Is eSalon Better Than Henna?

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For centuries, women have used henna dye to color their hair naturally. And today still, some choose the henna route rather than using chemical hair dyes.

But did you know that new innovations in hair color are making standard hair dye (like eSalon’s) even better than henna? Read on for a match-up of henna versus eSalon hair color.

How do the colors compare?

Henna: Pure, natural henna dye comes in one color: bright, orange-red. But you can produce different hair colors by mixing pure henna with other additives. These are called compound hennas. Many of the pre-mixed compound hennas use chemicals, and in fact, some contain very little pure henna, so they’re similar to standard boxed dyes.

Plant dye combinations also give henna different shades. You can buy henna and plant dyes separately, mix them together, and apply them to your hair. When mixed in correct measurements, these can dye hair red, brown, or black.

eSalon: eSalon’s offers demi-permanent and permanent dye in a variety of shades, from dark brown to light blonde. They’re custom blended using salon-grade, concentrated pigments that leave hair with a vivid, long-lasting color and 100% gray coverage.

How does the dye work?

Henna: Henna deposits color pigments and can only darken your color. It combines with your current pigment to create the final color. To reach a really rich shade, you may need to leave the dye on for up to 3 hours. But it’s difficult to predict how henna will turn out since it reacts with everyone’s hair differently.

The good news is that henna dye does not fade out of your hair, although the color richness may dull a bit. This also means you can’t make major changes to your hair color using henna dye (other than making it darker).

eSalon: eSalon’s demi-permanent dye works just like henna dye by depositing color on the cuticle without lifting out the current pigment. The demi-permanent dyes can be blended in a range of shades you can choose from. Plus eSalon’s professionals blend the dye so it turns out perfect on your hair.

If you want to slightly lighten or change the color or want 100% gray coverage, you can go the permanent route. For this, a stronger dye will first lift out your current color and then deposit a new color in its place.

How easy is it to use?

Henna: Plant dyes can be difficult to mix and use effectively at home, since it takes a bit of knowledge to concoct the right blend. (And since it turns out differently on everyone’s hair, henna can be an unpredictable way to reach your target color). Plus, after mixing your henna you must let it sit at room temperature overnight before applying it to your hair.

eSalon: Just like a boxed dye, first you mix the provided developer and dye together. Then, you apply it to your hair in sections, following your personal instructions to apply the color correctly. Since the instructions are written just for you, they guide you through the proper application process for your hair, which prevents damage.

Will it damage my hair?

Henna: Henna dye is often touted for being natural and not causing damage. And it’s true – pure henna does not cause any damage to your hair cuticle. However, henna closes up the cuticle, which makes it not receive moisture as readily, so your hair will turn dry or brittle. This also makes permanent dye and other chemical processes less effective. Furthermore, some compound hennas contain metallic salts that also cause brittle hair after application.

eSalon: The first application of color causes very little damage to your hair, contrary to popular belief. However, applying subsequent color to the same section of hair starts to damage it from overexposure to the dye.

You can prevent damage by only retouching the roots and following with eSalon’s Shine & Rinse emulsion step. This technique limits how much dye the ends receive so they don’t become damaged, but you still get a shiny, vivid color allover. And eSalon personalizes your instructions so you get the best salon techniques for your hair.

An added bonus: eSalon’s pigments contain conditioning elements that leave your hair hydrated, soft, and healthier than it was before.

How much gray coverage?

Henna: To get the best gray coverage, henna must be mixed specifically for gray hair. If not, the color may turn out bright orange or bright red. On top of that, it’s difficult to predict how henna will react on your hair, so it can be unreliable for consistently covering grays.

eSalon: eSalon’s color experts review your profile and take your gray hair percentage into consideration before blending your custom hair color. This means they can create any shade for you and tailor it to provide complete gray coverage.

Experts weigh in

“I’ve used henna on several clients who requested it,” says eSalon’s Color Director Estelle Baumhauer. “It’s a good option if the client is sensitive to regular dye. However, I find that henna never turns out exactly the way you want it to. It reacts differently to everyone’s hair, so it’s difficult to reach the target. Plus, it tends to leave the hair very dry so you must give it extra conditioning.”


eSalon provides a richer, more vivid color, in a larger variety of shade options than henna can provide. And unlike low-end boxed dyes, eSalon’s color causes minimal damage to the hair. Better yet, eSalon’s nutrient-rich pigments leave your hair hydrated and healthy. So let eSalon’s expert colorists personalize a hair color just for you – we guarantee it will be your best shade ever!

Colorfully yours,

The eSalon Team

P.S. Have you ever used henna? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!