View Full Version : Recipe for an Herbal Dye I whipped up...

April 3rd, 2008, 10:58 PM
Edited to include pics!
Hi guys... I'm not sure if something just like this has been posted before, but here goes...

Today I decided to try an herbal dye on my hair, going off of Nightshade's article. Originally, I wanted to try the walnut hull dye because it sounded to be the most effective. I scoured my area for walnut hull powder or walnut hulls... or walnuts. However, all I found was a health food store that was out of stock on walnut hulls/powder, and already shelled walnuts at the store. So I decided to make a dye out of what I had here at home, modeling it after a few dyes listed (the sage and the potato rinse) with a few other herbs in it to encourage darkness.

I have medium brown hair, which was fading on the lengths and ends to a more coppery brown. I want dark brown hair, but also, I wanted to at least cover the coppery color and restore it to my original color.

Overall, I'd say this dye darkened my hair 1-2 shades (my boyfriend says it's more like 2-3. i like to make a conservative estimate). It is also extremely soft.

Because this is a new experiment for me I don't have exact measurements, but I'll do my best to estimate. Also, some of these herbs were brewed separately, but that was mostly because of a lack of proper strainers and proper tea ball thingies (i had one that goes over a cup but does not seal over the top, so I couldn't put it into the pot)... Anyway, I can't see any reason why they can't all be brewed together. I'm going to write it the way I did it though.

Potatoes (unpeeled)

First I boiled two small potatoes in a small pot. The pot probably doesn't hold more than 5 cups of water, maybe six. I put the two small potatoes in and put enough water in to cover them, and then boiled. I left them in for over 1/2 an hour. Mostly because I was unsure of how long to boil them, and also, I boiled them until they stopped making the water look darker. It was kindof a dark, but clear golden color. I only boiled them alone first because I was unsure of how long they should be in.

I brewed a tea using parsley separate, and used that to replace the water as it boiled off, so that the potatoes remained covered with water.

I made a makeshift teabag for ground/powdered sage out of a coffee filter, and in that I put about a heaping teaspoon of the sage in it.
I put that into the boiling water, after removing the potatoes, with two rosemary teabags, and boiled them until the water turned dark brown and about 50% opaque, and I did add a little extra water a few times as it boiled away. This took over 1/2 hour. Once I was satisfied with the amount of dye that appeared to come out, I allowed the water to boil off until there was only 2-3 cups left. I cooled that off and kept dunking and squeezing the teabags, which made the water darker and also more opaque. Finally, while it was still warm I added Molasses. I added a significant amount, probably like 5 tablespoons worth. After mixing the dye was now black, and completely opaque.

I did add a bit of conditioner, which proved to be a mistake, because it did not want to dissolve in the water until I placed it back over the stove, but it was still lumpy and caused weird little "crumb" like particles to form in the dye... But they didn't cause a problem when I used it. It just was annoying and I will not use conditioner again.

When I put it in my hair I poured it through, and dunked my head in the bowl, and just did whatever it took to fully saturate my hair, and left it on for a half hour, in addition to the 20 minutes it took just to fully cover my hair.

The dye was pretty ashy, and gave my hair a good neutral tone over the slight copper tint I had.

I rinsed it out, then conditioned with VO5 SKR, and followed with a ACV rinse which I did not rinse out.

Anyway, sorry this was so long... And sorry if someone else has already posted something just like this, haha. I just thought I would share that I had really good results with this.
Since I did this today I cant comment on how much it fades, however, it did not bleed into my turban towel after washing.

I'll try to get some pictures up.


I have the pictures now.


And after:


As you can see, they were taking in the same room infront of the same natural light from the window. Infact, I think it is brighter out today (for the after picture) than it was for the before picture, really showing the amount my hair has darkened.

April 3rd, 2008, 11:23 PM
It sounds great - I look forward to your pictures!

April 3rd, 2008, 11:58 PM
That sounds neat! I'd love to see the results! :)

April 4th, 2008, 04:22 AM
That sounds really interesting. A couple day agao I ordered some rosemary and sage leaf powder to experiment with, but it hasn't arrived yet. I also couldn't track down any walnut hull powder in the UK; however, I was able to find walnut leaf powder. When I looked on the internet, I found reports that it contains the same staining tannins as the hulls--perhaps you could try to track it down?

The first time I used the walnut leaf powder some months back I didn't think it did a lot for my hair. The other day, though, I tried again, but let it simmer for much longer than I did before. I use my crock pot for this on low so I don't have to keep tabs on it, and left it in there for probably a good eight hours. Well, I can say it darkened my hair quite a bit--the white hairs are still lighter than the rest, but they are browner/less golden than they were with amla/cassia alone.

Good luck! I see you're 19 so I guess you don't have the issues I have with trying to cover up white/gray hairs! Your task should be a lot easier!

April 4th, 2008, 05:35 AM
Looking forward to the photos! :-)

April 4th, 2008, 11:15 AM
edited the first post to include pictures.

April 4th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Wow, awesome!!! Looks gorgeous!

I am curious, do you have any grays at all, and if so, how were they affected?

Thank you for posting this!

April 4th, 2008, 11:39 AM
No, I'm sorry. I don't have any grays.
It did stain some white fabric, though. Totally unrelated, but it was a light ashy color.

April 4th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Great pics - that is quite a difference!

April 4th, 2008, 12:41 PM
Well done! Looks awesome :flowers:

April 4th, 2008, 01:48 PM
whoa - noticeably darker, very pretty - you should keep track of how long the color lasts...

April 4th, 2008, 03:30 PM
I'm doing a second application tonight to see if it gets any darker. This time I put a pinch of salt in...

But anyway, after that I'll definately monitor for fading (although the results will be skewed because of a double application)...

thanks guys!

April 4th, 2008, 03:49 PM
I'm doing a second application tonight to see if it gets any darker. This time I put a pinch of salt in...

But anyway, after that I'll definately monitor for fading (although the results will be skewed because of a double application)...

thanks guys!

You could always try adding some amla too. In the walnut tests I did (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showpost.php?p=48738&postcount=25), that contributed to greater dye uptake :)

April 5th, 2008, 10:48 AM
Ooo that's SO pretty! I'm jealous :p

I now wonder how permanent the color will be...and if it can be done over henna! It would be so cool to get a darker red through natural non-indigo processes.

April 5th, 2008, 01:49 PM
Wow I am so gonna do this next week after I go shopping.Thanks for the recipe;).

May 27th, 2008, 04:10 PM
I tried a similar recipe over henna'd hair - I rinsed several times and left it on for 24 - yes, 24 hours! Nothin'! I didn't get any change in color. My hair is so stubborn!

June 1st, 2008, 03:54 PM
But anyway, after that I'll definately monitor for fading (although the results will be skewed because of a double application).

I think that you've created a good recipe here. I would love to know how long each application lasts for you.

Most of the herbal dye recipes I've looked at had single or double ingredients. It's interesting that you combined the ingredients all together.

June 2nd, 2008, 05:43 PM
I am curious - is the color lasting? Or did it shampoo right out?

Also, what kind of potatoes did you use? Russet I assume? And just regular molasses or blackstrap?

June 4th, 2008, 04:10 AM
Wow, that sounds good. I have medium brown hair, too. Maybe I'll give it a try.

I am curious - is the color lasting? Or did it shampoo right out?

Second the questions.

August 11th, 2008, 07:25 PM
This is making me want to experiment.

December 24th, 2009, 08:30 AM
Did the color stay?????

December 24th, 2009, 10:22 AM
Hm, I did something similar, using sumace leaves, boiled potato, black tea, and coffee grinds. It made my hair really shiny, and darkened it, but only temporarily. Within the second wash, it has basically resumed normal colour. Please update if your colour stay a couple washes. I'd love to find a more permanent dye!

March 10th, 2010, 07:14 AM
TheSpottedCow: Did the color stay for only a short time?????