The Best Herbal Hair Dye

Rinsing your hair with natural herbs can gently alter the color.

Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Hair dye fries your hair. Even if you buy an ammonia-free solution, you're still causing damage. If you frequently change your hair color you might notice that your hair dries almost instantly when you get out of the shower -- that means you're in trouble. Your hair is so broken down from dye that it's porous. Instead of exposing your hair to this type of damage over and over again, choose a natural herbal hair dye; your hair will thank you!

Chamomile

Chamomile is commonly used as an herbal hair dye on women with blond hair. If you find that your hair is dull or has brown streaks from over-exposure to the sun, you can apply chamomile weekly to lighten and brighten the color of your hair. To use chamomile as a dye, steep half a cup of flowers in boiling water and strain the mixture. Pour the mixture through your hair 15 times, using a bowl or pot to collect the mixture as it runs through your hair so you can use it again.

Henna

Henna is one of the strongest herbal hair dyes, which makes it great for lighter brunettes, and it's actually good for your hair. Instead of stripping your hair like chemical dyes, henna coats the cuticle (the outer layer of your hair) and actually makes your hair look thicker. Henna tends to turn hair a brassy orange color, but when mixed with other herbs you can get a natural, gorgeous red or brown shade. To make a dye, you can mix part henna powder with other powdered herbs like chamomile or cassia, water (to make it a paste) and a tablespoon of something acidic like vinegar or lemon or grapefruit juice, which releases the color.

Sage

If you have dark brown or black hair, sage is one of the most effective herbal hair dyes. Sage deepens the color of brunette hair and covers grays in women who have black hair. To use sage, steep a handful of the herb in boiling water for 30 minutes. Cool the water, then run it through your hair 15 times. Let your hair soak for 10 more minutes and rinse out the sage with cool water. Keep performing this process once a week until you reach your desired shade.

Tips for Using Natural Dyes

Herbal dyes work best on women who have medium brown to blond hair or want to cover grays. Using them won't give you instant gratification, and you'll have to keep applying and reapplying the different mixtures until you reach a desired shade. They're not strong dyes, but the main benefit is that they won't damage your hair. If you're in between dyes and want to wait before re-exposing your hair to chemicals herbal dyes are an excellent option.

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