This is not an extensive list of natural hair dyes, but these are the most common ones. I’ve also heard of people using beet juice, carrot juice, tea, and hibiscus petals. If it’s a food or plant from nature and you can steep it in hot water to get color out, there’s a good chance it will color your hair! Most of the rinses made this way are very temporary and don’t last long. So go ahead, experiment! Be sure not to use anything too acidic or too basic (read about pH levels here).
I use henna 3-5 times a year. Henna is a powder that is ground from the leaves of a plant. It is a reddish-orange dye. Other plant based dyes (cassia and indigo) are added to the henna to create other colors. The colors range from red to brown to black.
- Henna does not and cannot lighten your hair.
- Henna does cover gray hair, however the amount of coverage varies from person to person. I have heard adding a little salt (about 1 teaspoon per 100 gram of henna) helps with covering grays.
- Henna is not a permanent hair dye. It will last 2-12 weeks (as with everything, it depends on your hair, your hair care routine, etc.).
I use this brand. It comes in 12 colors including red, auburn, and light brown. I follow the simple directions on the box. My hair is naturally dark brown. Since henna does not lighten hair, if I use one of the browns, it does not change the color of my hair much. If I use one of the reds, it does give my hair a red undertone (how red depends on the shade I use). I use henna mostly for the deep conditioning properties as opposed to the hair color.
Here is an excellent free e-book on Henna by Catherine Cartwright-Jones. This book is very useful if you want to make your own custom blends of henna, cassia, and indigo or if you want to know more about the science & history behind henna.
You can use coffee as a natural hair dye and the caffeine stimulates hair growth.. This works best on brunette hair.
- Brew coffee. Let it cool.
- You can use just the coffee or just the grounds or both.
- You can apply a couple different ways:
- Leave the coffee rinse on for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse out.
- You can follow with an acid rinse like apple cider vinegar to lock in the color and neutralize the coffee smell (optional).
Coffee rinses do cover grays, but may take several applications to get the desired coverage.
Coffee rinses are very temporary and don’t last long. You will need to do this 1-3 times a week for consistent coverage.
What teenage girl hasn’t used lemons or lemon products to add highlights to her hair? I know I did it religiously every summer for years.
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
in a spray bottle (non-plastic is best). Spray on your hair, either all over your hair or just in sections for highlights.
Lemon juice is photosensitive and sunshine will intensify the lightening effect.
You can also use conditioner instead of water to make a cream or gel for fuller coverage ((you can use a deep conditioner from this list like coconut milk, aloe, kefir, etc) or use a natural store bought conditioner). Massage into your hair, leave for 20 minutes, rinse.
The easiest way to make walnut hair dye is to buy black walnut hull powder. You can also use hulls from black walnuts and make your own powder or soak the hulls in hot water for several hours.
- Add 3-5 tablespoons black walnut hull powder to 2-3 cups boiling water.
- Steep for several hours.
- Massage into hair.
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
For More Info
For more info, be sure to check out my ebook, The No Poo Method.