Using Natural Hair Dye at Home


How to Dye Your Hair Naturally: Using Natural Dyes Without Chemicals

Hipsters and natural-minded folks have been using henna and natural hair dye for years — this concept is nothing new. For me, though, finding a chemical-free, safe hair dye that worked was an adventure.

Before I got pregnant, natural hair dye wasn’t really a forethought, as I had been coloring my hair since I was about 16. I’d make about four to five trips to the salon with my checkbook in hand — shelling out a pretty penny on ammonia-laden, scalp-burning highlights. The finished product looked great and lasted about six to eight weeks. But after reading about the dangers of these chemicals permeating my skin and possibly affecting the health of my unborn child, I decided to look for alternatives.

The Search

I typed “natural hair dyes” into the search engine to find a number of hair dyes – both DIY and boxed varieties. I recognized one brand, Herbatint, right away as we sell their products on Co-op Market. I perused their website, read reviews and compared my desired hair color to my current before I committed to purchasing. Still, I was skeptical about using boxed permanent hair dye kits and worried my hair would turn out some whacky color or it would be stripped of its nutrients.

Herbatint’s Permanent Hair Color Gel uses natural ingredients and herbal extracts like witch hazel, aloe, birch leaf and echinacea root to achieve results, and I love how transparent they are with listing every ingredient on their website. There are some not-so-wonderful ingredients (like laureth-4, propylene glycol and others I can’t pronounce) but I felt it was a much better alternative to the chemicals in conventional boxes and salons. In fact, according to (a database created by the Environmental Working Group), Herbatint rates 4 out of 10 for safety (10 being the worst).

The Process

I read the directions step-by-step, first starting with mixing the color and developer. After stirring, it turned into a honey-colored gel. I applied the product from root to tip using a comb because it doesn’t come with an applicator. When I felt my hair was saturated enough, I let it sit for 40 minutes before washing. Not once I did smell any ammonia, caustic chemicals, or experience any burning — it was a pretty easy and pleasant process!

The Result

It comes with a conditioner called Royale Cream, which I applied after using my color-safe shampoo. My hair had never felt so silky soft after dying before, and it actually smelled good! The true test was to see how my hair looked when it dried — and I’m proud to say it passed the test. I noticed the golden, honey-blonde highlights right away. Nothing was whacky, uneven or too bright. It looked as natural as could be. I chose a color two shades lighter (and one from the ‘N’ series) than my natural hair color and would recommend others to do the same if wanting lighter hair, as reviews say the color often turns out darker than the box.

It’s a little humorous that I discovered that much of this hair dye line is intended for covering grey hair. I have to admit it’s slightly embarrassing that I use hair dye for greying hair at my young age, but it’s good to know for down the road. I normally don’t go around bragging about boxed hair dye, but I’m so incredibly happy that I’ve found something that works for my budget, the environment and my hair and skin. It’s been a year that I've been using this brand of hair dye and I don’t see myself going back to the chemical version for the foreseeable future.