How to Remove Henna Ink

by Catherine Bowers ; Updated September 28, 2017

Henna is a natural dye.

henna hands image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com

Henna is a dye created from the leaves of the Lawsonia inermis plant, traditionally grown in the warm climates of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The leaves are crushed and turned into a paste used on the skin for long-lasting but temporary body art. Henna is also used for hair color. However, if the results are undesirable or get on clothing, you may want to remove the henna ink.

Remove henna from your skin by first soaking the stained area for at least 15 minutes in salt water. Use an exfoliated body scrub and loofah on the dyed area, scrubbing it thoroughly to remove any dead skin. Participate in an activity that causes sweating; sweating causes the skin to exfoliate or shed more quickly, speeding the fading of the dye.

Remove henna from your hair by visiting a stylist experienced with the dye; unfortunately, henna is an extremely permanent hair dye that coats the hair and makes it difficult to simply “dye over” with other, non-henna commercial dyes.

Remove henna from clothing or furniture by immediately using a cloth with warm water to dilute dye in the the area where henna has landed. Be cautious not to spread the dye, and use a dry towel to soak up as much of the warm water and henna dye as quickly as you can. Repeat this process several times to allow as much of the dye to be absorbed/removed as possible.

Tip

  • Henna fades at different rates from different areas of the body or with different skin and hair types.

    Henna is extremely to remove from cloth. Prevent problems by covering up clothing and furniture before application.

    “Black Henna” is not pure henna, but may be henna containing the substance Para-phenylenediamine, which can irritate and scar the skin of many people. These removal techniques do not apply to this substance, and if it’s suspected irritation is occurring because of it, see a doctor.

    If you’re considering henna for use in your hair, do a strand-test first to see what the results will actually be like, or visit a professional experienced with proper henna application and care to get the desired results; it may seem more costly at the time, but in the long run can save time from the difficult-to-alter, do-it-yourself disasters.

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About the Author

In 1998 Catherine Bowers began writing articles for newspapers, including "The Daily Collegian" at Pennsylvania State University. She also edited a Spanish-language journal and wrote product and patent descriptions for inventors. Bowers assists with the Gutenberg Project and graduated from Pennsylvania State with a Bachelor of Arts in English.