color natural hair
color natural hair

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

6 Natural Ways to Color Natural Hair

By Jacqueline Samaroo

Many naturalistas avoid coloring their hair because of the potentially harmful chemicals found in a wide range of commercial hair dyes. But, it is possible to color natural hair using ingredients that are actually good for your hair and scalp. That’s awesome news since changing your hair color is a great way to mix up your style. It allows you to enjoy one of the many benefits of natural hair – its versatility!

So, how do you color natural hair? Turns out you have quite a few options, some of which are probably already sitting in your pantry. Got honey, cinnamon, rosemary, or sage? They (and many other pantry staples) can help you change up your hair color and give it a healthy boost, too!

How to naturally lighten black hair

The best way to change the color of black hair is by lightening it first. And hey, don’t be surprised if lightening your naturally dark hair gives you the exact color change you are after!

Lemon Juice

color natural hair lemonsLemon juice permanently lightens hair by stripping away the pigment.

  • Put freshly squeezed or store-bought lemon juice in a spray bottle.
  • Generously spray the juice in your hair and comb it in.
  • Let it stay for a least an hour (sit in the sun, if possible, for greater effect and more intriguing highlights).
  • Wash your hair.

The results will vary according to how long you leave the juice in your hair and how often you repeat the process.

Honey and vinegar

color natural hair honeyThis method may be sticky but you can count on it to work! It also uses cinnamon which has its own hair-lightening powers.

  • Make a paste from:

1 cup Raw, unpasteurized honey

2 cups Distilled vinegar

1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Cinnamon

  • Add the paste to damp hair. Work in sections and comb it in.
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave the mixture in for a few hours – overnight works best.
  • Wash your hair

Another method calls for simply mixing honey with your favorite conditioner. Apply it to your hair and leave it in for a few hours before washing it out.

How to color natural hair red

You can naturally add red tones to natural hair in a variety of ways. Lighten dark hair first for the best results.

Beet Juice and Carrot Juice

color natural hair beetsBeet juice is a true monster when it comes to dyeing stuff red! That’s fair warning to be mindful of what you wear and how you protect your surroundings as you try our next method to color natural hair.

Use beet juice alone for a red to purplish-red color. Use a combination of beet juice and carrot juice for a more orange-red color.

  • Put on a pair of plastic gloves.
  • Work about a cup of the juice into your hair.
  • Cover with a shower cap and leave it for a few hours.
  • Wash your hair.

Note: You can add a little coconut oil or your favorite essential oil to the juice. This helps to hydrate and condition your hair as the natural dyes in the juice work.

Henna

color natural hair hennaHenna has been used for thousands of years on nails and to color natural hair, as well as for gorgeous natural henna tattoos.

For dark hair, it is good advice to add powdered chamomile (a natural hair lightener) to get a lighter color. Use half as much chamomile as you do henna.

  • Mix half cup henna powder with a quarter cup water. You will need more water if you also add chamomile powder.
  • Let it sit and thicken for a few hours.
  • Part your hair into sections and comb the henna paste into your damp hair.
  • Leave the dye in your hair anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the color you are after.
  • Wash your hair.

Henna powder, on its own, gives an orange-red color. You can adjust the color by adding another natural dye.

How to color natural hair that’s gone gray

Here are two options you can try if you are looking to cover grays. They also work beautifully at deepening the color of naturally dark hair.

Coffee

color natural hair coffee beansLove coffee so much you feel like you could bathe in it? Well, a coffee foot bath is actually a (healthy) thing. And, if you have gray hairs, you also have a great excuse for pouring coffee on your head! It covers grays very nicely, indeed.

  • Brew a strong cup of coffee. Use dark ground coffee for the best results.
  • LET IT COOL.
  • Add your favorite conditioner and a couple of tablespoons of coffee grounds to half a cup of the coffee.
  • Apply the mixture to your clean, damp hair.
  • Leave it in up to a few hours.
  • Wash your hair.

Sage

color natural hair sageYou probably already know sage is good for you on the inside thanks to its many vitamins and minerals, as well as its antioxidant power. But, did you know dried sage can also be used to darken natural hair and cover grays? Here’s one way to do it:

  • Steep a cup of sage in about 4 cups of boiling water for at least half an hour. You can also use equal parts sage, rosemary, and nettle to make up the one cup.
  • LET IT COOL.
  • Strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the liquid into your damp hair and comb it through.

How to make your Natural hair dye last

You most likely will have to repeat the natural dyeing process in order to get the final result you are after. It is very important, therefore, to protect your color each step of the way.

  • Avoid using heat on your hair.
  • If you must use heat, ensure you apply a heat protectant first.
  • Cut back on how often you wash your hair.
  • Use filters to remove chlorine from the water you use to wash your hair.
  • Protect your hair when you go swimming – at the beach or pool.

For more helpful color-protecting hints, check out Caring for Your Natural Hair Before and After a Dye Job – 11 Tips.

OK, now it’s your turn! Share with us any other ways you know to color natural hair!