A fan of changing up your look with a new hair color, but not of chemicals with impossible-to-pronounce names that come with the modern dyes in salons and at-home kits? The side-effects from regular exposure to the dangerous ingredients in the dyes you use to color your hair can include dry hair and damaged follicles, allergic reactions such as itchy scalp, rashes, and dandruff, to more serious conditions like asthma and cancer risk. With these seven natural methods of coloring your hair, you can color to your heart’s content without once having to sacrifice your health for beauty!
Coffee is great for naturally darkening hair, covering greys, or adding dimension to brunette tresses. Brew 1-2 cups of strong organic coffee (organic coffee will have less preservatives and work more effectively) and let cool. Mix with 2 tablespoons of ground organic coffee and enough conditioner to fully saturate hair. Leave mixture in hair for up to an hour and rinse. For more noticeable results, rinse with apple cider vinegar. You may need to repeat this application for more noticeable or desired results.
Similar to coffee, black tea can darken hair (as well as help reduce shedding) while other teas like chamomile help lighten hair. Rooibos and red hibiscus tea work to add vibrancy and highlights for redheads. It should be noted that these teas work best when used to enhance your natural hair color. To infuse onto hair, steep 5-8 tea bags in a pot of boiled water for 30 minutes (the higher concentrated the tea is, the better). Mix cooled tea with enough plain organic yogurt to fully saturate hair. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil, like lavender, for fragrance. Massage the mixture into clean, dry hair from root to tip, and cover with a shower cap or plastic bag. Leave in for an hour. Rinse and air-dry.
Henna, which is a powdered form of the leaves from the henna plant, is widely regarded as the most effective natural hair dye. This powerful coloring pigment has been used for hundreds of years to not only dye hair, but skin and nails as well. Occurring naturally as a red-orange tint, many manufacturers will mix it with other ingredients, such as indigo, to achieve other colors such as brown shades. Henna is best suited for dyeing hair darker in brunette or red tones.
It’s also a wonderful conditioning treatment that strengthens hair and improves scalp health, and some use it strictly for its hair enhancing abilities. To use, mix henna powder with preferred liquid. For stronger results, mix henna with apple cider vinegar so the pigment can penetrate opened hair follicles and color can last longer. For a deeper brown, mix black tea with the henna powder. Leave mixture in hair, covered, for 4-6 hours. Additional applications will deepen darker tones or brighten reds.
4. Beet Juice
Beet juice can stain more than just hands and your kitchen counter, as it works great at giving your locks the same pretty red hue, too! It’s also loaded with those sought-after antioxidant goodies like protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamins B and C to name a few, making it an incredible scalp-happy rinse that you can incorporate into your regular hair routine. To use, mix beet juice with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, or to make the tint last longer, mix one cup beet juice with ½ cup rose water and ½ cup black tea. Apply to the scalp and work through the ends. Leave in for 15 minutes and rinse well. Regular use will keep this beautiful red tint intact longer.
Lemon, known for being packed with antioxidants and its relatively high level of acid content (containing around 5-8% of citric acid in lemon juice) is widely regarded as nature’s bleach. On top of successfully being able to lighten discolorations and sun-spots from skin, it works just as great at brightening hair. To use, put fresh lemon juice in a spray bottle and spritz throughout hair, leaving on for several hours. Being out in the sun will help further activate its lightening effect. This works slowly, so you’ll have to be persistent to see desired results.
6. Cinnamon + Honey
This sweetly fragranced spice mixed with raw honey is known for lightening hair as the two ingredients combined act as a natural peroxide, but without the harmful side-effects. To use this mask, mix 4 tablespoons cinnamon, 3 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons olive oil (or conditioner) into a smooth paste. You can add a few drops of lemon juice for extra lightening as well. Double ingredients for longer hair. Apply blend onto damp hair and evenly distribute with a wide-tooth comb. Lay hair on top of head and cover hair with a plastic bag. Leave mask on for 1-2 hours and rinse, following up with a mild shampoo and conditioner.
7. Black walnut
The hull of black walnut shells contains the compounds juglone, plumbagin, and tannin, which allow it to dye almost anything it comes into contact with, on top of creating a natural, gorgeous rich brown. Other than hair dye, it’s commonly used in wood stains, ink, and clothing dye. To use, crush black walnut shells (or buy ground black walnut shell powder) and boil in water for half an hour. Once cooled, lather hair in the mixture, or lay pot on the ground outside (to avoid the messy clean up) and submerge hair for anywhere between 5-20 minutes. The longer you leave the mixture in hair, the deeper the brown will turn out so you may want to have a friend monitor the progression. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Words of caution: It will stain EVERYTHING so prep accordingly, and black walnuts can be poisonous for some animals, such as dogs or horses, so please plan to keep your furry ones away while you dye responsibly!
While these natural methods might require some work and won’t realistically take you from blonde to brunette, they will enhance the beauty of your natural hair color and will keep you safe while doing so!