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Natural Hair Color: Ditch the chemicals & dye your hair naturally

Are you looking for a healthy alternative to chemical hair dyes? Well I think I found it! Let’s talk about natural hair color (also called herbal hair dye). Hair dyeing with natural & herbal hair color is becoming increasingly popular. Especially because plant-based hair does not damage your hair. On the contrary: It colors, cares and gives wonderful shine! And all without ammonia, peroxides and artificial additives. But how does natural hair color, with ingredients like henna and indigo, work? Is natural hair color the ideal alternative to chemical hair color? Which colors are worth the try?

1. What is natural hair color / herbal hair dye?

Natural hair color is hair dye, that that colors your hair with herbal ingredients only. In contrast to chemical dyes, they do not penetrate the inner structure of the hair, but lay a layer around every single hair. They are usually made of herbs, that have a coloring effect on hair and textiles, like for example henna and indigo.

Natural Hair Dye: Top 3 Facts

  • 100% natural – no chemical & synthetic additives
  • healthy alternative to chemical hair dye
  • results depend on you initial hair color

2. What are the key differences between chemical and natural hair color?

The differences between conventional, chemical hair dye and natural hair color are pretty huge:

Chemical hair dye

Chemical hair colors penetrate into the hair with the help of strong chemical ingredients such as ammonia or hydrogen peroxide. They remove the natural pigments from the hair, while at the same time, add other additives and artificial pigments into the hair. This process can do extremely damage to the hair, but also dyes the hair very effectively. The most damaging part of dyeing your hair is certainly lighten it. With bleach you can quickly get an intense result, but the quality of the hair often suffers. Basically, the bigger the change, the more damaging the coloration. In order to cover the damage of the dyeing process, one might need to use a lot of hair care products that contain silicones.

The beginning of a vicious circle? The hair that has been damaged by chemical coloration, needs more and more chemical products so they don’t break off.

In addition, the roots are usually very visible and regular touch-ups are needed. A positive feature of chemical color is the precise determination of the result. A skilled hair dresser should usually give you the color you want. In addition, only with chemical color you can really lighten your hair a lot.

Natural hair dye

Natural hair colors work very differently: They consist of finely grounded plant components, that have a coloring effect on hair and textiles. Usually these plants and herbs are: indigo, henna, amla, walnut, chamomile, wheat extracts, bluewood, sage, oregano, coffee, hibiscus, black tea, beetroot or some other plant.

All of these plants can dye different tones in different combinations – from light blonde to deep blue-black. Pretty amazing, right? The color pigments gently wrap around the hair and into the fine cuticle layer. This process closes the hair and does not open it (like chemical hair dye would). The hair shines more and is even more resistant. Often it is not necessary to dye the roots as often, because the plant pigments very slowly dissolve over time and the underlying hair color shines through, which makes the cut very gentle.

The best part of dyeing your hair with natural hair dye? It does not damage the hair at all. A disadvantage could be that the results always depend on the original hair color. You can usually color light hair very dark, but can’t lighten hair at all.

3. Natural Hair Dye: The results

Plant-based hair dyes have evolved enormously in recent years. Today, there is possible to dye your hair naturally in almost ANY shade. Since herbal hair color only wraps the hair with a layer of pigments, the result always depends on the initial hair color. A little fun at experimenting is therefore MUST! =)

Dyeing your hair darker or in the same color spectrum as the original hair color works great. Unfortunately brightening and bleaching is not possible with natural hair dyes. However, if you have rather light hair, you can dye your hair with a blonde natural hair dye and effectively change your shade of blond – making it for example warmer, deeper, darker, more reddish or golden. You can even cover gray and white hair permanently with natural hair color. Of course the results depend on your selected shade (some might cover grey hair more effectively then others) and your individual hair structure (some white or grey hair might be harder to dye than others).

You have to remember that every hair structure is slightly different and reacts differently to certain brands and colors. Especially gray and white hair. The first time you dye with natural hair dye, you may need to apply the color several times to get an intense result. But usually that shouldn’t be a problem at all, because natural hair dye does not damage your hair or scalp.

Natural hair dye is usually permanent. Especially with dark shades, such as black, red and dark brown, you have to expect that the color remains in the hair. However, it can change over time! Herbal hair color can fade very slowly and you might need to touch up the color from time to time. Very light blonde shades might even wash out completely over time.

4. Top 4 Natural Hair Colors / Herbal Hair Dyes

Nowadays there are many different brands that produce plant-based hair dyes. I have listed 4 of the best known manufacturers below. Please keep in mind, that this list is only a personal snapshot in time and does certainly not represent the market as a whole. But in my experience, these brands are very well known for their natural hair dye and very well liked by costumers all over the world.

If you want to use other brands, it is recommended to have very close look at the ingredient list. Unfortunately there are a lot of brands that use words like “natural”, “with plants” or “henna”, while adding other chemical additives to their products as well. The brands listed below are all certified and do not contain any harmful ingredients.

1. Khadi Natural Hair Color

  • Made of plants, without chemical additives and synthetic ingredients such as silicone, ammonia and peroxide; without synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives
  • does not damage the hair
  • nourishes with Indian herbs and gives a healthy shine
  • very good coverage of gray hair
  • 100% natural, vegan, without animal testing
  • certified natural cosmetics (BDIH certified)
  • German quality standards
  • Go to Khadi website

Golden Hint • Light Blonde • Medium Blonde • Sunrise • Dark Blonde • Light Brown • Hazel • Medium Brown • Golden Brown • Dark Brown • Ash Brown • Pure Henna (red) • Henna, Amla and Jathropa (red) • Pure Indigo (Blue-Black) • Black

2. Sante Herbal Hair Color

  • without chemical additives and synthetic ingredients such as silicone, ammonia and peroxide; without synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives
  • Available as a powder and as a color cream
  • 100% natural, pure vegetable & vegan, without animal testing
  • does not damage the hair
  • certified natural cosmetics (BDIH certified), NATRUE seal
  • German Quality Standards
  • Go to Sante Website

Strawberry Blonde • Natural Red • Flame Red • Magagoni Red • Bronze • Chestnut Brown • Terra • Nut Brown • Black • Cognac Blonde • Honey Mahagony • Cocoa Brown • Cherry Brown • Mahagony Brown

3. Logona Herbal Hair Color

  • without chemical additives and synthetic ingredients such as silicone, ammonia and peroxide; without synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives
  • Available as a powder and as a color cream
  • 100% natural, pure vegetable & vegan, without animal testing
  • does not damage the hair
  • certified natural cosmetics (BDIH certified), NATRUE seal
  • German Quality Standards
  • Go to Logona Website

010 Goldblond • 020 Caramel Blonde • 030 Natural Red • 040 Flame Red • 050 Mahagoni Brown • 060 Nut Brown • 070 Chestnut Brown • 080 Natural Brown • 090 Dark Brown • 091 Chocolate Brown • 092 Red Brown • 101 Black Intense

4. Radico Color Me Organic Herbal Hair Color

  • without peroxides, ammonia or other chemical components without synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives.
  • very large color selection with many different shades
  • 100% natural, vegan, without animal testing
  • does not damage the hair
  • Organic certified by Ecocert and USDA Organic
  • Go to Radico Color Me Organic Website

Beige Blonde • Light Reddish Blonde • Reddish Blonde • Champagne Blonde • Wheat Blonde • Honey Blonde • Caramell Blonde • Light Ash Blonde • Ash Blonde • Dark Ash Blonde • Darkest Ash Blonde • Wine Red • Mahagony • Auburn Red • Strawberry Blonde • Golden Blonde • Violet • Coppper Brown • Burgundy • Light Brown • Brown • Dark Brown • Soft Black

4. Application & experience

The application of herbal hair color is actually quite simple, although it takes some time getting used to. 🙂 Most of the natural hair colors are mixed with water or tea and mixed into a thick paste. You then apply the mixture to freshly washed hair. After some time you simply wash your hair with clear water.

You should definitely look into the application process of the brand you chose.  Although the application of natural hair dye, like henna, is very similar from brand to brand, you may find something interesting. For some colors, for example, it is very helpful to have a thermometer handy to measure the temperature of the paste. For other hair colors it is recommended to add some salt to the paste. It is also helpful to wash your hair with silicone-free shampoo only, if you want to dye it naturally.

My experience with natural hair color was consistently positive. My favorite brand is clearly khadi.

♡ Cocoppery