Dyeing Your Hair the Natural Way

It's nearly impossible to do some things the “natural” way. And dying your hair seems like one of those things because when you get down to it, changing your hair color to something other than what Jeebus intended is as quintessentially unnatural as it gets. A handful of retailers have begun making earth-friendly dyes, but if you're only looking to enhance your normal color or just move a few shades in either direction, many DIY options work well.

The only downside is that naturally coloring your hair takes more patience and upkeep. As with anything organic, you sacrifice the convenience of getting something out of a box. But natural dye, minimal shampooing and combing your hair with a wooden-bristle brush can make your hair shinier than anything off the shelf. Just remember to snip a lock off and experiment before pouring herbs over your whole head.

LIGHTEN: Brew two cups of strong chamomile tea and squeeze in half a cup of lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, shake well, and then go to town. Once saturated, get your butt outside and do something in the sun for a couple of hours. You can repeat this several times a week until you've achieved the right shade. Using this mixture as a rinse at the end of your shower will work, too, but the sun accelerates the process. For more golden tones, add in half a cup of calendula tea.

DARKEN: Instead of chamomile, brew a strong pot of either coffee or black tea and rinse your hair in it as many times as you can before getting annoyed. Then let it sit for an hour; going out in the sun also helps speed up the process. Afterward, rinse with water and repeat several times a week. It will take much longer for someone with light hair to achieve a darker color, but you can try a more extreme rinse with black walnut powder. Just place one-fourth of a cup of powder in cheesecloth and steep in three cups of water overnight, then follow the directions above.

GO RED: Carrot and beet juice contain natural dyes that can turn your locks strawberry blonde. Pour half a cup of each onto your hair, then throw on a shower cap and play in the sun for an hour. You should see some results immediately, but experiment with the amount of each until you like the shading.

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