An at Home Spa Day While Using Henna Hair Color

Incorporating an at-home spa day into my self-care routine has been a wonderful addition, especially when I’m applying henna to my hair. I’ve embraced a more natural lifestyle, focusing on a healthier diet, regular walks, and using all-natural face and body products like Ancient Sunrise henna hair color.

Ancient Sunrise natural henna for hair.

Self Care Helps Create My Positive Outlook

The Henna procedure does require a certain amount of time, which varies based on how long you keep the henna paste on your hair. However, this period can be utilized to indulge in a spa day at home. If you already follow self-care rituals, you are aware that the outcomes can serve as a source of inspiration to prioritize yourself further.

Around 18 months ago, I began engaging in the practice of reading positive affirmations and meditating. The outcome has been truly remarkable. I focus on the good more and gratitude is a daily practice that  brings calm and happiness to my life.  Numerous free applications are accessible to assist you in starting this journey. Consistency and trial and error are key in this process.

How To Have a Simple at Home Spa Day

With the hectic nature of life, finding moments to find inner peace has brought me some solace. I am gradually learning to decrease my pace and appreciate the positive aspects of life. Although it is only the first day of November, my holiday agenda is already filling up rapidly. However, I am pausing momentarily and making use of the time I have to dye my hair using Ancient Sunrise Henna. Rather than engaging in any holiday preparations, I am opting to unwind and relax.

Having a spa day at home is not only great for relaxation but also for saving money. Taking a nap is one of the most affordable self-care activities, and everyone can benefit from it. In addition to getting some rest, there are several inexpensive at-home spa treatments worth trying.

Enjoy a Warm Beverage and Foot Spa

Once I finish applying the henna and securing my hair, I prepare a favorite drink to savor. As an avid coffee and tea enthusiast, I find great pleasure in indulging, particularly during this chilly November season, which has brought us an early snowfall on November 1st!

Afterwards, I prepare a cozy foot soak in a bathtub, enhancing it with polished stones or marbles to give myself a soothing foot massage. Additionally, I warm up my preferred moisturizer, either Ancient Sunrise Mango or Cocoa butter, in the basin to apply it to my feet after the soak. For an extra touch of luxury, you can even add a few drops of the Mango or cocoa butter to the foot bath. It feels indulgent to sip on a favorite drink while immersing my feet. To personalize the foot bath further, you can include Epsom salts or essential oils.


Try an All Natural Amla Facial

I then use Ancient Sunrise amla powder to make a facial mask. Amla, a fruit acid, aids in dye releasing henna and can be used as a DIY home facial. Amla paste is great for exfoliating, as it has antioxidants and antibacterial properties. This is mild for all types of skin and is free from alcohol or chemicals, unlike store-bought face scrubs.

To make a simple homemade facial, mix a spoonful of amla powder with cool water. Keep mixing until it forms a paste that has a similar consistency to yogurt. Let that sit for 15 minutes. Gently massage your skin with the paste, and wash the paste off after a few minute.

After utilizing Ancient Sunrise Amla for an all natural facial, my skin appears more radiant and feels smoother. Apply your preferred facial moisturizer and conclude with the final steps.

Take the Time for Rest

I’ve indulged in self-pampering and now I’m feeling relaxed. My feet are comfortable and my face is thoroughly moisturized. I intend to partake in some mindfulness practice and maybe take a refreshing nap.

Once I’ve allowed the henna to sit in my hair for the necessary duration, I rinse it out to reveal the stunning outcome.  The whole process is 2 -3 hours for my routine and it is just right.  An at home spa while hennaing your hair can be customized to your specific wants and needs.

I hope this gives you some inspiration to take time for yourself!

Questions? Want to know where to purchase Ancient Sunrise products?

Ancient Sunrise is only available on our website and in our Amazon storefront.

You can call our customer service department at 1-855-634-2634 with questions about using henna to dye your hair, and any other product questions you may have.


Dye Releasing Henna/Cassia with Items in your Home

We have all had that moment when we set aside time to mix Ancient Sunrise® henna and/or cassia only to realize when we are about to start, that we are out of our powered fruit acid or liquid. Our brow starts to sweat, “Customer service is closed for the weekend. What do I do now?”

Oranges and orange juice

The good news is, you do not have to panic! There are other acids you most likely have around your home that can be used to dye release your henna and/or cassia paste. If you drink juice or have kids, you may have one of these on hand: apple juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, or orange juice. Bakers will typically have powdered cream of tartar or lemon juice on hand. Cooks will typically have apple cider vinegar or white vinegar on hand as well. Any one of these can be used for dye release.

Apple Juice – pH 3.4 (1)

  • 100% juice can typically be found in the grocery store
    • Make sure the apple juice isn’t too mild. Some juices advertised to toddlers may be too weak to properly dye release your plant powders
  • Dye releases Henna and Cassia mixes faster than other fruit acids or juices (usually in 6 hours instead of 8 hours in 68°F – 72°F)
  • Very gentle on the scalp

Cranberry Juice – pH 2.3 (1)

  • 100% Juice preferred
    • A juice cocktail will have more sugar and be sticky, but not unusable
  • If you use Copperberry fruit acid, this will be the best substitution in a pinch

Blueberry Juice – pH 3.2 (2)

  • 100% Juice is preferred
    • A Blueberry/ Pomegranate blend will work nicely
  • If you use Amla or Night Fall Rose fruit acid, this is the best substitution

Orange Juice – pH 3.7 (3)

  • 100% Juice with no pulp or calcium added works the best
  • If you use Kristalovino fruit acid, this will be the best substitution for you

Lemon Juice – pH 2.3 (1)

  • You can use bottled lemon juice
    • It does not have to be fresh-squeezed
  • If you use Malluma Kristalovino or citric acid, this may be a good substitution
    • If you have a sensitive scalp, this acid is not for you; use cream of tartar instead
  • You can dilute the lemon juice with distilled water
    • 50% lemon juice and 50% distilled water works nicely

Vinegar – pH 2.4 (1)

  • Like lemon juice, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be watered down with distilled water
  • If you use Malluma Kristalovino or citric acid, this may be a good substitution
    • If you have a sensitive scalp, this acid is not for you; use cream of tartar instead
  • Vinegar mixes tend to brown henna more when finished oxidizing
    • This doesn’t mean you will get a brown color from henna. Your henna will not be as bright as using cranberry juice
  • Vinegar can make henna/cassia paste smell unpleasant


To dilute white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, simply add equal parts distilled water to your acidic liquid.

Read more in this blog article on Lemon Juice and ACV and why you may want to water them down for mixing a Henna paste:

For more information on fruit acids please see Chapter 6 in our Ancient Sunrise® Henna for Hair e-book:

In conclusion, there is usually an alternative fruit acid powder or liquid that can be used to dye release your henna and/or cassia paste.

If you have questions about a juice or powdered fruit acid, contact customer service: ☎️330-673-0600, 📧, 💬 or chat with us on


  1. Cartwright-Jones, Catherine. “Chapter 6: Henna and Acidic Mixes.” Ancient Sunrise Henna for Hair, TapDancing Lizard, Copyright © 2015, pp. 6,14.
  2. Howard, Luke R.a; *; Brownmiller, Cindia; Mauromoustakos, Andy; Prior, Ronald L.a. ” Improved stability of blueberry juice anthocyanins by acidification and refrigeration.”, Journal of Berry Research, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 189-201, 2016, 10.3233/JBR-160133
  3. Reddy, Avanija DMD, MPH; Norris, Don F. DMD; Momeni, Stephanie S. MS, MBA; Waldo, Belinda DMD; Ruby, John D. DMD, Ph.D. “The pH of beverages in theUnited States.”, 2016 American Dental Association,

LizAncient Sunrise® Specialist

Ancient Sunrise® Fruit Acid Powder Facial

Fruit acid powder facial for skin brightening, tightening, and fewer blackheads.

Do you have leftover fruit acid that you’re not planning on using in future henna or cassia mixes? You may want to try a homemade fruit acid powder facial!  Here is a simple recipe that was made from Ancient Sunrise® citric acid, Ancient Sunrise® amla, and Ancient Sunrise® Nightfall Rose.  If you have sensitive skin, this mask may not be for you.

Facial Mix

1/8 teaspoon Citric Acid
1/4  teaspoon Amla
1/4 teaspoon Nightfall rose
1/2 teaspoon of warm distilled water




Facial Paste

First, mix up all three powders with warm distilled water and let it sit for a few minutes.
Secondly, apply the paste to freshly cleaned skin with a brush on the face, avoiding the eyes, nostrils, mouth, and any open wounds.
Then leave the mix on for 15 minutes (or until firm).
Finally, use a washcloth and warm water while gently massage the paste off of the skin.

Immediately after rinsing the paste off, my face was RED.  Part of this can be attributed to the anthocyanins of Nightfall Rose, the other part is due to my sensitive skin.  The redness went away within a few hours.  Though subtle, my skin was tighter, brighter, softer, and I had fewer blackheads.  Within 24 hours, I noticed my rosacea was less red than before the mask. To see more drastic results, I would need to do this weekly.

Before and After

I would do this mask again, as well as recommend it to my friends and family, because I liked that my skin felt tighter and that my cheeks were less red after 24 hours.  Expect a little tingling and tightening sensation while it’s on the skin.  It was simple to mix, apply, and rinse off.  Like most facials, avoid doing this on a day of an important event, as it does cause temporary redness.  If you’re unsure of how your skin will react, mix up a small amount and test first!


Left: Before; Right: After

*Note* It is not advisable to throw random ingredients together without thoroughly researching the pros and cons specific products may have on human skin and consulting an esthetician or dermatologist.

Citric Acid Powder

Benefits of Citric Acid on the Skin:

  • Brightens skin1
  • Minimizes fine lines1
  • Anti-bacterial1

Citric acid is used in countless beauty products and food products. It’s a great preservative, but there are more benefits that you may not have known, such as its positive effect on acne and wrinkly skin. Citric acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid which results in helping to increase the rate at which skin renews as well as help skin that has sun damage.2

Amla Powder

Benefits of Amla (Emblica Officionalis) on the skin:

  • Anti-bacterial3
  • High in polyphenols4
  • Anti-aging5

Like citric acid, amla has multiple purposes.  Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder is used for henna mixes and can be used on the skin by itself.3  High levels of antioxidants in amla mean it’s procollagen. Procollagen is what can help the skin look youthful.

Nightfall Rose

Benefits of Nightfall Rose (Aronia Prunifolia) on the skin:

  • Anti-microbial6
  • Anti-inflammatory6
  • High in polyphenols such as Hydroxycinnamic acid7

Aronia prunifolia seems to be a beauty secret the world should know about.  The purple chokeberry has high levels of anthocyanins consequently helping with UV protection8.  The hydroxycinnamic acid present in this powder can help with anti-aging.  Hydroxycinnamic has anti collagenase properties which prevent enzymes from breaking down the collagen in our skin6.

To learn more about Amla as a mask, read here: Ancient Sunrise® Amla Powder and Its Many Uses


  1. “Citric Acid.” org, American Chemistry Council, 27 Aug. 2019,
  2. Tang, Sheau-Chung, and Jen-Hung Yang. “Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 10 Apr. 2018,
  3. Cartwright-Jones, Catherine. “Chapter 6: Henna and Acidic Mixes.” Ancient Sunrise Henna for Hair, TapDancing LizardÒ, Copyright © 2015, pp. 7-8.
  4. Variya, Bhavesh C, et al. “Emblica Officinalis (Amla): A Review for Its Phytochemistry, Ethnomedicinal Uses and Medicinal Potentials with Respect to Molecular Mechanisms.” Pharmacological Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2016,
  5. Binic, Ivana, et al. “Skin Ageing: Natural Weapons and Strategies.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2013,
  6. Taofiq, Oludemi, et al. “Hydroxycinnamic Acids and Their Derivatives: Cosmeceutical Significance, Challenges and Future Perspectives, a Review.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 13 Feb. 2017,
  7. Taheri, Rod, et al. “Underutilized Chokeberry (Aronia Melanocarpa, Aronia Arbutifolia, Aronia Prunifolia) Accessions Are Rich Sources of Anthocyanins, Flavonoids, Hydroxycinnamic Acids, and Proanthocyanidins.” ACS Publications, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 13 Aug. 2013,
  8. Morse, Nancy L. “Anthocyanins and Skin Protection.” Bend Beauty, 17 Jan. 2019,


MariaAncient Sunrise® Specialist• LPC

Mehandi Employees’ Favorite Products

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Cassia, Zizyphus, and Amla: Conditioners Without Color Change

Amla, Cassia, Zizyphus powder

Henna provides some great conditioning benefits, but these benefits go hand-in-hand with color change.  The lawsone molecule binds permanently to the keratin in your hair, providing strength and shine while dyeing the hair. That’s great for those who wish to dye and condition their hair simultaneously. But what if you’ve already achieved your desired color, and want to regularly condition without seeing the color darken? Continued application of henna can cause the hair to become a darker and darker color. Or, what if you have light or gray hair which you wish to keep the way it is?

              Ancient Sunrise® Cassia provides similar conditioning benefits as henna with little to minimal color change on darker hair colors. Ancient Sunrise® Zizyphus Spina Christi cleanses and conditions the hair with no color change at all. Repeated applications of henna can also cause curl pattern loosening for some. Some find that using Ancient Sunrise® Amla alone in the hair helps to bring back volume, while others find that cassia helps to restore their curls. This article will explain how to use Cassia, Zizyphus, and Amla powders as hair treatments that provide conditioning without color change.

The Plant Powders

Cassia Auriculata, Cassia Obovata, Zizyphus Spina Christi, and Amla (emblica officinalis) powders all work in different ways. Cassia works most similarly to henna. Its dye molecule, chrysophanol, binds to the hair much like henna’s lawsone molecule does. Cassia makes the hair shiny and strong, and for some, can restore the hair’s natural curl pattern. Cassia’s conditioning effects can last up to a month or longer. Zizyphus acts as a two-in-one cleanser/conditioner that adds a thin plant wax coating to the hair, protecting it from environmental effects, and giving the hair shine and strength. Zizyphus can be used weekly. Amla is not a conditioner as much as a hair treatment most useful for those who wish to give their hair extra body and bounce. Each of these powders has a unique process. Continue reading to learn the best ways to use them.

Cassia Obovata and Cassia Auriculata Powder

For Benefits Similar to Henna, and for Curls

Ancient Sunrise® Cassia is great if you love the way that henna makes your hair strong and shiny, but want to avoid repeating full-head henna treatments which may darken your color. Cassia can be used in one of two ways:

              For a quick conditioning treatment, mix Ancient Sunrise® Cassia powder with distilled water and apply immediately. Cover and leave it on the hair as long as desired (one hour is good). This is a good method for those who have light or gray hair and do not want a noticeable color change. This method will condition hair with little to no color change, but will not yield effects that are as strong or permanent as the method below.

              For a more effective, and longer-lasting conditioning treatment, mix cassia with a mildly acidic liquid or an Ancient Sunrise® fruit acid powder and distilled water, and allow it to dye-release at room temperature for 8-12 hours just as you would with henna. Apply, cover, and leave in the hair for one hour to several hours. Those with darker hair will not see any color change. Lighter or gray hair will be dyed a golden tone.

Cassia Obovata dye molecule

              Ancient Sunrise® cassia, like Ancient Sunrise® henna, can be applied to either damp or dry hair. Ancient Sunrise® Clarity Cassia has a fine sift and is great for those with thin, delicate, and damaged hair.

              Important: Cassia’s dye molecule reacts poorly with minerals. The golden tone can become muddy and brown if you have mineral build-up in your hair. It is best to do a Rainwash treatment ahead of time for the best results.

              Cassia can be used as a conditioner once a month, or more frequently if desired. Its effects are not as permanent as henna; it is fine to apply a new treatment whenever you feel your hair needs it.

Cassia Auriculata has a weaker dye molecule than Cassia Obovata, but it is a great replacement. You can learn more about Cassia Auriculata here:

Zizyphus Spina Christi Powder

For Clean, Shiny Hair Protected Against the Elements

Zizyphus Spina Christi does not contain a dye molecule. Its natural saponins and plant wax clean the hair and protect it with a thin, flexible layer. Ancient Sunrise® Zizyphus is perfect for those who want absolutely no color change. Use zizyphus before and/or during a trip to the beach or the great outdoors. It protects the hair from salt water, wind, and dirt. Some notice that they can wash their hair less frequently when using zizyphus (Note: Please wash your hair once it feels greasy, or smells bad.) It is quicker and easier to use than cassia, but its effects are washed away after a number of shampoos.

              To use Zizyphus Spina Christi powder, mix a heaping tablespoon of powder with distilled water until it becomes a fluffy paste. Bring this paste to the shower with you, and set it nearby, but away from the direct stream of water. Wet your hair, and apply the paste from scalp to ends, massaging your scalp. You may need to work in sections. Leave the paste in your hair for several minutes, then rinse. If you are having trouble rinsing the paste completely, use a small amount of conditioner or a vinegar rinse to give your hair more slip. Dry and style as usual. You can use zizyphus once or twice a week. More often may cause a build-up of the coating, causing your hair to feel stiff or waxy.

              As zizyphus creates a hydrophobic barrier over the hair, make sure to wash your hair with a normal detergent shampoo prior to applying a plant powder dye to ensure effective dye uptake.

Important: If you are sensitive to latex, conduct a patch test before using zizyphus. Those with latex allergies often experience a cross-reaction when using zizyphus.

              Read more about Zizyphus Spina Christi here.

Amla (Emblica Officinalis) Powder

For Fluffy, Voluminous Hair

As noted earlier, amla is not necessarily a conditioner in the same sense as cassia and zizyphus are. It is acidic, and therefore may be drying for some. When used in a plant dye mix, amla can prevent the curl loss that sometimes occurs with henna. On its own, amla can give the hair more volume and bounce. It does this by temporarily loosening the hydrogen bonds in keratin, allowing the hair to be reshaped.

Amla powder

              Mix Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder with distilled water into a thin paste. It does not have to be as thick as henna. Apply from roots to ends, cover, and leave in for 10 minutes. Rinse, and set towel-dry hair in a braid, curlers, or another heatless curl method. When the hair is dry, it will be fuller and fluffier.

              Ancient Sunrise® Amla can be used as an acid to dye-release cassia. Mix 25g amla for every 100g cassia, and add distilled water. Follow the instructions above for applying and processing cassia.

              Read more about various uses for Ancient Sunrise® Amla Powder here.

Final Notes

Repeated applications of any of these methods will show more improvement in hair quality over time. Conditioning protects the hair against damage, and balances moisture retention, allowing the hair to stay stronger longer. For best results, use Cassia monthly (or more often if desired), Zizyphus weekly, and Amla whenever you wish to add some temporary oomph to your hair. These methods can all be used on hair that has been treated with plant dyes, as well as hair that has not.

If you have any additional questions about using these products to add strength, shine, and body to your hair, feel free to contact a Customer Service Representative via phone, email, or online chat.

Author: Rebecca Chou
Updated by Maria Moore 11/16/22

Full Coverage: How to Achieve Neutral or Cool Tones Using Henna for Hair

Cool Light Brown Hair

Henna is known for its ability to dye hair rich, vibrant shades that bring forth thoughts of copper pennies, autumn leaves, and crackling fires. However, not everyone wants to be a red-head. Those familiar with using natural plants dyes might know that combinations of henna and indigo will result in brown-reds and medium to deep brunettes. A two-step process will leave hair raven black. What a lot of people do not seem to know is that neutral and cool tones are possible with the right techniques.

A common concern voiced by new henna users is that even a henna/indigo mixture will result in a brunette shade that is too warm for their liking. Many prefer neutral to cool tones in their hair, as they believe it better suits their complexions. While somewhat tricky, neutral and cool toned hair colors are possible using the right combination of henna and indigo (and sometimes cassia), and the right fruit acid. Because each person’s hair varies on undertone, porosity, and dye-resistance, getting the perfect color may take some patience and strand-testing. Remember that our henna experts are available to talk you through the process, and help you troubleshoot if needed, until you achieve your perfect color.

A Quick Return to the Basics

If you have clicked around on this blog, in the Ancient Sunrise® Henna for Hair Free E-book, or in another of our many resources, you should be familiar with the processes of mixing and dye-releasing henna, cassia, and indigo. If not, feel free to pause here and glance over Henna for Hair 101: The Bare Essentials, and Henna for Hair 101: Choosing Your Mix.

Ratios for henna and indigo are easy to remember: Equal parts henna and indigo will result in a medium brunette. More henna will add more warm tones, and more indigo will darken the shade. Cassia makes henna and henna/indigo mixtures lighter, but does not lighten hair.

It may be logical to believe that the more indigo you add into the mix, the cooler the resulting shade will be. Yes… and no. Indigo on its own dyes hair a blue tone, and it neutralizes warm tones created by henna. However, adding more indigo to a medium brunette mix will create a dark brunette mix. That dark brunette result may still be a warm dark brunette due to henna’s red dye.

While using indigo is one part of achieving a neutral or cool hair color, the correct choice in fruit acid is equally important. Fruit acids can bring out bright, warm tones, or mute them. With an effective indigo component and the right fruit acid, you’ll be on your way to lovely neutral brunettes. If you’d like a lighter neutral color, such as those in the blonde family, a little extra tinkering will get you there.


It is not uncommon for henna/indigo users to report that their roots are coming out too red, or hair appears redder over time. This is due to indigo’s higher tendency toward fading. Achieving an effective bind of indoxyl molecules to the hair will be particularly necessary for those who wish to avoid warm tones. This means understanding the chemistry behind the indoxyl/indigo molecules, and the most effective ways to ensure a permanent stain.

Indigo plant powder contains an indigo precursor molecule, indoxyl, which is immediately released when the powder is mixed with water. Indoxyl is a tricky, picky molecule. As soon as the indigo mixed into a paste, indoxyls look to bind with oxygen to transform into a stable indigo molecule. The indigo molecule will not bind to the hair. This process is similar to henna demise, but occurs much more rapidly.

It is important to mix indigo paste only right when you are ready to dye your hair, and work quickly once the paste is mixed. Preventing unnecessary exposure to air will keep the molecules in their indoxyl state longer, allowing them to bind to keratin rather than oxygen.

In the presence of oxygen, two indoxyl molecules bind with each other to form indigo, which is a stable molecule.

Once the dye is in the hair, the extent to which it binds to and stays in the hair is dependent on several factors including hair texture and the presence of dirt, oils, and mineral build-up. It is not uncommon to see a henna/indigo mixture begin as a nice, neutral brunette, and become more auburn as the indigo fades and the henna stays put. If you desire a cool or neutral shade, this is something you’d obviously like to avoid. Doing the following will ensure a successful and permanent indigo stain.

Black, gray, and white wool is dyed with indigo only, revealing shades of blue.

Clarify, clarify, clarify

Indigo binds best to squeaky clean hair. This means no oils, conditioners, hair products, dirt, grime, mineral build-up, leftover snacks, or fuzzy animal friends. At the very least, wash your hair thoroughly with a shampoo specially made for clarifying buildup. Clarifying shampoos are easily found at salons and beauty supply stores, and they are showing up more and more frequently now at regular drugstores as well.

Do yourself one better and start with Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash Mineral Treatment, and then follow that up with a good rinse with a clarifying shampoo. Wash your hair immediately before applying your henna/indigo mixture, and remember to skip the conditioner. Anything left on the hair creates an obstacle for the indoxyl molecules and increases the chances of a weak bond that will fade over time.

Ancient Sunrise® Rainwash is a natural treatment that removes mineral buildup. Mix 1 teaspoon of product with 2oz. distilled water to create a gel, and apply it to the hair, leaving it in for at least 15 minutes.

For those who have extra-resistant hair, we will recommend scrubbing the scalp and roots with a few drops of liquid dish soap. Dish soap is a very strong detergent and will wipe out any residual oils which might get in the way of a good indigo stain. Keep in mind that in doing so, the soap will dry out the scalp, but this dryness is temporary and can be fixed with a conditioning treatment after washing out your dye mixture. For the purpose of a good indigo stain, hair that is dry (absent of oils) and slightly roughed-up is the best. The hair closest to the roots is smoother and less porous, making it more resistant to dye.

Salt helps

For extra staying power, add 1 teaspoon of regular table salt (not sea salt or Himalayan; they contain minerals!) per every 100g indigo powder. The salt helps to strengthen the indigo’s bond to the hair by temporarily altering the surface texture of the hair strand, allowing a better stain.

Heat helps, too

After applying the henna/indigo paste and wrapping your hair with plastic, gently heat your hair. You can use a dryer bonnet, sit outside on a warm day, place a heated blanket or heating pad over your head, or aim a hair dryer at your head for a few minutes at a time. Heat opens the hair’s cuticles, allowing more dye to migrate into the shaft. Heat will also cut down on processing time. Under consistent warm temperatures (100F-140F), you can cut processing time roughly in half.

If you don’t have access to a dryer hood or heating pad, wrap your hair and sit somewhere warm. The towel or scarf will keep your body heat in the paste, and prevent dripping.

Fruit Acids

Henna should always be dye-released with an acidic liquid, or an acidic fruit powder plus distilled water. Some acids bring out and maintain henna’s bright, warm tones. Others mute the tones. You will want to use the latter.

The two best fruit acids for neutral and cool results are Ancient Sunrise® Nightfall Rose and Ancient Sunrise® Amla.

Ancient Sunrise® Nightfall Rose is derived from the purple aronia fruit, and is very high in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are what cause blueberries to be blue. When used to dye-release henna, Ancient Sunrise® Nightfall Rose adds subtle ash tones to the henna, cooling the overall shade. Once the henna is dye-released and mixed with indigo, the resulting color is neutral without being overly dark.

The purple aronia fruit, similar to blueberries, is high is anthocyanins which add a subtle blue tone to henna mixes.

Ancient Sunrise®Amla powder is another solid choice. Amla mutes warm tones by pushing the henna dye molecules toward brown during  the dye release process. Amla on its own is not a dye, and will not color hair. It simply tweaks the color the lawsone precursor molecules during dye-release. As an added bonus, Amla helps indigo bind more effectively by temporarily snapping hydrogen bonds in the keratin of the hair, allowing the indigo dye to migrate in more effectively. The result is a cooler and often deeper brunette without warm undertones.

Ancient Sunrise® offers pre-made Henna for Hair kits in Cool Brunette and Cool Dark Brunette, which both contain amla as the fruit acid. If you are looking for brown hair without red, a good place to start would be to order either or both sample kits to test, and then go from there. You may find that one works perfectly for you, or you can adjust the formula to create your own custom mix.

The Ancient Sunrise® Henna for Hair Kit: Cool Dark Brunette contains 100g Ancient Sunrise® Rajasthani Twilight Henna, 200g Ancient Sunrise® Sudina Indigo, and 25g Ancient Sunrise® Amla powder.

Getting Fancy: Cassia, Henna, and Indigo Mixes

Mixing cassia, henna, and indigo allows for a wide range of lighter neutral shades, from ‘hint of dirty blonde” to “coffee with cream brunette.” Cassia acts to “dilute” the henna and indigo in such a way that the hue remains stable, but the shade is made lighter.

Cassia and henna together make warm blonde to bright copper tones. Henna and indigo make red to dark brunette. All three together create neutral, muted results.

This will be explored in more depth in a future article. If your hair is lighter or gray, equal parts henna and indigo result in a medium brunette. Equal parts henna, cassia, and indigo will result in a light-medium brunette. Keep adding cassia until you have 80% cassia, 10% henna, and 10% indigo, and you have a mix which dyes light hair a deep blonde.

Some customers find that their hair still shows too much warmth with the Chai kit, so they decrease the henna. Because the mix contains mostly cassia, they can adjust the henna/indigo ratio without going darker.  Remember that cassia is a light, translucent golden dye, and will not lighten hair.

Toning Warm Tones

If your mix comes out too warm, there are ways to calm it down. We generally recommend waiting a week after your first application because it can cool down on its own. If you’ve “been there, done that” and your hair generally is warm, it is okay to tone after your initial application.

To give your hair more of a cool tone, you will need cassia and indigo. The amount of each and the time will vary. Testing is crucial so that you don’t over do it and so that you aren’t wasting a lot of product. For more information on toning, visit Toning Henna – Part 1 and Toning Henna – Part 2.

Your Hair’s Natural Color

Henna, indigo, and cassia all stain the hair’s outer layers of keratin. This does not affect the hair’s natural melanin, which is one reason that the same mix will appear somewhat different on two different heads of hair. Genetics determine the amount of eumelanin and pheomelanin within the hair, which causes hair to be blonde, brunette, or red, and to have warm or cool undertones. Eumelanin causes hair to have ash tones, or to be dark. Black hair has the highest amount of eumalanin. Pheomelanin give hair red tones. Natural redheads have the highest levels of pheomelanin. Most hair colors have some ratio of both.

It will be more difficult to achieve a neutral or cool hair color with a very warm starting hair color. A natural redhead may have to play around with plant powder ratios and acids much more than someone who is starting with a medium ash blond, in order to achieve a cool brunette.

How to Begin

The best plan is to start with test samples, and determine which one provided the closest color to your goal. From there, you can adjust plant dye ratios, and try both Ancient Sunrise® Nightfall Rose and Amla fruit powders. If your test sample came out too dark, increase cassia or decrease indigo. If it was too light, do the opposite. Remember that increasing the amount of fruit acid will not neutralize more red; doing so will only make the mix too acidic. Don’t hesitate to consult with a Customer Service Representative to fine-tune your mix. Remember to start lighter when in doubt. It is easier to re-apply with a darker mix than it is to lighten.

Samples are an affordable way to try out mixes before purchasing full-sized product. Each sample is enough to use on hairbrush hair, or a small section on hair on your head.

The Ancient Sunrise® Henna for Hair Facebook group is another great source for custom mixes and before/after photos from fellow customers. Use this as a resource to ask for tips, compare results and gauge your expected outcome. It’s also a great way to stay updated on new blog articles and special promotions!

Final Notes on Neutral and Cool Tones

Remember that your results will take about a week to oxidize into their final color. Hair can appear brighter upon first rinsing out the mix. Do not be alarmed if you see red or copper tones in your hair. Be patient, and wait that week before reapplying. During the oxidation period, the warm tones will diminish. If you are impatient, you may use heat to speed up the oxidation process. Heat will darken hennaed hair rapidly, and permanently. Keep this in consideration before beginning.

For all other troubleshooting or questions, contact the Ancient Sunrise® Customer Service Team via email, online chat, or phone call.

Author: Rebecca Chou August 2017
Edited: Maria Moore August 2022