I'm done with henna/indigo, how do I get my natural color back, or lighten the color?


Please read the FAQ about bleaching first. While henna alone can be bleached, indigo doesn't lift with bleach or peroxide so if you use bleach or a chemical dye with a significant level of peroxide developer, you'll end up with green hair that nothing that can correct. Please don't try this.

If any of the indigoed hair remains (that is, if you have not cut off that part), you will not be able to use bleach or peroxide on that hair. If you are having a professional colorist help you, he or she needs to be told about this. Bleach will remove all the other color in your hair but not the indigo, so you are left with green hair that will not hold any kind of dye. Strippers and color removers will not work on indigo or henna (at least, not if used according to directions; see below). If you want to go lighter chemically, you need to cut off the indigoed hair.

While you can't lighten hair dyed with indigo because of the risk of green hair, you can use an equally dark or darker chemical dye on it.

Another option is to do a more gradual transition to your own color, or chemical color. There are a few different ways to accomplish this:

You can use demi permanent dye in a darker color to make your roots match the length. Each time you touch up your roots, use a lighter shade of brown so you transition back as light as you want, trimming off the dark ends as you go. Be sure to keep the chemical dye off your indigoed length as much as possible. The demi will tend to fade in a month or two so this will help you get that lighter color as long as you don't keep going over it too much with the dye on the length.

Or you can do the same sort of gradual transition using plant dyes. Each time you do your roots, use less of the henna/indigo portions and more cassia, until you are using mostly cassia, then all cassia, and then you can stop. Don't re-dye the length at all (or use just cassia on the length if you wish), and trim off the darker ends as you go.


Another possible option: There are a number of people on the Long Hair Community forum who have successfully removed henna, and in some cases indigo, using repeated, very prolonged applications and prolonged rinsing of color removers like Colour B4, ColorFix, or ColorOops. Please see that forum for full instructions and discussion. There is no guarantee that it will work but may be worth a try. http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=85463

For the very patient person, the LHC forum also has information about a method called “honey lightening” that uses special types of honey and distilled water to very slowly and gradually lighten hair. Some people have used it on hennaed hair with good results. It is very gentle to hair but much slower and probably more expensive (lots of honey is involved). http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=148

It is very important to STRAND TEST any chemical dyes you wish to use.