Natural Hair Dyes DIY
The average woman will change the look of her hair 150 times in their lifetime. Many of these changes will involve coloring the hair. In fact, 65% of women alter their natural hair color. But all this coloring and dying can leave more than just a change of color as a lasting effect. The smell of many commercial hair dyes alone tells us home many chemicals they contain. All these chemicals can build up in our hair and often cause breakage and other damage. Luckily, this isn’t the case when using natural hair dyes.
In fact, some commercial dyes are filled with harmful chemicals that can cause other health issues including skin and respiratory diseases and cancer.
Dying Your Hair Naturally
There are lots of natural ingredients that can emphasize and alter your natural hair color without the use of harsh chemicals. Some of these natural dyes can often be found in your kitchen cupboards! Whilst the effects of these natural dyes may not last as long as the commercial results and you won’t be able to completely transform your hair color but you should notice some effect at the very least.
It may take a few tries but, in many cases, using natural hair dyes will both alter your color and provide benefits to your hair.
Natural Hair Dyes
If it’s a darker color you’re after, coffee could be the natural hair dye for you. It’s great at adding a darker tint to your tresses and will help to mask greys. It’s also really easy to use.
Brew a strong pot of coffee (some people suggest espresso is best) and let it cool. Once the coffee has cooled, mix one cup with a leave-in conditioner and 2 extra tablespoons of ground coffee. You can then apply this mixture to your hair and leave it for an hour before rinsing. To see a noticeable difference, you may need to repeat this method once a week for several weeks.
Similarly, to coffee, black tea can add depth to darker colors and cover up gray hairs. Other types of tea can be used to achieve other colors (as we’ll discuss later) but black tea is best if you’re after a brown/brunette hue. Teas aren’t generally strong enough to completely transform your hair color – for example, you won’t be able to go from blonde to a rich brunette, but you will be able to enhance your natural color. Black tea will have a slight darkening effect on the blonde hair though.
Use it much the same way as coffee, by making a strong brew, leaving it to cool and then adding it to a leave in conditioner. The longer you leave the conditioner in, the more of an effect the tea will have. Again, this will probably need repeated applications to make a real difference.
Rosemary, Nettle, and Sage Combination
Together, these three herbs can really pack a punch when it comes to darkening your hair. Simmer a handful of rosemary, nettles, and sage in some water for about thirty minutes. Once boiled all the liquid to cool before straining it and spraying or brushing it through your hair. Allow this to then sit on your hair for around an hour (longer might help to intensify the effects). Like many natural options, you may need to be patient and repeat the process several times to notice a difference.
Crushed walnut shells are another great way to darken your hair and enhance natural brunettes. Crush a few walnut shells and boil them in some water for about half an hour. You can then cool and strain the liquid before applying it to your hair. Use a cotton wool ball or pad to apply the liquid directly to your grey hairs if you specifically want to mask them.
For a really intense color, return the strained liquid and re-boil it until it’s decreased to a quarter of its initial volume. Cool it in the refrigerator and then pour it over your hair.
You should let this color sit on your hair for at least an hour, although the longer you leave it the darker the final result. Try not to wash your hair with too hot water afterward as this will cause the color to run. You’ll also need to keep your clothes and bathroom covered when using this dye as it can stain things.
If you find the sage, nettle and rosemary mixture mentioned earlier has little effect, try alder bark instead. It will produce a slightly lighter result than sage would, but you’ll still be left with a darker color than you started. It can also help to darken blonde hair.
Simmer some alder bark in water for thirty minutes. Let the liquid cool and strain it. You can then apply it to your hair in the same way as the herby mixture discussed earlier.
As mentioned earlier, teas will work best when enhancing your natural color. This makes the naturally red rooibos tea a great option for deepening natural red tones.
Make a really strong brew of rooibos tea, using three to five teabags. Let the tea cool and mix with your conditioner. Remember, the longer you leave the conditioner in, the deeper your color will end up. For a really intense color, you could even leave the conditioner in overnight and cover your hair with a shower cap.
Marigold flowers are another great way to deepen natural reds and can add a reddish hue to blondes and brunettes. Simmer a few marigolds in some water for thirty minutes. You can then strain the water and let it cool. Once cooled, spray or pour the liquid over your hair. Sitting in the sun for a while can help to intensify the end results! Leave your hair for at least an hour, but longer if you can before rinsing out with lukewarm water. If the water is too hot you could cause the color to run and undo the effects of the flowers.
Rosehip is another flower that can deepen your natural red shades or add red highlights to blonde or brunette hair. The effects will build over time so you’ll be best repeating the use of rosehip over a number of weeks. Use them in the same way as marigolds to make the most of their natural hair dying abilities.
The third flower on our list with the ability to enhance natural reds and add reddish tones to other hair colors. Hibiscus can be used in the same was as rosehip and marigolds. Like these other flowers, hibiscus will need to be used repetitively to get the result you want.
Beet juices will add a or reddish tinge (like a strawberry blonde). Slice and juice some beets and apply this juice to your hair. You can mix it with some coconut oil to help condition her hair at the same time. Make sure you really work it into your hair to ensure you get a full coverage of color. After about an hour, rinse the juice from your hair with lukewarm water. Repeat this method until you get the color you’re after. This is another dye that will stain if you get it on your clothes.
Carrot juice can be used in much the same way as beet juice but will give you more of an orange-red.
Henna has been used as a natural dye for centuries. On its own, henna produces a reddy-orange color but it can be mixed with other ingredients to create other colors. It can go very orange in some cases, so mixing it with some chamomile can help to tone this down somewhat. It can also be used to add a little auburn hint to brunette hair, although it does work best with red hair.
To create a henna hair dye, mix one cup of henna powder with about two cups of lemon juice to create a paste. You can also add some vinegar or chamomile at this point to help release the natural color of the henna. All the mixture to sit for about four or six hours so that it starts to thicken. Once it has, you can apply it to your hair using a comb. Wrap your hair in plastic film or a shower cap and let it sit for two or three hours. After these three hours, you can rinse your hair – make sure you do so thoroughly.
You should always do a patch test before using henna as it can often cause an allergic reaction.
Tomato juice can give your hair a richer red tone. Take two cups of tomato juice and massage it into your hair, focusing on the roots. You can either use your fingertips or a small brush to run the juice through your hair. When your hair is full of the juice pile it on the top of your head and secure it with a clip or pin. Cover it with a shower cap and let it sit for half an hour before rinsing it with lukewarm water. Repeat this method once a week to maintain the best results.
As we’ve mentioned, chamomile tea is the tea to use if you’re looking to enhance your blonde tones. Remember, the stronger you make the tea and the longer you leave it in your hair the more intense the results. Use it in the same way you would use black tea for dark hair and rooibos for red hair. You want to leave the tea in your hair for at least an hour, but the longer the better.
Boil some saffron in some water for half an hour then let it cool. Drain the liquid and pour it over your hair. Leave it to sit on your hair for at least an hour to really enhance the golden tones of your blonde hair.
Rhubarb root can really help to conceal gray roots in blonde hair. Boil the rhubarb in two cups of water and let it simmer for half an hour. You can then strain the liquid and let it cool before pouring it over your hair. Like the other dyes, leave it to sit for as long as possible (at least an hour) before rinsing with lukewarm water.
If it’s highlights you’re after, lemon juice could be your answer. Squeeze a few fresh lemons and brush the juice through your hair. Once you’ve done that, go and sit in the sun for a while. This will help to really activate the lemon juice and help it to lighten your hair.
It works especially well with blonde hair but it will also help to lighten reds and brunettes. After a few hours, you can rinse the juice from your hair with lukewarm water. The effects will take time to come out though so you may have to repeat this method a few times to achieve the effect you want.
Honey and Vinegar
Honey and vinegar are another great way to lighten your hair. Like lemon juice, it will work on all hair colors but it works best with blonde hair. It’s a simple recipe to put together too, which is an added benefit. Mix a cup of raw honey with two cups of distilled vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil. You can also add some cinnamon if you want. Mix these ingredients together to form a paste and add to damp hair in sections.
Make sure you apply the mixture from root to tip to cover the length of your hair. Once you’ve spread the mixture through your hair evenly, wrap it up into a shower cap or plastic film. Leave the mixture in your hair overnight and wash it out with lukewarm water in the morning.
Baking soda helps to lighten your hair by stripping it of all the chemical build-up that occurs over time through the use of various hair products. Because of its natural abrasive qualities, baking soda can strip the hair of these chemicals and reveal a lighter shade to your color. Mix a little baking soda into your shampoo for one wash a week. It may take a few washes, but this will eventually help to lighten your hair.
Cinnamon is another hair that can lighten your hair and enhance the rich golden hue of blondes. It can give you a nice warm tone to your blonde too. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your conditioner and coat your hair evenly.
Make sure you work the conditioner through your hair from the roots to the tips. Cover your hair and leave the conditioner in overnight. In the morning wash your hair with regular shampoo and lukewarm water.
Mixing a little salt into the water you rinse your hair with can really help to lift your natural color. Rinse your hair in some salted water and allow it to sit for fifteen minutes. After that, wash your hair thoroughly. After several goes this should give your hair a lighter color.
If you’re a bit nervous about using these natural dyes on your entire head, save a few locks from your haircut and practice dying those first.
Use some apple cider vinegar to rinse out your color as this will help it set and last longer. You could also put some of the vinegar in a spray bottle and spray your hair with it before rinsing the color out.
Which of these natural hair dyes will you try? Comment below!