Lighten or strip your easily and effectively indoors in 24 hours. The trick is using 2 ingredients separately 1 day apart. You will love the results!

Since I started experimenting with henna in 2006 stripping it from the hair seemed impossible. In many cases, it gets darker after each application or some get different colors due to different reactions from either shampoo, oil treatments, and worse hair straighteners. Some people will use one shampoo, and everything is fine and then another person uses the exact same shampoo with adverse effects. Most of the time the fact is how porous the hair follicle is. While it is always recommended to do root touch-ups as needed instead of doing the entire head, some fall short of the desired color they are after.
The people that really benefit from dark is people doing dark brown or black, they can do the entire head and love the darker results. People with lighter colored hair do not have it so easy.

Experimenting over the years, I knew you could lighten your hair using lemons and sunlight. Spraying lemon on any colored hair and sitting in the sun is a sure-fire way of making your hair lighter, but what about a way with lemons and no sun? Who wants to sit in the sun for hours (unless you’re on a beach of course) to wait for your hair to get lighter? I have heard Irish Spring soap, honey, chamomile, cinnamon all lighten the hair color, but none were extremely effective.
With so many customers not doing a strand test, sometimes the color comes out darker than expected. I cannot say how many times I had said “Do a strand test!” This is also the very first instruction on the back of the packet. I know, I know we all are impatient, and I am surely guilty of this, but remember the results will be there a long time and it only takes 24 hours to see what the outcome of the color you put on your head will be! When you are attempting the directions below, you might want to try out a small area first. I can tell you first hand some people have different types of hair and get different results. If you are like me and impatient, jump on it and at worst you can dye over it with some fresh henna hair dye!

This recipe came from a long-time customer, Susan like many others likes to dye her hair a lot. In the old days, she would eventually surrender and go back to nasty chemical hair dye. Not giving up she continually looked for a way to lighten her hair. Especially when she learned about EarthDye Ash brown.
EarthDye ash brown is blond on “light or white” hair and “ash brown” on darker or gray hair. She was determined to lighten her hair naturally and get her natural ash blond color back in her hair without using the nasty chemicals. The problem is there are thousands of ways if you search YouTube or Google, but as usual, none of them work. Kind of like the stop snoring products that never work (by the way, I’m still searching).

For the best part, we have each other to learn from and confirm our sneaking suspicions, and that is what has made me a believer when I saw a pic of Susan’s hair after she lightened her hair, I was stunned, and she was as well.
Please keep in mind if you have chemical hair dye underneath the henna dye, you will only strip what’s on top, it will not work on chemical dyes. Chemical hair dyes kill the proteins in your hair or beard and alter the color. Henna on the other hand binds to the proteins and covers your color. So, when you use henna for hair dye, it protects your hair like wax does for a car, but in most cases is very permanent.

Easy Steps to lighten your hennaed hair

You will need:
1 large bowl
1 box of baking soda
7 Fresh Lemons

Fill a large bowl with tap water and mix in 4 tablespoons of baking soda until dissolved.
Dip hair in water and let drain, squeeze out excess water in the hair, and repeat 4 more times.
Each time use a fresh bowl of water with baking soda. Do not shampoo.
The next day squeeze 7 fresh lemons, dip or apply to hair and leave on 30 minutes and rinse, do not shampoo for 2 days if possible.
Your hair should be several shades lighter. Susan reported all her henna color was gone, and she was able to start the henna process over.

Susan after using ash brown henna
After lightening and using ash brown henna hair dye.

Below are other methods to lighten your henna

susan-after-deep-red-hair-dye
Susan before lightening her hair.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

The first and one that most people have heard of is lemon juice. The acid in the lemon juice will bleach the pigment in the hair making it lighter. You will need the assistance of the sun as well. Do not use lemon from concentrate. It has preservatives and will not work nearly as well. Always squeeze your own lemon. Simply squeeze a fresh lemon in water and spritz on in the sun. Lemon is NOT good for your hair and will more than likely cause split ends and dry out hair.

Do not use oil in your hair either, it does the same thing as lemon. The oil will make your natural oil stop producing and strip the good oil and leave your hair that is even dryer than what you started with. Use a natural shampoo without preservatives for damaged hair and scalp.

Honey

Honey is not just for dessert these days. The natural sweetener that packs an awesome sweet sensation to the taste buds is also used to lighten the hair. Honey can make sauces thicker while enhancing flavor and when mixed with water or lemon it will lighten your hair. Honey actually has peroxide in it, but only in small doses.

Expect to have it on your hair for several hours at a time and you will need to do it over several days. Use a shower cap to stop the honey from running onto your clothes. Make sure you only mix a small amount of water or lemon, you do not want it too runny.

Shampoo your hair and leave it damp for an easy application.

Leaving honey in your hair for 30 minutes is an OK conditioner, however, left on for long times is not so great for it. Honey contains an acid like lemon and if left on to long it can damage it as well as give you split ends.

Did you know a tablespoon of honey has up to 18 grams of carbohydrates? It’s great for cooking, but not so great for infants, it can make them sick.

Chamomile

Chamomile has many anti-inflammatory effects if applied directly to the skin. It can also lighten your hair if left on for long periods of time.

Boil it up, add several packs, then cool it down, mix it into some honey or Harvest Moon all-natural hair conditioner, apply and leave it on several hours. It can lighten it several shades over a period of time. Everyone’s hair differs. Camomile looks like a daisy and remember not all camomile has camomile! So look at the ingredients.

So while soothing the nerves and getting the digestive trackback on track lighten your hair!

Did you know chamomile even helps reduce swollen hemorrhoids? Not the greatest topic we know, however, it’s not just for drinking these days!

Keep in mind it only works if applied topically.

Cinnamon

New research is showing that cinnamon is a great way to lower blood pressure. We love this news, some research has also shown that cinnamon will help lighten your hair. Cinnamon might irritate your skin, but should not for long. Mix 3-4 tablespoons in with honey or Harvest Moon All Natural Hair Conditioner to make a thick paste. Apply to hair for several hours (4-12 hours) and your hair should lighten a few shades. Do it as often as you like to lighten or strip your henna hair color.

37 Comments

  1. by Lois April 8, 2020 4:07 pm

    Hello Hennahut, Harvest Moon and Susan!
    Thought I’d share my thoughts with you after trying to lighten my dark red hennaed hair. First I should mention I am a real redhead and throughout my life, I did box colors and went to salons and had various blonde highlights added or shades of reds added b4 learning to do my own professionally done. About six years ago I came in contact with a bacterial infection and left me allergic to most things so I use chemical-free everything! I was super pumped to discover Henna. I love it and perfected. My hardest thing to maintain is my drabby roots! Nonetheless, many deal with it! Lol, This last henna I did was deep red and called for dark brewed coffee otherwise, water. I was out of coffee so, I use the water but, it made my hair quite a bright deep red. Yesterday I did the baking soda and water four times and I noticed a difference and now today as I speak an going to rinse off the lemon juice! Wish me luck! Thank you!
    Lois
    P.S. I will let you know what happened next. 😃

    • by harvestmoon April 8, 2020 6:20 pm

      Thank you for sharing! coffee is really not so helpful and you should only use lemon with “pure” natural henna. Any other colors the lemon will cancel out. Coffee, like lemon, is very acidic, this is what helps henna release.
      However if coffee helped us dye our hair we all would have been using it long ago. So just use the deep red with tap water 🙂 and if it is too red, add some indigo to darken it up. Also, remember deep red will darken over night/24 hours. Please keep us updated!
      Also if you are having issues with the roots there are a few ways to address this. If your roots are white then you might need to do the roots to match the rest of your hair color and then do the deep red over it. We are always here to help! Not to mention we are sold out of deep red at the time being.

  2. by Samantha April 11, 2020 8:38 pm

    What’s the results? Did it work?

    • by harvestmoon April 13, 2020 3:32 pm

      It works on the majority of people that do it. Just keep in mind it does not work on chemical hair dye.

    • by Des April 23, 2020 6:49 pm

      I tried this, following the directions exactly to lighten light red henna and it made no difference!

      • by harvestmoon April 27, 2020 8:29 pm

        Pure henna will be harder to reduce the color because the dye molecule is so small. It is working better on browns, other reds, and indigo.

  3. by Lois April 14, 2020 3:37 pm

    My results after applying the lemon: It definitely, pulled out some of that bright deep red that I wanted gone. My goal is to get back to more of the light strawberry red/orange family. Right now It is more of a copper red which, is pretty however, the frame of my face is, where the highlights are are a light bright orange and I’m not happy with that. And, of course I still have have my drabby roots to deal with after I’m comfortable with the rest of my hair.
    I just shaved down my cinnamon sticks to try it with the honey method but, hv2 hi to the store for honey first. That in the meantime I could do another round of baking soda and water and wait till tomorrow to do honey method.
    Thank you,
    Lois

  4. by Lois April 22, 2020 3:01 am

    Dear Havestmoon,
    After doing the baking soda method than applying the lemon juice the following day I definitely can say I’m a shade lighter. I’m going to redo the process again and hopefully my henna hair will be another shade lighter. In the meantime I purchased cassia and indigo for my hair and am hoping this will be good for my white-ish drab roots!!! lol
    Thanks Lois

    • by harvestmoon April 22, 2020 8:29 pm

      Awesome! Thank you for letting us know! Indigo can make it very dark, so let me know what it is you are after to accomplish. What color do you want it to be?

  5. by Ivey April 27, 2020 1:33 am

    My hair is naturally a blonde, I used Henna sherry red, and mahogany red dye. I would to eventually go back blonde but I need help on making my hair lighter.. I just bought this purple shampoo to lighten hair, but i’m scared it may damage my hair or not look right. Would this be okay to use? Please give me advice and tips 🙂

    • by harvestmoon April 27, 2020 4:12 pm

      Hi Ivey! here is an article on how to do it naturally. This came from a customer who has used our dye for many years. Depending on long you have had it on your hair will determine how well it works.
      It will not work on chemical dye or freshly done henna hair dye. It also might take a few times to get it really lightened, people are reporting different results, but most are making it lighter.

      https://hennahut.com/strip-henna-hair-dye/

  6. by Zoe Turner May 1, 2020 9:50 am

    After wanting to go chemical-free – I applied some henna to my hair one month ago. I was not aware that it would never come out. Stupidly I never did a strand test and my hair was red (I never wanted red) my natural hair colour is light brown and I usually have highlights. Since this happened I have tried vitamin c, vodka, baking soda, and oils and it has faded. I am now left with a copper colour and I really do not like it. I have applied baking soda as above and will try with lemons. Is it possible to have a nice light brown henna without ANY trace of red of copper?

    • by harvestmoon May 1, 2020 12:56 pm

      Hi Zoe! You say you used henna and henna is one color – red, so this is a bit confusing. What has happened is you have stripped the indigo out and you are left with the natural red, giving you a copper effect. It is absolutely possible to use light brown and not get red as long as you follow our instructions (not sure whos you used) and not something on the internet unless it is our website or a color adviser tells you otherwise. Oils are the number one reason why blacks and browns get stripped to copper. Shampoos loaded with oils, oil treatments, leave-in conditioners, etc.

  7. by Zoe Turner May 1, 2020 9:53 am

    Is it also possible that I can get rid of this – this was the first time I applied henna and straight after my application I started the process of trying to strip it. I did put x2 box dyes without ammonia on top but after one week the red started to come through so I am now trying to strip away all the henna. I really don’t want to cut my hair as I having been growing it but would just like to get rid of all the henna.

    • by harvestmoon May 1, 2020 1:04 pm

      Hi Zoe, your doing a ton of damage to your hair and think it might be not as bad as it sounds! The older the henna the easier it is to strip it, using this process, you tried to strip it immediately after, and if you are using browns it could have turned brown over a 24 hour period. I am not sure whos you are using, it could take several attempts because it sounds like your hair is super absorbent. Our light brown henna hair dye is more of a chestnut. And you are correct many pass up the strand test and it is very important, everyone gets a different shade depending on what color they start with. Once you go darker the harder it is to get it light again. But once again henna is red, so if you applied pure henna it is very very difficult to get out, your best option would be to go over it with brown.

      • by Karen May 13, 2020 7:54 pm

        So, how do you get rid of the copper henna? Mine did the exact same thing. I used a 2-step process: red/orange henna application, followed immediately by a light brown application to get the desired light brown shade – and the light brown was completely gone in 2 days (WITHOUT washing my hair), leaving a bright, neon orange, which faded to copper after a week. How do I remove the copper? I started with light gray roots, and light ash brown (colored hair) and only colored the roots. My goal is to have light ash brown hair, all over.

        • by harvestmoon May 13, 2020 10:01 pm

          Whos are you using? Two-step sounds like henna guys, their dye is horrible, and more than likely you will just either have to let it grow or color over it and then use our ash beach brown on the roots as they come in. Red is very difficult to get out and the only way I have learned in 14 years is by doing the baking soda and lemon, which you can keep trying. Then I would recommend our Shikapoo natural hair conditioner to bring it back.

          • by Cat May 24, 2020 7:57 pm

            I have tried a couple henna brands to find the right one. Why do you say henna guys are horrible?

          • by harvestmoon May 25, 2020 10:13 pm

            It is a very long story, the owner worked for the guy importing our product and went behind his and my back. Basically what he did was say he was selling my brand, but at a much lower cost and then would send his product. This also killed out reviews which I am sure he is continually doing so.
            He is a cheater and a liar and fights dirty. There is plenty for everyone and I personally cannot stand a thief. He did pay back almost all of the money and maybe one day I will post his emails, however not worth my time, we are growing leaps and bounds every month and I have been doing this 14 years and supply the best product I can find. I actually wish him well and much success. I also believe in karma.

  8. by Joy May 25, 2020 5:04 pm

    How often can I do the baking soda/lemon process? I have been using henna for many years so I doubt one application is going to remove All the henna.

    • by harvestmoon May 25, 2020 10:19 pm

      I would think twice would be enough. I would not do it more than 3 times, the acid from the lemon will probably dry out your hair. I would recommend going over it with shikapoo pure shikakai when you are done. Your hair will be doing a happy dance again.

      • by Annie July 10, 2020 2:51 pm

        Hi, Before I did the Henna (Medium Brown) which came out very dark almost black , I had bleached blonde hair . I don’t like the dark color because it makes me look too old . I just did it 2 days ago ,Will lemon and baking soda work to lighten the hair?

        • by harvestmoon July 11, 2020 12:23 pm

          The newer it is the harder it is to get out. You can try a small area first and see. It sounds like your hair is very absorbent.

  9. by Donna June 23, 2020 2:25 pm

    I have been coloring my (mostly gray) hair with henna for years and have been very happy with the red/auburn shade. However, after a while I started noticing bands where the color would overlap and the ends were much darker than the crown. I didn’t think there was any chance I could lighten it. THIS WORKS! I was amazed with the results. I didn’t use it all over my head but just dipped it in the solution enough to soak the dark parts. It lifted the henna to a beautiful coppery blond color that blends perfectly with the crown color. Thank you so much for posting this!

    • by harvestmoon June 23, 2020 4:52 pm

      That’s Awesome!! Thanks for sharing that!

  10. by ninjared June 29, 2020 7:10 pm

    My natural hair color is light brown, but I was naturally lightening it with a product containing lemons, honey, and peroxide. I then decided to go red and used a “bright red” henna dye.
    It came out a nice light red and I was very happy with the results, but however I had to go over the roots – first I did it with the lightener – and then using the same henna dye. I did all of my hair however, rather than just the roots and the red has come out really dark. I’m not very happy with it and want it to be like it was the first time I dyed it. I tried the baking soda and lemon on a strand of hair, but it didn’t do a thing. Do you think this will still work after I dyed my hair twice with the henna?

    • by harvestmoon June 30, 2020 12:29 pm

      Hi Ninjared, So far with everyone doing this it has worked on about 70% of the people doing it. I think it has to do with how porous the hair is. The more porous the harder it is to get out.
      If you tried it one strand and it did not lighten it (by the way that is brilliant), then more than likely it will not work doing it all. However, I would give a few weeks and try again. I also think the older the henna has been on the hair, the easier it is to lighten.
      Our Natural red hair dye is very bright. If you want to brighten it up.

  11. by Tarri June 30, 2020 9:43 pm

    My hair is naturally red but has faded over the years. So I used Hannah thinking it would give me back more of the natural color that I had. However it made my hair a very dark sort of burgundy red when my natural color was more of a copper color. I would like to lighten it using the baking soda and lemon juice method but I don’t want it to all of the Henna to come out. Do you think it will just lighten it up or take it out completely.

    • by harvestmoon July 1, 2020 11:00 pm

      I would try a small area first as Ninjared did. If it works on a strand then do the entire hair. Some people have to do it twice. Pure henna is hard to lighten and depends on how long you have had it on.

  12. by Tarri June 30, 2020 9:51 pm

    The Hanna I used was just pure henna with no Indigo.

  13. by Stefani July 23, 2020 11:25 pm

    I’m a natural strawberry blonde, and new to the henna world. I did one application of henna & my hair turned a bright, unnatural red. I was able to lighten it up somewhat with just using freshly squeezed lemon juice & sitting in the sun. Then my blonde roots started to show. I used the same henna color, but this time I added cassia powder to it & only left it on for a fraction of the time. After using the lemon juice the ends of my hair were super dry, so I thought I should pull the henna through to the ends for the last 5-10 minutes to repair them, which it did. My roots turned out more of the color I wanted originally, but the rest of my hair is still too vibrant. It’s a pretty color, but not what I was wanting.
    I’m planning on doing the baking soda concoction tomorrow & the lemon juice on Saturday. I have some questions though…
    When mixing the baking soda with water, do I use hot or cold water? After applying the baking soda/water to my hair, squeezing out the excess mixture, do I immediately make another baking soda/water mixture and apply it? Or do I let my hair dry, then do another round? After I do the 4th round of baking soda/water, do I rinse it out or let it dry?
    The next day, after I do the lemon juice part, should I just rinse my hair or can I shampoo it? Sorry for all the questions. I’m just a little nervous about possibly destroying my hair. I truly appreciate any & all of your advice. Thank you in advance for your help.
    Have an Amazing Night!

    • by harvestmoon July 25, 2020 7:45 pm

      Hi Stefani! Use a fresh bowl of water each time you do the baking soda and then add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. After the last time and you can even do it 5 times, squeeze it out, and do not shampoo.
      The next day does the lemons and leave it on 30 minutes and rinse. Lemon is not great for the hair, very acidic so I would not wait too long to shampoo after that. She said she would wait to wash it about a day or two later after she rinsed the lemon.
      if you are worried then do a small area first! Mini test!

    • by harvestmoon July 27, 2020 7:16 pm

      P.S, tip: when doing natural red or strawberry blond, you can leave it in for 20 minutes and shampoo it immediately and it should tone done quickly or the next day.

  14. by Katharyn Fountayne August 2, 2020 12:51 pm

    You say not to shampoo after the baking soda dip… should we rinse after the baking soda?… or do we just leave the baking soda rinse in for the day?
    Thanks…

    • by harvestmoon August 4, 2020 1:51 pm

      Hmm, I would not rinse it if you can bare it.

  15. by Joan Vinge October 16, 2020 7:17 am

    I noticed that one person above had previously used peroxide on their hair, and one used a “natural” product that contained honey, lemon, and peroxide,. (Peroxide is not “natural”, even tho from reading your article I learned that honey naturally has a small amount of peroxide in it–but not enough to affect your hair to the point of bleaching it. Neither of the people who wrote liked the very intense henna colors they got afterwards, and you remarked that both of them must have very porous hair. Most likely it was the peroxide that made their hair so porous. Speaking from personal experience (when I was in high school!), peroxide can do awful things to your hair; I read up on it after my personal disaster, and learned it also dries your hair out worse than almost anything, leaving the hair shaft scaly and open, so it soaks up anything you put on it (it can turn your hair green if you swim in a chlorinated pool). Henna seals the hair shaft closed when it’s applied, leaving it nice and shiny; but that’s why chemical dyes don’t last over it–henna’d hair can’t absorb them–and why it’s so hard to remove a henna color from your hair. I know there are “natural”
    hair dyes that advertise “no ammonia!” in natural food stores. But if you read the really fine print, it has peroxide in it! (That will make the dye last longer, but the dye mix would have to include an amount of peroxide that I don’t consider “natural” for use on hair, any more than Clorox.). (Btw, I’ve been using henna on my hair for about 40 years, and still love it! 🙂

    • by harvestmoon October 22, 2020 3:39 pm

      Hi! Yes, you are correct! When it comes to natural hair dye, if it has just 1 chemical in it it is not natural. The person above was doing the honey and must have gotten confused and added peroxide. Here is a great tip that is good for your hair and will make your henna hair dye color last longer

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