Humans have been dying their hair for thousands of years using naturally available materials. The advent of hair dyes has brought in much needed convenience but you cannot forgo the fact that these dyes come with a fair share of harmful chemicals that can cause hair damage in the long run.
There are ways to dye hair naturally and these are not only much gentler to the hair but are also a greener alternative.
The only drawback is that natural hair dyes work far mote subtly than chemical dyes and often require many applications before real results can be seen. Users report varying results from no effect whatsoever to vibrant results. Here are some of the options to dye your hair naturally without chemicals.
1.) Using Lemons – To Lighten Hair
A method that has been around for a long while to lighten and highlight hair has been one that uses lemons.
The acid in lemons works as a natural bleach that is intensified and accelerated by exposing the treated hair to UV rays from sunlight. So after application, expose your hair to natural sunlight for around 30 to 45 minutes (preferably longer) before taking a shower.
As lemon juice acts as a bleach be aware that using it on dark hair may turn it red or lighter brown rather than blond depending on your natural hair color.
Some people find it easier to put the lemon juice into a spray bottle for application.
Longer hair will require the juice of more lemons.
The lemon juice can work quite slowly over several applications, so highlighting specific areas can be tricky. Unless you can remember exactly where you applied the ‘dye’ you may end up with patchy results.
Note that using lemon juice could make your hair very dry. So try this at your own risk.
2.) Using Tea to Dye Hair – To Darken hair
Here’s how you can use tea to dye hair.
- Black tea – this can act as an effective stain or dye for darkening hair. Brew a very strong mix of loose tea or tea bags with boiling water. Strain and allow to cool completely before applying to hair ensuring complete saturation.
- Chamomile tea – works for highlighting fair high or for subtly lightening blond/fair hair. Prepare as for black tea.
3.) Marigold Flowers – Can Be Used For Highlighting Hair
Marigold flowers can be used as a highlighter for fair hair and will also produce red highlights in red hair and gold highlights in brown hair. Using Marigold has the added advantage that it has highly beneficial properties for the hair.
Brew crushed marigold flowers as if you were making a tea, strain and cool and then apply the concoction to your hair.
Beware of leaving it on too long for the first application as yellowy/brassy tinges can result.
4.) Using Coffee As A Dye – To Darken Hair
Does coffee dye hair? Yes it does. Strongly brewed black coffee can darken hair. Saturate the hair with the prepared liquid. Leave it on for a few hours before showering.
5.) Using Paprika as a Dye – To Redden Hair
The naturally occurring dye in the spice paprika can be used to redden hair or add red highlights. This seems to produce particularly good results when combined with rose hip tea (you can make your own rose hip tea by brewing rose hips in boiling water).
Paprika can be made into a paste for easy application by combining it with one of the other liquid suggestions here or alternatively just mix it with water.
6.) Beet Juice and Carrot Juice – For Red Tints
Two more useful natural hair dyes for red tints. They can be used on their own or combined together.
7.) Walnut Shells – To Darken Hair
Boil the shells in water, strain and allow to cool. Apply the resulting liquid to your hair. Naturally occurring dyes within the shells will work to darken hair.
8.) Other Spices and Flowers
Many of the spices that are colored such as turmeric and saffron will work as hair dyes. Mix them into pastes with water for application. Equally many flowers, particularly yellow flowers, once crushed and boiled will produce a liquid that can be used to add highlights to your hair.
All of the above methods will need to be thoroughly rinsed from your hair after the appropriate amount of time. Apple cider vinegar, either on its own or combined with your normal shampoo, will help to remove residual traces of natural hair dye substances.
Be prepared for slow acting and subtle results. Many applications and re-applications will be necessary in most cases. This is often why people who only use them once report they don’t work.
Some people recommend applying heat, such as a hair-dryer, to accelerate and intensify results.
As some of the naturally occurring hair dyes have more intense or dramatic results than others it is always safest to go slowly to start with. As a general rule the longer a substance is left on the hair the more intense will be the results. The health and structure of your own hair will also contribute to the intensity of the results.
If you want to dye your hair naturally without chemicals you will need to have patience and be prepared to experiment with substances, times and color results.