Thursday, March 29, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - Dyeing My Hair "Naturally"

Since the girls (Vino and Jay Beez) and I are doing the "No-Poo" experiment, I thought I'd also see what's what with dyeing my hair "naturally." I am what used to be known as a "dishwater" blonde, meaning it's a color that isn't yellow or brown, but somewhere in between. it's almost like there's no pigment in the hair at all, but it isn't white, either. It's like clear but with a shadow to it. In the summer time, it usually gets some nice red-gold highlights, though. So basically, I've been dyeing my hair a light strawberry blonde for years. It's not a matter of lightening or darkening of my hair, it's just adding some actual color, and I look pretty good as a redhead (Rawr).

I'm also a lazy hair-dyer, because as the red fades (and it always does pretty quickly) it leaves behind a blonder color than I normally am. So I tend to dye it once about every 3 months-ish.

But since the "natural" ways are becoming more and more a part of my life, it makes sense to see if there's a "natural" dye that I can use along with my new no-poo lifestyle.

So, off to the interwebz I search of how to do this crazy thing without looking like a Katy Perry freakazoid.

(My apologies to Katy Perry, but if y'all catch me with powder blue hair, just put a bullet in me, 'k? thanks.)

And since I'm usually at work when these wondermous brainstorms hit, I generally Google what I want to find, and then poke around for a website that I can access from my very picky work computer.

(Can you believe they restrict access???  I mean, really, what am I supposed to do all day?? Work? Sheesh.)

I managed to come up with a few websites (that I could see) that basically gave the same information:

(Edited to add: The following are vague ideas that I got off the interwebz, don't go trying these stuff unless you are an adult, and fully understand that I am not responsible for what happens to your hair.)

Blondes: use chamomile teas, crushed marigolds, or lemon juice, and sometimes adding vinegar to whatever mix you come up with.

Brunettes: black teas, crushed walnut shells (carefully - that stuff REALLY stains), dried sage leaves, honestly those lucky brunette have a lot of options.

Red-heads: Henna (which has always scared me, I've heard horror stories), Red teas like Rioobos, Buccaneer, or cranberry juice.

Hey wait.

CRANBERRY JUICE???  I am so there.

After work on Friday I went to the grocery store and stood staring at the juice aisle.  I really wasn't willing to grab a jug of Ocean Spray and call it a day. For one thing, most cranberry juices are a cocktail - meaning they use the juices of cranberries, but also, apple, grape, and pear. To me, that would seem to be weak and ineffective for my hair dyeing purposes

I briefly flirted with the idea of heading over to the freezer section, picking up a bag of frozen cranberries, and steeping it and pureeing it to try, but that just seemed like so much work. (Remember, I'm lazy)

Then I found a bottle of PURE cranberry juice in the organic aisle. No water, nothing but the pure juice of cranberries, not even concentrated.

I get excited.

It was $9.00.






Go home.

Eat dinner. Shower. Wash hair in my crunchy-goodness No-poo fashion.

Stare at the jug of cranberry juice, wondering if I am going to turn my hair pink.

 The cup I brought into the bathroom with me to pour the juice onto my head seems ineffectual. I mean, how am I going to keep it from running off my head?  The interwebz didn't tell me about this!

I suck it up, lean over the bathroom sink and start soaking my head in very expensive, but pure cranberry juice.

It sloshes everywhere. On the floor, on the wall, on the sink. I can't keep it in my hair, and I refuse to use the whole blasted bottle to saturate. On the towel that I was using to keep it from running down my body. It's making the towel a very pretty pink color.

I finally get my hair saturated with the juice, and it's running down my face is pretty pink rivulets. It gets in my eyes, and that stings. A little bit.

I then the get the bright idea to have my husband wrap my head in plastic wrap.Since he's not a girl, he was frankly was embarrassed by the whole thing. But he loves me, and so gave it the old college engineer try. He (mainly) got the job done, but it was a minor comedy routine that I'm glad there was no one around to witness.

I managed to sit with the juice on my head for a good half an hour. Then I rinsed it out, rushed to the bathroom mirror, and...



Maybe there will be a little red showing when it dries.

Wait a bit...go back and look. Still nothing.

I give up waiting for it to fully air dry and go to bed.

I get up in the morning, go and look at the crazy bed-head that everyone gets when they go to bed with wet hair (we all get this, RIGHT? It's not just me, RIGHT?)...and still no red. Nary a glint.

Same. Old. Hair.

Oh well.  Back to  the drawing board.

Or at least look at decent websites that show accurate, or at least logical information, like this one from Mother Earth News  (if I could get that website to come up at work, I'd probably never get anything done).

Before I spend more money  on red teas that I will never drink, and probably won't work on my hair, I should just suck it up and try the henna. At least in that article, it says I can control the amount of henna I use, and I can cut it with chamomile, so I don't go too dark auburn.

And that Mother Earth News article has a great tip for how to actually rinse your hair: lean over a big ol' bowl to save the rinse as it goes thru your hair. And it said to run the rinse through your hair 15 times.

Genius! Why didn't I think of that???


  1. I've always been curious about henna, but never tried it. Let me know how it goes!

    I'd like a more natural way to dye my hair, but it's getting quite gray and I just can't imagine anything having much staying power

  2. Ditto, Sara. Lots o'grays on this head.

    But you guys know I'm one of those 'lucky' brunettes, and can deal with many shades of brown. Even the ones that say MEDIUM toned and turn my hair almost black. *eye roll

    Now, where does one find crushed walnut shells???
    And there's got to be a way to make a paste out of all this stuff, so it stays better on the hairz....

    Boil it and add flour/cornstarch? Maybe it'll get the consistency of think gravy.