You might dye your hair to perk it up, to change your appearance or to cover the grey – but do you have to visit a salon every time you fancy a new colour? It’s true that some DIY products can damage your hair, but there are alternatives.
In fact, you can use natural extracts for dying your hair with. We’re not talking about herbal dyes, either. We mean that you can make dyes at home using plants! They’re also nourishing and beneficial. Learn all about your options with this article.
The safe, plant-based materials we’ll suggest are gentle and natural – so don’t expect the drastic results that you get from conventional chemical products that you’d use to permanently and significantly alter the colour of your hair. Instead, you’ll end up with a head of gorgeous, healthy-looking hair in a natural shade. The trade-off is that you can use them regularly without damaging your hair. You can even use them if you’re pregnant.
Henna is ancient, but its perennial popularity speaks volumes: it works! Henna dyes your hair all the way to the roots and even improves the strength and health of your crowning glory. Its staying power is impressive, too, as it can last up to three months.
To use, mix powdered henna – which you can usually buy from health food shops – with a bit of lemon juice and coconut oil, olive oil or your favourite conditioner. This ensures that your hair retains moisture and doesn’t become too dry or brittle.
Be sure to wear plastic gloves to protect your hands from the dye. Although it’s perfectly safe, you don’t necessarily want your hands to match your hair.
Renowned for its gentle ability to lighten your hair and impart shimmer, chamomile is so effective that it’s even included in some shampoo brands. Want to try it without splashing your cash on a bottled promise? Make a simple chamomile infusion at home and add a bit of marigold to it. If you want your barnet to be bolder and brighter, feel free to add some saffron. Apply the infusion and leave it for at least half an hour. When time’s up, just rinse and style as usual.
Dye your hair brunette
It’s true that walnuts are delicious and nutritious, but their colour makes hair magnificent to behold – shiny and strong. To prepare the colour for application, boil walnut leaves (which you can buy online) in water. Leave to simmer and cool. When the mixture is just warm to the touch, thoroughly apply it to your hair. Let it rest for 15 minutes. If you fancy using the historically accurate method, you can make this dye by boiling the walnut leaves in beer. When beer is boiled, the alcohol content burns off. You’re left with the components that can boost shine and promote strength.
After even more options? Boil salvia (sage) and rosemary for six hours in plenty of water. Salvia is particularly useful for hiding the first signs of grey. Traditionally used to prevent and treat thinning hair, rosemary is an excellent plant tonic. When the infusion has boiled for long enough, let it completely cool and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Apply the concoction, leave it on for half an hour, then rinse.
Paint it black
Did you ever suspect that humble, everyday black tea could be such a powerful colourant for your hair? This powerful infusion can also help you return to your natural colour after you have dyed it. Make sure that your infusion is highly concentrated. Let it cool for half an hour. Apply it thoroughly to your hair and leave it for twenty minutes.
Some common sense
- Avoid aluminium containers or utensils when you prepare natural dyes.
- For best results, once you’ve applied the dye to your hair, cover it with a cling film.
- You can safely repeat the process every couple of days until you achieve the colour that you desire.
- Compared to conventional dyes, the only disadvantage of these natural treatments is that they don’t make your hair as shiny. This is easily remedied, however, by using frequent moisturising masks and rinsing with apple cider vinegar mixed with equal parts water. The drier your hair, the more vinegar you’ll need to add. Apply the vinegar tonic and leave it for a couple of minutes. Rinse with warm or cold water, not hot.
- Invest in some gentle, organic shampoo and conditioner. They’re less likely to damage your hair and that means that gives your dye real longevity. Although they can be slightly more expensive than chemical-laden products, they’re kinder too your skin and scalp. Try not to be alarmed if they don’t froth as much as your usual shampoo. This is because they aren’t full of harsh foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate. In time, you’ll notice that your locks will be healthier and stay cleaner for longer. In fact, you may want to read this article about how to wash your hair using only baking soda and vinegar.
Images courtesy of miss pupik