(NaturalNews) A lot of people like to color their hair to either change their look or cover up grays, but they don't like the harsh chemicals found in commercial dyes going on their heads once every few weeks. Consumers are becoming savvy about their health and are increasingly looking for healthier alternatives to the current chemical-laden options commonly available.
Some of the more prominent natural hair dyes you may have heard of are henna, which is a pigment derived from a natural plant commonly found in the dry, arid parts of Africa. It is a tall shrub, and when it is dried, it can be ground into a fine powder and used to dye the skin and hair.
Henna tattoos and body art are popular in the Indian culture, and so this powder is often used for that purpose. It is also used as a popular alternative to chemical hair dyes. However, using henna alone will always result in a very red color.
You can mix henna with other types of natural, vegetable and plant derived ingredients and arrive at several different beautiful shades of color.
Henna and other natural hair dyes are free of many of the chemicals that make harsh over the counter hair coloring kits and salon formulas so toxic. Their ingredients often contain numerous known carcinogens and irritants. Many people think that when they are just using something topically, it doesn't matter what it contains.
However, that is a huge misconception, as the skin is the largest organ on the human body. It is capable of absorbing, and passing along to the blood stream, anything that comes into contact with it. Anything that you put on your skin or your scalp will absorb into your blood stream.
The chemicals you may find in a typical over the counter hair dye kit or at a salon are peroxide, a chemical called PPD, resorcinol and ammonia. That is just a handful of the toxic, irritating ingredients in most hair coloring products.
Not only are they known irritants which give of noxious fumes as well as cause allergic reactions, but they also are known carcinogens.
When shopping for henna or any other plant based hair dye, it is important that you do your research to ensure you are not buying an adulterated product. Some brands may lace their "natural" color with toxins or heavy metals without telling you.
There are a few reputable brands that you usually can find by paying attention to what is written about them by unbiased parties.
Some people like to use a combination of henna and indigo to get the color they desire, such as a darker brunette, black or light brown. Indigo is a very deeply pigmented blue plant. When mixed with henna, it can produce lovely shades of color for those with darker hair.
Often times henna and indigo dyes are mixed with something acidic to help the color take, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. While the process is a bit more time consuming than traditional commercial hair colors, it is usually well worth it. Many who use natural dyes feel that it makes their hair look shinier and healthier.
Some other options for dying hair naturally are to use various types of tea. Tea, and coffee too actually, can dye the hair deeper shades when they are concentrated enough. If the idea of trying to make your own natural hair dye scares you, there are actually some pre-assembled natural hair dye kits available as well.
Danna Norek is the owner and primary contributor for several natural health blogs and websites, where she frequently shares her experiences and knowledge on herbal supplements, natural remedies, vitamins, and healthy lifestyle habits. You can find information on a 100% natural, chemical free deodorant here at Natural Effective Deodorant and an all natural sebum-neutralizing, SLS, paraben and chemical free Acne Soap with lavender, lemongrass and tea tree essential oils here at All Natural Acne Soap.