Hair dye

Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: January 20, 2017
Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye

Many commercial dyes contain chemical ingredients that can irreparably damage the hair, dry it out, make it much weaker, and trigger an allergic reaction. However, to enhance the tone of our hair and get her look more beautiful and radiant, you can dye it with some natural extracts that are not aggressive and which can temporarily intensify color and even hide some grey. See this OneHowTo article for information on the natural alternatives to hair dye you have at your fingertips. We'll show you how to use them so you can give yourself a salon treatment in your very own home.

  1. Henna
  2. Walnut
  3. Black tea
  4. Chamomile
  5. Tips for using natural dyes


Henna is a dye that is obtained from a plant that's also called henna which grows in northern regions of Africa and India. It has been traditionally used by Arabs for tattoos on the hands and feet of women, but also as a natural red hair dye as it helps to bring out this color when applied to the hair fibers. In addition, it is the only dye that can also dye the hair roots and last a longer time, approximately up to 3 months.

It is not only a great option to enhance the color of red hair, but can also boost hair condition, leaving it shiny, thick and nurtured.

If you want to dye your your hair black, you can try black henna or Indigo.

How to dye your hair with henna

First, you must purchase the henna from a company specializing in the sale of natural products. When acquired, follow these steps:

  1. In a plastic container, mix 30 g (1.05 oz) of henna with 125 ml of hot water and stir to create a thick paste. These amounts will vary depending on the amount of hair you have.
  2. Protect your hands with plastic gloves and apply the henna paste to dry hair. Do not apply to freshly washed hair as the pigments will not stick as well. Spread it throughout the length of the hair, focusing on the roots.
  3. When you have applied this, wait 1 hour and, after this time, rinse with water until it runs clear.
  4. Finally, wash your hair as usual and apply a conditioner.

It is important to note that applying henna to dyed hair can lead to uneven patches, and is therefore not advisable.

Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye - Henna


Many commercial dyes have walnut leaves in their list of ingredients. This is excellent for enhancing the color of brown hair and covering first greys in dark hair. All this is thanks to the juglone found in their leaves. This is a natural dye and provides an intense chestnut hue. It also gives hair a sleek look and makes hair some resistant to damage.

How to dye hair with walnut

To unify the tone of brown hair or intensify color, first buy walnut leaves, from a health food store. The steps to dye your hair with walnut are:

  1. Put 1 liter of water to boil in a pot and, when it starts boiling, add 2 handfuls of walnut leaves.
  2. Reduce the temperature of the heat and let boil for 5 minutes more.
  3. Wait for it to cool and strain the mixture so that you're left with just liquid.
  4. Apply all over the hair evenly and leave to penetrate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. After this time, rinse and wash as you normally would.
Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye - Walnut

Black tea

Black or dark hair can benefit from natural dyes such as black tea, which can darken hair without damaging it. It can even restore hair to its original color if you've had streaks or highlights.

The treatment, in this case, is quite simple. Simply prepare 2 cups of concentrated black tea. Then, wait for it to cool for a few minutes and use as a hair rinse. Simply pour it over your hair and spread evenly. Leave on for about 20 minutes. Finally rinse and wash hair as usual. Repeat the treatment two more times if you want a darker shade.

In addition to black tea, coffee can also help to darken your hair naturally. Want to know how? See our article one How to dye hair with coffee.

Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye - Black tea


Another effective natural hair dye? this time for blondes or light brunettes - is chamomile. This plant is used to lighten hair and gives it a golden tone, leaving it looking radiant and beautifully sun kissed. It can also be used to cover grey hair for light-haired people.

Boil 4 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers in 1/2 liter of water, let stand for 5 minutes and strain. Use the remaining liquid as a hair rinse after shampooing the hair. Leave it on for about 20 or 30 minutes before washing as you would normally.

Another option that can offer longer lasting results is to add 1 tablespoon of turmeric to the above mixture when boiling the chamomile flowers. You must apply natural dye in the same way as above, that is, as a rinse.

Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye - Chamomile

Tips for using natural dyes

For these natural dyes to look wonderfully even and natural, it is important that you consider some tips when using them:

  • When preparing them, use plastic utensils and containers. Avoid metal or aluminium to prevent them from losing their properties.
  • Once you apply them to the hair, cover your hair with plastic wrap so that the dye penetrates better thanks to the heat it provides.
  • Repeat the treatment after a few days for more noticeable and long-lasting results.
  • If your hair is more dry than usual, it is important that you hydrate it with a nourishing mask.
  • Wash your hair with natural shampoos to prevent the natural dye color from fading so quickly.
  • Note that natural dyes do not offer the same results and are not as long-lasting as chemical dyes. However, they do even out and intensify your existing color without damaging the hair.
Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye - Tips for using natural dyes

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Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye