Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye from Ingredients around the House

Hair dyes are not only damaging to your hair, they’re damaging to your health. These alternatives provide a natural way to tint your locks.

Keeping fashionable isn’t always healthy, although hair dye makes up a massive market with 1.31 million Americans using hair coloring products at least 14 times within 2019, hair dye has some concerning health effects. Studies conducted by the American Cancer Society have found a linked between hair dyes and an increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This risk persisted through various kinds of hair dyes such as semi-permanent and permanent. In addition, frequent hair dye usage can damage the scalp and lead to increased shedding and split ends. It ends up being a tough debate, do you want your health or your hair dye? It doesn’t have to be this way though; natural hair dyes provide an alternative in which you can get the color without the damage. Here’s a few ways to brew up some natural hair dye at home.


Carrot Juice

Light Orange Tint

If you’re looking for an orangey-red, carrot juice can provide a good tint to your hair or a full-on color depending on how blonde you are. This dye can last up to a few weeks, but usually washes out after a week or so. Mix carrot with a carrier such as olive oil or coconut oil and apply the mixture liberally throughout your hair. The fatty oils will not only help penetrate the hair shaft, but they can help hydrate your hair. Wrap your hair in plastic and let the mixture sit for at least an hour. To help the process along, you may also use a hair dyer on a low heat. Keep a distance from your hair, as you do NOT want to melt the plastic bag. The plastic bag is meant to keep heat in and allow for greater absorption, but adding a low heat helps with this process. Rinse with apple cider vinegar. If you prefer a stronger color, repeat as often as you’d like as there is no risk of damage and the oils can provide hydration.

Beet Juice

Cool Red Tint

If you want a deeper, purply-red tint then beat juice can provide a hint of color to your hair. In addition, beet juice is packed with vitamins and minerals and can improve overall hair health. The process is similar to carrot juice. Mix with a fatty oil, apply the mixture and wrap your hair in plastic, then let it sit an hour before washing out. The process can once again be repeated indefinitely.




Undoubtedly one of the most popular methods of natural hair dye, this dye is a fun way to not only create patters on your skin but give your hair a natural rusty red color. Henna’s results are also the brightest, but this product is better if you want an overall color change rather than a shift in tint. The color can last anywhere from four to six weeks. Typically, henna comes in a dry powder form. First mix half a cup of henna with a fourth cup of water, stir until it becomes the consistency of mash potatoes. If the mixture is too thick, add some extra water, but aim low. You can put water in, but you can’t take water out. Cover the mixture in plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 hours. After 12 hours you may find the mixture has tried out a bit, it’s okay to add a little extra water in order to make it easier to apply. Wash your hair with shampoo, but refrain from conditioner. By washing your hair with only shampoo, you leave the hair dry and open which allows for the color to absorb easier. Apply coconut oil along your hairline to avoid staining the skin, the apply the paste to small sections of your damp hair until your hair is sufficiently covered. Wrap your hair in plastic and let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours, but up to 6. It should be noted that henna hair dye may have an adverse reaction with chemical dyes, and damage or strange coloring may result, so it is best used on natural hair.



Lemon Juice


Overtime, lemon juice can slowly remove pigment from your hair and eventually lead to a lighter and brighter hair color. The result can appear as natural looking highlights resulting from sun, so it’s a great way to get the look without going to the beach. Unlike other natural methods, lemon juice’s color is permanent, and the lightened bits may be removed by cutting them off.  Although this means the color lasts, you should be sure before you commit. First, put the lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray liberally on your hair. Comb it through and wait at least an hour before washing out. Because this is a long-term color option, you may want to casually spray the lemon juice on before a shower for a week or until you achieve the color you want. Additionally, lemon juice makes the hair shaft more sensitive to sunlight, so spending time outside while the lemon juice is in your hair can speed up the process.




We’ve covered a lot of reds here, but not much in the way of brunette. Coffee can provide a color up to two shades darker and even cover up gray hair. Brew a strong cup of dark-roast coffee, then mix half a cup with 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds and one cup of leave in conditioner. Apply the mixture liberally to shampooed, damp hair. Let it sit for at least an hour, then wash out when you’re done. The change will not be dramatic and it will not last for long, so this process will often have to be repeated over time, but if you’re only looking for a quick way to add some color coffee can be a good natural option.

Abby Marsh

Abby is a Student at Pitt majoring in Communications.
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