To change the natural hair color or to cover gray hair, there are several methods with different color intensity and durability: tints and intensive tints contain artificial color pigments that attach to the outer cuticle layer of the hair or are so small that they penetrate the hair and color it . The color result lasts a few hair washes up to several weeks, but looks dull and faded with every wash. Lightening the hair or covering gray is not possible with tints.
The chemical ingredients of industrial hair colorations break up the hair structure with an oxidizing agent – usually hydrogen peroxide – so that the color can penetrate the hair and remains permanently durable. Permanent colorations cannot be washed out and only disappear when the hair grows out or is over-colored. Even the pungent smell of chemical hair colors suggests that the dyeing process strains the hair and scalp and can cause allergies. It is not uncommon for the active ingredients contained in industrial hair dyes to be tested on animals. Many chemical products also contain amines that are suspected of being genotoxic and carcinogenic.
Herbal hair colors promise to be gentler and more environmentally friendly than chemical hair dyes, but they also have some disadvantages. We show what possibilities there are to change the hair color in a natural way.
Dye hair with herbal hair color
Herbal hair colorconsists of ground, color-intensive plant components, the pigments of which gently attach to the cuticle and hair shafts. They act like a protective care coat, smoothing and thickening the hair instead of attacking it. Compared to chemical tints and colorations, however, the range of natural colors is more limited: depending on the hair texture and starting color, red, brown and darker blonde shades can be easily dyed with natural products, but extreme color changes cannot be achieved. So with plant color neither a strong lightening as with chemical bleaching, nor the black or colored coloring of the hair is possible. The individual color result also depends heavily on the initial color and structure of the hair and cannot be predicted in advance.
Who is plant hair color suitable for?
In principle for everyone who wants to achieve a natural color change in an environmentally friendly manner and who want to protect their hair and scalp. The ideal starting point for natural hair colors is fine, blonde to dark blonde hair, which absorbs the vegetable color pigments particularly well. The gray cover also works with natural hair colors in most cases without any problems. On the other hand, if you want to change your hair color extremely, you can usually only achieve the desired color effect with chemical agents.
Does herbal hair color cover gray hair?
If you want to cover gray hair, you don’t necessarily have to resort to chemical hair dye. Herbal hair color can also dye gray hairline and cover up white hair. However, due to their special nature, gray hair remains lighter than non-gray hair after dyeing with vegetable color. Depending on the amount of gray, this creates naturally nuanced color gradations in the hair. In order to achieve a covering result with vegetable color, however, gray hair usually has to be colored several times.
This is how dyeing with herbal hair dye works
Almost all herbal hair colors consist of powder, which is mixed with hot water and worked in strand by strand. The exposure time takes significantly longer than with chemical colors and is – depending on the desired intensity – up to two hours. Depending on the color of the plant hair, the coloring effect is achieved by tannic acid, often in combination with natural acids such as fruit vinegar or lemon, or alkaline. Alkaline vegetable colors swell the cuticle of the hair and thus enable the color pigments to be stored. Unlike chemical hair colors, plant hair color works differently on every hair and uses natural coloring ingredients such as the leaves of the henna or indigo plant , nutshells , and wheat extracts, Coffee , black tea or spices like turmeric subtly different shades. In the health food store or drugstore, herbal hair colors are available from natural cosmetic brands such as Logona, Santé, Radico or Khadi. In the meantime, many hairdressers have specialized in natural hair colors and offer competent advice and professional treatment with herbal products.
Tips for dyeing yourself with herbal hair dye
If you don’t want your hair to be dyed by a (natural) hairdresser, but want to lend a hand at home, you should consider the following tips:
- Before you treat your hair with vegetable color, you should avoid silicone-containing shampoos for a few weeks, as these impair the absorption of the color.
- To make sure that the coloring with the plant hair color corresponds to your individual ideas, you should first test the color result on a test strand.
- If you want to dye a strong shade of red with natural henna-based hair color, you should apply a fatty facial cream or hair treatment to the ears and the front hairline to avoid discoloration of the scalp. This is not necessary for brown and blonde tones.
- Rinse the plant color thoroughly after the exposure time without shampoo and then do not use rinses or conditioners. The natural color pigments only solidify in the dry state and can be replaced by oil-containing hair care products.
- Caution, if you want to use herbal hair color on heavily stressed, bleached or otherwise chemically dyed hair: To avoid false colors, you should seek advice from a hairdresser specializing in natural hair colors instead of coloring yourself.
Dye hair with henna color
The coloring henna powder consists of the dried and powdered leaves and stems of the henna and is mixed into a pulp for use with hot water. Depending on the initial hair color and exposure time, an orange to dark red shade can be achieved with henna. Pure henna dries out the hair quickly and only allows a limited range of colors. Be careful with henna colors that are not designated as natural products and are intended to color blond or black – these usually contain additives that are strongly advised against.
Hide gray hair naturally
If the first gray streaks are noticeable in dark hair, a rinse with sage or rosemary can help to make the gray parts of the hair or a gray regrowth less visible. To do this, scald three tablespoons of sage or rosemary with a cup of hot water and strain the infusion after ten minutes. Then let the tea cool, use it as a rinse after shampooing and leave it on for about 15 to 30 minutes. Then rinse the hair thoroughly with water.