The colour of your hair is an essential part of your overall appearance. It doesn’t matter if you are a blonde, a redhead or a brunette; the colour of your hair can often be seen to define your personality to a certain extent. Or maybe, the hair colour that you opt for says something about your persona. There are a number of celebrities out there who have experimented with their looks from time to time, primarily by opting for a hair colour different from their current one.
Changing the colour of your hair is no recent trend though, with natural hair dyes being produced from plants even in ancient times. Synthetic dyes, however, began to be developed only in the 1860s, after having stumbled upon the utility of Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) in the making of hair dyes. From there onwards, the hair styling world has not looked back, even developing some really outlandish looks such as the neon rainbow, the neon flame and certain electric ones with the use of synthetic or natural hair dyes.
Opting for a different hair colour is usually quite a big decision, especially if you’re making it for the first time. There are a number of celebrities like Jessica Chastain, Julianne Moore, Lucy Liu and even Nicki Minaj (yup, this one was a shocker for us too!) who’ve never gone in for a change in their natural hair colour, although they might have experimented with a couple of streaks here and there at some point of time. Then there are those like Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep and the stylist Stacy London who’ve accepted the greying of their hair with utmost poise, choosing to wear their silver mane (or streaks of it) as a mark of their natural beauty and grace. And it just might be quite a prudent decision as well.
Although there aren’t any conclusive studies to substantiate claims of the dyes being carcinogenic as yet, synthetic hair dyes, as opposed to natural hair dyes, are known to contain certain potentially toxic chemicals such as Quaternium-15 (a carcinogen), Alkylphenol ethoxylates (which could disrupt your hormonal functioning) and even Para-phenylenediamine (a skin and respiratory irritant). While the risk of you contracting cancer through the use of hair dyes is quite negligible, unless you’re working in a salon and have to deal with synthetic hair dyes regularly, you’d rather play it safe and work with natural hair dyes to get that new hair colour you so desire.
Apart from not having to worry about all those toxic chemicals affecting your skin and hair, natural hair dyes are also rather easy to make, with the ingredients required to make them is quite convenient to source as well (you probably won’t have to reach farther than your kitchen to find them). Natural hair dyes can be prepared in all the usual colours- red, black, brown and blonde, and even in some not so usual ones such as green or crimson. However, the natural hair dyes aren’t quite as potent or long-lasting as the synthetic ones and might need you to experiment a bit so as to achieve the exact colour of your choice. Here are some ways that you can cook up natural hair dyes on your own, using ingredients that are quite convenient to the source.
For the Blondes-
For those with blonde hair, natural hair dyes can be created using ingredients such as lemon juice, chamomile, calendula, marigold, saffron, sunflower and even rhubarb root (colours your hair a golden, honeyed tone), depending on the shade of blonde that you’re looking for (lemon juice works brilliantly for the lighter shades while chamomile and calendula are known to work well for those having hair that is a darker shade of blonde). The method of making a natural hair dye from all of these ingredients is quite similar, except for lemon juice which only needs to be bottled in order to be used.
As for herbs such as chamomile, saffron and calendula, they need to be boiled in water for a while before allowing the mixture to cool and straining the brewed extract from it. After you’ve washed your hair, pour the brew over your hair again and again for at least 8-10 times and wait for about 15-20 minutes before washing your hair again (your natural hair dye will have done its job by then).
For the Brunettes-
Ingredients such as tea and coffee and herbs such as rosemary, nettle, or sage can help you darken your greying hair strands, colouring them either brown or black (a jet black shade, however, is quite difficult to achieve). While the herbs can be used to create a natural hair dye using the method described above, dying your hair using coffee is done a bit differently.
First of all, you’ll need some dark roasted beans of coffee, ground into powder. Using the coffee powder, make a strong cup of coffee (the strength of the coffee solution being in direct proportion to the darkness of the natural hair dye). Mix the coffee solution with a leave-in hair conditioner in the ratio of 2:1 and leave it on your hair for about an hour, before rinsing it off. For a much darker, blackish shade, powdered walnut shells are known to work excellently as a natural hair dye (be careful with the walnuts though, since their stains are quite difficult to get rid of).
For the Redheads-
Depending on how red you want your hair to look (from a scale of reddish orange to a deep crimson red), the juice of both carrots (for a reddish-orange shade) and beetroots (for a deep red shade) can be used to create a natural hair dye. Just mix the juice with a certain carrier oil (like that of coconut or olive) and let the mixture sit on your hair for about an hour, before rinsing it off (preferably with a solution of apple cider vinegar). Tomato juice, when applied to your hair for about half an hour, can also give your hair a nice reddish shade. Even herbs, fruits and flowers such as rosehips, hibiscus, and calendula can help you create a natural hair dye that colours your hair a shade of red.
Henna is another ingredient (and also perhaps the most popular one in this list) that is used as a natural hair dye. Depending on your original hair colour, henna can help your hair achieve either a reddish-orange tone or a much darker one (for the brunettes). Letting the mixture of henna powder, lemon juice and a spoonful of vinegar for about six hours really brings out the colour of the dye. After applying it to the hair, keep it on for a couple of hours before rinsing it off. This one certainly is a tried and tested recipe!