A woman with freshly dyed hair.

Coffee Hair Dye is a Legit DIY Solution—and It’s 100% Natural

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Coffee Hair Dye is the DIY Alternative You Need

With safer-at-home orders in place and a general nervousness about being in close proximity to others, more people than ever are having to rely on their own beauty skills to keep their grooming up to snuff. And for those with not-so-natural hair color, that means dyeing your hair. But you don’t have to turn to a box of chemicals to temporarily get the style you want—you can nab the coffee sitting in your cupboard.

“The harsh chemicals found in conventional dyes can do your hair more damage than good, especially now, when they can cause your hair to react in negative ways without a hair technician on hand to fix the damage,” says Adina Mahalli, natural hair and skincare expert for Maple Holistics in Farmingdale, New Jersey. “If you want to just top up your color or give your hair an extra boost while in quarantine, natural alternatives such as coffee can be an ideal, safe solution.”

Using coffee can be a low-stakes way to experiment.

“Normally we use commercial hair dyes because we want a more assured result. But since we’re on lockdown, it’s easy to experiment with what hue works well on our hair,” says Laura Davis, a hairstylist in Camden, New Jersey. Plus, it doesn’t last long: Depending on how frequently you wash your hair and whether you use organic conditioners, Davis says coffee coloration typically hangs on for about two to three weeks.

Coffee Hair Dye: Fast Facts

There are a few things to know before dyeing your hair with coffee:

  • It may not work on your existing color. “If you’ve been to the salon a couple of times and had your hair bleached—especially when you’ve changed hair colors many times—coffee hair dye may not hold on to your hair evenly,” Davis says.
  • It’s also not likely to have the same effect on red, gray or neon hair, and blondes may have trouble getting the rich brunette hue they’re after. “Those with existing brown shades that are closer to the type of coffee color they’d apply are perfect for this type of hair dye,” Davis says.
  • Your hair color will turn out darker with a darker coffee roast. But Mahalli says if your hair is already dark, the coffee stain may not do much beyond covering gray hairs.

Your Health-Nut Friends Will Be Hella Impressed

Here’s great news: Using coffee over conventional dyes could give your hair a health boost. “Coffee hair dye doesn’t make your hair dry out compared to over-the-counter dyes, and it stimulates hair growth by boosting the structure of the hair roots and making the shaft much sturdier,” Davis says.

And because coffee is a natural dye, Mahalli says it won’t stain your tub or sink permanently. “Depending on the intensity of the roast you use, it might leave a light stain that can be removed with regular cleaning methods,” she says. (That said, Davis suggests scrubbing any surfaces with a mixture of lemon and water sooner rather than later—just to be safe.)

So with an easier cleanup and not-so-scary temporary results ahead, here’s your step-by-step to dyeing your hair with coffee.

How to Dye Your Hair With Coffee: Step by Step

  1. Brew coffee, then allow it to cool until it’s no longer hot to the touch.
  2. Mix half of the coffee with two to three tablespoons of coffee grounds (to thicken and darken the mixture).
  3. Add two squirts of leave-in conditioner to the mixture.
  4. Drape a large towel (that you don’t mind getting messy) on your shoulders to avoid staining your skin.
  5. Apply the mixture to clean, damp hair, starting with the area just above the scalp (to avoid coloring your scalp).
  6. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes, then rinse your hair.
  7. Repeat the process until you reach your preferred hue and shade (approximately 2-3 times).

*Always apply conditioner during a shower, especially if your hair starts to feel sticky after a few days.

[Featured Image Credit: Allef Vinicius via Unsplash]

RELATED: 5 Benefits of Using Coffee on Your Hair