A few years back, quite a few Instagrammers were into a trend called “granny hair,” and it’s exactly what you think it is. Yes, young women actually dyed their hair grey, and it became a thing. Go figure.
Look, I think it’s great that our standards of beauty are becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive. If we celebrate silver foxes (i.e., gray-haired men considered sexy and dapper), why not do the same for silver vixens, right?
Still, what’s life without a little color? If you happen to be of a certain age where having gray hair isn’t exactly a choice but a given, it’s natural to miss rocking a more vibrant hue. However, there have been findings that many hair dye products contain carcinogenic substances, and the increased cancer risk is enough to make most people think twice before using those boxed dyes or hitting the salon for touch-ups.
Fortunately, Mother Nature herself has provided a solution for bringing some color back into your locks. There are about five, in fact, and they’re not only good for your wallet, but they don’t pose any serious health risks either:
Dried and powdered henna has been used as a natural hair dye as far back as Cleopatra’s time. It imparts a deep vermillion or copper color on grey hair and is also a great anti-dandruff treatment.
How to Use: In an iron vessel, combine 2 cups of henna powder, the juice of 1 lemon, a tablespoon of amla powder or crushed hibiscus powder, and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Leave it covered for 2 hours.
Use a brush with gloved hands to apply the resulting dye all over your scalp and locks (henna stains anything it touches). Cover your head with a shower cap and leave on for at least six hours or until the henna starts to flake. Wash hair thoroughly.
Different kinds of herbs can give you different colors, apparently.
How to Use: Boil a handful of calendula, marigold, rosehips, and hibiscus in 1 liter of water, and leave to cool. Apply to hair, leave to dry, and then rinse off thoroughly. This mixture can turn gray hair red.
Take a handful of dried sage leaves and boil for 30- 45 minutes in a liter of water. Cool, strain, and then pour the infusion over clean hair. Repeat this ritual once a week until hair has visibly darkened.
Yep, you can pretty much dump your breakfast on your hair to turn your grey hairs brown. Just kidding. There’s a much better way to get the hair darkening benefits from everyone’s favorite drink.
How to Use: Wash and dry your hair as usual. Mix together a cup of strong coffee decoction or espresso, a half-cup of almond or olive oil, and two tablespoons of coffee grounds, and apply to hair. Leave to dry, and then rinse off with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar to strengthen the color. (Don’t worry, your hair won’t smell vinegar-y once it dries.)
You may repeat the process once a week to build up an earthy brown color.
A decoction made with tea leaves isn’t as potent as one made with coffee, but it’s great for giving your roots a touch-up (or as an alternative when you’re fresh out of espresso).
How to Use: Brew a cup of strong tea using about 3-5 tea bags. Let it cool, and then add half a cup of almond or olive oil. Apply the mixture on your hair and leave for an hour. Repeat the application on gray strands if you’d like a deeper color.
Rinse off and dry as usual.
Similar to henna, indigo powder can be made into a paste for covering up grey hair, though it usually results in a darker hue.
How to Use: Combine a cup each of organic henna powder and indigo powder with a half cup of lemon juice and water as well as two tablespoons of almond or olive oil. Apply the mixture to clean, dry hair, and leave on for 2-6 hours.
Rinse and dry as usual to reveal darker, shinier hair.
As a final note, do bear in mind that natural hair dyes are slower to take effect than chemical ones, and that they’re best supplemented with a maximum of twice weekly rinses with sulfate-free shampoo and natural conditioners like coconut oil or shea butter. You may also want to put aside your curling or flat irons to help retain the color longer.
The use of natural hair colorants certainly comes with a few adjustments, but they do offer a safer and healthier way of achieving your #hairgoals, and you can’t beat that.