Henna Gloss: A Quicker, Easier Way to Henna


twistout314_8 As most of you know, I am a henna head. I have been doing henna treatments since 2010, though I’ve modified how and how often I do them over the years. I started with full strength, full length treatments every 2-4 weeks. But for the last several years, I have been doing full strength on my roots only and a “faux” gloss (i.e. dye released henna mixed into lots of conditioner) on my length. But, the time between my sessions has gotten longer and longer … every 4 weeks, every 6, every 8, now I’m lucky if I do it once every three months!! Well, about a month and a half ago, I was really in need of a henna treatment as my grey roots were out of control. I also love how smooth my hair is after a henna treatment; my hair styles post henna are always so shiny and sleek. But, I had absolutely nooooooooo desire to do a full strength treatment as it usually takes the good part of a day to complete (see My Two Step Henna-Indigo Process for details). Between prepping, washing, detangling, application, marinating, rinsing with water, applying indigo, marinating again, rinsing with loads of conditioner, deep conditioning, marinating one more time rinsing, and styling … yeah, that’s an 8 hour plus process. It just was not happening. But then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do a true henna gloss!!” I figured I could get some of the conditioning benefits of henna and maybe a little color, without all the muss and fuss … and time! hennagloss314

My Henna Gloss Recipe

  • My goat milk conditioning mask *
  • 2 tablespoons of Dulhan BAQ henna powder
  • Mix thoroughly with a fork.
  • Apply mixture to hair and massage into scalp.
  • Twist hair into 4 sections, clip hair up with a jaw clip and don a plastic cap.
  • Apply heat for 30 min-1 hour (I use a hair therapy wrap).
  • Rinse thoroughly.

(*My goat milk conditioner has protein, but it is also very moisturizing because of the honey and oils. I would generally suggest using a thick, moisturizing, protein-free conditioner.)

Applied (no plastic gloves required)


Minimal mess (no towels or newspaper needed to protect surfaces; just wiped down with a disinfecting wipe).


As I suspected, the gloss also gave my grey roots got a little color so that they weren’t as stark white.

hennaglossroots After rinsing, I set my hair in 4 twists, which I wore in a twist-out the next day. And, the set held up very well the rest of the week!!

Days 1-5twistout314_5Days_Collage2

The one issue I have had with the gloss is related to my base goat milk conditioner. It can be a little chunky and thick, so I have had some residue in my hair after rinsing. Therefore, I have to make sure that my conditioner is as smooth as possible prior to adding the henna and that I rinse very well. In the future, I may try mixing the henna with water first before adding it to the conditioner. This should help thin the consistency and aid blending. However, despite the small rinsing issue, the easy, peasy henna gloss is now in my repertoire when I want some of the conditioning benefits of henna with minimal time and effort!! It may be right up your alley if you have been wanting to try henna, but have been afraid to take the leap or have been looking for some of the benefits without the time commitment!!


Have you tried henna glosses? How did/do you like them? What conditioner(s) do you use for the best results?


23 responses »

  1. This was great, Shellie! With a 10 month old (can’t even believe our little one is 10 months ALREADY!!!) and a 2.5 year old. My henna applications have grown further and further between as well. I don’t even do the indigo step, and I’m still too tired to even THINK THROUGH doing an entire henna application!

    Maybe next time I will try a deep conditioning henna gloss. What would you say the conditioning/ strengthening benefits are in contrast to when you do a full henna. Is it permanent like with a full henna? I’ve only done henna about 5-6 times, so I didn’t have the few years of doing full treatments like you have. Is it still worth it to start the henna gloss now, or should I still stick to building up to it with full henna treatments before I defer to true laziness and just start doing glosses?!

    Hope married life is going well!

    Abundant blessings!


    • Hey Aja!! 10 months already! Man, time flies! As to doing a gloss, if you’ve done 5-6 full strength treatments, you should get nice conditioning w/the gloss. I’d say it gives about 1/2 of the smoothness and shine of a full strength tx. Do it a couple of weeks in a row or every week, and it’ll probably get better with each treatment!! Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioner is a good DC to use. Love it in my regular mix as it’s nice and thick and very moisturizing.

      And thank you!!


      • Thanks Shellie!

        I FINALLY tried this today! I might never have gotten up the cajones to try another henna treatment now that I’m dealing with two little blessings all day long, but I recently tip toed my baby toe back into the work world and I actually HAD to do something with my hair TODAY because I have a callback for a big job on Monday and won’t have any time over the weekend, so that was the necessary lighting of candle beneath my bum!

        I actually mixed more than 2 tbsps of henna. Much more! I would say about 1/4-1/3 of a bag of red raj. I was moving so quickly trying to get it done while my oldest watchd Veggie Tales I just dumped what I had in there! Before I did that, I mixed together about 20 pumps of Oyin Handmade’s Honey Hemp conditioner, 1/3 cup or so of goat’s milk yogurt, 2 tbsps of honey and a big squirt of an Ayurvedic coconut oil mix I got from I don’t remember where! I’d also sectioned my hair and finger detangled each section with the honey hemp before this as well. I mixed everything together and it was a great consistency! I didn’t have any time for a dye release either. I added a little bit of hot water but the yogurt was so cold from the fridge it didn’t really make a difference.

        Anyway, it went on great! Took about 30 mins or less. My hair is 4a/b, arm pit length, very fine strands, thick head of hair! I twisted each of six sections, put on a shower cap and double head scarves and went about my day! I tried blow drying a little bit to see if that would help with dye release because I was nervous that it was still green, but my two year old ran in with a shower cap on and got mad that I wouldn’t blow dry her too, so I didn’t get very far.

        I left it on for about 3 hours and when I took my hair out while the wee ones napped, it was totally orange so I was happy about that! I rinsed out in the tub and then conditioner washed each section with the honey hemp in the shower and tried to keep my sections and then reapplied it as my leave in with a little bit of their Shea butter-flax seed gel type product. I think I’ll wear head scarfs over the weekend so I’ll have a fresh braid out for my callback Monday, but I was SUPER happy with the results! I actually henna’d around 9:30am and was done with my hair by 3pm the same day!!!

        Thanks for your post! Sorry for the diatribe, but maybe this will help someone else! Unless you hear back, I will chalk this up to a mission accomplished!



  2. Hi Shellie, I´m interested in trying henna on a gray patch I have. I love the color of your red highlights. My hairdresser warned me that henna could possible damage my hair. Do you know if the Henna Sooq Henna Gloss Bars are safer than traditional henna treatments? Also, what color of the Henna Sooq Gloss Bar would you recommend for red highlights similar to yours? Thanks for the advice.


    • Hi KM, most hairdressers who say henna is bad for hair are talking about commercial hennas with metallic dyes, not pure BAQ henna. I wish that they would get an understanding of the difference. Indian women have been using henna for centuries with gorgeous results! As to the gloss bars, they are essentially just diluted henna. I think gloss bars are a good way to dip your toes into hennaing if you are interested and don’t mind the red color … which it seems you like :). All hennas are red … so I think any of them will eventually give you a red similar to mine on your grey. BUT, it will take several treatments … I suspect 3-5 … to get full color … even with a full strength henna treatment, it takes 2-3 treatments on my roots for them to become red … my grey is usually a coppery orange after the first treatment. HTH!


  3. Hi Shellie,
    I too am a Henna Head! lol Like you I started every 2 wks, 4 wks. I have been doing FS Henna’s since May 09, however this year I started following your method of FS roots/Gloss on the length once a month. I use Suave Naturals Conditioner (Sun-Ripened Strawberry or Wild Cherry Blossom) in my gloss. Love it!!! This has helped tremendously with the dryness I had been experiencing. This weekend I decided I would try a FS Henna with the probable plan to FS every 4 mos. Although my mixture was previously made and frozen, it contained 1 can coconut milk, 1/4 c FF yogurt, honey; adding hemp-seed oil (after thaw and dye release). Fenugreek powder and marshmallow root powder were also added for testing. I had great results. No dryness, even after rinsing. YAY!!!

    I truly wish I could keep my henna in less than overnight. The last time I used heat with a FS Henna, my hair was extremely dry. Maybe it could be the protein reaction with heat??? IDK. What do you think? I definitely would love a shorter method.

    Thanks so much for this post!!! Blessings!!!


    • Awww, thank you so much!! As to the henna and heat, were you deep conditioning after doing your henna treatment? I always use heat, but I also always DC after my henna. Henna is like a strong protein treatment … it adds strength/structure to the hair. So, a moisturizing DC helps restore pliability and suppleness. If you were DCing with a protein free conditioner after the henna, then I’m not sure why your hair was extremely dry after using henna with heat. HTH!


      • I utilizied a steamer for 1 hr. while the henna was on my hair to decrease setting time, similar to your solution above. During that particular situation, my hair was extremely dry after thoroughly rinsing. I thought maybe the yogurt in the mix could have been the culprit. I have used yogurt alone as a DC and it sent me into protein over load. lol Never again…

        I always use a moisturizing DC (protein-free) and heat after rinsing (the henna away) and co-washing. Protein is a no-no during Henna sessions. 🙂 Thanks


    • Hi Cheryl. As long as you are using BAQ henna, you can use it over a commercial color. However, pure henna is always red. So, you will always get red tones, whether they appear like a rinse or add red color to lightened hair. And henna is permanent, though it fades some. So, if you want to use a commercial dye after using BAQ henna, you should really do a strand test to make certain the results meet your expectations as, again, you will probably still get reddish tones. HTH!!


  4. I’ve wanted to try a henna gloss since I stopped doing a FS over 2 years ago. I’m definitely motivated to try your method. Thanks for sharing!


  5. I have a question – Wayyyyyy long ago in your henna 2-step post you mentioned using Jamila henna, so I finally decided to try it since it’s locally available. I opened the box & IMMEDIATELY, smelled something akin to Pine-Sol, and that the powder was chocolate brown (usually my Rajasthani Twilight is green). Same box, same long-haired female on the front, same hopeful eyes (mine), but totally different smell! Needless to say I mixed (hoping it was my overly sensitive nose), but then didn’t use the stuff bc…..well it STUNK! Now being fairly new to this game (I’m not even a year in yet), I don’t have a clue as to whether different hennas curl your nostril hairs in different ways O_o! Anywho – I shall perform a henndigo (I have one spare nugget of Rajasthani left), & move-on w/my life to await my back-ordered 1-kilo shipment (yassssssss, I got that good-good!!! 😎) of Rajasthani as the KRACKEN HAS BEEN RELEASED from the hands of the US Govt!!!! Please, though, weigh-in when you can bc this experience has been slightly HARROWING!!!!


    • Hi Tee … so, I used to buy Jamila from Mehandi.com. There were other sellers of Jamila, but CurlyNikki said that they might not be the high quality jamila sold by Mehandi and to look for it in a foil package. Second, in 2011 (late, I think), the quality of jamila deteriorate and Nik started using Rajasthani Twilight upon the recommendation of Catherine of Mehandi. Eventually, she stopped selling jamila altogether as the quality had deteriorated so badly. I used up the good quality jamila that I had and started buying RT. I still have a bag of RT, I think, but I use it 1:1 ratio with Dulhan and when I run out, I’ll just buy Dulhan, which I get from my local Indian grocer for, like, $1.49 for 100g. It is body art quality … I don’t buy the hennas that say “henna for hair” as many of them are not pure BAQ hennas (though a few are). So yeah, I think you got that bad crop quality jamila that is treated with excessive pesticides (I think that was the issue).


      • I TOTALLY agree w/your assessment of that Jamila I got a hold of – never again! And thx bc I truly was in the dark about the crop issues & such! : )


  6. I can’t go through all the changes related to Jamilah quality assurance issues. I purchased Jamila 2011 last year from Butters N Bars and it was an ‘orgasmic’ henna experience (I was like that Herbal Essences chick on the commercial)! Jamilah was as finely sifted as baby powder, produced immediate dye release, applied smoothly without clumping and rinsed out quickly – just wonderful!

    Le Sigh, we’ll always have Paris…

    That said, I used my brick and mortar Reshma for my recent henna rinse. I moistened the henna with a little heated distilled water and added nearly a cupful of Sally Beauty’s GVP Conditioning Balm until it was a smooth paste. I immediately applied the paste to my hair, covered it with saran wrap and donned a beanie. I did some household chores and worked in the backyard. All in all, it was on my hair about 5 hours.

    Good gosh a mighty!

    The henna dye release was fabuloso and the twiggy Reshma rinsed out easily! I didn’t think henna gloss would release like that and went lightly with the Vaseline around my hairline, won’t make that mistake again (my ‘five-head’ was a little orange for a day or two) I followed the henna process with indigo USING THE SAME METHOD, leaving it on about an hour or so (I don’t like orange halo on my hairline), and it made my hairline black cat black.

    Needless to say, this will be my go-to henna method from now on. Easy peasy mac and cheesey!

    Went to Sally’s and picked up two bottles of GVP today to keep on hand.



  7. I need your help. I am interested in Henna but not interested in applying it myself. Where can I go to get Henna applied to my hair? I live in ATL area.


  8. Shelli! I absolutely love your hair in the pic posted just below this post title about henna. Beautiful! Was this a twist out, a braid out..and old twist out?


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