Going Natural.. With At-Home Hair Dye
In an attempt to try something new and more natural (i.e. less chemicals) to fix my stressed, over-styled tresses, I recently purchased NaturTint Hair Dye in 5N Light Chestnut Brown shade from my local health food store. As a hair and beauty product junkie, I have generally avoided DIY hair colouring, and resolved that dying my hair would be best left up to a professional salon colourist. Two main reasons for my thinking:
1. If you ever mention home hair dye in or near a hair salon, the stylist will not only look at you like you’re completely crazy for even thinking of attempting it, but will also do anything they can to avoid you trying this at home (I understand why they do this as I’ve nearly snapped off my hair after trying at home peroxide to go blonde – I was 15 at the time and it was a total disaster!).
2. Because I trust a salon profession to do a better job than I can.
When I moved to Hong Kong from Australia, it was a challenge to find a great salon that doesn’t charge insanely high prices to cover my roots – which unfortunately I need to do every 3-4 weeks due to those pesky greys that are now sneaking through *sigh*. Hence, here I was trying at home hair dye. At least I had Richie cheering me on in the background as I wouldn’t have to spend hours at the salon each month if this went well.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
60ml NATURTINT Colourant
60ml Colour Developer
15ml Naturtint Nutrideep
15ml Naturtint Shampoo
Pair of disposable plastic gloves
Instructions on usage (on the outside of the pack)
As I have long hair I used 2 sachets of colourant and developer, which you mix together before application. In this instance I decided to cover the entire strand instead of just the roots, as I wasn't sure if the shade I picked would mix in with my existing hair colour. When mixing the sachets together, the dye slowly turned into a dark purple tinge – I freaked out whilst I was halfway through applying it as I thought I might end up with purple hair instead of the lovely chestnut colour displayed on the packet. Since I had already committed to half of my head and thought that a full head of purple hair is better than a patchy brownish, purplish mash up, I applied the rest of the mixed product and waited 30 minutes as indicated in the instructions.
First off - getting this stuff onto your scalp isn’t easy. The packet doesn’t come with a brush, so you end up having to put it on with the gloves which is messy and resulted in purple dye splotched all over my sink. Highly recommend getting a brush of some sort, of any sort really, to apply the product and then cleaning it off your bathroom sink, bench and walls immediately after application so you aren’t left with a newly and not so nicely decorated bathroom.
Secondly – no mixing tub is included so you will need to find an old container to use or recycle. I ended up using an old tupperware container that was on the way out. Also, stating the obvious here, if you don’t have a hair colour apron then remember to put on an old top that you don’t mind getting dirty. Once I had applied all of the product, I massaged into my scalp for a few minutes. Remember to put Vaseline or paw paw ointment around the hairline to avoid dying your head the same colour.
30 or so minutes later I rinsed it out with water as instructed, and the result was extremely dry, coarse hair. It also smelt pretty awful, I guess that’s from the ingredients used in the dye.
The pack comes with a small shampoo, however I had to use both sachets then my own shampoo to thoroughly clean the colour out. I then applied the conditioner, followed by a super moisturising hair mask (I used Phyto Hair by Japanese brand Ampleur, which you can buy for ~400HKD from Mannings in Hong Kong) for 10 minutes as it was in such a state after rinsing out the dye. I’m not sure how anyone could survive not applying a mask or conditioner afterwards – my hair was in a terrible state, although I’m glad to say there were no grey hairs peeking through.
Yes, sadly as age catches up with me it is gifting me with grey hair, and it seems that my little grey friends want to invite the rest of my hair along to their party too. After a few months of travelling in 2014, I met up with my BFF in Bangkok, Thailand. We were walking through MBK looking for a hair salon and were approached by a sales woman. After enquiring about the prices, the lady from the salon tried to sell me a colour and cut by stating “you have WHITE HAIR”, emphasising the ‘white’ about 10 times and in a voice that could be heard from the other side of MBK – awesome, thanks. While she was busy telling me again that I had WHITE HAIR and had to do something about it, and BFF stood there giggling away, I resolved to never let my greys grow out as much as they had during that trip. Since then, I’ve been promptly covering my roots every 3-4 weeks as soon as there is even a hint of them, which was another reason why I investigated DIY natural hair dye!
As I have to colour my hair so frequently, I was keen to try a product with more natural ingredients, rather than regular pharmacy brands which are generally loaded with ammonia amongst other harmful chemicals that could build up and potentially damage my hair over time. I’ve noticed over the last few years that my scalp consistently goes numb during each salon visit when colour is applied. Presumably this is due to the volume of chemicals present, which incidentally have a very strong and eye-burning type of odour as well.
All in all I was pretty happy with the resulting colour. It was a lot darker than expected which I discovered is quite common when trying less chemical based dyes, and covered my greys nicely. Next time, I’ll be going for a lighter shade, as I like my hair quite a bit lighter than my natural dark brown colour. Definitely use a hair mask or equivalent hard core conditioner after rinsing out. In addition to the hair mask, I also used a hair oil (Bumble and Bumble Hair Oil which I picked up for 48AUD from Mecca Cosmetica on a recent trip back home to Australia - ahhhhmazing). Alternatively if you are looking for a natural hair mask / conditioner, you could use some coconut oil to help increase the moisture content.
Would I recommend it? Yeah I guess- to try at least once. Was it better than a salon colour experience? Hmmm no. It was a bit fiddly to do myself, and I couldn’t really simulate someone else massaging my head (which really is the best part about getting your hair done).
This doesn’t mean I’ve ruled out colouring my hair at home again, as I will definitely be returning to a salon to try ammonia-free hair dye as an alternative. If you're feeling experimental and have the time, at home hair dye is a great alternative to keep your tresses free of chemicals, and save cash along the way.