Nothing wrong with a tiny bit of vanity... just so long as it doesn't make you sick! Or ruin your hair either, in this case. Fortunately, people have been dyeing their hair for centuries before commercial chemical hair treatments came along with their harsh chemicals.
Natural hair coloring recipes are definitely available to give you the hair color you want without the health risks. Henna, for one, is a very popular natural hair color option with lots of variations possible by adding this or that natural ingredient to your hair coloring mix.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Amla Berry Hair Oil
[YEA] 03/08/2013: Serena from Munich, Germany: "Hello everyone, I have been having problems with premature grey hair for many years and read all the posts with my utmost interest.... few things helped a little, few did nothing.
Recently I bought an amla berry indian hair oil and I am super happy with it. My normally curly and dry hair is smooth and shiny and the best thing about it- it coats the greys with the a darker shade- the greys are still visible but not as much so I am going to continue with my routine:
massage the amla oil onto dry hair
put warm hat on and leave it for the night
shampoo next morning
I can really recommand this oil. It also helps prevent dry skin and dandruff
all the best S."Replies
04/25/2013: Leah from Philadelphia, Pa replies: "Hi all, I've read on other online discussion boards that premature grey can be reversed with vitamin b12 and other b vitamins. One woman in her 50s reports taking b complex for other health issues and after a few months noticing her original color coming back in. Also Dr Myhill notes early grey is an indication of b12 deficiency and the resulting anemia. Hope this helps. Nothing better than your hair being colored from within!"
Ginger, Mustard, Curry Powder, Turmeric
01/28/2008: Jackie from Grand Rapids, Minnesota: "since introduced to this site, i have eliminated chemicals wherever possible. first, i stopped all anti-aging products on face and got rid of fluoride toothpaste. i cleanse with bkg soda and use jaboba oil or vegetable gycerine with drop of essential oil for moisturizer sometimes castor oil around the eyes.use minimal amt of non animal tested pressed powder blush and eyeliner. i indeed look younger and soft and my eyesight has improved. i think the antiaging products might be absorbed into the eye itself or into the blood vessels. any thoughts on this? my skin is much better.
next i found this website, black hair media hair forum. gives recipes for coloring hair using herbs. i wish i had known about this from teenage years. i invented my own recipe that works very well and is very easy to do. i have chin length white hair with darker grey at the neckline.
1 tsp ground ginger, i tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp curry powder and a pinch of tumeric. (be careful with tumeric, hair can turn clown yellow if you use too much. all of these ingredients are spices that can be bought in any grocery store. i put the spices in a bowl, pour one cup of boiling water over them, cover tightly and let cool. next strain saving the liquid. pour over washed and dried hair about 5-6 times. i use a basin in the sink or tub to catch the mixture then pour back into the cup and repeat 5-6 times. don't rinse,squeeze out excess water cover with shower cap and leave on about 30 minutes. rinse with cool water lastly i add a dash of vinegar to cup of cool water and pour over and leave in. acts like a conditioner and keeps the color in better. the mixture doesn't stain my skin,sink or hands. there is some dripping under the shower cap so have a towel handy. this gives me a natural light golden blonde hair color, and my darker hair blends in nicely.it washes out with each shampoo so has to be done each time. the gray is comletely covered using this method, even better than hair dye which often won't cover the temples or the sides. the spices and the vinegar condition it and idon't have to use a conditioner.it's recommended to a patch test with herbs and spices first."Replies
08/03/2010: Sara from Toronto, Canada replies: "I just read this blog and was fascinated and wanted to try it out but when it said it would turn my hair a golden blonde I was a bit disappointed and I was wondering since my hair is black would it become a light brown or something?? And when you said it washes out with each shampoo so it has to be done each time- does that mean the vinegar or the hair color/dye?"
[YEA] 06/06/2011: Janice from Se Hinterland, Q'ld Australia replies: "Yes.Great results! I used this recipe' yesterday but forgot to include the mustard. It works even without the mustard. Next time I'll add the mustard yet knowing it works beautifully without it, I can compare the difference. I am amazed and delighted at the results! . It covers regrowth and gives a lovely light flaxen-colour blonde results on my lighter hair with my dark streaks seeming darker. I'm happy with it. Thanks for posting."
[NAY] 04/04/2012: Way West from Saint Paul, Minnesota replies: "This did not work at all. I followed every single detail of the directions that Jackie typed and tried it three different times (on different days) and still nothing. My hair color is a dark brown and looks exactly the same before and after. This is a waste of time to try because all it does is leave little seeds from the solution in your hair. Try the Henna and Indigo one. That might be the next one I will try."
10/01/2012: Shucky from Toronto, Ontario, Canada replies: "I have been using tumeric for a natural looking blonde colour in my white hair for years. I used to be a copper blonde.
To start off, put the tumeric, mustard, and ginger in 1/4 c. Of conditioner, and paint into the hair. Put on a shower cap and leave for 30 minutes. Then wash out.
Now add 1 T. Of your spice mix to 1/4 c. Boiling water and mix well. Add 1 c. Shampoo, mix well, then pour back into a plastic bottle. Use this to wash your hair, and it should stay a nice blonde colour. If you need to boost it once in a while, do it with the colour conditioner, but don't use just this frequently or you will have yellow stains on the necklines of all your shirts and on your pillow cases."
Henna and Indigo
[YEA] 03/17/2009: Amber from Portland, Oregon: "Many people (including myself) use natural plants to color thier hair, such as Henna (for Orange/Red color, and adds brilliant shine to hair), Henna with Indigo (to achieve brunette to black colors), and Cassia; a plant that can be used to add shine or add a bit of golden color to very pale blond or white hair. There are other plants and spices that can enhance tone as well. (for more on this, read on)
About the results: I am a dark blonde who used to lighten my hair. I have colored my hair all types of ways, and most recently I decided to 'go dark'. Well, I can tell you that nothing colors and strengthens my hair like the henna. And I now use the henna + indigo mix to achieve a very exotic dark color, that fully saturates (dyes used to wash out easily), shines, and is actually healthy for my hair! The shine you can achieve with the use of henna is head-turning and like no other. Henna binds with your hair, so it is much different than a dye. You can also use chemical lighteners or dyes over it, or apply it over chemically dyed/lightened hair, and as long as you are using PURE henna, you will get nice results. The horror stories you may have heard only relate to people using 'compound' hennas, again, like you would buy in the store, mixed with other ingredients.
How it basically works: Henna can be combined with an acid (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) and left to sit for 12 hours to release the dye. It can then be added to color the hair (usually for 2 hours) or it can be diluted and/or applied for a lesser duration, to add just a touch of tint and gloss to the hair. Indigo can be mixed with water and mixed into the Henna, or applied seperately after a Henna treatment. Cassia can be applied alone, or added to the aforementioned mixes. These plants should be purchased in a pure form (not in mixes from the beauty supply).
Where you can find out more: You can find a wealth of information at this website: www.hennaforhair.com about how to color your hair with these plants, and a very interesting history. There are also personal mixes, techniques, forums where you can ask questions about your specific hair type/goals, and order the products. You can also order small samples very inexpensively so that you can experiment on 'brush harvested' hair. I can't say enough great things about the women who run this website. If you are curious, and check it out, they offer all the info and help you need to become confident about trying this.
I have also since read on many natural health and hair sites that Honey can be used as a natural lightener. So if you are a blonde, perhaps that will work for you, as well as lemon juice. One could also use the cassia to get the brilliant shine that henna gives, without turning into a redhead! If I ever grow my natural hair out again, this is what I will do!
One last thing I want to say, is that it feels very good to get off of the chemical-dye train, to find natural plant dyes that achieve colors and results so beauteous that nature could only provide. It may seem time-consuming at first, but after learning and becoming experienced with the use of these dyes (and it doesn't take long!) it has become a nice beauty ritual; it feels more natural and personal...and has become something I look forward to doing, taking time to relax while the mix does it's magic, and the hair is always more beautiful each time! It has been about 2 years that I have been using these plant dyes, and I am glad to be able to share this info on earth clinic, so that perhaps others can start using this too."
03/18/2009: C.S.M from VERO BEACH, FL replies: "Yes!!! I am thrilled, too, to be off chemical hair dyes!!!
Using information from Long Hair Community--Henna Forum, I bought pure Body Art Henna.
I tried numerous experiments using hair from my brushes until I found the result I was looking for.
This product colors my grey hair as no previous boxed henna could. I mix it with cassia to give me a beautiful, brilliant, non fading strawberry blond. Leaves hair stronger. I am amazed!
Thank you Earth Clinic for being here!"
07/30/2009: Nooree from Miami, Florida replies: "Thanks! for this post. I have been using Henna to Dye my hair for a long time but I do not know what Cassia is. Where can I get it and how much to use with henna. It seems like Cassia mixing with Henna will give a nice shine to your hair. Even though Henna itself gives a little shine also. I have been mixing henna and keeping it for just few hours before using in my hair. I will keep it soaked for over night now before using it, to enhance the color. Thank you Amber and C.S.M. both for this knowledge. Thanks you every one on Earth Clinic to make life easier with natural products and God bless Ted for being an Angel for us to research and bring the remedies for us. Thanks alot. I learned alot of this site."
08/06/2009: Amber from Portland, Oregon replies: "Hi Norree: Cassia is another plant that can be used for hair color. It has very little dye in it however, just a small touch of golden which will show up on only the lightest hair colors. It will add shine and gloss, and is often used to dilute the color of Henna, for achieving a less red-orange color. A great site to visit and learn all about these haircolor methods and uses is HennaforHair.com"
08/07/2009: Tricia from Ireland replies: "Amber, I have been looking into this thru a few different websites. I cannot find the answer to this question on any of them and there doesn't seem to he any professional henna-ists in my area. Although I am totally grey haired because I have been using a permanent chemical colourant on my hair the main body of hair is chemically browned and I have one inch in lenght of total grey regrowth. If I use a BAQ henna plus mix to dye it brown will my grey hair be the same colour as the main body and if not how do I go about making sure that the two are the same?. If you don't know the answer you may be able to send me in the right direction. Henna for hair website which I found the most informative only seems to cover the topic of grey interspersed throughout the hair and not regrowth. thanks."
02/09/2010: Lorie from Chico, California replies: "Just a note to be careful with Henna products. I own a salon that uses 97-99% plant derived hair color so we often have guests who come to us because they want organic color. We have had a lot of experience with guests who have Henna on their hair. It's fine if they are staying dark or going darker. Where Henna causes problems is when you are trying to lift the color out of your hair. With Henna, the more you try to lift the color out the more you push the red molecule in - resulting in brassy reddish/orange hair. Once Henna is on your hair, there is no way to lift it out, you have to let it grow out. Also be careful with Lemon Juice to lighten hair. Lemon juice will lighten your hair about a level. If you are already light it can lighten it to a nice blond color. If you are dark enough where you still have a orange undertone, lemon juice will just lighten you enough to take you to a brassy blond. Any time you are coloring or lightening your hair you have to think about the undertone you are exposing and whether or not you want to enhance it or neutralize it. That being said, it helps to know what products you will need to achieve the results you want. What works for one person may not work for another."
02/09/2010: A from Pdx, Or replies: "this is not quite true:
that might fit with the 97% grade henna used in that salon, but it should be pointed out that there are two grades of henna: pure, henna and compound henna (this is the stuff you see in boxes at salons and is mixed with chemicals)
pure henna DOES lift, and easily. this is widely known. search hennaforhair.com forums and pages for more info.
it is INDIGO that is permananent. henna can be lightened with peroxide or bleach, and can also be lightened with honey. i have done blonde highlights on my henna'd hair no problem, and this is widely understood about being able to lighten henna, but NOT indigo.
just wanted to set things straight. if you are considering adding henna to your hair, it is extremely important to use pure 100% henna (body art quality)."
03/03/2010: Prakash from Mumbai, India replies: "where to buy indigo in india? though henna is easily available I have 80percent grey hair, only henna makes my hair orangish would love to have brown colour using plant dye"
03/17/2010: Ranjana from Mumbai, India replies: "My aunt has 80% grey hair and she uses Herbal powder which has catnip, nettle, horsetail & indigo. She mixes this powder with mehndi and she gets beautiful burgundy colour."
03/18/2010: Prakash from Mumbai, India replies: "Dear Ranjana, From where does your aunt get this catnip, nettle, horsetail and indigo powder which she mixes with henna please reply i'd be highly obliged I 'm dying to colour my hair naturally dark without using chemical dyes which are anyways very harmful in the long run and I'm not happy with my hennaed orange hair I get conscious of my hair and it affects my life and career"
03/18/2010: Pr from Houston, Texas, Usa replies: "Prakash, I am using henna for my hair and I am happy with the results. Be sure to get the best grade henna you can find. I found mine by typing in food grade henna or organic henna on the internet. I than call the companies to be sure they were selling the best grade which will be more expensive, but worth it. Don't buy pre-mixed packaged henna at health food stores as these also contain heavy metals; at least here in the USA. I am pretty sure the company I get my henna from imports it from India."
03/20/2010: Ranjana from Mumbai, India replies: "Dear Prakash I' m really sorry to know that grey hair is affecting you so badly I asked my aunt about the herbal powder she mixes with henna and she said she gets home deliverd by calling on this number 9757393383 Hope this helps. I'd like to tell you don't be so conscious of your hair and grey hair doesn't look that bad in fact on some it looks great maybe you are one of them. All the best"
03/27/2010: Zo from Gaithersburg, Md. replies: "Hello,
I am using henna but its soo orange, Im surprized that there are hundreds of natural colors that are used when making rugs, but all we have for our hair is henna. Isn't there any natural BROWN hair dye out there? my hair is brown, and the roots are bright orange..help"
[YEA] 11/18/2010: Amber from Pdx, Ca replies: "Hi Zo: Check the Henna for Hair website and forum for info on Buxus and Indigo, both natural plant dyes that can be used on hair and mixed with Henna to create anything from dark blonde to dark brown. Tons and Tons of mix ratios, photos and mixes abound there! I can say firsthand that I've achieved many dark blonde to brown tones from using Henna and Indigo mixed together and left on for a short time (45m - 1hr) (considered a 'gloss) and my hair is light blonde (I'm growing the roots out verrrry gradually from a Henna/Indigo jet black) so it really does work. Once I've grown out more of my natural color I will turn to lightening it with honey. Info on this can be found on the Long Hair Community Forum. They've done lots of research and basically have it down to a science. I can't wait to try!
One more comment is that since I've been using body art quality (it's VERY important to avoid 'compound' mixes usually found in salons) natural hair dyes in the last 4 years it has become a beauty ritual and a nice habit of slowing down and doing something that makes my hair way more luxurious and shiny... As opposed to slopping smelly chemical stuff that burns the skin and waiting it out... For natural haircolor, research and reading need to be done first, but the benefits are very hard to outweigh once you get the hang of it."
[YEA] 12/21/2010: Zee from Johor Bahru, Malaysia replies: "Organic henna when mixed with tea becomes dark red or burgundy depending on how long you leave them on your hair. Organic henna with coffee becomes dark brown. I tried them and the color is very stunning."
[YEA] 12/26/2010: Raven from Fresno, Ca replies: "I purchase powdered henna from the Indian Grocery and add a bit of lemon juice, cinnamon, and coconut oil to heated water. It comes out as a very natural looking reddish brown. You'll avoid chemicals, have healthy hair, and save a ton of money."
10/07/2011: Savannah from Jacksonville, Florida replies: "Hey!! I dye my hair black.. My hair is naturally strawberry blonde, [so reddish] well, I am so ready to be off chemical dyes, so I would LOVE to have a direct, exact measurement recipe for dying hair black with the henna and indigo, and also how to get pure henna and indigo. I am clueless on all of this so I need all the info I can get. I know your post is almost a year old but I would love to hear back from you with step by step intructions. Thankyou!!"
10/07/2011: Bess from Calgary, Alberta, Canada replies: "Hi Savannah - I'm not the original poster (Amber is) but she recommended an excellent Web site dedicated to using henna. It will tell you what you need to know. Everyone's hair is different (texture, colour, amount of gray, etc. ) so you may have to do a test using hair collected from your hairbrush and adjust your henna mix accordingly.
I use henna but I just get the premade stuff online because, well, I'm lazy. Even then it took a while to get the right mix (probably because I have a lot of gray). I use light brown (which isn't, really - it comes out much darker) and a bit of marigold blonde. I tried adding some red henna to the mix but I looked like Ronald McDonald.
The best things about henna are the incredible shine and lustrous colour. However, it is quite time consuming, messy and, for a few days, your head smells really "earthy" - even if you put fragrant spices like ginger or cinnamon in the mix.
Good luck! Cheers, Bess"
10/10/2011: Savannah from Jacksonville, Florida replies: "hello~ thankyou so much for that reply, I found everything I need. Really appreciated! : )"
10/12/2011: Sam from North Miami Beach, Florida replies: "Hello... Is there a Salon in Miami, Florida that can do the correct process using Henna turning a Grey head to a Black head. I am VERY sensitive to chemical dyes and can only use Beautiful which doesn't last past one wash. THANKS for your time"
Reactions to Hair Dye
01/28/2013: Lou from Tyler, Tx: "I've been trying to repair my hair that has been falling out. I used to use the L'Oreal 10 minute dye. I am not blaming L'Oreal, I think it happened from protein powder raising my DHT in the hair follicles. My scalp is sensitive too, though. I have been applying unscented castor oil to the scalp and sleeping with a thin shower cap - the dollar store kind. You can do this once a week. It should repair your scalp and your hair should grow back (hopefully). Hope this helps."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 01/16/2012: Ariel from Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States: "Hi, I have a question about allergy to hair dyes. I had recently dyed my hair from black to light brown with the hair dye by Loreal Preference.
I read all the directions and did everything right. Then after I rinsed the excess dye out, my scalp felt so sensitive and sore. I put the conditioner in my hair and then rinsed it out, but the soreness of my scalp was still there. I felt my scalp and it feels really warm like a slight burning sensation. So I've gently washed my scalp with a gentle shampoo the next day and then rinsed it out. But my scalp still is sore. I don't know what to do. The hair dye that I had used had the ingredient (PPD) in it. I researched this ingredient and it has been linked to symptoms of soreness and tenderness of the scalp when used in hair dye. Obviously I must be having symptoms of the PPD ingridient but I don't know how to stop the soreness. The soreness and tenderness of my scalp is giving me a headache and it's impossible for me to sleep. How do I stop the soreness of my scalp? Please help!!"Replies
01/17/2012: Timh from Louisville, Usa replies: "Ariel, to protect and strengthen your skin and scalp take at least 10,000 iu's Vit-A and 400 iu's Vit-E daily in addition to a potent whole food multi."
03/20/2012: Sugarcane from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "You just have to wait for a few weeks before it goes back to normal. It is really uncomfortable, I've been there. I washed my hair everyday because of that problem. My hair is long and it was so hard. It was a second time I dyed my hair and found out that I have a bad chemical reaction. I even got lumps around my ears that took months to get gone. Now I have my hair the way it is even though grey hair starts to appear, I don't want to go through it again whatsoever."
03/09/2013: Leon from New York replies: "Hi Timh from Louisville, Ky: You are full of knowledge! Can you recommend black hair dye that is "safe" and reasonably price to use ? I have been using Just for Men. Thanks!"
03/11/2013: Timh from Louisville, Ky, Usa replies: "Leon: I don't know much about "hair products", so I guess it only seems like I am full of knowledge.
As for naturals, E.C. testimonials are many for Black Strap Molasses (BSM) to slow or reverse graying hair. Complete B Vitamin and extra Biotin are good for healthy hair. And for aging in general, many products like Human Growth Hormone (HGH) are beneficial. Avena Sativa (Wild Oats) helps the body free Testosterone which also helps protect the prostate. 3+ mg Melatonin before retiring is also recommended as anti-aging."
09/20/2011: Rajeev from Vasai Road,thane, Maharashtra, India: "I AM LOOKING FOR A HOME MADE RECIPE FOR BLACK HAIR DYING FROM HERBAL INGREDIENTS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE. COULD YOU PLEASE HELP OUTRCDESHPANDE/ 91 9665213652 rajivdpde1(at)gmail.com"
Other Pages of Interest:
Natural Hair Conditioners