That’s why plant dyes color your hair better than chemicals

It’s often a dilemma: You don’t want to have street dog blond anymore, or you want to get rid of the first “horrors” – but common dyes contain so much chemistry! But you don’t have to resort to the chemistry club right away. Vegetable hair colour is a great alternative for those who want more shine or want to colour their hair a little darker. Because then you can achieve the same effects with henna and co. as with chemicals, but without damaging the hair.

What is vegetable hair colour?

Ultimately, the dyes are from purely natural, vegetable sources. “Almost all vegetable hair dyes come in powder form. This usually consists of finely ground, color-intensive plant components such as henna, indigo and cassia,” explains Benjamin Becher, hair expert for Garnier Color Herbalia, and adds: “Spices such as turmeric, but also black tea and coffee also color the hair.

The powder is first mixed with boiling water. The resulting paste is then applied like a conventional hair color. The result is permanent, but washes out minimally over time, which means that the roots are less noticeable.

What is the difference to normal hair colour?

Vegetable hair dyes do not require ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. “Unlike oxidation dyes, which penetrate the hair and change its structure, natural dyes only envelop it,” explains Becher.

The hair feels even better after dyeing with henna than before. The reason: “The pigments attach themselves gently to the cuticle layer and shafts of the hair,” says Benjamin Becher. They act like a protective care coat, smoothing and thickening the hair instead of attacking it.

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Is natural hair colour fundamentally healthier?

“That depends. Pure plant dyes can be used safely and without health risks – even during pregnancy. The hair is not damaged by it”, knows Becher.

But: Some manufacturers add some of the chemical ingredients to their vegetable dyes, which are also found in synthetic hair color. This is known as natural colouring. These are not much gentler than completely chemical products and the same safety instructions apply as for conventional colorations. So be sure to look at the package insert before colouring!

How do henna and co. dye their hair?

The powder of plant colour is green. But don’t worry, that doesn’t say anything about the color result. Because the green colour of henna and Indigopflanzenblätter is due to the chlorophyll in Pflanze. The hair cannot be dyed with this chlorophyll, so it does not turn green.

Henna- and Indigopflanzenblättern contain other colouring molecules besides chlorophyll. Only when it comes into contact with hot water does Pflanzenpulver release the dyes “Lawson” and “Indigo”, which can colour the hair. Depending on the water temperature and the mixing ratio of the plant substances, a wide variety of hair colors can be mixed.

Why does the colour stick permanently in the hair?

Depending on the colour of the plant hair, the colouring effect is achieved by tannic acid, often in combination with natural acids such as fruit vinegar or lemon. However, there are also alkaline vegetable dyes. These allow the cuticle layer of the hair to swell and allow the colour pigments to be stored.

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Can I colour every shade with plant colour?

Do you want a golden shine in your blonde hair or do you want mouse brown to turn into a rich chocolate shade – but don’t want to look dyed? Then plant colour is perfect. Natural colorations refine the original tone, but still let it shimmer through. So they do not cover 100 percent. This is important to know if you have predominantly grey hair or want to colour much darker. The application must then be repeated several times – especially when jumping from blond to dark brown.

Only light dyeing does not work with vegetable dye.

Are there also vegetable hair colours without red cast?

Yep. Henna doesn’t always turn bright red. With henna-based plant colorations, a wide variety of color wishes can be fulfilled, depending on how long it takes to work: from red-blond to signal red. Even natural blond and brown shades are possible. This is made possible by the addition of other plants, such as indigo and cassia, which balance the red reflex with bluish pigments. At least in theory.

Practically speaking, the hair often has a red tinge even after dyeing with supposedly ashy vegetable hair dyes. The henna contained is then always wrongly demonised. “The red cast is not only caused by the colour mixture, but also by the original hair colour, more precisely by the pigment phenomelanin. The more of it is in the natural shade, the higher the probability that the red reflex will come through after dyeing,” Benjamin Becher knows.

His tip: Stir the natural product Katam into the vegetable hair colour. Katam contains particularly strong blue and green pigments, which can neutralize the red tinge massively.

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Why can’t I lighten the hair with plant colour?

Blonding does not work with vegetable colour. “Because unlike oxidation dyes, henna and co. do not contain any chemical substances that break up the hair and remove the pigments,” says Becher. Lightening the hair at home is tricky with chemical dyes, however. Because the result quickly turns yellowish and you can burn your scalp badly with the bleaching, it’s better to go into professional hands.

How often do I have to refresh my vegetable hair colour?

How often you should re-colour depends on the desired result. “Even if plant dyes do not damage the hair, you should use them consciously,” warns the expert. Because if you dye all your hair at too short intervals, the tone will become more and more intense – in other words, the hair will become darker and darker.

Stupid if you want light hair – but useful if you want to change your hair color from blond to dark brown, for example. “Then you have to re-colour more often in the initial phase anyway. Because of environmental influences, UV -radiation and frequent hair washing, the color quickly falls out of the hair,” Benjamin Becher knows.

If the colour intensity is right, whether after the first time or after a few repetitions, you only need to re-colour every 4-6 weeks to conceal the roots and maintain the dream colour.

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How do I apply vegetable colorations correctly?

Step one: Wash hair with neutral shampoo. Put the powder in a bowl. Boil water.

Step two: Please protect your clothes, as unsightly colour stains can occur during application which will not come out.

Step three: Mix the mass with hot water to activate the colouring molecules. Pay attention to the specified temperature. This is decisive for the colour result.

Step four: Apply the mixture with the fingers or a brush and cover the hair with the cap.

Step five: Depending on the product, leave to work for 30 to 60 minutes.

Step 6: Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, but without (!) shampoo. Wait at least 24 hours and then wash as usual with the appropriate shampoo. This way the colour will last longer!

How do I find the hair colour that suits me?

Take a look at the small pictures on the box, which show the initial hair colour and the colouring result. If you are unsure and fluctuate between several shades, you should always choose the lighter shade. Dyeing darker is always possible – but if the result is too strong at first, you can’t lighten it up with plant colour, but have to wait until the colour washes out a bit or chemically blonds.

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Can I also colour grey and dyed hair with plant colour?

Yeah, that’s no problem. You may have to repeat the application to cover the greys completely. “Only in the case of chemically lightened hair, I advise against colouring the hair with vegetable colour. Then you’d better go to a natural hairdresser, because the stressed hair structure needs a little more knowledge to achieve an even colour result,” advises Benjamin Becher.

And can I use normal hair colour again after henna?

“In general, a chemical dyeing process after a plant colour is possible, but I recommend to wash the plant colour out of the hair thoroughly over several weeks before I dye chemically”, says Becher and explains: “Otherwise it is difficult to cover the colour and you may have to re-dye the hair several times with chemicals, which puts unnecessary strain on the hair”.

Conclusion: Why dye your hair to ruin it if there’s another way? Chemical hair dyes damage the hair and often trigger allergies. So why smear them on the scalp if you don’t have to? If you only want to get a little darker or simply want a richer hair colour, you can do it with plant power.