You've probably used the over-the-counter hair dyes that are available at any drug store, according to studies that indicate that 65% of women color their hair. The worrying amount of chemicals in each one may have also caught your attention. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), approximately 5,000 distinct chemicals are used in hair color products, and people frequently come into contact with these chemicals in settings like salons. So consider these organic substitutes:
7 Ways to Dye your Hair Naturally
Something almost all of us own already, coffee works great for going darker, resulting in a chocolate color without any damage.
- Make a strong organic coffee (preferably espresso). Non-organic usually contains chemicals
- Let it cool
- Mix 2 cups of leave in all-natural conditioner with 2 tbsp. of organic coffee grounds and 1 cup of cold brewed coffee
- Apply to your hair and leave in for 1 hour
- Rinse with apple cider vinegar to help it last longer
Another simpler option is known as a coffee rinse:
- Shampoo your hair then pour coffee over it (make sure it’s cool!)
- Leave it for 20 minutes
- Rinse with apple cider vinegar to help seal the color, then rinse with warm water.
If results aren’t immediate, repeat the process for a few days in a row to allow the coffee to penetrate.
Since it’s not as strong as coffee, tea only works best with your natural hair color; you won’t be able to turn blonde into brunette. Black tea is an effective way to go darker and cover grey hairs, while lighter hair can use other teas, such as chamomile for blondes and rooibos for redheads.
- Use 3-5 teabags for two cups of water
- You can either apply the cooled tea alone, or mix with a conditioner
- If your goal is to cover greys, mix in fresh or dried sage to help open up hair follicles
- Leave on for at least one hour, or even overnight if you want more color
- Rinse with warm water
Depending on what color you hope to achieve, you can use a variety of herbs. Your natural hair color will affect which work best, however.
Try calendula, marigold, rosehips and hibiscus to deepen the red or add highlights. Like others, the effects will stack up the more you use it.
- Simmer the herbs in water for 30 minutes
- Strain, cool and spray/pour onto your hair
- Allow it to sun-dry if possible, otherwise air dry
Try rosemary, nettle and sage.
- Simmer with water for 30 minutes
- Strain, cool and spray/brush through your hair
- Leave in for one hour
- Can also use be used after your daily shower for more color
Chamomile, calendula, marigold, saffron, and sunflower petals all work best here. Rhubarb root can also be added to fight greys more effectively. To help the colors last longer, add black tea for darker colors and catnip for lighter.
- Simmer in water for 30 minutes
- Strain, cool and pour over your hair
4. Beet and Carrot Juice
Great for adding natural red tints to your current color, and can be used alone or mixed together. For more red use more beet juice (strawberry blonde, deeper red or auburn), and for a reddish-orange use more carrot. Be careful though, these juices can stain easily!
- Apply one cup of the juice to your hair, (coconut oil can be mixed in to condition at the same time)
- Work it through, wrap your hair, and leave on for at least one hour
- Rinse with water and seal with apple cider vinegar spray
- Repeat for darker color
Not just for making extravagant tattoos, henna powder formed from the henna plant leaves has a natural coloring pigment that works great with hair. When used alone, henna creates a red-orange color, so redheads and brunettes are the best candidates. Results can sometimes come out more orange, so try mixing chamomile in with the paste to soften it.
- Mix one cup of henna powder with two cups of lemon juice, (optional: add 1 tbsp of vinegar for better color release)
- Allow it to sit for 4-6 hours
- Apply to hair and comb through
- Wrap hair in plastic wrap and leave in for 2-3 hours before rinsing with water
6. Lemon Juice
Best used for highlights.
- Spray and brush through your hair
- Leave on for several hours
- Sun drying will make it lighter, blondes can mix chamomile to enhance this effect
- Works very slowly, so it will need to be repeated several times
7. Walnut Shells
Perfect for making a dark brown color. It can also stain very easily so watch out.
- Crush the shells and boil them for 30 minutes
- Cool, strain and apply to hair
- Let it sit for one hour (longer for more color), then rinse with lukewarm water
For a more intense color, return the strained juice to the heat and boil until it’s simmered down to about ¼ of original volume. Cool it in the fridge, strain if needed and pour through the hair. Walnut powder can also be substituted instead of shells.
So the next time you feel like you need a change of color in your life, don’t head to the medicine cabinet, head to the pantry!