How Long to Leave Henna on Eyebrows for Best Results?

how long to leave henna on eyebrows
⏱️ 4 min read

Dyeing your eyebrows with henna is a great way to enhance them, plus it’s a natural option. Henna is a natural dye made by grinding down the leaves of henna tree into a powder, and mixing this powder with carriers that give a pastey or liquid consistency.

When used on the brows, the dye gives an attractive, trendy, but temporary enhancement. It’s been very popular lately since it abolished the need for applying brow makeup for several weeks.

You can get it as a professional service in almost any brow bar, or you can do it yourself, which many people have been trying out.

If you want to try out this quick and easy treatment, it’s important to know how long to leave henna on eyebrows. Here’s the answer, along with some information you might be curious about.

How Does Henna Work?

The colorant component found in henna is called Lawsone, a naturally present colorant. When applied onto the skin and hair, chemical magic happens.

When applied to hair, the Lawsone molecule finds openings in the hair cuticle and migrates beneath it. It binds itself to the keratin molecules present in the hair. Since it soaks into the hair, the dye can’t be washed off, although the color intensity might fade slightly, especially if it’s exposed to UV rays, AKA sunlight.

Once absorbed, the henna particles increase the moisture retention capacity of the hairs, thus making them stronger, shinier and healthier. So it provides manifold benefits. Of course, this applies to a high-quality formulation.

The chemical reaction that occurs when applying henna is different from that of coloring your hair with chemical hair dye, and it’s gentler. Chemical hair dyes contain ingredients which open up the cuticle to let the dye penetrate it, while henna is absorbed through naturally present openings. That’s why there’s no hair damage.

In terms of staining the skin, the process is similar. The Lawsonia molecules bind themselves to dead skin cells of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, thus coloring them. As these dead skin cells are exfoliated from the skin and shed, the color gradually disappears, too.

It’s important to keep track of how long to leave henna on eyebrows so they don’t turn out too light or too dark.

For more information on henna brows, check out our comprehensive guide here.

how does henna work on eyebrowsImage source: Instagram @ambeautypmu

How Long to Leave Henna on Eyebrows?

Generally, it should be between 10 and 20 minutes.

If you’re getting a professional treatment, you don’t have to worry about timing – your brow tech will take care of everything.

But if you’re DIY-ing it, the answer to how long to leave henna on eyebrows is however long the instructions say. Formulations of different brands can differ, and the coloring intensity can vary. It can also vary between shades, so one and the same brand may advise different timing for different shades.

What Happens If I Leave Henna on Eyebrows for Too Long?

The longer you leave henna on hairs and skin, the higher the color saturation will be. So if you leave it on for longer than the instructions say, your brows can turn out too dark.

A minute or 2 won’t make that much of a difference, but try to keep as close track of timing as possible.

In the case of lower quality formulas, leaving henna on for too long may dry out your skin a bit.

henna on eyebrows left for too longImage source: Freepik

And If I Don’t Let It Sit for Long Enough?

If you don’t let the henna sit for long enough and you don’t let it soak into the skin and the hairs, you won’t achieve the desired color saturation, or the results will turn out patchy and uneven.


If you realize your skin is burning or itching at some point during application, rinse the henna off immediately. You could be having an allergic reaction.

henna on eyebrows not left long enoughImage source: Freepik

Final Note

Depending on the formula and how well your skin takes the dye, henna can stain the skin quite fast. If you’ve never used henna on your brows before or if you’re trying out a new color or brand, be cautious.

You should do a patch test in the crease of your elbow before you apply it to your face to make sure there’s no allergic reaction. If everything is okay 48 hours later, it’s safe to do your brows, but pay attention to where exactly you apply it.

You have to be very meticulous when it comes to shaping – if you accidentally get henna outside of the desired outline, it will stain those areas and you’ll be left with a weird shape. This isn’t a huge disaster, since you can remove it from skin, but to avoid the hassle, just try to be as precise as possible.

It’s also useful to apply a moisturizer around the desired brow outline, to prevent the henna from bleeding out of it.

Cover image source: Freepik



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