Herbal hair color

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Herbal hair colors use plant based ingredients to color hair. With rising concerns about toxic hair color ingredients, the popularity of herbal hair colours and natural hair color has been increasing.

It has been a popular option for people wanting to enhance the color of their hair but are unwilling to use the harsh and, in some cases, potentially harmful chemicals found in most commercial dyes and color rinses.

Why should I be aware of this?

With many studies showing that there could be a link between chemical ingredients and incidence of cancer, skin problems and allergies, there is a need to look for safer options like herbal hair colors. There is a popular belief that herbal hair colors do not use chemical ingredients and have no side effects. This is only partly true.

Herbal hair color does not result in hair fall.

All about herbal hair colors

Herbal hair colors can be either herbal products manufactured by companies at their factory outlets or they can be herb based home remedies for colouring hair.

Herbal hair colors available in the market

Almost all packaged herbal hair color products have some chemical ingredients or the other. They might be using one or more herbal extracts as their primary ingredient, but most use chemicals preservatives, emulsifiers, colorants (that which gives the bright and healthy color to the hair color product), perfumes and stabilizers.

Moreover, to make the color job last beyond the next shampoo, the hair color should be able to open the hair cuticle to lighten and deposit color.

In addition, the herbal hair color product might have natural ingredients such as walnuts, henna, rhubarb, sage, rosmemary etc.

Homemade remedies for coloring hair

You can make hair dyes from many ingredients which are normally in your pantry. Choice of ingredients will depend on what color you want your hair to be. Temporary coloring can be done by using food coloring or powdered drink mix. With these you can achieve various colors from yellow, red to blue. For grey hair try the following recipe.

  • Mix rosemary and sage in water.
  • Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After removing from fire allow the mixture to steep for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Apply on your hair.
  • Wash with normal shampoo.

With walnut husks and water too homemade dye can be prepared. After boiling walnut husks in water for 15 minutes, strain the mixture and apply on your hair. Other natural hair coloring ingredients include cranberry juice, tea and henna. These are gentler on you hair than chemical preparations but they will typically create a temporary hair tint and do not last as long.

Natural Rinses for adding Color and Highlights to hair using Herbs, Fruits & Vegetables -- These rinses work over a period of time to color and add highlights to the hair. First wash and rinse hair, then pour any of these rinses over the hair 10 - 15 times catching the excess in a bowl or the bathroom basin as it runs off the hair, reusing the rinse by pouring it over the hair again.


  • Cook an unpeeled potato in boiling water. Cool for a little while. Dip a cotton ball in the cooking water, cover and then saturate the hair, being careful not to get any on skin. Leave on hair for 20 minutes then rinse out.
  • Herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Raspberry leaves, Parsley, Ivy Berries, Catnip, Black coffee, Black Tea (for chestnut highlights) when made into strong infusions and used repeatedly, help in add strong highlights to the hair.


  • Marigold petals gives golden highlights to light hair and brings out red and gold highlights in light brown and red hair. Saffron, turmeric, calendula, mullein and yellow broom in addition to any yellow blossomed herb or flower also add color and highlights for blondes.
  • Rinse hair with a solution of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to approximately 3 litres of water after shampooing.
  • To bring out highlights and lighten blonde hair, steep 1/2 cup of chamomile tea in one litre of boiling water. Strain and cool till lukewarm. Shampoo hair, then rinse with the tea infusion.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of chopped rhubarb to 3 cups of hot water, simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, cool, then use as a rinse after shampooing.

Just about any yellow-blossomed flower or herb can be used on blond hair, including calendula (it's also called pot marigold), mullein blooms and leaves, yellow broom flowers, saffron, turmeric and quassia chips.


  • Strong black coffee as a final rinse
  • Make a decoction of red hibiscus tea, use as a rinse
  • A Calendula rinse
  • Use an infusion of saffron for a rinse.

Brown hair

  • Rhubarb root adds attractive honey gold tones to light brown hair,

Grey hair

  • Potatoes: Boil potato peels in water, strain, and cool. Use the strained water as an after-shampoo rinse to darken grey hair.
  • Simmer 1/2 cup dried sage in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Steep for 2-3 hours. Strain, use as rinse on clean hair. Leave on until hair has dried, then rinse out. Sage covers the grey hair when used consistently over a period of time.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of apple-cidar vinegar with one gallon of warm water, use as final rinse.

All Hair Colours

Use infusions of any of the following to add color, conditioning, highlights and shine:

  • Catnip: Make a rinse of catnip and water to promote hair growth and shine.
  • Nettle
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary: good as a hair tonic for thinning hair and dandruff and as stimulant for hair growth.
  • Thyme: makes a great stimulating shampoo.
  • Yarrow: Use a yarrow rinse for mild cases of dandruff.

What can I do?

Depending on your requirement you can opt for a herbal dye available in the market or prepare a homemade herbal hair color.

  • The best idea is to simply enrich the natural color of your hair, so avoid trying to make drastic changes (such as turning blond hair to a very deep shade or dyeing grey hair darker than it was originally).
  • If you have recently used commercial dyes, color rinses or straighteners on your hair, you would be wise to test any herbaceous dyestuff before applying , since chemical residues left in your strand may make it impossible to predict the action of the natural treatment.
  • Few really potent herbs such as henna and walnut hulls can be used to color hair naturally. But most herbal dyes are slow acting and have to be used often to reach the required shade. Some plant-based colorants darken, highlight or cover the grey hairs.


Only home made hair colors can be free of chemicals.


  • Herbal hair colors have no chemical ingredients
  • Herbal hair colors are free of side effects
  • Herbal ingredients cannot cause allergies.


  • Although there are a few especially potent exceptions (such as henna and walnut hulls), most herbal dyes act progressively, that is, they should be used repetitively over a period of time until the desired shade is achieved.
  • Furthermore, I don't know of any herb that will actually serve as a bleach, but there are plant-based colorants that will highlight, darken, lighten or cover the gray in your hair.
  • Despite their versatility, however, herbal infusions cannot match the strength of commercial preparations, and, unless you decide to dye your curls black, an organic rinse won't cover your hair's present shade.
  • Herbal dyes aren't permanent and will fade unless renewed occasionally.

See Also


  • Color your hair naturally
  • Non-Toxic Hair Color Facts
  • Finding the Right Hair Color for You
  • A Homemade Hair Dye May Be the Answer!
  • Non-Toxic Hair Color Facts