Want to give your hair a little kick without paying for costly salon treatments or store-bought hair products? There are several options for the at-home hair dyer, using common herbs, fruits, or even vinegar.
Following are some recipes that I have tried in the past. In general, they are much more gentle and subtle than anything you would buy at the store, so most of them will require more than one application. This is a good thing in my opinion, as it creates more natural looking color.
1-2 Lemons, juiced
For all over lightening, dampen all of your hair with the lemon juice; or for highlights, only dampen selected strands. A small paint brush works well to apply lemon juice to selected strands for highlighting, whereas a small spray bottle will work well for all over lightening. Allow your hair to be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes. Rinse hair and condition well. The highlights will show best if this is done daily for 3-5 days.
Homemade Highlights II
1 ounce dried chamomile (for blonds)
1 ounce dried rosemary (for brunettes)
1 cup boiling water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
Combine the dried herbs and boiling water in a heat proof container. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Mix in the lemon juice or vinegar. Apply the mixture to wet hair, and style as usual. Use a small paintbrush to apply only to selected strands for highlights, or use a spray bottle for all over coloring. The highlights will show best if this is done daily for a week. As an added bonus, this mixture is gentle enough to be used on most hair types daily as a conditioner.
Homemade Highlights III
1/2 cup Olive Oil (more or less depending on how much hair you have)
Generously coat your hair with olive oil. Allow your hair to be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes. Wash as usual. Repeat this treatment every other day until you have desired color. This treatment not only lightens hair, but is very moisturizing and helps repair damaged hair.
Hair Dye to Conceal Gray Hair
1 ounce dried rosemary
1 ounce dried sage
2 cups water
Combine ingredients in a pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, cover, and allow to steep overnight. The next day, strain out the herbs. Apply the decoction to your hair, and allow to dry. Repeat weekly until desired color is achieved.
Brunette Hair Coloring
1/3 cup black walnut shells
1/3 cup whole cloves
2 1/2 cups water
Combine ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Allow mixture to cool, then strain out shells/cloves. Apply the remaining liquid to your hair as a rinse after you wash your hair. To do this, pour it over your hair several times, using a basin to catch the rinse. Use this rinse every time you wash your hair, until desired color is achieved.
Brunette Hair Coloring II
2 cups strong black coffee
1 Tablespoon vinegar
Mix ingredients. Saturate hair with coffee mixture. Put hair up and cover with a shower cap. Allow mixture to sit in hair for at least 20 minutes. Rinse well. Apply daily until desired color is achieved.
1/2 cup beet juice
1/2 cup carrot juice
Apply juice to hair, saturating it well. Allow hair to be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes. Wash as usual.
Hair Dye for Blonds
1 ounce dried chamomile
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
In a heat-proof container, combine the dried chamomile and boiling water. Cover and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the herbs, saving the infusion. Mix the yogurt into the infusion. Apply to hair. Put hair up and cover with a show cap. Allow the mixture to stay on the hair for 30 minutes. Wash hair as usual.
Before you try any of these recipes: please remember to test a small amount of dye on an inconspicuous lock of hair before you do your entire mane.
Here's to hoping for good hair days this summer!