Dyeing My Hair Black: Shea Butter Cottage Henna and Indigo Review

In preparation for my new protective style, I decided to dye my hair black following the henna and indigo two step method. There has been a massive buzz around Sheabutter Cottage in the UK natural hair community, and rightly so, as the Ghana-born creator Akua Wood not only flies the flag for successful black owned businesses, but also proudly supports fair trade and invests in the education of children in the Eastern region of Ghana. Therefore, I was extremely excited to review the SheaButter Cottage henna and indigo powder during my hair dye experience. Have a read of my honest review below…

As you know, I credit my strong hair to applying regular henna treatments to my hair, however I have become pretty bored of the reddy tones, and wanted to dye my hair black so that my hair would blend with my new protective style. Therefore, rather than using conventional dyes that are often full of chemicals, I decided to follow up my henna application with an indigo treatment, as the combination of the two dyes results in black hair.

I ordered 100g of both henna and indigo online at, and both arrived promptly. My first thoughts upon opening the box was how much I loved the packaging! I have been a faithful Jamila henna user for many years, however I have always felt that the packaging potentially runs the risk of excluding customers. Jamila henna is produced in Pakistan (as you can see at the bottom of the packaging) therefore the image of a beautiful Pakistani woman with flowing hair is to be expected on the front of the box. However, henna has many benefits for people of all races and hair textures, therefore a woman with curly hair, like myself, might assume this product isn’t for them due to the packaging. Furthermore, I have also found that opening the henna within the box is tricky, as it is contained in a foil bag which has a tendency to spill when opened.


Unlike the Jamila henna, the SheaButter Cottage henna is packaged in an easy to open resealable package, which makes opening and closing the henna really easy and spillages a thing of the past. Furthermore, unlike the Jamila, this henna is produced in Ghana, but doesn’t have an image on the front that could exclude customers, thus making it a lot more universally friendly.

I was eager to try the henna on my hair, as I would love to support all of the empowering projects SheaButter Cottage are involved in. However, upon mixing the henna powder with green tea, I found the powder to be extremely grainy. To get the strongest henna treatment, you must allow the henna mixture to stand for a few hours, in order to allow the dye to release. However, after leaving the mixture covered and in a warm place for around 8 hours, I found no dye release at all. Rather, the henna powder had absorbed the green tea, leaving it very hard and dry.

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I then mixed in some coconut milk (for added conditioning benefits and to rehydrate the mixture) but still found the mixture to be extremely grainy (as you can see from the stills below).
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I hoped that the graininess of the mixture would subside once applied to my freshly shampooed hair, however, after leaving it on for four hours, I tried cowashing it out as normal, but found the grains were almost impossible to remove.

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As I was quickly running out of the conditioner I would also have to use to wash out the indigo, I decided to simply move onto the indigo application. The indigo powder (from India) came in very similar easy to use packaging. I mixed the indigo with water and salt (as salt helps the dye to take to your hair).

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Unlike the henna, the indigo instantly mixed into a thick, smooth paste. As expected with indigo, it had a strong smell similar to garden peas, however it was far from unbearable, and the mixture applied smoothly to my hair. Unlike henna powder, you do not need to leave indigo to allow the dye to release, therefore you can apply it straight away.

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After four hours, I cowashed my hair using the Avocado Co-Wash bar from Lush, which left my hair smelling delicious, feeling clean and moisturised and completely tangle free – I would definitely recommend! Plus, the combination of the indigo and the solid cowash helped to drag any last grains of henna out of my hair, so I was finally free from the graininess.

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Final thoughts

The henna and indigo two step process left my hair perfectly black and ready for my protective style as expected. The whole process took a lot of time and preparation, but if you want to strengthen your hair while dyeing it and avoid nasty chemicals I would definitely recommend following these steps.

I desperately wanted to love both the henna and the indigo from SheaButter Cottage, and even though both dyes worked perfectly well together, the process of trying to get the grains out was too much effort for me to consider repurchasing the henna. However, I will definitely repurchase the indigo and I am eager to try other products from SheaButter Cottage as it is such an amazingly inspiring company.

If you haven’t already, check out my video on how I dyed my hair black:

With love from London,

Davina x


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