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Does Henna Expire? How Long Does Henna Last After Mixed

A cute African American woman with 4A curls treated with henna hair dye wearing a casual white t-shirt.

Since henna is a natural, plant-derived product, many people wonder if it has an expiration date. On top of that, most henna products on the market don’t indicate an explicit use by or best by date, leaving consumers in the dark.

So, in this article, we will tell you if henna expires, how to store it, and much more.

Does Henna Expire?

Since henna is a natural herb, it does not expire. However, when it ages, it gradually loses its potency and ability to transform your hair. This means that it won’t be as effective in dyeing, tinting, or conditioning the hair.

How Long Can I Wait to Use Henna?

Although henna does not technically have an expiration date, you should follow general storage time frames to get the best results from the product. Keep reading to learn how long you can wait to use henna in different situations.

Black lady with 4A natural hair colored with henna dye wearing a green, white, and black flannel shirt.

Powder Form (Open Container)

If you’re storing henna powder in an open container at room temperature, you shouldn’t wait any longer than 2-3 days to use it.

Henna powder that is left open any longer than a few days will inevitably become exposed to moisture in the air which will cause the chemicals in the product to react. Once henna begins reacting, there is no way to stop it.

Moreover, if you use henna after the chemical reactions have occurred, it won’t be as effective in treating your hair.

Henna powder refrigerated in an open container should be used within one week. During this time, the moisture and low temperature from the refrigerator will cause the powder to activate, diminishing its potency.

Henna powder can be frozen in an open container for 2 to 3 months. However, after the product is removed from the freezer and begins to thaw, it will release moisture, activating the hair-staining ingredients. So, be prepared to use it immediately after it is thawed.

Adult female with a twist-out hairdo styled with olive oil on 4A curls that are a rich brown color.

Powder Form (Closed Container)

Powdered henna stored in a sealed container should be used within a year. If kept completely sealed, its consistency should be the same after this time has passed.

If you open, reseal, and refrigerate henna, it can last up to 3 months. But it should be used once removed from the refrigerator to limit moisture accumulation from the air.

If left in a closed container, the henna powder can be stored in the freezer for one year. Use it immediately after thawing.

Paste Form (Open Container)

Henna in paste form should be used the same day if left in an open container. If left out longer than a day, it will quickly dry out, significantly reducing its potency.

Refrigerated henna paste in an open container should be used within 2 to 3 days. Waiting any longer than this will cause the product to degrade.

Frozen henna paste will keep for about one month. But when it thaws, the consistency will have changed, making it more challenging to work with. We don’t recommend freezing henna paste in an open container.

A flirty black woman with hair colored with leftover dye from stale henna powder from the henna plant.

Paste Form (Closed Container)

When storing henna paste in a closed container at room temperature, it should be used within 2 to 3 days. But be aware that its moisture levels will decline each day, making the product less effective.

Try to use refrigerated henna paste within one week. If you keep it any longer than this, it may dry out despite being sealed.

Frozen henna paste typically lasts for a month. But it must be thawed completely before using it to dye hair.

Signs Henna Is Bad

If you’re wondering if your henna has gone bad, rely on your senses for help. Consider its smell and texture for signs of degradation. Keep reading for the signs you should look for when evaluating the freshness and strength of henna.

Dryness

Henna paste that has gone bad will look and feel dry. You may notice that the surface of the product appears crusty. Moreover, if you’re using henna paste that comes in a tube, it will be hard to dispense due to the lack of moisture.

Lumps

Henna in both powder and paste form will develop a lumpy consistency when its quality begins to diminish. Lumps form in powdered henna when moisture settles into the product.

On the other hand, henna paste loses its smooth consistency when it is left open for too long. And if you try to apply lumpy henna to your hair, you’ll have a hard time.

A young African American woman wearing a green and blue flannel shirt with henna hair dye from the henna tree.

Color Changes

Henna maintains a light green hue as long as it is fresh. When mixed with water or any other substance, it turns a forest green color. When henna has gone bad, its typical green color may appear dull or dark.

Off Putting Smell

Henna has a very particular smell; most people liken its scent to eucalyptus or cloves. If the powder or paste has been mixed with essential oils (e.g., coconut oil), it will also smell like the oils. You’ll know henna has gone bad if it loses its natural aroma or if it gives off a sour or stale smell.

How To Store Henna

Henna preservation guidelines vary depending on where the product will be stored. This section will cover how to store this ingredient at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer.

At Room Temperature

If you plan on storing henna powder or paste at room temperature, you’ll need to protect it from air, light, and heat. Put it in a plastic or glass container with a lid to protect it from the air.

Keep the container stored away from windows and artificial light sources to prevent light exposure. Keep the container in a cool, dry room away from air conditioning units or heaters to avoid heat damage.

Cute adult female with 4A curls with henna hair dye wearing a casual outfit.

In Refrigerator

Like room temperature storage, refrigerated henna should go in a plastic or glass container with a secure lid. For maximum freshness, avoid repeatedly moving the container in and out of refrigeration. This will keep the henna at an optimum temperature to maintain freshness.

In Freezer

Frozen henna is best stored in freezer-safe plastic or glass containers. The container should be thick enough to prevent it from cracking and breaking when left in the freezer for long periods.

Risks of Using Expired Henna

There is no danger in using expired henna. Even after the effectiveness of the products has declined, it is entirely safe to use on your hair.

Attractive African American lady with 4A curls wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a flannel shirt.

How To Choose The Most Potent Henna Powder

Pure henna is the most potent and is likely to last longer. But authentic henna can be hard to find since there are so many imitation products on the market. So, in this section, we will share some tips on finding the best quality henna products.

  • Check Ingredient List – Look for the words “100% pure henna” when you’re shopping for henna powder. Pass on products with preservatives or additives other than pure henna, as these are common with imitation henna.
  • Avoid Henna Infused Products – Henna-infused products are not pure henna. This means that henna is not the primary ingredient.
  • Check The Color Of The Product – Pure henna will always appear light green. Any other shade or color may indicate that the henna is inauthentic.

Related Articles

Henna is a natural product that lasts a significant amount of time. It does not expire, but it can lose its staining and conditioning power over time if not stored correctly. We hope this article helped educate you on the shelf life of henna and how to store it properly. Good luck!