If you’re looking to dye hair naturally, you’ve come to the right place. And if you didn’t even know you could dye your hair without a trip to the salon or a stroll down the hair care aisle, you’ve also come to the right place.
It’s actually possible — and easy — to dye hair naturally with a few simple ingredients found right in your kitchen or backyard garden. Not only are these DIY, chemical free hair dye methods natural, they’re also gentle, safe, and inexpensive.
So, whether you’re looking to try a different shade, boost your own color, or simply want to mask some pesky grays, read on for some great, chemical free hair dye methods.
The Advantages of Going Chemical-Free
How many of us have sat in the stylist’s chair and wondered if this whole hair-dying ritual is, well, safe?
Here’s some reassuring news: Due to strong FDA regulations, most hair dyes are much safer than they were some 40 years ago. In fact, there’s little likelihood that hair dye will cause any serious, long-term health problems.1
All the same, chemical hair dyes can still cause some unpleasant side effects. A 2013 scientific study found that just under half of hair dye users reported side effects, including headaches, itching, redness, eye irritation, and hair loss or breakage. And while many of these symptoms subsided within 24 hours, some — like hair loss and breakage — were bound to last longer.2
Natural hair dye methods, however, use plant-based ingredients that your body is already accustomed to.
Because of this, there’s a good chance these ingredients might play nicer with hair, causing fewer side effects. And, just like traditional hair-coloring methods, they work. You can dye hair naturally to:
- Darken hair
- Lighten hair
- Add vibrancy
- Cover grays
Of course, there are a few minor drawbacks. The results when you dye hair naturally are usually not as dramatic as traditional methods. So, if you’re looking for a complete color overhaul (say, going from brunette to platinum blonde), you’ll be better off consulting with a stylist.
You’ll also need to touch up the color semi-regularly. While some colors last longer than others, natural hair dyes are temporary, so they will wear off with time.
Ready, Set, Color
Chemical free hair dye methods are a great option if you’re looking to spruce up your color without the risk of unpleasant side effects. But where to start? Right there in your kitchen! Here are a few easy recipes and how-to’s, so you can take your color from drab to dazzling.
And, while you’re gathering up all the necessary ingredients, keep these two tips in mind:
- The results of some natural hair dyes are progressive, meaning you’ll need to do follow-up treatments in order to achieve the results you want.
- Just like any type of hair-dying, the process can get messy. You may want to wear latex gloves, and be sure to do it over the sink or bathtub, so you can easily rinse away any leftover pigment.
Okay, so there’s a good chance you spent summers in high school squeezing lemons in your hair and sitting in the sun to achieve a sun-bleached look. It’s a tried and true method — lemons can lighten hair and add highlights to light brown or blonde hair.
For this easy-as-pie hair-lightening method:
- Simply squeeze several fresh lemons and transfer the juice to a spray bottle.
- Spray the juice evenly over your hair, and let it absorb for a couple hours.
It’ll probably take several sessions to achieve results. And yes, sitting in the sun can speed up the process, but it’s not recommended. Strong UV rays carry the risk of sun damage on the skin, increasing the likelihood of sunspots and wrinkles on the skin.3
If you find that lemon has a drying effect on your hair, be sure to use a deep conditioner on a regular basis to help restore moisture to your tresses.
Black Walnut Powder
This is one of the most dramatic natural hair dyes you can use. Black walnut powder is heavily pigmented and can give you a deep, dark brown mane. Use extra caution with this one — the color is quite strong and can stain everything it comes into contact with. (But the hair results are great!)
Here’s how to get dark brown hair results:
- Bring 2 to 3 cups water to a boil.
- Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of black walnut hull powder to the water. The more you use, the darker the pigment.
- Let steep for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Again, the longer you steep, the darker the pigment. You can also reduce the mixture to a ¼ of the original measurements, which will give you the most intense color — close to black.
- Let the mixture cool. You can stick it in the refrigerator to speed up this process.
- Pour the cooled mixture through your hair, and cover with a shower cap. Let it absorb for an hour or more.
- Rinse out, and follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
Beet and Carrot Juice
Looking to turn heads with red? You can use beet juice, carrot juice, or a combination of both. Beets will give you a deeper red — think auburn, or, if you have light hair — strawberry blonde. Carrots, on the other hand, will give your tresses a warm and subtle, coppery tint.
Here’s how to get a natural red:
- Blend one cup’s worth of beets and/or carrots in a blender or food processor.
- Pour the juice into your hair; you can also mix it with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. This will add some deep hydration to your locks while the dye soaks in.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap, and let the juice absorb for at least an hour.
- Rinse out, and follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
A natural tea dye won’t dramatically change your color, but it can work with your natural color to help cover up gray hairs.
For blonde hair: use chamomile tea.
For brown hair: use black tea, or a combination of sage and rosemary.
For red hair: use rooibos tea.
Here’s how to make a natural tea dye:
- Chop the herbs up as finely as possible. This will increase their surface area, ensuring that you get as much pigment as possible.
- Steep a half cup of herbs in 2 cups of hot water. Keep steeping for as long as it takes for the water to cool.
- Strain the herbs from the water, and pour the tea over your hair.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap, and let the mixture absorb for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Rinse out, and follow up with shampoo and conditioner
Since tea tends to be less pigmented than other ingredients, you may need to do several follow-up treatments to effectively mask grays.
A DIY Dye Job
Are you inspired to experiment with natural hair dye? These recipes are inexpensive, easy, and all-natural. And the results are temporary. So, if you’re not crazy about what you get the first time around, you can adjust the results until you get the perfect shade.