Vegan Hair Dyes: Benefits And How To Color Your Hair With Them

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dermatologist
Written by Shiboli Chakraborti

Who hasn’t thought about coloring their hair? But with all the chemicals in hair dyes and colors that can damage hair, it’s no surprise that many are looking for alternatives. One such alternative is a vegan hair dye that does not use ammonia or other harsh ingredients. Vegan hair dyes not only leave hair beautifully colored but also keep it healthy. If you’d like to know more about these vegan hair dyes and how to make one, keep reading.

What Are Vegan Hair Dyes?

Vegan hair dyes are herbal remedies used to color hair without using chemicals. They are made with vegetable ingredients like carrots or beetroot to color hair naturally without causing damage. These natural hair dyes are gentler on the hair and scalp. But their effects are not permanent, and your hair would need regular touch-ups to keep the color fresh. Vegan hair dyes are cruelty-free and made without any animal-based or animal-derived products. They are natural and safe to be used on the hair and scalp.

It is important to know that not all vegetable hair dyes are vegan. While some vegetable hair dyes use dairy products, vegan products, by definition, are dairy-free. Double-check the ingredients list before making a purchase.

Benefits Of Using Vegetable Hair Dyes

  1. Promote Hair Health: Natural ingredients like vegetables are safe. Apart from coloring your hair, they also strengthen your tresses and repair damage. These ingredients also keep your hair naturally moisturized and nourished with nutrients.
  2. Prevent Damage: The chemicals in regular hair dyes can damage hair and cause hair breakage and loss. The hair may also become brittle and dry. But this is not the case with vegan hair dyes. They prevent any hair damage from chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, parabens, ammonia, etc.
  3. Protect Hair Structure: The chemicals in regular hair dyes penetrate the cuticles to color the hair from within. This way, they may break the hair structure and leave it open to damage. Vegan hair dyes protect the hair structure and reduce hair damage.
  4. Are Pregnancy-Safe: Regular hair dyes are considered especially unsafe during pregnancy. Many women believe the chemicals in hair dyes can affect the fetus. Vegan hair dyes are safe to use during pregnancy as they do not contain harsh ingredients.
  5. Moisturize Hair: Vegan hair dyes use oils that replenish and moisturize hair. You will notice lesser hair fall, better hair texture, and shinier and softer hair as you use vegan hair dyes.
  6. Treat Scalp Issues: Natural ingredients like aloe vera may also help treat certain scalp issues like eczema or psoriasis. Regular hair dyes, on the other hand, may aggravate them.
  7. Are Temporary: Vegan hair dyes are temporary and non-damaging. You can experiment with several vegetable and plant-based coloring agents without worrying about hair damage.
  8. Are Skin-Friendly: Regular hair dyes may contain nuts or soy that may cause adverse reactions on the skin (burning, redness, swelling, itching). Unless you are allergic to a particular plant or vegetable, most vegan hair dyes are safe on the skin and do not cause allergies.

Vegan hair dyes are available in several types. Check them out below!

Types Of Vegan Hair Dyes

  • Plant-Based: Vegan hair dyes are mostly made with the leaves, stems, bark, fruits, or vegetables of plants. The most common and effective vegan dyes are made from plants and fruits.
  • Mineral-Based: Some vegan hair dyes are also made with minerals like salt and iron that may help lighten hair. However, these dyes are rare.
  • Oil-Based: Vegan hair dyes use oil as a base paired with ingredients like green tea or coffee to lighten or darken hair.

Read on to know some of the common ingredients used to make vegan hair dyes.

Ingredients Used In Vegan Hair Dyes To Achieve Different Hair Colors

  1. Onion Skin: Onion skin is a rich source of quercetin that gives hair a natural yellow color (1). Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also may help improve scalp issues and treat hair loss.
  2. Chamomile: Chamomile is a popular vegan hair dye ingredient. It gives hair a yellowish hue and improves the light reflection (and shine) in hair.
  3. Henna: Henna is a common ingredient in vegetable hair dyes (2). It contains a non-oxidizing coloring agent called lawsone that gives hair a reddish-orange color. It is often mixed with other ingredients to give hair a darker shade (like brown or black).
  4. Indigo: Indigo leaves hair with a bluish tint. It is often paired with henna to make hair black or dark brown.
  5. Beetroot: Beetroot contains bio-active pigments called betalains that play a role in food coloring (3). Beetroot powder can be used to color hair naturally without any damage (4).
  6. Carrot: Carrots are used to treat hair loss and make hair stronger, shinier, and thicker (5). They are a rich source of vitamin A that may help improve hair pigmentation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that carrots can be used to give hair a light orange color. While carrots are available in different colors, the most common among those are the red and orange variants.
  7. Muskroot: Muskroot (Nardostachys jatamansi) can be used as a hair dye to darken hair. It makes hair black (6).
  8. Coffee: Coffee is added to natural dyes to make hair brown (7). It can be used to make hair reddish-brown or black-brown.
  9. Tea: Tea has been used as a hair colorant in Ayurveda for a long time (7). It can be used to either lighten or darken hair. Black tea may help darken hair, while green tea can lighten hair. Green tea has a high catechin content that is known for its oxidation properties (8). It gives hair a yellowish hue.
  10. Salt: Anecdotal evidence suggests that salt may lighten hair.
  11. Baking soda: Anecdotal evidence suggests that using baking soda or toothpaste containing baking soda can help lighten hair.
  12. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is often used as a skin-lightening agent (9). Some believe the same properties may also help lighten hair. Cinnamon contains vitamins A and C. These could be used as lightening agents (10).
  13. Lemon: Lemon juice contains vitamin C that acts as a natural hair lightener by reducing melanin pigmentation (11). Applying lemon juice to your hair when in the sun is said to speed up hair lightening.
  14. Rhubarb: Rhubarb’s oxalic acid may make hair light brown or blonde (12). It can also prolong the life of hair color. Rhubarb paired with chamomile gives hair a golden hue (13).

Are you wondering if switching to vegan hair dyes means having to do things differently? No. Using vegan hair dyes is quite simple.

How To Use Vegan Hair Dyes

Vegan hair dyes, like regular hair dyes, must be put on for a long time to achieve the desired hair color. Store-bought or branded vegan hair dyes come with instructions that should be followed. Homemade vegan dyes need to be applied for a longer duration to allow the color to seep into the hair shafts.

Note: Though vegan dyes may not be as strong as their regular counterparts, taking precautions is advisable. Use petroleum jelly to protect your skin from colorants. Wear an old T-shirt while you color your hair.

  1. Make your vegan hair dye with the needed ingredients. You can pair them with an oil or moisturizing agents like avocado or aloe vera for added nourishment.
  2. Thoroughly apply the mixture to your hair.
  3. Leave it on your hair for about an hour or two. Check your hair color from time to time.
  4. Wash your hair with your regular shampoo and cold water once the desired color is achieved. If not, keep the blend on your hair for longer. Should you experience any discomfort, wash your hair and consult a doctor.

You don’t have to buy vegan dyes from any store. Here are some DIY vegan hair dyes that you can try.

How To Make Vegan Hair Dyes?

1. Carrot Mask

You Will Need

  • Carrot juice, 1 cup
  • Aloe vera, 2 tablespoons (optional)

Prep Time

2 mins

Procedure

  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture thoroughly to the hair.
  3. Leave it on for an hour and a half to two hours.
  4. You can cover your hair in a plastic wrap to let the color stay.
  5. Keep checking your hair to make sure you have achieved the desired color.
  6. Wash your hair with cold water and apple cider vinegar (to lock in the color).

Processing Time

An hour and a half or two hours

How Often

Once a week

2. Henna Mask

You Will Need

  • Henna, ½ cup
  • Water, ¼ cup

Note: You can add a tablespoon of cinnamon to make hair browner, or a tablespoon or two of beetroot powder to give hair a pinkish or rose-gold tint.

Prep Time

12 hours

Procedure

  1. Mix the ingredients to form a smooth paste.
  2. Close the bowl in a plastic wrap and let the mixture sit for 12 hours.
  3. Wash your hair without using conditioner.
  4. Apply the paste to your hair and cover your hair with a plastic wrap. This ensures the color settles in.
  5. Leave it on for 4 to 6 hours.
  6. Wash your hair once the desired color is achieved.

Processing Time

4 to 6 hours

How Often

Once every two or three weeks

3. Coffee Mask

You Will Need

  • Coffee grounds, 3 tablespoons
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Coconut/olive oil, 2 tablespoons

Prep Time

Half an hour

Procedure

  1. Boil the water and coffee grounds together.
  2. Apply some warm coconut or olive oil to your hair.
  3. Apply the coffee blend to your hair as well.
  4. Let the mixture sit for an hour or two.
  5. Wash with cold water.

Processing Time

1 to 2 hours

How Often

Once every week to keep the color fresh

4. Lemon Lightening Mask

You Will Need

  • Fresh lemon juice, 1 cup

Prep Time

10 minutes to extract the juice

Procedure

  1. Apply the lemon juice to your hair thoroughly. Spread it with a comb.
  2. Let it sit for an hour and a half.
  3. Stay outdoors as the sun rays oxidize the hair pigments and make hair lighter.
  4. Wash with cold water.

Processing Time

An hour and a half

How Often

Once a week

You can use henna and indigo to darken your hair black or brown. There are other ways to lighten your hair at home and make it blonde or light brown.

Follow these tips to ensure your vegan hair color lasts longer.

How To Make Vegan Hair Dyes Last Longer?

Vegan hair dyes do not usually last very long. But you can follow certain tips to extend the lifespan of their color.

  1. Avoid heat at all costs. Heat can make the hair color fade away easily. Stop using styling tools and hair dryers to style your hair. Even if you do, use a heat protectant as well.
  2. Cover your hair when going out in the sun. Use a thin cotton or silk scarf to keep your hair from getting frizzy.
  3. Avoid going swimming as pools contain chlorine that may lighten your hair color.
  4. Wash your hair with cold water (it prolongs hair color lifespan).
  5. Have regular touch-ups to keep the color fresh.

Are there any risks associated with vegan hair dyes? How different are they from regular dyes?

Regular Hair Dyes Vs. Vegan Hair Dyes – The Risks

There are many risks associated with regular hair dyes. They use chemicals that may cause adverse reactions. They may also lead to issues during pregnancy. These chemicals even deteriorate hair health and aggravate existing scalp issues.

On the other hand, using vegan hair dyes is mostly safe. The only risk they pose is a potential allergic reaction to specific vegetables, oils, plants, or fruits.

Conclusion

Vegan hair dyes are much safer than regular hair dyes, and they improve your overall hair health. You also get to decide what ingredients go into the dyes. These are easy to make and contain no chemicals. So, why don’t you start making one today? We are sure you will be happy with the results. But should you experience any allergy (which is rare), remember to consult a doctor.

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Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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Shiboli has a Master’s degree in English Literature and is proficient in French. She believes that words have a healing power and considers poetry her lifeline. Her writing background and editorial dexterity help her guide her team members to create crisp and authentic content. Shiboli is also a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and has a fascination for traveling. She is passionate about cooking and dreams of opening a restaurant of her own.