Natural hair dyes are available in three types: permanent, semi-permanent and temporary.
A person, who has 50% gray hair has to opt for the permanent dye, as it offers the most extensive coverage. As this type of dye contains around 3% peroxide, it may lighten or darken the hair. It is said that the lighter shades of hair dyes contain more toxins, when compared to the darker shades. Hence, it is advisable to select a dye color that is almost similar to the natural hair color. As the permanent dye lasts for four to six weeks, you have to use it again, only when the gray hair grows back.
Natural semi-permanent and temporary colors have only 1 to 3% peroxide or ammonia. Although this is an advantage, they do not penetrate the hair shaft. Semi-permanent hair dyes do not cover the gray hair completely, and fade out after 10 to 12 washes. As temporary dyes contain only color pigments, they must be reapplied, every time you wash your hair with a shampoo. There is a consensus regarding the fact that a maximum of 3% peroxide content is not harmful.
Some dyes are made of roots, leaves and barks. These plant-based hair dyes coat the hair shaft, but do not penetrate it. So no harsh chemicals are used to retain the color.
Henna: The best known plant dye is 'henna', which is considered the safest natural hair color. It has been used in the Middle East and India for several centuries. The leaves of the shrub Lawsonia inermis is used to prepare this color. Pure henna does not contain harmful chemicals, like PPD, ammonia, peroxide etc. Some of the commercial henna hair dyes contain natural medicinal herbs for nourishing and conditioning the hair.
Henna hair dyes are available in different colors, like red, brown, burgundy, and light brown. The color fades out in four or six weeks. However, due to the absence of harsh chemicals, recoloring is a viable alternative. Henna is also good for making coarse hair smooth.
Apply henna on the scalp and hair, and rinse after 40 to 60 minutes. The color of brown henna is enhanced using sage and cloves; and indigo paste is used in black henna. Sometimes medium brown to dark brown henna is mixed with coffee to produce a rich color. Apple cider vinegar is added as a fixative.
Ingredients of Natural Hair Dye
- Henna produces a brown color
- Cranberry juice is used for a reddish tint
- Lemon juice and chamomile tea is used by blondes and light-haired brunettes for a natural highlight
- Tea and/or coffee provide a brown color
- Beets are used for a red color
- Cinnamon is used to brighten red hair
Chemicals in Dyes
A natural hair dye is prepared by mixing plant pigments with a small amount of chemical fixatives. Such dyes are good for those who want a long-lasting color, without the chemical overload. However, some of them may contain toxic substances that are harmful for the human body. They contain the same ingredients as in synthetic hair colors, but in small amounts.