There was a time when I used to visit the hairdresser every 6 weeks for a cut and color. Every… six… weeks… Not only was it expensive and, uh, nausea-inducing (hey, chemicals!), but I spent somewhere in the ballpark of 35 hours a year at the salon. Oi. Now, I solely rely on at-home hair color boosters to freshen my natural color. If you’re ready to ditch the salon color, we’ve got the homemade hair color recipes you need to tint your hair naturally with nothing more than a few herbs and kitchen essentials.
Natural Hair Color Recipes
Since these boosters rely on natural ingredients to either add color or lighten existing color, they’re best when used on un-dyed hair. I can’t guarantee they won’t interact with salon color, making hair look brassy or dull.
For Blonde Hair
Whether you have blonde hair that you’d like to enhance or you have bronde (brown-blonde) hair that you’d like to lighten, this recipe is for you.
Chamomile contains an enzyme that limits your hair’s melanin production. And over time, applying chamomile tea to your locks can lighten strands. Just note that this only works if your hair is somewhat light to begin with. If you have dark hair, chamomile probably won’t be enough to strip the color and you may end up disappointed.
For an extra-strength blonde booster, try adding a potato and lemon juice. The starch in potatoes acts as a temporary natural hair color. Meanwhile, lemon juice opens the hair cuticle and strips away the outer layer of color, resulting in a natural hair lightener.
Steep 4 bags of chamomile tea in 2 cups of water. When the tea has cooled completely, remove the tea bags and pour onto damp hair. Let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it out, then shampoo and condition as usual.
Apply twice a week
Combine 1 pureed medium-sized potato, 1/2 cup chamomile tea and the juice of one lemon. Massage into roots, then cover hair in plastic wrap or a shower cap and heat with a blow dryer for 3 minutes. Rinse well.
For Brown or Black Hair
If you’ve got darker locks, you can use a natural dyes, like coffee, tea or cocoa powder, to tint strands and enhance the color. Add in some honey and apple cider vinegar and you can help draw out highlights and give hair a bronze shine.
Unlike with blonde hair boosters, dark boosters add color rather than strip it away. This means that any added dimension from coffee or tea will be semi-permanent and may only last 2-3 weeks. But they’re gentle on hair and even have nourishing properties, thanks to oils and antioxidants, so you’re free to use them as often as you like without doing any damage.
Brew 2 cups of strong, dark roast coffee (or black tea) and let cool. Pour over damp hair and cover with a shower cap for 30 minutes, then rinse.
Apply twice a Week
Whisk 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey and 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar into a paste. Apply to wet hair and let sit 15 minutes before rinsing. Repeat twice a week.
For Red or Auburn Hair
Whether you’ve dyed your hair or it’s just naturally red, cranberry juice can help give your locks some extra oomph. Cranberries contain natural colorants known as anthocyanins, which get absorbed into hair and remain throughout several washings.
To do it, simply apply cranberry juice to damp strands as a once-a-day rinse. Over time, the color will build and you’ll be left with noticeably more vibrant locks.
Pour 1 cup chilled 100% cranberry juice over damp strands, cover with a shower cap and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse out, then shampoo and condition as usual. Repeat every other week.
Faded color? Opt for a honey tonic
If your hair color has faded, you can bring out the highlights with a simple honey and lemon juice spray. While this isn’t ideal for dark hair (you may notice much of a difference), you can use it with blonde, light brown and red hair.
Combine 1/4 cup each of water, honey and lemon juice in a spray bottle. Spritz onto damp hair, then part hair and pull it into a ponytail. After an hour in the sun, wash hair twice to remove residue. Overuse of lemon can dry out hair so limit to 2 times a week.