How to apply Indigo Powder on hair?

What if you want to go black but don’t want to use the synthetic/chemical hair dyes because you don't want to risk their natural shine and strength or even worst, your health? Or you are allergic to them? Most of the synthetic black hair dyes have harmful para-phenylenediamine, mentioned as PPD in the ingredients in them that will slowly but eventually damage your hair & affect your physical health.

So what’s the best and safe way to dye your hair black? Indigo Powder combined with henna powder, an abundantly used natural hair dye combination to get the lovely and shiny black hair has been used since almost 4000 years ago when no artificial hair color was even thought to be invented. Indigo powder is actually grounded leaves of the plant famous as Indigofera Tinctoria. It is named as the indigo powder because it has the deep blue pigment in it. Although indigo powder has blue pigment it only gives dark brown/black hair color and not blue.

(Indigo powder itself does not work effectively on grey hair, it has to be applied either by mixing with pure henna or after applying pure henna (2 step method) on your hair)

Some brands sell  indigo powder as “Black Henna” which is most of the times not pure or safe to use, those contain chemicals/metallic salts. Especially henna & indigo products out there that are being sold very cheap, most probably contain harmful chemicals. Make sure the indigo powder you are using is green in color and smell like dried up peas, when mixed with water it gives ink blue colored paste. 

Shades You can get with indigo powder:

Indigo powder is mostly used to get the deep black hair or dark brown hair color but for the blonde, gray or white hair, getting black hair with indigo powder requires a two-step process. In this case, you first need to apply the pure henna to the hair that will dye your hair orange-red and then apply the indigo powder in the same way. This will give you the deep black color with wonderful shine.

The color pigment in the indigo powder works really well with  the orange color of the henna that is already present in your hair, otherwise you will get NO COLOR at all (on white or gray hair) or the lite bluish colored hair. If you apply the mixture containing both pure henna and indigo powder you will get different shades of brown depending on the ratios of each powder used.

Things you will need to apply the Indigo color:

Application of both pure henna as well as indigo powder mixture is really messy but great results always let you forget the struggle you have put into applying them to your hair. You will need the following things to apply the indigo:

  • A plastic bowl
  • A plastic spoon
  • Indigo Powder
  • Shower cap or plastic wrap
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Old useless towel

Remember, indigo can stain everything if not handled with care. By following the simple and easy steps stated below you may easily apply indigo on your hair:

1.    Mixing the indigo powder and water:

Take a bowl and add indigo into it. This quantity varies for the for different hair lengths. 100g will be enough for every six inches if your hair has normal thickness. For the more healthy or curly hair, you may need more, you may say 200g for every six inches. Add warm water to it and stir with a spoon thoroughly until the mixture is uniform and thick like yogurt. Add some salt for the better development of the color.

2.    Let the mixture set:

Cover the mixture with the plastic wrap and leave it for one hour. The indigo mixture will turn deep blue-black. Stir it once again before the application.

3.    Protect your hairline:

Use Vaseline or Petroleum jelly on your hairline,ear, or anywhere you don't want the hair dye to stain your skin. If you don't have vaseline no need to purchase. You may apply baby oil,coconut oil or even just wipe off if any hair dye drips onto your skin. 

4.    Applying the mixture on hair:

Don’t forget to wear some old shirt and gloves because indigo can stain your wearable clothes, make the partitions in your hair to thoroughly apply the mixture. Always apply the color to the tips for the maintenance of hair color. Make the partitions as small as they could be. Use the hair color brush to apply the mixture. 

5.    Wrap up your hair:

After the color is applied wrap up your hair with the plastic wrap or in the shower cap. This way the color will develop fast.

6.    Rinsing the dye from hair:

After 2 to 3 hours, rinse your hair with the tap water. If you have mixed this powder in the henna it may take longer for the color to develop like 6 to 7 hours. Indigo is not very messy to be removed, it will wash out easily. Do not use shampoo for at least 3 to 4 days after the application of the indigo because its color would be washed out with the shampoo. 


  • Do not keep any mixed indigo powder in the fridge-freezer or in direct sunlight.
  • Store any unmixed indigo powder in a ziplock bag sealed tight and in a cool dark place.
  • For best results, use in combination with henna or after henna.
  • Use shampoo after 24hrs but before 46hrs to lock in the color tones.
  • If Indigo does not stick so easily to your hair, you may add egg white to the mixture.
  • Indigo & henna can stain clothes, carpets, and skin. Its stain on fiberglass shower is temporary and can be cleaned easily.
  • The indigo will fade away but won't get washed out completely from your hair until they grow long.
  • It has a tendency to change the texture of your hair: as in if you have curly hair it may take out the curls,  but only if it is applied regularly.