I know, but henna is very different from regular hairdressing colours. When henna is developing on the hair, it is binding itself to the proteins and entire structure of the hair and is super strong. Sometimes it even carries on developing after you have rinsed it.

It went blue because it reacts with the chemicals that professional colourists use and often goes quite crazy.

John Clark, Brooks+Brooks

Henna reacts to hair colour because of the metallic salts it contains. You will need to gradually grow it out or cut it out before colouring your hair. When you are confident there is no henna left, ask your hairdresser for an incompatibility test to determine whether it is safe to colour.

Kind regards,

Michelle Lawley, Royston Blythe