by Dawn Michelle of Minimalist Beauty

Women have colored there hair for centuries, and hair color is now a multibillion dollar industry. If your hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month, hair color becomes a never ending necessary beauty treatment. If you are trying to grow out your hair to long lengths, chemical treatment makes it challenging, and can also be toxic to your body.

The Double Standard and Toxicity

A common suggestion for growing longer healthy hair for all hair types is to stop dyeing your hair with traditional hair color. This is a touchy topic for so many women. There certainly is a double standard with men looking distinguished with “salt and pepper” hair, and women not having that luxury. The right hair color can brighten your skin tone, enhance your eye color, and create a luminous vibrancy to their overall look.

The problem with consistently coloring your hair for years and years is that many women do not really know how to care for colored hair. There is more to treating chemically colored hair other than maintaining the color. Once your hair has been chemically altered, it needs consistent nurturing.

Even if you do know how to care for color treated hair, as you get older your hair texture changes, and coloring mature hair can make it thin and become extremely damaged as it is more delicate than it once was. The maintenance of color treated hair can also be very expensive. The demarcation line of traditional hair dye can be quite obvious, and the consistent hair coloring cycle continues.

Hair dyes are one of the most toxic beauty products that women use. You can read an article by Paula’s Choice called Hair Dye & Cancer Risks here. Another very good article is from the Environmental Working Group connecting coal tar hair dyes with bladder cancers and non-hodgkin’s lymphoma which you can read here. Health reigns supreme over beauty, and there are natural hair coloring options that give amazing results for both darkening and lightening hair.

Natural Hair Color Options & Variations

Although there are less toxic hair dyes on the market, the best natural hair dye option is body art quality henna. Body art quality henna only comes in one color with variations of red depending on where the plant is grown. Yet there is cassia obovata, also called neutral henna, which provides a beautiful golden tone perfect for those with light colored hair, or indigo which creates a rich black shade. These two natural dyes mixed with henna and other natural spices and ingredients can create many hair color variations.

On the Henna For Hair website, you can see basic henna mixes to achieve strawberry, red, auburn, brunette, and jet black hair. You can also see personal henna mixes for how women achieve golden blond shades to a fabulous black. There are many options with henna, cassia, and indigo. These natural options do cover grays extremely well and you can watch a tutorial by Henna For Hair here. You can not lighten your hair with henna or cassia, but you can with honey.

Honey Hair Lightening

There is a lot of information online on naturally lightening hair with honey. When honey is mixed with water it releases a natural peroxide. Here is a very thorough article by Ktani on how to lighten you hair with honey which you can read here. I’ve also seen a fun video by Andrea’s Choice on YouTube about using honey to lighten hair. Watch that video here. Honey has been used to lighten virgin hair, chemically dyed hair, and hennaed hair.

Chemicals Make It Challenging To Grow Extremely Long Hair

If your hair is naturally curly or dry, adding chemicals increase the difficulty of maintaining healthy hair. It already takes a lot of work and patience to grow out your hair, especially if you’d like to grow it to extreme lengths. Not everyone desires long long hair and it truly is a personal preference. When you add the element of chemicals to your hair care regimen the results are not always certain. Using natural hair coloring techniques is a better option. In fact henna has been my main deep conditioning and strengthening hair treatment for the last two years.

What is your experience with traditional hair dye and/or henna? Have you ever tried lightening your hair with honey?


Dawn Michelle is a writer, professional dancer, choreographer, jewelry designer, and pure lover of life and the planet. She has been a part of the entertainment industry for years, and worked in one of the largest beauty retailers as a consultant. Dawn Michelle writes a lifestyle blog called Minimalist Beauty that incorporates organic beauty and cosmetics, eco-friendly fashion and extremely chic style, simple living, and pursuing creativity. She also has an Etsy shop called Azuha which has handmade fiber jewelry, earrings, natural cosmetics and more.