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What is Natural Hair Dye?

By Sonal Panse
Updated May 21, 2024
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Natural hair dye is hair dye extracted from plants and vegetables. It is usually used in a pure extract form and does not contain chemicals like Ammonia, Resorcinol and Phenylenediamine which are found in commercial hair dyes. Being non-toxic, natural hair dyes do not pose a health or environmental hazard. They do not harm the hair structure, can even help with conditioning and hair moisturizing, and so are generally good for long-term use.

However, while such dyes are deemed safe, everybody has a different threshold of what they can tolerate. There is no guarantee that what works perfectly well on a number of people may not have an adverse effect on others. People can be allergic to a wide range of natural ingredients, and a store-bought natural hair dye may contain certain levels of metals, leads and mercury that can irritate or inflame sensitive skin. So, before using any natural hair dye, it is advisable to take a patch test to observe the body's reaction to the dye.

A patch test is done by applying a little amount of dye to the inner skin of the elbow or to the skin behind the ear; if there is an allergic reaction, that dye should not be applied on the hair. Allergies can develop despite regular safe use, so, ideally, a skin patch test should be done before every coloring process. A strand test is also recommended and helpful for checking how the dye works on the hair, but this is not always accurate and the final hair color application could look different.

Compared to chemical dyes, the color options in natural hair dyes are limited. Henna and walnut hulls are used for dyeing hair red or brown, castor bean and indigo are used for getting a black color, indigo and woad for bluish tints, and saffron, chamomile and rhubarb for a blond look. Dyes are also made from respectively boiling potatoes, black coffee and black tea. Other effective rinses include those made from various herbs like rosemary, sage, parsley, catnip, lemon, raspberry leaves, hibiscus flowers, calendula, rosehips, betony, ivy berries, black coffee and black tea.

Dyeing with a natural hair dye is not an exact science. The process can be messy, getting the precise required color is often a matter of trial and error, and the color is not as permanent as a chemical dye. The haircare benefits, however, are long-lasting.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon71635 — On Mar 19, 2010

how do i get black color? where can i get it in tirunelveli?

By dipika — On Nov 01, 2009

please tell me, how can i get the rosemary and sage extract?

By anon50785 — On Oct 31, 2009

where can i get rosemary and sage for brown hair in Idiia?

By anon40855 — On Aug 11, 2009

where can i get castor bean and indigo combination for black hair in india? in chennai address please. -- k chakravarthy

By anon38859 — On Jul 28, 2009

where can i get castor bean and indigo combination for black hair in india, chennai.

By anon34667 — On Jun 26, 2009

where to get castor bean and Indigo combination for black hair in India, chennai.

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