Mane Magic: Ways To Color Your Hair Without Dyes

January 1, 2012  |  
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More and more consumers are straying away from chemical hair dyes and looking to less harmful solutions that will lighten or darken their hair. While the more natural methods may not produce immediate noticeable colors like traditional dyes, they do work well overtime.

Here are some ways to lighten/darken your hair without having to worry about consistent damage to your hair…


Henna is one of the most popular alternatives used to color hair. If your hair is dark, henna isn’t going to do much to lift your color, but it will add light brown/reddish tints that will be noticeable in sunlight (for jet black, use indigo with henna). Henna also contains protein, so if you are protein sensitive, it may leave your hair feeling crunchy and dry.

Here is a detailed three-part YouTube tutorial you can reference on using henna.

Carrot and Beet Juice

Don’t want to go the henna route for that reddish tint? Try mixing half a cup of beet juice with half a cup of carrot juice for similar results. Pour this over damp hair and sit under the dryer for about 30 minutes before rinsing. If you’re not satisfied with your results, repeat the application weekly.


Touted for its moisturizing properties, honey also works to gradually lighten hair because of the peroxide it releases. Add some honey to your conditioner every time you deep condition and you will notice results in a matter of weeks!

Black Tea/Coffee

To darken your hair for that healthy and thick look, brew a pot of black tea or coffee (amount will depend on your length) and let it cool. Pour it over dry hair and repeat the process 15-20 times before rinsing.  To make the process easier, plug your sink and scoop the excess.

Lemon Juice

Using lemon juice is an effective method to lighten hair, but since it is very drying, I would recommend the honey method instead. If you insist on using lemon juice, you can add some honey to the mix to prevent it from drying your hair out excessively. Apply it and sit under the dryer for 15-20 minutes before  shampooing.

Temporary Color Mousses

If you want something quick and easy, Roux Fanci-Full is a great line to try. They have a range of colors that will stay and won’t smudge unless you apply water to your hair. Sally Beauty Supply carries their mousses for $9.99.

Have you tried any of these? What were the results? 

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  • This web site is my intake, very good style and Perfect articles.

  • Nina

    Please do some research… You are not ‘protein sensitive’ if your hair is left ‘crunchy and dry’ after doing any kind of protein treatment, much less by using henna. Every human’s hair is composed of protein, so you can’t be ‘protein sensitive’ as if it’s some slight allergic reaction. ALL protein treatments need to be followed with an intensive deep conditioning treatment to balance and restore pH, moisture, and flexibility or else you will get that crunchy, dry feeling every time. When using henna, your best bet is to use a creamy, unpasteurized organic honey (the clear ones are not the same) or some other kind of natural oil/butter (such as tucumma, nilotic shea butter, meadowfoam oil, olive oil, almond oil, apricot oil, tamanu oil, or jojoba or coconut oil if your hair and scalp are on the oily/fine side…you get the point).

  • Jolie

    I’ve used a powdered henna and a henna cream. The powder was difficult to wash out but maybe that was just the brand I used. The cream was easy and effective and I would use again but right now I’m diggin every last strand of my uncolored hair (grays and all, lol)

  • greygoose125

    Henna works great for me and gives my gray hair a reddish/copper tint. 

    Back in the day, Black Cherry Kool-Aid mixed with conditioner gave my hair a Burgundy tint – (college memories.)

  • what about kool-aid

  • Honey… Cool, i want my hair to get a slightly lighter tint…

  • Love_Sexy

    I knew about the lemon juice to lighten hair but did not know about honey….I also did not know about the black tea to darken……..Very interesting…..I have used henna before which is excellent for conditioning as well as coloring.

  • Candacey Doris

    The henna actually does work on really dark hair. The trick is to allow it to sit. The more henna oxidizes, the better the color will be. My friend and i used it, her hair turned a nice red brown and my hair went altogether red.

  • that henna looks like curry, I like the honey tip!

  • IllyPhilly

    I use the sun, hair goes from brown to red for about a week. Best in summer of course.

  • Cherry Coke

    I like the beet/carrot juice tip. I have done the lemon juice thing before.

  • FromUR2UB

    I used a conditioner with henna in it years ago.  My hair is naturally dark brown with reddish highlights, so the henna enhanced the highlights.

  • Interesting.  I will definitely try the honey method and maybe the lemon-honey combo.