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Staining Hair with Plant Pigment…. Natural Dye Experiment

IMG_6176-2Ever since my Natural Fiber Dying class at The Spiritweavers Gathering last Spring, I have been OBSESSED with figuring out how to dye hair with plants. IF people have been dying natural fibers with plants for thousands of years, shouldn’t we be quite close to finding more natural alternatives to hair-coloring? We all know about henna, right? But there has to be more straightforward ways to use the pigment in plants as a way to add color to hair, in a bigger way than “enhancing highlights…..” I’m talking, let’s dye your hair green with plant blood.

The endeavor of natural fiber dyeing combines 4 of my favorite things…….Nature, Science, Art, and Craft.This is what drew me into the experiment. As of today, I have gotten this far…….Succesfully staining hair green with Spirulina and acid-yellow Tumeric. Unsuccessful was the beet. Next time, Hibiscus powder (or perhaps cranberry?) for my pink, and black walnut husk for a darker hue.

Here is how we conducted our natural fiber hair-dying experiment.

First, I got myself a very light-haired model, my daughter Mars. I also used my own hair, which is light on the ends, to see if plant color would grab to it (it did!) As is true with any direct dye’s, light hair will show color better.

I got myself some Beet Root Powder, Spirulina Powder, and Turmeric Root Powder which I found at my local apothecary. These powders can be found on Amazon by clicking the links:)

Then I got my Alaffia- EveryDay Shea- Moisturizing Shea Butter Conditioner, which I use as a base for all my experiments which require a creamy conditioner. I love this stuff because it works great, it is affordable, and the company is so incredibly cool. Check em out!

I got 3 bowls, 3 color applying brushes, a hair clip, a comb, and a few sheets of foil.

IMG_6181-2I mixed a tablespoon of each powder with 6 pumps of conditioner, blending thoroughly with a color brush till the colors were creamy and consistent.

colorThen, I painted the color on thickly to strips of Marley’s blonde hair in foils. I sealed up the foils, and then I scrunched the remaining Turmeric conditioner into my hair. We went about our business, me processing peaches we just foraged at a nearby neighbors yard, and Marley dressing up in a Santa Claus outfit that she made out of paper. Simple pleasures!

1/2 an hour later, we both rinsed our hair, and let it dry. Here is how it turned out…..

IMG_6216IMG_6233As you can see, Marley’s hair really picked up the yellows and greens, not the pink at all. I think perhaps that beet root powder was not finely ground enough, thus harder to penetrate the hair with pigment. My ends were a literal acid yellow, which tickled the shit out of me.

What would I do different next time to get a more saturated color? Probably add heat to the mix by clamping the foil packets with my flatiron on a low heat setting. I think that would help the color bond to the hair. And then, I would follow up with a Beauty Vinegar rinse to seal that color in tight;)

This experiment has been super fun, and we both smell like exotic herbs. Our hairs are shiny and bright! We will DEFINITELY continue playing with this concept, mixing new pigments and herbs till we get this thing figured out……And we will keep sharing what we find:)
Want DIY hair color inspiration? browse HTHG’s DIY color category and learn how to master your own hair color!

Interested in a DIY foil, Balayage, Dip-Dye, or Ombre? Check out the HTHG DIY color video library. Save yourself the salon prices and master these techniques yourself.

If you are a DIY hair-cutter who is curious about DIY home-hair coloring, I highly recommend using DIY hair color by Madison Reed, which Resorcinol-Free and quite clean chemical-wise, as far as hair dye is concerned.

If you purchase a Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit, you will receive not only the colors of hair colors your choice, but also the necessary tools to apply it. The entire line is designed for the DIY hair colorer! And if you need to tone in between coloring, be sure to check out their Color Reviving Gloss to refresh and revive your hair.

Also, I recommend a shopping stop at Beauty Store Depot for all your other DIY hair cutting and coloring tools to fill your toolkit!

xoxoxox, HTHG


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  1. Melissa

    Wow such a fantastic idea!! Thank you so much for sharing. Gosh the things you could do with hair that white/blonde!!
    What about crushed fresh mulberries for pink hair or purple grapes? I know those fruits stain my hands and lips when I eat them so it would have to colour hair too.
    I’m definitely trying this xx

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      Try IT!!!! Let me know how it turns out:) xoxo

  2. Hairstylo

    Wow such a refreshingly different and awesome post! The colours turned out to look really great as well. Thanks for sharing!

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