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You may be feeling left out of the hair-dye club if your skin doesn’t cooperate with chemicals. Despair no more! There are gentler alternatives for you, many of which are kinder to your mane as well. So while your bleach-blond friends are combating breakage, you can relax and know that your shiny tresses are healthy and strong. Of course, perform a skin-sensitivity test before you use a new product: Just because something is natural doesn’t mean you can't be allergic to it, too.
By far, the gentlest hair dyes are the ones you can find in your kitchen pantry. Do a tea rinse to bring out certain shades in your hair. For blond, use chamomile tea; for red tones, use rooibos tea; and for brown hair, use black tea. Steep two teabags in 2 cups of water, cool the tea, and massage it into clean, damp hair. Leave the tea in your hair for 10 minutes and follow up with shampoo and conditioner. Tea rinses are safe to repeat weekly, so keep using them to work toward a more-vibrant color.
More Home Hair Colors
Time to get messy with food! To redden your tresses, apply equal parts of carrot and beet juice to your tresses and let it soak for 10 minutes before washing it out. To bring out brown hues, soak your hair in room-temperature black coffee. Looking to expedite those summer highlights? Douse your hair in lemon juice and olive oil and catch some rays -- the sun will bring out natural highlights in any hair color. To bring color back to graying hair, do a rosemary hair rinse by simmering rosemary leaves and sage in water. Strain the water, cool it to room temperature and apply it to your hair daily -- no need to rinse it out.
Henna and Plant Dyes
When you hear henna, you may think of clownish orange tresses. Though henna in its purest form does turn your hair red-orange, henna can be combined with other plants to make a variety of colors. When combined with indigo, henna turns brown hair black. Henna and walnut leaves turn hair brown. “Neutral” henna, a combination of henna and the natural herb cassia obovata, turns hair golden-blond. When you purchase henna for your hair, read the ingredients on the package. While some companies claim to provide 100-percent henna products, many henna hair dyes on the market actually contain chemicals that may irritate your sensitive skin.
Depending on the type of skin sensitivity you have, you may be able to use a gentle semipermanent dye on your tresses without breaking out. Semipermanent dye contains negligible amounts of peroxide and no ammonia, meaning it’s way gentler on your hair than typical dye. If you're allergic to paraphenylenediamine, a common chemical in permanent hair-dye products, you're in luck: semi-permanent dyes are PPD-free and therefore safe to use. Don't get semipermanent dyes confused with demi-permanent dyes, however; the latter type contains higher levels of peroxide, which can irritate sensitive skin.