Color Your Hair the Natural Way With These 4 DIY Recipes

In my recent article Avoid These 7 Toxic Chemicals Found in Most Hair Dyes, I list the 22 hair dye toxic chemicals banned in Europe. The toxic dyes and preservatives found in commercial hair dyes may produce severe allergies, scalp and lung irritation, rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer of the bladder.

Since toxic chemicals may still be found in American brands and in other countries, it is up to us to stay informed and make the best buying decisions in terms of body care products. It is also good to note that some “natural” hair dye brands may also include some toxic dyes and preservatives in the mix, such is the case with some henna dye products.

I have collected some homemade DIY natural hair dye recipes that will help you keep healthy and won’t cost you a fortune.

You will need to realize that most natural dyes will not change completely the color of your gray hair. It will coat your hair cuticle, enhance your natural color and will give you a highlight effect. You may also need to apply your favorite method a few times a week, and may even need to wait a few weeks before you notice any effect.


1. Henna (For Brunettes or Blondes)

Henna powder as natural hair dye
Henna is an efficient and long lasting natural hair dye ( Shutterstock)

The powder of the herb henna has been used as a hair dye for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is by far the most widely used natural hair dye, as its brown-reddish coloration will last the longest. Applying henna also conditions and nourishes your hair. Mix henna with indigo leaves powder for a darker shade.

How to mix henna:

Mix your henna powder in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil ( some people also add an egg to the mix) until you get a smooth paste. Wet your hair and apply the paste with a brush, separating your hair in segments as you would with any other commercial hair dye.

Wrap your head with cling film or a few plastic bags attached with a rubber band, and finally with a shower cap. The longer you leave the henna on the darker the shades you will get, but will need at least a few hours. Then rinse with water and you may apply a natural conditioner but no shampoo.

Adding essential oils to henna paste

Essential oils contain terps oils (monoterpene alcohol) which will help darken and fasten your henna dye. The safest ones to use are Tea Tree oil (cineaol), Geranium oil (geraniol), Cajeput and Niaouli oils (both have cineol and terpineol) and Clove oil (eugenol). Add a few drops to your henna paste.


2. Tea or Coffee (For Brunettes Only)

Four different varieties of coffee beans. (*Shutterstock)
Four different varieties of coffee beans. (*Shutterstock)


Measure one cup of water per tablespoon of coffee. Make your coffee as usual and let it cool down for half an hour. You may add a tablespoon or two of olive oil or coconut oil to help condition your hair.

Cover your hair with cling film or plastic bags (attached with a rubber band) and a shower cap and leave it on for as long as possible, a minimum of hour and a half. Then rinse with water. Then rinse with water and you may apply a natural conditioner but no shampoo.


3. Lemon juice

Lemon juice is the natural way to lighten up your hair, without the need of the toxic Hydrogene Peroxide (Shutterstock)

Lemon juice is the natural way to lighten up your hair.


Mix one cup of fresh lemon juice with a cup of camomile tea (not hot). Rinse your hair with it and spend time out in the sun. Repeat this every week to get results within a month.


4. Herbal Rinses

Natural herb infusion in mason jar
You may boil your coloring infusions or leave them in the sun to infuse naturally (Queen of Ad Hoc via Compfight cc)

You can boil various herbs, teas and roots to make a coloring infusion. Let it cool down, strain the liquid and apply it as a rinse to your clean hair. You will need to apply these rinses weekly before you get some dramatic results, as they only color the cuticle of your hair. These herbal rinses will also condition your hair and protect it from harsh environments.

Rinses for Brunettes

. The cooled water left after boiling potatoes

. An infusion of sage leaves and rosemary tea. Make a strong brew and apply to your hair. Leave it on and do not rinse off. Repeat a few times to cover your grey hair.

. Tea infusions made from raspberry leaves, parsley, or catnip.

. An infusion of tea, walnuts and coffee

. An infusion of apple cider vinegar, rosemary and coffee

Rinses for Blonde Shades

. Infusions or teas made from saffron, turmeric, calendula (marigold), Mullein

. Infusion of Avena Sativa (oat straw), licorice root and saffron

. Chamomile tea

. The water from boiling chopped rhubarb in water, cooling and straining. You may also use 3 tablespoons of rhubarb roots in 2 cups of water. Let is sim for 15 minutes and let it cool off overnight. Rinse your hair with the infusion the next day.

Rinses for Red Shades

. Use cool, strong black coffee

. Teas made from rose hips, red hibiscus, calendula or saffron

.  Mix half a cup of beetroot juice with half a cup of carrot juice and massage the mixture in your hair. Leave it on for one hour then rinse. Repeat twice a week for a reddish natural tint.

Rinses for Gray Shades

Use a hollyhock infusion or betony rinse to remove the yellow from gray hair.


Have any of these methods made you want to experiment right away? Let me know of your coloring adventures in the comments below. And remember, donning silver hair is a sign of grace and wisdom.

Senior lady with silver gray hair smiling
When coloring hair seems too cumbersome, let us embrace our graceful silver hair (Shutterstock)



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