Gone are the days when artificial hair coloring was used primarily by the older generation to combat the inevitable graying of their hair.
Nowadays, hair dying is a trendy procedure popular among the old and young, women and men alike.
It is primarily a cosmetic procedure done to cover up gray hair, restore color after a hair dressing procedure like bleaching, or experiment with a different hair color for fashion purposes.
Hair coloring is not merely a service to be purchased at the salon anymore. People have become adept at doing it at home.
About 18.14 percent of households in the United States reportedly used hair-coloring products in 2015.
Home hair coloring saves an immense amount of time and money. However, there is a flip side to this happy story. Store-bought hair dyes are laced with chemicals that harm your health in major ways.
Out of 263 people who used hair dyes, 96 percent rendered hair unsafe for lactating and pregnant women, 63 reported headaches and 38 percent reported itching, according to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Trichology.
Excessive use of chemical hair dyes also weakens hair, causing excessive breakage and hair loss.
Some hair dyes contain gluten and can trigger an adverse allergic reaction in a gluten intolerant person.
Moreover, regular use of chemical hair dyes is positively associated with an increasing risk of bladder cancer, according to a 2005 study published in Public Health Reports.
You can avoid many of these concerns by using natural products without the chemical additives.
Here are some ways you can dye your hair naturally.
Henna Hair Dye
Things you’ll need:
- Organic henna powder – 150 to 200 grams
- Lemon juice – 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Coconut milk – 1 can
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing spoon (non-metallic)
- Plastic wrap
Ancient Egypt, South Asia, Europe, Arabia and Africa – cultures the world over have been using henna as a natural hair-coloring agent for thousands of years. It is one of the most potent natural coloring agents in the world.
Depending upon the actual color of the hair and the quality of the henna being used, the resulting color after a henna application can be orange, red or a dark burgundy.
Besides its coloring properties, henna is also an incredible conditioner and makes the hair manageable. It also provides strength and vitality to the hair and prevents breakage.
Moreover, henna helps inhibit the over production of oil from the scalp that makes hair greasy and limp, and maintains its buoyancy.
The powdered henna leaf contains the dye molecules which, when released, penetrate the scalp and hair and color them.
However, these powdered leaf particles are covered with cellulose, which needs to be broken down to release the dye molecules.
While other products can break down the cellulose, only an acidic product like lemon juice will enable it to stick to your scalp and hair firmly, and color your hair more effectively.
Long-term henna dye users just cannot stop raving about the incredible benefits of adding coconut milk to the henna paste.
For starters, it counters the extremely drying effect that lemon juice can have on your scalp, especially for those who already suffer from dry scalp and hair. Moreover, it combats the drying effects of henna.
Apart from its incredibly moisturizing properties, it helps release the dye quicker, and nourishes and strengthens your hair for extra measure.
Steps for henna hair dye
Preparing the henna dye:
- Pour 1 can of coconut milk in a bowl, then add 150 to 200 grams of henna powder and 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- With a spoon, mix the ingredients well into a thick paste and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Allow the mixture to sit overnight at room temperature for best results, or at least let it sit for 4 to 5 hours for the dye to release.
Applying the henna:
- Part your hair down the middle of your scalp into two sections, bringing each section to either side of your shoulders.
- Put on a pair of gloves for applying the henna to protect your fingers and nails from staining.
- Starting with the right side, lift a 2-inch section of your hair from the crown and begin coating your hair with the henna.
- Once the section is completely coated, twist it with your fingers and coil it into a bun on the top of your head.
- Start moving down from the crown, parting a 2-inch section each time, repeating the coating and twisting process, and each time coiling them around the same first bun.
- Repeat the process with the left side of your hair. When done, you should have one big henna mound on the top of your head.
- Wrap a plastic wrap on your head (or use a shower cap for shorter hair) and keep it on for at least 5 to 6 hours. For best results, sleep with it overnight.
- Rinse your hair with plain cool water.
- Do not wash your hair with shampoo or conditioner for the next 32 hours.
- Your hair will initially come out tinted with color and darker than it was, and the color will become deeper within 2 to 3 days. The color, along with the quality, will only grow richer when you start applying henna to your hair regularly.
- Always use organic henna, preferably one that also contains herbs like bhringraj, amla, shikakai and brahmi.
- Thoroughly wash and brush your hair before application. Henna sticks better to detangled and clean hair.
- If you have an excessively oily scalp, forego the coconut milk, which can exacerbate the oiliness. Simply add water.
- If you have an excessively dry scalp, you may add ¼ cup of hemp seed oil or olive oil to the mixture for extra moisture.
- Apple cider vinegar is a suitable alternative to lemon juice.
- One can of plain whole milk is a suitable alternative to coconut milk.
- Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of clove, ginger or cinnamon powder to the mix to eliminate the smell of henna, if you so desire.
- Cover your pillow with a towel for the next 2 to 3 days as the henna might stain your covers.
- Avoid using chemical-based hair products in your day-to-day routine. They can hamper the efficacy of natural products, like henna.