Homemade Hair Dyes

The other day I walked by a mirror and the lighting was just right, WHOA- where did all that grey hair come from! It hit me- I’m finally getting getting grey- I guess I’m lucky that the first grey hairs are showing up at 54 years. Normally I wouldn’t much care- but I went on a job interview the other day and I was old enough to be the mother of everyone who worked there. Unfortunately our society favors youth- and when you are in the job market- you don’t want them thinking you are about to retire! 

For me personally, coloring your hair is expensive and a hassle to take care of. I don’t want to look in the mirror and freak out because the roots are showing- don’t want to have to make that quick run to hairdresser or store to buy products. Plus, everything in my house has to have a dual purpose, which is why natural and homemade hair dyes can work for me. The ingredients are readily available and can be used for other things like cooking! 

Check out the below recipes for homemade hair dyes: 

Before you start- It may take some time for anything to take effect. Always use gloves. You might have to experiment with colors to get the desired look. It would be best if you experimented with a small test sample first


Wash your hair with one of the following rinses. Pour the selected rinse through your hair 15 times, re-rinsing with the same liquid. On the final rinse, wring hair, and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing with clear water.

Lemon and Water-  Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 gallon warm water.

Tea, Yogurt and Oil-6 chamomile tea bags, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, lavender oil

  • Bring one cup of water to boil and steep tea bags for 15 minutes. Discard teabags. Combine yogurt and 7 drops of lavender oil with chamomile tea, mix thoroughly. Apply the mixture to dry hair, working through to ends. Cover head in plastic wrap and condition for thirty minutes. Shampoo hair.

Blonde Highlights- 1 cup lemon juice, 3 cups chamomile tea (brewed and cooled) 

  • Mix ingredients, pour over damp hair then let sit for an hour while you sit in the sun, wash out. Follow with a good conditioner.

Lemons, and Flowers 

  • 2 whole uncut fresh lemons (squeezed & strained for juice)
  • 2/3 ounces or 20 grams of marigold flowers (you can buy at health food store)
  • 2/3 ounces or 20 grams of chamomile flowers (buy at health food store)
  • 1 – 1 1/4 ounces or 30 grams of finely chopped or powdered rhubarb root ((grocery store or heath food store)
  • 2 ounces or 50 grams of acacia honey (health food store)
  • 1 pint or 1/2 liter cider vinegar
  • 2 ounces or 50 grams of 95% proof liqueur alcohol (liquor store).

Put the vinegar and rhubarb into a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Be sure to make it exactly 10 minutes. Less or more may cause problems.

Add the chamomile and marigold flowers and juice of the two lemons. Cover the pan and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove completely from the heat.

Let the mixture stand covered with the lid until the liquid is tepid. Filter the concoction through a fine sieve into a bottle.

Make sure you squeeze out any liquid in the herbs left in the sieve. Remember to be careful since the liquid may still be warm or even a tiny bit hot.

Add the honey, alcohol and squeezed and strained lemon juice from the 2 lemons. Put a tight cap on the bottle and store for your next shampoo.

How To Use Dye:

There are a couple of ways that you can make use of the natural dyes. You can use a dilution of the mixture by adding 1 tablespoon of the dye mixture for each quart or liter of final rinse water. If you really want to punch up the highlights, apply the mixture directly to your hair and leave on for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to cover your head with a shower cap or the drippage can stain. To get less drips, you can also mix some undiluted dye with a thick rinse out or deep conditioner and glop that on your head to get a thicker mixture.

Rinse & Shine:

After allowing the mixture as a quick rinse or as a longer leave on dye, rinse your hair with cold water to seal the color. Let your hair air dry if possible. While there is no guarantee of the level of color you will have achieved, changes are good that you will definitely see some blonde highlights. The lighter the color your natural hair, the more intense the blonde color from the mixture. Remember that this is a type of all natural vegetable dye. The dye will only last from shampoo to shampoo. If you want to maintain the highlights or added blonde colors you will need to apply the mixture after each shampoo. One batch will last from 2-3 weeks if kept refrigerated. It will last a shorter period of time if kept at room temperature. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, the mixture will provide several after shampoo applications. Remember to take special care because in undiluted form, the final liquid will dye any materials it comes into contact with. This means it can stain your hands, your skin and any clothes or other materials. Apply this mixture in the shower and wash off immediately.


Flowers and herbs with yellow blossoms are almost all viable options for blond dyes, though chamomile is probably the most widely used. Other examples include yellow broom flowers, calendula, turmeric and saffron. Lemon juice is another popular natural lightening agent, while rhubarb root creates a rich, honey tint.


Tea or Black Coffee– Rinse hair with a strong black tea, or black coffee. Shampoo hair. Place a large bowl in sink and rinse hair with cooled coffee. Repeat several times, reusing the coffee. Leave final rinse in hair for at least 15 minutes. Rinse with clear water.

Walnut Husk and Water imply boil the husks in water for about 15 minutes. After boiling, strain the mixture and use the liquid to color your hair. This homemade hair dye is good for making brown hair darker. (Use Gloves, will stain) 

Walnut Husk, Water and Spices: To prepare the dark juice, first crush the hulls in a mortar, cover them with boiling water and a pinch of salt, and let them “soak” for three days. Then add three cups of boiling water and simmer the hulls, in a nonmetal container, for five hours (replacing the water as it steams away). Strain off the liquid, place the walnut hulls in a cloth sack, and twist it tightly to wring out all remaining juice. Finally, return the expressed liquid to the pot and reduce it, by boiling, to about a quarter of its original volume. The resulting brew can then be used to whip up a rich walnut dye, as follows.

Add a teaspoon of ground cloves or allspice to the prepared extract. Allow the dye mixture to steep in the refrigerator for about a week (shaking it frequently during that time). When it’s ready for use, strain the liquid (using a piece of cheesecloth) and pour it at least 15 times through freshly shampooed hair before rinsing it out thoroughly.


Rosehips and Cloves Make a strong tea of rosehips or cloves, or use strong black coffee.

Beet and Carrot Juice –1/2 cup beet juice, 1/2 cup carrot juice. Mix ingredients together, pour over damp hair. Let it sit for 1 hour while you sit in the sun. Wash out.

Kool Aid -Mix the powder with a little water and apply to the hair. Allow the mixture to sit on the hair. The timing will depend on how bright you want the color. You can reapply this mixture if you want the red to be darker. 


Sage-Simmer 1/2 cup dried sage in 2 cups water for 30 minutes, then steep for several hours. Apply to hair and leave on until dried. Then rinse and dry. Repeat weekly, until desired shade, then monthly to maintain color.

Sage and Rosemary make a strong ‘tea’ of Sage and a bit of Rosemary, strain it and refrigerate it, and before washing hair, spray it on the base of the grey patches of hair, even massaged it in. leave it for 5 – ten minutes and then wash as usual, and care for hair normally . After a few weeks of this, the grey is disappearing. (use daily) After using the sage the normal coloring returns to the hair. It is not a ‘color-change’ shocker, and it will soften, and the amount of grey. 

“My sister was totally grey headed and after a month of daily using this solution, she had her normal light brown hair. which she had not seen for over ten years, and she dabbs it on once or twice a week now to keep her normal color, and she is 40. I am 48 and do not want to be grey just yet.”

Sage- here is a great and natural way to dye hair: Simmer 1/2 cup dried sage in 2 cups water for 30 minutes, then steep for several hours. Apply to hair and leave on until dried. Then rinse and dry. Repeat weekly, until desired shade, then monthly to maintain color.

Tag Alder Bark-  hair darkening botanical, but it generally produces a lighter tone than sage, so it’s best when used to darken blond hair or to cover gray in locks that are light to medium brown. To make a tag alder rinse, simmer an ounce of bark chips (your health food store can likely order them from an herb supply firm) in a quart of water for about half an hour, then cool and use it exactly as you would the sage rinse

Henna Powder: Take henna powder, around 4-5 tbsp if you want to apply it only around the area which has gray hair and more if you want to apply to your entire scalp. Make a thin paste of henna powder by adding juice of lemon, a tbsp of curd, a tsp of coffee powder (optional), the water of tea leaves and amla mixture which you prepared earlier. Add ½ tsp of mustard oil in this mixture to avoid dryness. Leave this mixture in an iron vessel for about 2 hours. During winter season you add a finely grounded paste of 2 cloves to elude cold. Apply the mixture on the hair carefully, cover gray hair completely. Leave this on for about 3-4 hours. (Some prefer to keep it overnight.) Then rinse off with water.

Saffron Hair Dye-Saffron 1 pinch Boiling water 500 ml- Soak saffron in water for 10 minutes. Strain and use it on the hair. Grey hair will acquire a rich golden tint.

Henna and Indigo 

Coffee, Henna, Egg- Mix coffee powder (1 tsp)  in the water and make a paste of henna (200 gm) with the water. Beat the 1 egg yolk and mix this into henna. Also add brandy (1 tsp)  to it. Apply the paste and leave it on for 3-4 hours before washing it with lukewarm water.

Mix coffee powder in the water and make a paste of henna with the water. Beat the egg yolk and mix this into henna. Also add brandy to it. Apply the paste and leave it on for 3-4 hours before washing it with lukewarm water.

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  1. Ahmed says

    Hi i need to know what black dye i can use on my beard which will not give me rash.iv tried so many but i get a real bad rash.can u help.thanx u

  2. lenspro says

    Coffee dye worked very well for me, it toned down the grey and the shine was amazing… lasted about 6 weeks but the smell was a bit noticeable for about 3 weeks. Perhaps the instructions were not so good for those that didn’t have a favorable turnout… wash the hair clean, keep pouring the coffee over the hair over and over again– 16 times for me, leave on for at least 4 hours in a heat cap (for half hour), and wash out!

  3. Jalika says

    I am a Black woman of 54 year old with locs, I am trying to embrace my grays. But having difficulty doing so. I am at a experimenting period right now and have for the last few attempts been using the natural dye of Black pepper and yogurt. I have found the using this has benefited as the yogurt stimulates as a conditioner and my loc feels softer and I dont have to use any oils for my scalp. However the Black pepper is suppose to darken the grays…….I would say the grays are not that bright as initially before placing the concoction. I intend to carry on with my experiment by using black pepper, yogurt and coffee and will feedback through this social network

  4. Brigitte says

    To lighten hair use honey! I use a hair mask twice a week with honey and it has given me great highlights.
    Hair Mask:
    Pot with a couple of inches of water
    High-sided bowl
    Turn heat on low

    Add to bowl, warm and stir:
    1 tablespoon of honey
    1 tablespoon of coconut oil
    Splash of olive oil

    Once combined pour mixture into a bowl with an egg yolk.
    Mix together and saturate hair.
    Leave on for 30 minutes.

    I also use the oil mixture from the stove on my face and arms, because skin loves honey.

    Then jump through the shower. Wash hair out with shampoo.

  5. says

    Lawat leaf extracts are traditionally used in preventing hair loss, promoting hair growth and releaving itchiness and skin inflammation. While some causes of hair loss
    might be associated with how you eat and what
    your physical health is, not all of them involve good diet and healthy habits.

    It improves your hair’s elasticity, texture and strength.

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