Natural Hair Coloring

Alaina(z5 NH)July 23, 2003

Does anyone have a recipe for a hair colorer using Black Walnut leaves?

Many thanks,


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quiltguy154(5-6 PA)

I didn't come across any using Black Walnut leaves, but found one using the juice pressed from the bark or shell of green walnuts. It's in "Dick's Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes." I give this information only as an historical curiosity, besides, the book is a hoot! Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 8:48PM
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No don't know anything about natural hair colorants recipe using walnut leaves but that is a very interesting thought. Recently I went to visit a place where they dyed wool using such products. I think they boiled walnut shells though, not leaves. But if they can dye wool why not human hair? This brings to mind something I've forgotten for a while now. Coconut oil darkens hair. We used to make our own coconut oil by boiling coconut cream to the point the solids separate from the oil. The warm oil is then used to condition our hair and it has the side effect of darkening our hair. Food for thoughts. Eh?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2003 at 11:07AM
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Alaina(z5 NH)

The coconut oil sounds very interesting. I always liked coconut scented conditioner!
Too bad about using nuts, though. We had to cut our trees down right about the time they started producing nuts. Someone planted them over our leach field. But one has tried to come back. That's why I was hoping for leaves. Do you think walnut shells from the store would work, or do I need green nuts?
I know there was a black-ish ink made from oak gaul (gall?). I wonder if that would be bad on hair.
Many Thanks,

    Bookmark   July 31, 2003 at 1:19PM
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SevenSouls2Many(z8 AL)

why not henna hair dye???

    Bookmark   September 13, 2003 at 11:39PM
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Alaina(z5 NH)

Actually, I do use henna and I love the stuff. But it's getting to be too much red for me. I've never had great luck with black henna either.

I've decided to let me hair go grey again & dye the grey stripes on the side purple or pink. Any thoughts as to what could produce those colors in nature? (Probably hopeless, right?)

I think the current political climate is making me regress into a being a teenager again, just like in the eighties!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 7:39PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Hehe, I just live vicariously thru my childrens ever changing hair colors....
Seriously, the only red (or pink) will be from chochineal bugs (the only true red produced in nature). I would bet tho that it will not take well on hair, like many other plant dyes. As silly as this may seem you might want to pick up a book on dying with plant materials from the library to give you ideas on what colors each plant can produce, paying particular attention to those plants producing colors that do not need additional chemicals to set or draw out the color (like alum or salt or urine or copper). Perhaps the oak galls or green walnut shells will work-the books should give you an idea of how to extract the color. If all else fails there is always koolaid (sans sugar) for interesting highlights.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 7:48AM
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As a pushing-40 office manager, you *can* have colored hair and not be 15. I have dark purple hair, totally unnatural, but I still like it. I don't have a choice about going grey, but at least if I have to color my hair, it can be a fun color.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 10:32AM
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Alaina(z5 NH)

You've given me hope of still being strange even after becoming responsible. Thank you! What do you use for purple dye? Does it do horrible things to your hair?

This could be doubly fun, I'm a civil engineer. The males in the office get weirded out if I spray any rose prefume!


    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 6:59PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

LOL, my DD had her hair dyed a dark purple a few years back. It was really pretty but I do remember her hair being pretty damaged as the peroxide needed was pretty high for the dye would take. How did you do yours, what brand color, how long does it last and did it fry your hair??

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 10:01PM
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Manic Panic, is a good brand of funky hair colors. All are suposedly vegetable based. They do well on grey, and wash out eventually. you can usually pick them up at a beauty supply shop -like Sallys. you can bleach your hair, or just dye over natural hair color for a tint. have fun.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 6:16PM
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I've done the Manic Panic, it's great, I have very dark hair, so I just dye over it...the parts that are grey pick up the color so I don't have to bleach anything. One advantage over the young people who use it!

I personally use a Goldwell color, it's 6RV with a violet enhancer.



    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 7:59AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Cool Celene, thanks for the info and thanks to texfinn for posting the Manic Panic link. Maybe I will let my hair grow out and try some of these instead of going to the hairdresser every 6 weeks.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 11:25AM
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Alaina(z5 NH)

This is going to be great!!!
Do you use the cream or gel? It sounds like the cream is more of the semi-permanent coloring and the gel is more like regular hair gel. Is that right? The site is slightly vague. But then, maybe people buying it know the lingo.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 7:25PM
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That is correct; the cream is a semi-permanent color and the gel washes out.

Have fun!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2003 at 9:00AM
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Daliah(zone 5)


They have some all-natural hair dye solutions.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 2:49PM
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Careful about walnut. The part which contains the color also is poisonous, i.e. the leaves, bark, shell, and the brown part around the nut flesh. It can give you skin problems, e.g. blisters.

Walnut trees cannot be planted in a garden. Wherever the leaves fall, all other plants will die, because they act as a herbicide. If you plant a walnut tree, put it on a pateo. That way you won't need to worry about weeds growing between the stones.

Henna does not darken the hair. It reddens it. If you want to lighten hair, use strong chamomile tea.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 10:39AM
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hey, if you with to darken your hair, i know, to jst boost the barkness of hair strong sage tea will aparently work,

if not, it smells nice. just wash you hair in the sge tea, and i suggest leaving it soaked into your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

dunno if it will cover the grays but may make them less noticable,

my hair is currently black/blue so its pretty safe to say its not natural (he says knowing full well he has woad in the graden). well scrap thet, but for woad i'd need to bathe my head in ammonia *shudders*

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 6:23PM
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blue-haired old lady here... cobalt blue where the silvers are, a dark navy blue elsewhere.

executive assistant to a VP (a really cool VP, for all he's the preppiest SOB I've ever met!)

unfiltered purple grape juice instead of water in your henna will turn that red down a fair bit (depending on your hair color, it runs from auburn to burgundy)

and walnut HULLS, not the shells, are where the dye comes from...and it's vile, smelly stuff to work with, not to mention that it stains everything else ;)

honestly- I use the special effects line (from hot topic of all places- and how the babies STARE at me when I come in - I swear they forgot who INVENTED the looks they're playing with in the first place... oh, that's right, because their mommies and daddies are trying so hard to forget they ever looked like that! )

and while I keep coming back to the 'bleu velvet' the purples and sometimes the greens get incorporated into it...and if you blend a touch of green into the red, you get brown ;)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 4:00PM
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tampopo(z6 Ohio)

Hi, all--

new here but this much I know--my Mom told me when she was young that she tried dyeing her hair dark brown with walnut-hull dye (not the hard shells, but the green stuff around the nuts falling at this time of year) and she had the WORST time trying to get it out of her hands. It will _not_ gently and obligingly fade with repeated shampooings, and smelled a bit while she was putting it on besides. It's dark and holds fast, but do you really want it that badly? If you're still hell-bent on it, please remember to use gloves and have a friend, also gloved, helping keep it away from the skin on your forehead and neck (unless you want an interesting patchy suntan effect, too). Maybe you can snip a lock to test on?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 3:20PM
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fluffygrue(z8 UK)

Interesting topic! When I was making some elderberry jam the other day I was staring at the mixture thinking what a gorgeous, deep purple it turned when heated. I did a little research and it seems it was used as a hair dye in Roman times.. not tried it yet as the birds got the rest of the berries, but maybe next year.

Also, beetroot mixed with red wine is meant to be pretty good. Another one I plan to try..!

Melanie :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 5:26PM
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Only certain plants are affected by Blk walnut... not all of them, but I wouldn't use it on my head.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 5:38AM
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katj75(z8 OR)

Well, I wouldn't call it natural, but when I was in high school and screwing around with hair color, we would use cool aid. It comes in all kindas funky colors. It doesn't go a bold colors, but with light colored hair it takes pretty well. Especially the various tones of pink. Nice thing is it doesn't stay in very long (washes out in 5 or 6 washings from what I can remember) so you can play around with colors before you commit to a more permanent hair color. Also great for kid halloween costumes. Then you don't have to use that horrible colored hair spray.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 12:59PM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

Years ago I dyed my hair with Egyptian Henna. It used to be sold in a metal tin decorated with old egyptian style art. It was pure, powdered henna leaves. You mixed it with water. It smelled like cooked spinach.

The problem with pure henna is it slightly turns your scalp orangey. It also tinted the worn porcelain in my bathtub. Henna coats your hair, so the hair is thicker. When my hair got wet, it smelled just like canned spinach. My hair dyed red and it shined scarlett. That freaked out a lot of people. Normally when sun hits shiney hair, the highlights are white, like a bright light, but my hair highlights were like a red traffic light.

The henna coating builds up as you do touch ups. After a year of using henna, my hair in back was turning purple, like grape juice. The color was permanent. I couldnt even bleach it out. So there is the problem of the roots showing when you stop using it, because you cant use regular hair dyes to touch up as there might be a chemical reaction. Of course all hair coloring has the problem of what to do when you want to stop. But I will never forget that spinach smell that came out when I got caught in the rain

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 12:47PM
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oh contraire (sp?), the thing that makes henna so speciall for dyeing hair ( and i think its the same with woad) is that the mollecules unlike most plant dyes are small enough to go into the hair.

interestingly enough
a) i have a whole bag of henna leaf powder in the cupboard because of a misunderstanding in a market in turkey
b)my hair is (chemically i'm afraid) a wierd red/purple/black colour, cos i dyed red dye over faded blue black, my roots are bright red :D
and c) i'm currently (as in as i'm typeing) dreading my hair, it usually uber straight (lucky i guess) but i just randomly felt like dreadlocks, so here i go. the done ones are wrapped in bright blue wool :D

hmm... a little off topic, ah well, i think i'll dye my hair with woad some day anyway, amonia or no amonia.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 7:28PM
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um yeah reviving this topic kinda.

because i was wondering, are there any natural green dyes, not bright green, darker green?

there must be one somewhere... does chlorophyll work as a dye, or are the mollecules to big (to penetrate teh hair shaft)?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 7:04PM
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Henna and Indigo mixed make hair black.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:04PM
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Wow- an old post but I have a goodie :)

To acheive darker hair: Brew coffee with coffee (where you would pour water, pour coffee) then let it cool. Pour over DRY hair, then stand in the sun, flipping your head around occasionally. Stand there till it's dry.
To acheive blondeish highlights: comb an incredibly strong brew of chammomile tea through your hair, then stand in the sun again.
I've done both of these and always get sparkly natural highlights. :)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 7:30PM
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