Natural Hair Color Recipes

all natural herbal hair color recipes

Since I posted by recipes for homemade shampoo and DIY dry shampoo I’ve gotten several comments and emails asking about natural hair color recipes. I’ve experimented with natural hair lightening in the past, but hadn’t tried dark or red shades. Many wasted herbs and a bunch of randomly colored streaks on the underside of my hair later, I figured out some good dark and red options as well!

I started with sandy blonde hair, so I used the lightening herbs on most of my head, and I’m the blondest I’ve been since childhood (with some interesting red/brown streaks underneath). I think the reds and browns would be even more dramatic on hair that was already darker, but they definitely had my hair not-blonde anymore. If any of you with dark hair try the red or dark colors, please let me know how they work on you!

These are natural colors and as such will create natural hues on your hair. They will not create artificial colors like hot pink, completely platinum blonde, or jet black (ok, so that isn’t a fake color, I just haven’t figured out how to do it…) The blonde/light recipes will actually permanently lighten hair since they naturally bleach it but the red and dark hues will leave a temporary tint for a few weeks (depending on how often you wash it). The sun will help set all the hues.

Also, I haven’t tried these on dyed/chemically treated hair, so I don’t know how it reacts with those types of hair! Not sure why you’d want to use herbal hair dyes? Read the ingredients on conventional dyes and then get back to me! simple smile

Herbs for Light Hair

I’ve tried several basic herbal variations including:

  • Pure, strong Chamomile Tea (brewed with 1/2 cup herbs per 2 cups water) and sprayed or poured on hair and left on for several hours. Sitting in the sun during this time will enhance the lightening effect.
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice, sprayed and brushed through hair and left on for several hours (in the sun) will also produce natural highlights.
  • A chamomile tea rinse at the end of each shower (leave in hair!) will produce smooth, silky hair and naturally lighter hair over time.

For a stronger and faster effect, I’ve used the following recipe. It has left my hair very blonde, easy to work with and not yellowy/brassy at all.

Light Hair Color Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups of strong chamomile tea
  • 1/2 cup strong calendula tea (optional and will produce more golden tones)

Light Hair Color Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle or other small bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray or pour into hair and brush through to get even. This works best when applied to hair directly before sun exposure and left in for 1-2 hours before being rinsed out. Can be used several times a week until desired color is reached. I suggest putting this in your hair and doing a kettlebell workout in the sun for maximum benefit :-)

You can also use this as a rinse at the end of a shower (and then lightly rinse with water) though it will take longer to have an effect. This will not have an overnight dramatic effect, though when I’ve put it in my hair before gardening in the sun for a few hours I definitely noticed a difference.

Herbs for Red Hair

These will create a red/dark strawberry blonde tint in lighter hair and an auburn tint in darker hair. The effects are cumulative, so extended use over time will create a more vibrant red. The easiest thing is to make it part of your hair care routine if you want continual red hair.

Red Hair Color Ingredients

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of calendula flowers or fresh marigold petals from your garden
  • 2 tablespoons (or more for more red hues) of hibiscus petals (also available from Mountain Rose Herbs)

Red Hair Color Instructions

Boil the water and simmer with the calendula/marigold and hibiscus for at least half an hour. Strain off the flowers and store in the fridge. Use as a final hair rinse at the end of each shower. Dry hair in the sun if possible. Repeat daily until desired shade is maintained and then every few days to maintain.

A Faster Way

If you want faster and more permanent results, you can use Henna Hair Color from Mountain Rose Herbs. This is the only brand I can vouch for the quality of, and the results are very dramatic. They have a lot of color variations with red hues (and darker ones) and the results last for several months (or longer if you wash your hair less often). They won’t completely cover grey hair, but will darken it. Don’t use on chemically treated hair or test on a small section before using on the whole head!

Herbs for Brown Hair

It is easiest to darken hair that is already light brown or darker, though these colors will even darken blonde tones. Always test on a small part of hair before using on the whole head, especially on chemically treated hair. Used as a rinse, these will also darken grey hair over time. The more they are used, the darker the results. For faster, dramatic effect, use a Henna Color Like Black, Dark Brown or Mahogany. For a slower or more gentle tone, use these herbs:

Brown Hair Color Ingredients

Brown Hair Color Instructions

Simmer the herbs with water in a small pan for at least 30 minutes or until water is very dark. Remove from heat and when cool, strain herbs out, making sure all small pieces are removed (I use cheesecloth). Store mix in the fridge. Spray or brush into hair about an hour before showering each day, then shampoo as normal. Can also use as a rinse and leave on at the end of each shower. Repeat until desired color is reached. It has a cumulative effect and you probably won’t notice much difference the first few days. The herbs in this mix are also great for getting rid of dandruff and for increasing hair growth…

Herbs for Dark Brown Hair or Black Hair

If you have very light hair, it will be difficult to get really dark hues with just herbs, though with enough patience, it can be done. I’ve listed herbs that work, and you can use any combination. As always, test on a small section of hair before using. Henna hair colors will provide really dark results that last longer, but if you want to go dark gradually, these are the recipes I’ve tried:

  • For very dark hair, put 1/4 cup of Black Walnut Powder in a tea bag or cheesecloth bag and steep in 3 cups of water in a quart mason jar for at least 6 hours or overnight. Use as a rinse in the shower for hair and dry in the sun if possible. This will create VERY DARK hair, especially if you have dry or color treated hair. It will also provide the darkest coverage for grey hair. Repeat daily or as needed to darken and maintain dark shade.
  • Use strong brewed black tea as a final rinse to darken any color hair. This is also nourishing for the hair and will provide a temporary darkening effect on most hair types. Repeat as necessary to get desired shade and sun-dry if possible.

With any of these herbal hair colors, make sure to test on a small part of your hair first, especially with color treated hair and especially with the henna colors as they have more lasting effects. Experiment with any of the above and mixtures of them to get the right mix for your hair!

Ever used natural hair colors or rinses? Please let me know below!

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Reader Comments

      • Hi,

        I love your website but, when down to the practice, your recipes sound not so easy to make:-(
        I need to use natural dying solutions for my black hair, but I have a problem with Henna…in that it turns my grey hair turns red! and not black again. It’s very unpleasant so I am still searching for natural solutions to dye my hair into its natural color which has always been black.

        From what I read above, your black powder and black tea solutions are just a week-for-week remedy? I did not quite understand the “dry in the sun” part. It won’t work with a normal hair dryer?

        Is there any other option to the Henna alternative?

        Thank you for the feedback and thanks for the thorough postings.


        • My sister used to use henna to dye her hair and added coffee powder to make the shade browner. If you google coffee henna hair, you might find out the recipe.

        • actually i am using Nupur henna ……i have grey hair ,,,because of henna whole grey hair is becoming dark brown which i don t like so..would u like to give me suggestion that hair should not turn tool dark brown …and it should become black…plzzzzzzz

        • If you want the henna to cover the gray you need to add 2tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar along with coffee for darker color and longer coverage. Remember coffee has caffeine and you are putting it directly on your scalp, in case anyone is sensitive. Also to make it easier to wash out, add 2tbsp of olive, coconut or almond oil to the mixture as well.

        • If you’re wanting to reach a true black with natural ingredients and you already use henna, I suggest research into Indigofera powder from the indigo dye plant. I just ordered some from a vendor on eBay and it came with papers documenting its natural components as derived from the plant (fancy!). I apply the powder as a paste after an application of henna. The red tones of the henna combine with the blue tones of indigo to create a thick and healthy dark black (after several applications, the stronger the black is depending on your original hair lightness)

          Do some research on henna/indigo dyes and I hope you find success in its use! Personally I love the smell of indigo as well, and it stays in my hair for quite a while.

        • I am pretty sure sun dried means, let the sun dry you hair, not a blow dryer. Otherwise, she would have said “dry you hair”, not sun dry your hair.

      • Hi Katie!

        If I have medium to dark brown hair, will chamomile and calendula turn my hair red? I would really like to have my hair blonde naturally, but with my previous experience with hair dye (unless bleach is added) my hair has always turned red. I would love to know if you know of any natural options to go blonde if you have brown hair.

        Thanks! :)

        • Just a tip, your hair will always have to go through the red/orange levels before turning blonde when it is dark from the beginning. So to get your hair blonde you will have to lighten it quite a bit, yours have probably turned red because you haven’t lightened it enough. When you get it close to something like orange/yellow you can use toners in blue or purple to correct your hair color and turn it cooler.

        • Yes your hair dependin on the level of darkest probably has red undertones and any time someone lightens hair ur hair will show warm untones in Ur case red.

      • I have black hair and started to become white. I tried black walnut hull powder receipe with abolutely not results. Or will it take few applications daily to get some black colour. I do not want to use any store bought dye. Please help me with some solutio. With henna, my white hair turn orange and look like corn husk sometimes.

        • To get black hair, you have to do an application of henna, immediately followed by an application of indigo.
          ACTUAL henna comes in ONLY ONE color: red. Any brand that is selling “henna” in a variety of colors is actually selling blends of various botanicals such as henna, indigo, walnut, cassia, etc. The “dark brown” and “black” shades in these brands are blends of henna and indigo BUT they do not work that well when blended together. You have to use the henna and the indigo separately to get the black shade. This is because henna works best when you mix it with something acidic and let it sit at room temperature for some hours, until the dye molecule is released, before applying it to your hair. Indigo works best when mixed with plain water and used immediately after mixing. So, in trying to make it easier by putting the two botanicals together, these companies end up selling a product that may be simpler to use, but gives very poor results! Go to for very detailed instructions and good quality products. I used to use henna and cassia from them to make my hair red, but these days I am embracing my salt-and-pepper natural color.

      • Thank you, I was also looking to color gray. I have let my natural color grow completely out and I am way too young to have this much gray! It is time for a change! I will try your dark walnut one as my hair (not the gray part is black).

      • I applied Wallnut Hull powder dye number of times to cover my grey hair but this liquid doesn’t color on white hair at all……. When you dry your hair and rinse out with normal water the color comes out and thereafter white hair remain as before. it doesn’t color white hair even 1%…

      • Black wall nut powder used for dyeing grey hair on beard and mustache cause any allergic reaction like chemical hair dyes? I am afraid as I developed allergic reaction to chemical hair dyes.
        please reply with details.

      • Hello-

        I just found this article, but I’ve referred to your wonderful blog before for helpful tips and recipes.

        First may I say, your hair color is lovely using natural herbs & teas!

        I really didn’t know who to ask this about, so I hope you don’t mind me picking your brain.

        I have a natural hair color of a sort of ash medium brown with muted blondish accents. It’s hard to find pics of someone with the same color, but this is close;

        Can I mix a tea used for brown hair (like black tea) with say chamomile or lemon juice to match my natural hair color? Or will they sort of cancel each other out?

        I’m a bit remiss on how I can naturally & permanently cover grey (a few hairs) without chemicals, match my natural hair color, & subtly “highlight” the golden tones without making everything too complex.

        Thanks so much for any help!

    • I love this idea so much I decided to dive in head first!
      I have light/medium brown hair with growing out highlights (turning a little orange now) and slight greys at temple and part-line. It’s time to redye but I got a terrible rash last week from Sauve Keretin Conditioner and it was a chemical wake up call.
      First I boiled a handful of dryed sage and some rosemary twigs and let steep in a bowl until cool to open the hair shaft as recommended.
      Also boiled a handful of Calendula and Chamomile flowers with a lemon and let steep in seperate bowl.
      Strained seperately through coffee filters into Ball Jars and labeled each.
      Washed/conditioned hair (with natural product!) and put Sage/Rosemary on with a squirt bottle. Squeezed out. Sat in the sun in an old dress to partially dry.
      Then I leaned over the sink and rinsed with generous portion of the Calendula/Chamomile.
      Went back in the sun, got a hand mirror to watch.
      Decided to try covering grays at the same time but didn’t want a whole head rinse, so steeped 3 black tea bags in 1 inch water and let cool.
      While sitting in the sun, rubbed the tea bags onto temples and part-line only alternating and putting them back in the water, squeezing and reapplying.
      The black tea is actually sort of reddish but I kept going.
      Bonus discovery: I noticed the tea bags were turning the skin on my temples a bronzy color, so I held them on my eyebrows to let the dye work, it did. Then I just surrendered and rubbed the tea bag all over my face. The result was a pleasant ruddy tan color, like a face bronzing powder. They use tea in facials and lotions so I knew it was safe. Evened out my pink cheeks from sitting in the sun. Might wear gloves next time, dyed fingernails!
      Hair result: Overall I see my hair color is slightly enhanced and ever so slightly richer. The tea bag worked best on my right temple as I was probably doing that most. Not so much on part-line. I might try a coffee ground paste on part-line grays in future. The Calendula/Chamomile did seem to cut some of the orange-ness out of my chemical highlights, so bonus!
      Having extra in jars in fridge is a good way to do this more often. I also thought of trying to mix it with natural gelatin and/or yogart to make a paste.
      Super fun experiment, Thanks!

  1. I’m surprised Indigo wasn’t included. Indigo turns hair jet black and keeps hair niche and shiny.

      • Yes, indigo is what is used to dye fabrics blue. On hair it does turn it black, BUT you have to first do an application of plain (red) henna immediately before doing the indigo. WIth the two-step process, you get black hair. See for more information and products. (No, I am not affiliated with this company in any way, shape, or form. I have been a customer for years and found their products to be far superior to anything at the natural foods stores, AND the woman who runs it has spent YEARS researching henna and its history and chemistry; she got her PhD in it! And they laboratory test every batch of henna that they sell. Seriously, check out the site, you’ll learn so much!)

      • The Henna Guys on Amazon carry both, individually or in kits for the color you want to achieve, as well as good instructions for use.

  2. If purchasing the supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs, does it matter if I use the powder or the leaf?

      • Thanks for the very helpful post. I bought the black walnut powder and after steeping it realized that I didn’t have anything to strain it with. I tried putting in in spray bottles but they got clogged up right away. Turned into a huge brown mess all over my bathroom. ai am looking to cover grays. How would I make the paste? Just boil down until it’s thick? And then leave on overnight?

        • You could just strain through a coffee filter, cheesecloth or even strong paper town and then just pour through hair in the shower before a final rinse. It will make a mess if you leave it on overnight!

      • how would you go about making a paste like that? Do you just boil it down a bit more until it becomes pasty?

      • Hi mama my mum has got grey hair she used to use hair dye before but now she started having elegies to it as soon as she applies her face and hands and head becomes itchy and swells up starts getting sore kind water comming out from where the dye touches wat can I do if u can suggest anything

        • Sounds like she might, might have PPD allergy if this is at all close to true. U need to do more research. Ppl have died from this allergy. Please be cuz if u use any more chemical dyes!

    • Nature’s gate makes a sunless tanning lotion that is much healthier than the typical brands in drug stores. It works great and smells sort of like lemon soap.

      • I checked the Nature’s Gate products for sunless tanning and realized that they are not so healthy as they look like at first glance. Here it is the ingredients list:

        Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Dihydroxyacetone, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Algae Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Tocopherol, Lauryl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sclerotium Gum, Lecithin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance*.

        *Natural Fragrance

        So the main harm ingredient in sunless tan products is added also here. It is “Dihydroxyacetone”. Therefore if one wants a healthy tan maybe the proposal with the black tea is the right choise.

        • fragrance can be nearly 3000 chemicals which have not been tested on how they react to each other

  3. Indigo should only be used with or after applying henna or it will turn your hair blue! Also, henna can only add red to your hair, with shades ranging from orange through to dark auburn depending on your natural hair colour. Any henna product that claims to turn your hair any other colour is not pure henna, but a compound containing metallic salts and other nasties which are very bad for your hair. It should also be noted that henna is permanent and no amount of washing will get it out, so be very sure before you proceed! I have been using henna on my hair for the past year and have to say the colour is fantastic and the condition great 😀

  4. You should also mention that even though these products are natural, that may still have adverse side effects. For example, black walnut powder is harmful to those with thyroid problems. Natural may be preferable but not always better. :)

    • For black walnut to have an effect on thyroid function you’d have to actually consume it and in therapeutic amounts – applying it to your hair and washing it out, as WellnessMama suggests, won’t allow you to absorb that amount – in this case, IMO, the natural way is actually better & less toxic than the chemicals found in commercial hair dye 😉 Is it as effective? Probably not! But I’d rather use this than the other :)

        • Personally, I wouldn’t use it – indigo is not a therapeutic herb (it’s usually cosmetic or industrial grade) and therefore is not controlled as well as something like black walnut (which is usually food or therapeutic grade).

          My main concern is that indigo would not be quality tested for heavy metals & other chemical contaminants in the way that food &/or therapeutic grade black walnut is – they have lower expectations of it & more contaminants are allowed in non-food raw materials.

          So while I WOULD use food grade black walnut for my hair, I would NOT use indigo – better to be safe than sorry when pregnancy & contaminants are concerned.

          (This is also why I would NOT use henna unless I could see the genuine spec sheet or CofA for that particular batch – so many henna dyes are contaminated these days) :-/

          • What are some henna brands that you can vouch for? or that you would feel comfortable recommending?

          • FYI: Black walnut contains juglone, a known mutagen in animals (an agent, such as a chemical substance, that causes genetic mutation). It is not recommended for long term use and not recommended for use during pregnancy. Though some sources say that warning only applies to internals use, other warn against any use during pregnancy. Not legitimate sources of Black Walnut post that warning on their label.

  5. I have used commercial hair color for my hair & have never been impressed with them. They have left my hair rough & dry. I colored my hair about 4 months ago & was wondering if I could still use this natural way to color my hair? Or better yet to change my haircolor? Any help will be appreciated.

  6. I don’t know if I would trust henna from that website… When using henna to dye hair, you should always use body art quality (BAQ) henna which is pure henna and contains no additives. BAQ henna is safe to use on chemically treated hair. It is a misconception that henna causes damage to chemically treated hair that comes from a time when henna used to dye hair contained many additives, including metallic salts which are what cause damage. You should be very cautious using ANY henna which is not labeled as BAQ. That website does not contain information about how to use their henna, but good quality henna is never ready to use-it requires ‘developing’ overnight before use.

    Henna is not a ‘fast’ solution; it takes 4-8 hours once the henna is on your hair, in addition to the development time, and takes me about 30 min to wash out of my hair, so it is definitely time consuming. Using BAQ henna is worth it, though; good quality henna does completely cover grays (and leaves them as striking gold hi-lights) and the color will never wash out, although the smoothing quality will fade over time.

    I have been dyeing my hair with henna for about 6 months; previously I used boxed hair dye. I’m in love with the color it gives me, which does not fade unlike boxed dye. I even have to dye my hair less; unlike using boxed dye, my roots grow in gradually and without a sharp line so I can go longer without dyeing without it being super obvious (I have medium brown hair naturally; a deep red dyeing with henna). Henna is time consuming but totally worth it.

    The website hennaforhair (dot) com has a ton of great information about dyeing with henna and other natural hair dyes (the woman wrote her graduate dissertation on it) and their connecting store mehandi (dot) com sells BAQ henna and other dyes (like indigo and cassia) as well as natural shampoo bars (which I use as well). I encourage you to check it out to learn more about dyeing hair naturally.

    • I have been using BAQ henna on my hair for years now and love it. Real henna only makes red dye – no other color, particularly black, can come from pure henna. Black henna may be a mix of henna and indigo, but it is not “pure henna”

      • I would do some research on using indigo and henna to achieve the coverage you need, because henna alone is always going to be in the red-orange family, so on white hair it will truly look orange or red. try going to tapdancinglizard dot com, then look for the henna guide link there. They have an entire pdf booklet you can check to see what to do about the intensity of the color. They also have several different hennas which provide slightly different results; all are body are quality. Even with box or salon color, the original base color has to be added on white hair to make a color behave with the desired results; for instance when I was a cosmetologist I started coloring my mom’s white hair auburn, but in order for it to look auburn and not bright orange I had to use 50% dark brown (her natural color before it turned) and 50% auburn color.

    • Thank you so much! I’m desperate for a natural color that will cover greys…I’ve never even heard of BAQ henna…Can’t wait to try it…

    • I want to thank everyone for so much great input and Katie for this site! Thank you Jenn and others for all the info on using henna
      Sadly I started dyeing my hair chemically when I was 14 out of boredom and I have never stopped but want to and feel I can now that I have such great info!
      Im 46 and surprisingly my hair is still in good condition even though about two years ago I started having to dye it every 3 weeks because of the way my gray is coming in….it really is just awful
      but I also addicted to changing my hair color with the seasons lighter in spring and summer and darker in fall and winter
      I know I know I try do everything else as naturally as possible but this has been the one area I haven’t been able to walk away from
      I do a lot of natural deep conditioning on my hair several nights a week and leave it on over night I feel if I hadn’t done this all these years my hair probably would have fallen out!

      I wish I could see some pictures of people who have done this Im afraid my hair will turn orange lol ( using henna)
      Just feel so thankful that I have a solution for leaving the chemical hair world completely behind!

    • Hi There,

      I am new to this world of natural hair coloring and am researching now. I also have medium brown hair and am wondering what you have found successful for you. Will you please share the brand name and color name of the product you use and where I can buy?

      Thank you so much.


  7. So did you make your chamomile tea from the chamomile flowers? I am about to make an order for this recipe and for the baby recipes so do I purchase the flowers for these recipes you have listed? I ask this because they have a powder and I want to be sure I am ordering the correct item. Thanks!

  8. I’m gong to to try the Black walnut powder. Have a couple of questions though. You say “steep” does that mean to little sit in Hot water?? Also, if I let my hair dry in the sun I would not be able to go out anywhere, my hair would be a tangled mess. Can you help please?

  9. I just made the recipe for brown hair. I am hoping to cover gray hair so you say to do a rinse. Does this mean shampoo and condition as usual and then spray on my hair after and leave it on? Or do I spray it on and rinse it out before I get out of the shower? Should I go outside and let it set the first time? I am apprehensive because the liquid is very, very dark! Any advice would be great.

    • I have the same questions. My first time I washed my hair, didn’t condition it, and then basically laid in the bath tub with my head in a bowl of color rinse, rinsing it through over and over and left it on for about a half hour then i rinsed with water and conditioned it. My hair looked amazingly healthy and shiny and maybe highlighted, it was hard to tell first time. But the process was a mess. I am going to try a small spray bottle mister and go out in the sun and see how that works. I love hearing all your experiments and feedback. I’d like to try to make it thick so I can cover my temples and leave it on for a while, The rinse just runs down my body.

  10. Hi! I noticed that my hair has been getting darker….I’ve been using a rinse of nettle leaf and rosemary– a tea– for dandruff. Had this recipe for some time now. I haven’t added sage. Will try that next. My scalp is super sensitive, especially after I’ve gotten sick. Dandruff and dry skin seem to be my tell for not being well. I use it 1-2 times a week. Now it’s also a little darker…and feels MUCH stronger than it used to. Who knew!

  11. Will all the color rinses color grey or only the darkest ones? I have chocolate brown hair and a lot of grey around my temples and frame of my face, then peppered here and there in the rest. I like having golden brown or plum/reddish color o the grey cus it works as highlights. Any feed back on this? Thank you so much for sharing your info. I’m done with chemical colors.

  12. do you use a natural home-made shampoo? if so, please give details of how to make it? thanking you in advance ….

  13. Hello, do you rinse the black walnut powder after you put in on? Then go outside to dry? Then come in and rinse it out then put the black tea rinse and leave it on or rinse? Sorry about all these questions.

      • This made a horrible mess in my bathroom. I put it in a spray bottle and sprayed it into my scalp so it wouldn’t get all over the place. It dripped down my face, got on the floor. I just couldn’t see myself putting it on in the shower and then going outside to let it dry in the sun then go back into the shower, rinse it out then rinse with black tea. I was thinking of mixing some Great Lakes beef gelatin to make it more thick and easier to apply. Do you think that would work??
        Thanks so much for getting back to me.

  14. Thanks for your great Ideas, as I have a Toxicity problem I am not allowed to use anything with chemicals or preservatives.Love the Coconut Shampoo.
    We used to boil the brown outside peels of onions in a bit of water, let it cool down ,rinse hair with it and leave in hair for about 20 min. It gives a lovely shine and chestnut glow to brown hair. No it does not smell like onions .

  15. I’d like to try the recipe for red (I’m already a redhead but looking for ways to brighten it a little for a subtle change) but I do the no ‘poo method. Will the baking soda and apple cider vinegar just strip it out?

  16. I am extremely intrigued by this. I’ve been dying my hair various shades of red for 6 years now and I would love to stop being dependent on the chemicals!
    I’m currently a very dark auburn red. Do you think it would make for a smooth transition if I start using the red coloring herbs now and let it keep growing? Or should I lighten it a bit first to reduce some of the existing chemical coloring (I also have no idea how lightening works on color treated hair, I’ve never gone lighter…).
    I’ve been shampoo free for nearly three weeks now also (yay!).

  17. Would using a Calendula/Chamomile extract be as effective as brewing the
    herbs for the light hair recipe? If so, what amounts would you suggest?

  18. I know I’m late to the party here… but I have a quick question on the lemon / chamomile / calendula combo… Does it have to be rinsed out? Can I just put a little spritz in and leave it all day?

  19. Can anyone tell me what can pull black dye from hair (my mom hates my hair black and told me i needed to change it)? Ive already tried a non bleach lightener and….well I’m forced to wear a wig until i get paid and go to the salon unless i can find something less harsh. any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

  20. I have lots of gray hair and used turmeric in a rinse once and it turned my hair a beautiful golden color. Didn’t look natural, but it was awesome and I got lots of compliments. It may look more natural on someone who was blonde to begin with.

  21. Hi Admin.

    If for dark brown hair to black, can i use black walnut oil instead of tea or powder? I plan to kinda like pre-treatment leave-on for like 30-40 minutes on the entire hair before washing. Oil makes better spread, i think. Also, tea can be acidic.

    Btw, must it be BLACK walnut? just normal walnut extract ( be it oil / tea / powder) cannot? Just in case can’t get black walnut….

    • This is my question, too. I was dying my grey streaks with a
      cornstarch slurry made from a coffee, sage and rosemary decoction. It
      turned the gray a golden blond, but actually bleached the browns a bit
      and dried out my hair. Now I am hoping to find a light oil (with colour) that I can just leave in and brush through or wash out during my normal washing. A
      few minutes ago, I applied some jojoba oil that I mixed powdered coffee
      and cinnamon into. Any advice? Do essential oils have the colour of
      the herbs, ever?

  22. I wonder if I can use any of these rinses with my normal ACV rinse? I know in the past I have put rosemary oil in my hair rinse and just using that my hair seemed to darken a little.

  23. I have been playing with this for a couple of years now! I’ve died my hair with henna numerous times but after my hair getting pretty light over the summer, the henna turned it waaaay too coppery/red. It was embarrassing! I grabbed some walnut powder and used it over the coppery/red color and got the most AMAZING red/dark brown color. It didn’t last long but now I am playing around with clay hair masques. I use bentonite powder, seaweed powder and mixed that with the water I had steeped over the walnut powder. Then I added some rosemary and lavender essential oils for fun :) It made it a nice brown color. Next time I will add the henna as well and see if I can get that deep brown color with the hint of red. My hair has been so healthy since I laid off the salon coloring and started these experiments :)

  24. I have a query for black hair colour. After putting black walnut solution on hair and letting it dry in sun am I suppose to wash with water?
    Also after putting tea solution finally on hair should I again wash with water? Please answer both questions as I do not know when to wash hair with water.

  25. I love my gray hair! Is there nothing I can use to “brighten” it? L’Oreal at one time had a nice product, forgetting that we boomers are quite numerous, so they really should bring it back. Silly corporate bosses…..

  26. Can I add vodka to the lightening cammomille tea mix to preserve it for serval uses? If so, how much should I put in?

  27. I just wanted to add that for a beautiful titian hair color, which can be used with mousy blonde hair, is rhubarb root. It will lighten mousy hair to a gorgeous shimmering honey blond with a hint of red. You boil the root, then soak your hair in it. I found the recipe in an old herbal beauty book and did this in high school. It was great! One day I will do it again…It’s only been 20 years!

  28. Dear Welness Mama,
    I read all your blogs, right from healthy eating, home made cleaners. and beauty tips. I am impressed by your natural hair dye receipes because I can not use store bought dyes because it does not suit my skin. I get rash and buring sensation on my scalp. Can you please please please tell me where can I buy black walnuts. Is these trees are easily available in Naperville. I tried to see the pictures online, but i am still confused. Are they hard like stones?Because near my house I have seen some trees having those parrot green colour fruits,hard like rocks, and bigger than big apples. Or please let me know whether I can buy them in any stores.

  29. If I had hisbicus to the lighten hir recipe instead of calendula, will I get slightly red highlights? Thank you!

  30. I have white hair but would like to have light to medium brown hair. Should i just use black tea with coffee added for the effect i am looking for? Or would you suggest a better way. Waiting for your reply. Thank you.

  31. How long do the hair dye effects last? I need to get my daughter’s hair as black as possible for a play and I want to use tea and/or natural ingredients but don’t want it to last.

  32. Dear wellness mama,

    I have a head of jet black hair and a fair complexion. I am utterly bored with black hairs and want hues of red, Your natural reciepe for red has hibiscus petals, those should be fresh or dried? Its not mentioned in the reciepe.

  33. Hi.

    I have a few questions about henna.

    I really want to start using it on my hair, however I have a large amount of chemically color treated hair, as well as my natural color. So I’m concerned about the color not being blended. What are some tips that could help with this? Should I get two different colored henna? Or process it longer on the bottom? Is there a specific brand to use?

    What kind of shampoo do you suggest using after color treating with henna?

    What are some specific tools /tips I should have when doing the color treatment?

    Also, my MIL colors her hair with a natural color that washes out over time (naturatint – dark blonde / light brown color), she is gray otherwise and would like to lighten her hair to be grey. Are the suggestions on this post the best way to go? Or what are some other tips? Would henna be a good suit for her? Are there henna products that are mixed with other powders that do not have additives in them?

  34. I was wondering about the nettle for brown hair. Is is any particular nettle? I have stinging nettle growing wild on my farm. I was wondering if I could us it with the sage and rosemary leaves.

  35. Hi, I am very confuse which recipe I should look at. I have jetblack hair, and I want a lighter hair, brown or red. But are those recipes only work for lighter hair to become darker?

  36. When using all natural ingredients to dye your hair, how long does the color stay in your hair once it shows?

  37. My husband has black hair but it is going white. He is also starting to lose hair. Are the herbs for brown hair the only ones that stimulate hair growth?

    Thank you!

  38. Hi Katie,

    I really love this site! I learn so much and cant wait to explore more.

    I have been transitioning my life in every form to a more natural lifestyle. And I wanted to try the chamomile recipe for lighting my artificial hair color out of my hair.

    I did three bags of chamomile tea (all that was currently in my house) and a lemon honey tea plus lemon as recipe said; did only the dark part of my hair.
    I wanted to report back that it did seem to lighten my hair slightly; bringing out more red tones from the artificial color.

    I also was in my local health food store and found a chamomile lightening product from herbatint. It was available on amazon for less than what it was being sold for locally.

    I thought I would mention to you that it does work on chemically treated hair. Thanks for the recipes and an amazing reference site!

  39. Hi! Will the lighten rinse lighten brown hair to blondish? Or does it already have to be blond to work? Thanks!

    • Well, my hair is already blonde, so that’s what I was testing it on. That said, it may indeed lighten your hair. You may have to wait through more applications to see results, and it won’t be as severe as bleaching.

  40. Ok so I have natural dirty blonde hair that I LOOOOVE and I just got back from vacation for 3 weeks and the sun has bleached it out. Is there any way I can darken it again naturally? Thanks!

  41. Hey, so to anyone looking for a way to get black hair naturally and quickly, indigo might be a good choice! I recommend henna color labs to buy it, they’re another source that is super good at making sure everything is completely toxin free. I’m a fan of their wine red henna color, its once again all natural and gives my darker brown hair a nice auburn tint

  42. Hi, I have a couple questions. My hair is dyed red using a commercial product, but I’d like to maintain it with the herbal red recipe so that I don’t use the commercial product again.
    1) Is putting the coloring solution in a spray bottle a good way to apply it?
    2) Do you rinse it out or leave it in?
    Thank you!

  43. Hi Katie,

    I made this for my husband and it started to go off after about a couple of weeks. I did not refrigerate it because the instructions didn’t say to, but is it necessary to do this in summer?


  44. I have the same question asked by Beepath in January. I stopped colouring my hair 7 months ago and would like some ideas to enhance the grey. There are lots of products on the market, but all with nasty chemicals in. Does anyone have any ideas for ‘bluing’ grey hair naturally to get rid of the yellowy tinges?

  45. Hi all,
    I have a lot of natural highlights in my hair . . . Will a rinse to make my hair darker (the rosemary, sage, nettle leaf … or even the black walnut) wipe out my natural highlights and lowlights and make my hair monochromatic (one color)? Or will the rinse simply take every shade of hair and darken it accordingly, so I still have highlights that are just a few shades darker than before and a few shades lighter than the rest of my hair?
    Thanks! :)

    PS- for reference, my hair is a medium brown with natural blondish streaks from a lot of sun exposure

    • It should not make it flat, if that is what you are worried about. It may make the entire thing a tone darker. Alternately, something that I have heard occasionally happens is that your highlights and lowlights reverse (that is, the darker color takes better in the lighter natural highlights and makes them a little darker than the rest).

  46. Would putting coconut oil in my hair to condition it “pull”/clean out the darker stain that I’m trying to put in? Like oil pulling does.

  47. Is Black Walnut Powder the same as Black Walnut Hull Powder? I am looking at Mountain Rose Herbs and was wondering if there was a difference.

    • Also, when using the Black Walnut Powder recipe do you need to rinse it out with water? Or leave it in and let it dry?

  48. I’ve been trying the chamomile and lemon to lighten my hair, but ran into a slight problem.
    Day 3 and a bee just decided it loves the chamomile, lemon combo and wouldn’t leave me alone. each time I thought it was gone, I found myself running from it again., scared it would get tangled up in my hair. 😀 very amusing… but maybe I should stick to my shade. was fun trying it though. Love this site!

  49. Absolutely LOVE this website. Thank you so much.

    Just wondering for those of us looking to lighten hair in the northern climes where sitting in the sun for several hours isn’t a good option — does the camomile rinse work without the sunlight? Or can you also enhance the effect with a blow dryer?

    Again, thanks for the great information!

    • It does work without the sun, but it is not as effective. It’s not the heat, it’s the bleaching effect of the rays that makes it work, so a hair dryer would not help. You could also try honey… Honey works quite well without heat or sun.

  50. Just let me tell you that I love your website

    I have gray hair and I would like to whiten it naturally. I have a well and it is making my hair dingy and yellowish/green. But i would like it all white naturally.

    Any Ideas?

    Thank you

  51. Hello, I have really dark brown hair and I was looking at the red section of your article, I don’t want a complete red make over, I just wanted a few red highlights here and there throughout my dark brown hair. Do you have any ideas on how I can do that using your recipe? Also, I was hoping for a more temporary change, something that only lasts a week or two and washes out. I’m not ready to make the permanent change with red highlights, I just wanted something natural to try out to see how it looks with my hair before I do anything permanent. Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you and I love your website, it’s helped me through a lot! Thanks again!

  52. I wanted to answer your question about “why would one would want to use natural herbs to color/tint hair if they have chemically treated hair.” For me, my natural hair color is strawberry blonde but I have been chemically coloring it to an auburn for the past few years. I was naïve to how permanent hair color works (opening up the cuticle and destroying the natural pigments) until recently. Also, I had been wanting to get back to my natural shade for awhile. So I’m growing out my hair but want a color rinse or another temporary color that coats the hair shaft to lessen the line of demarcation caused by the chemically-colored portion.

    I look forward to trying this rinse. Currently I’m using Tressa Watercolors Shampoo but don’t quite know if I like it yet and am always looking for better options.

  53. I dye my hair jet black using henna + indigo and I am naturally a dark blonde. Works beautifully. I purchase organic, pure body art quality henna and pure indigo. I applied henna a few times over the course of a month. The last time I applied it, I rinsed and immediately put in an indigo mixture with a tiny bit of henna mixed in to help it stick. Rinsed that, had black hair with a slightly auburn/cherry highlight in the sun. Then, about a week later, I applied another henna treatment over that, followed immediately by a pure indigo treatment which I left on most of the day. This resulted in jet black hair that feels very full of soft.

  54. I have quit dying my hair, letting it go grey, white and some natural blonde. I have looked everywhere on the internet for a natural rinse to make the greys, silvers and blondes more sparkly. Any ideas? Thanks Katie, I love your site!! I’ve made so many of your recipes and love them!

  55. Hi,
    Just found your blog; it’s great!
    My hair is about a Level 7 – it has been described as everything from dark blonde to medium brown. It looks on the darker side to me now. Will the chamomile mixture lighten hair that color?
    Would any of these ingredients be damaging at all: Chamomile? Lemon? Honey?

  56. Since switching to a more organic/wellness lifestyle, I now want to stop conventionally dying my hair and using these horribly toxic shampoos but have no idea where to start! Can I just up and quit using these products without any negative effects happening to my hair?? Does the artificial color have to be gone before I can try one of these methods? Do I need to detox my hair or do anything before switching to more natural shampoos and such??

  57. I had strawberry blonde hair when I was younger. Currently my hair is getting lighter blonde with a lot of white in it. Would love to go back to strawberry blonde. If I use the herbs for red hair could I achieve the results using it. Could I use a spray bottle to apply and leave it in or do I have to rinse it out?

  58. Great Website and Blog.

    My dark brown hair (with slight red highlights) is now about 20 % gray.

    I am looking for (1) the purest, most non-toxic (food-grade) hair color to (2) ) cover the grays only, (3) add red highlights and (4) maintain the lovely color of my hair.

    Which recipes would you suggest to cover grays?

    I have also heard about using Burgandy Wine with Cocoa Powder to add highlights. Please comment. Thanks!

  59. I wonder if the black liquid from cooking black beans would dye it jet black or close to it. I know you can dye fabric with it. I want to try the hennas. And for all those ladies who are grey I’m jealous and I can’t wait to go grey!

  60. Hi Wellness mamma. I am trying Black walnut hull powder recipe to color my grey hair.

    For brown to black color I first boiled – nettle leaf, rosemary leaf , sage leaf black walnut hull powder, amla, amla powder, horsetail leaf. Then kept the water to cool down in the above ingredients for 24 hours. Added this water to henna with some oil. I added oil because henna by itself makes the scalp very dry. I still did not get my grey hair covered. Am I doing it wrong ? What else I can do or do differently to get better coverage for my grey hair. Can you please help me

  61. Does doing the dark brown/black eventually lighten your hair? Because I’ve been look for ways to darken my hair without it lightening again and im stumped…please help

  62. There is not black, brown or mahogany Henna. Henna always gives red color, the black one is indigo which they call it black henna.

  63. These look awesome! I would love to try some of these, but I have a couple of questions:

    1. Aside from the henna dye, can all of these be used on chemically treated hair? – My hair is suuuuper damaged from chemical straightening, and if i so much as THINK of putting anything bad on it, it will all fall out! >_<;;

    2. I also happen to have dreadlocks, and was wondering do any of these options leave any type of residue in your hair? – Dreadlocks + residue = BAAAAAADDDD!!!

    3. Lastly, I use bicarb soda and water (1:4 ratio) to wash my hair… will this affect the dyes in my hair?

    Any and all help in answering these questions will be much appreciated, thanks! :)

    • These should be safe for damaged hair. All of the tea-based dyes should be very well strained to avoid having bits of herbs stuck in your dreadlocks, but they should not leave a residue. I have heard some people complain that henna leaves a residue. I am not sure about the bicarb soda.

      • Thank you so much for your help! :)
        I just thought of another question regarding the tea dyes; will they strain the skin at all during application? – Is so I’ll take extra care when applying them.

        Anyway thanks again for your help, and on a side note my name is actually RiRi not Rita (just in case you were wondering why RiRi was thanking you for answering Rita’s comment, haha). – My phone must have auto-corrected it.

    • If you get good quality, lab-tested henna that is free from metal salts of other adulterants, it will be fine to use over chemically treated hair. Pure henna is not bad for previously-chemically-bleached or dyed hair. It’s just the impurities that are in so many commercial “hennas’ that are the problem. Seek out lab-tested guaranteed pure henna, and of course do an allergy test and a strand test, and you should be fine; it will most likely even improve the condition of your hair.

  64. Hi I dye my hair it at least every few months and I’m getting tired of buying the product so I would be interested in making my own hair dye I was reading some of the ingredients that you posted my thing is I have Auburn hair how would I make that kind of hair dye thank you very

  65. Will your har grow back blonde if you get it cut after you use the formula? Also what about your eyebrows, and other hair?

  66. I only have ground sage leaf (for the brown hair treatment). Would I still use 1/4 cup or less?

  67. Hello, I recently tried the ‘stronger and faster effect’ version for lighter/blond hair with lemon, chammomile, etc. I couldn’t find any calendula though – is it necessary? My hair does not seem to be any lighter, I am light ash brown- slightly browny fair hair colour. It may not have changed due to the fact that just after I applied the herbs I could not get any sun! Would that have affected it? When I created the solution I used about 2 lemons and 2 cups of chammomile tea, working out to be a large bowl full.

    Thank you!

  68. Do these mixtures wash out over time, so that I can go back to my original hair color after the summer ends or anything?

    • Without being maintained, the stains will fade. So yes, if you want to let it be seasonal color, you can do that. The only possible exception is the lemon juice, which can permanently lighten darker hair.

  69. Hi Katie, do you spray the lightening spray on clean as in just shampooed/”dirty” and damp/dry hair before going into the sun?

    Thank you for your informative posts, keep them coming! :)

  70. Hi Katie
    Is it the heat or the light in the sun that activates the lightening effects in the chamomile rinse? Just wondering how to achieve the lightening effect if not out in the sun after applying the rinse. Will heat from hair dryer help?
    Thanks :-)

  71. Hello Kate!
    This article has brought some questions to mind with me considering to naturally dye my hair.
    My hair is currently ombrè, and I plan to grow it from shoulders to waist length. With that said would the natural darkening drastically Change the color Blonde? Or could I eventually match it to my medium dark brown color if I was to use on my whole head. also could I use two color changing methods at once? I’d like to get my hair to a dark chocolate brown with hues of red, could I acheave that naturally? Or would it be best to use a box dye?
    If you could help me answer my many questions it would very much be appreciated.
    Please and thank you.

  72. I would like to know if the red hair color dye is only for one use or can i use the same water for few uses? I haven’t ever tried and i wanted to try but i don’t really know so i have to ask. 😀 The recipes are really simple and i’m going to try a few of them if this red one works. My family doesn’t really believe in these but i saw a video where some girl kicked out of school for coloring her hair red naturally and i wanted to see if it works. It’s amazing if it does!!

  73. Hi, I’m a little bit concerned, because I used twice the black walnut hair dye (powder+water, one hour in my hair and scalp) while my first trimester of pregnancy as I thought it’s natural and safe. But now I discovered the information that black walnut should not be used during pregnancy either topically or internally. Should I be worried now…? Maybe you have some more information about it? Thank you!

  74. Has anyone here heard about Hairprint? I have not used it, but my understanding is that it restores gray hair to its natural color by creating the natural pigment that is already in your hair.

  75. Hi! First I want to thank you for sharing all these great recipes and ideas. I have two questions, the first regarding the recipe that uses lemon juice, have you heard of anyone getting any stains on their skin from the lemon and sun. I ask because I had the misfortune to get a “lemon and sun stain” in my hand, I was making some lemonade and after I went out to the backyard and was very sunny and got a stain on my hand, and it took months to fade…
    And also is it ok to use chamomile on babies’ hair to enhance their natural blondness? And if so, how often can it be applied?
    Thank you 😉

  76. Hi Katie, I am still a bit confused with the rinse part. I have never done rinses before so if I understand it correctly, I wash my hair with shampoo, pour the black walnut (in my case) into my hair, keep pouring it a few times? how many?, then wash with water? (isn’t it going to wash off?) and then let dry under sun? Sorry for not understanding and thank you for clarifying.

  77. I had dark brown, nearly black hair. I started dying my hair when I was in my late 30s. I have gone from chemical colors to “natural” hair color. I have been using Naturtint N5 for nearly 14 years. I have had itchy scalp since I started using haircolor. But now, it has become unbearable. Even my face and shoulders have become affected with a sort of eczema.

    I have gone to the hairdresser to go from my light brown chemically colored hair to my natural color at this age – white. She recommends highlighting it caramel and then eventually blending all the colors till it is very light. I have made an appointment to start this expensive process in december.

    BUT that means I will still be coloring my hair!

    And I have asked my friends to give their comments in my blog – and nearly every one says : don’t go white.
    I am Asian and white on a dark face is awful.

    I agree with them.

    I like growing old gracefully (I’m 63) but white hair is too harsh.

    So … what can I do to color my roots that grow out 1/2 an inch in 2 weeks? I now home color every 14-17 days.

    I am going to try the nettle, rosemary and sage mix. Will that work on my hair? How should I go about it? I do NOT want to go black again. I am happy with my current light brown color. Will this do the trick and save me from all these allergic reactions?

    Also… I grow fresh rosemary & sage in the garden. Will this work or do I have to dry them first? Can I do that in the oven?? I take walks in the woods nearby and can get fresh nettle leaves as well.

    Please help me. I really need it!!

    Thank you.

  78. Hi, I read so much about walnut hull powder dye that I was so hopeful in using it but it isnt darkening my grey hair even a wee bit. There is no difference at all :(. Am very disappointed but wanted to know, will this process of darkening happen over time? I have black hair naturally, am Asian so does this hair dye become more resistant? Please reply as I am in dire need of a natural dye to cover my greys!. Merci!

  79. Hello ma’am!!!
    I have brownish-black hair…but I want my hair to be light brown or chocolate brown… Can u suggest a natural and permanent way to do that????

  80. Are there the Henna powder suppliers from India who sell products online ? If someone here know please suggest. I see the online traders most in the US.

  81. I made the recipe for blonde hair. My question is….do I use the whole solution for my hair or just use enough to cover all of my hair? I didn’t know if this was for just one treatment. Thank you in advance!!

  82. Hello,

    I recently died my hair black because i had highlights and it came out too dark , nothing like my natural black hair . Will the chamomile help to lighten the color ?

    • No, chamomile only works to gradually and subtly lighten natural hair that isn’t terribly dark in the first place. It won’t do anything for hair that’s been dyed black. You’ll need to use hair color remover or hair bleach or just wait until it grows out.

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