Coloring hair has been documented as early as 35 BC, when Cleopatra forced her slaves to bleach their hair blond so that her own dark tresses would stand out. The earliest forms of hair colors were natural. Acid from lemons pulled color from the hair shaft and lightened hair. Pigments from nuts and roots were used to add color. Today, there are hundreds of commercial hair coloring products that use chemicals to break down the hair shaft and strip or deposit pigment. But, many prefer natural hair colorings for their gentle nature and easy home use.
Fill the pot with a quart of water. Bring water to a boil.
Grate the turmeric root. Place 1/4 cup of grated root into the boiling water. Turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot to steep. Allow the grated root to soak until the water has cooled to a comfortable temperature.
Strain the liquid. Pour into a squeeze bottle.
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Wrap a towel around the neck and shoulders. Make sure it is an older towel since the dye will stain the fabric.
Put on the gloves. With your head over the sink, squeeze a small amount of dye onto the roots of the hair at the back of the head. Work the dye through the hair with your fingers. Squeeze more dye on the next section forward and work through the hair. Repeat until the hair is thoroughly saturated.
Comb the dye through the hair as it dries. Allow the dye to stay on the hair for 15 minutes.
Shampoo and condition hair. Dry and style as usual.
Different hair textures will absorb the dye at different rates. It is important to test the color. Squeeze a small amount of dye onto a small lock of hair near the nape of the neck. Allow the dye to sit for 15 minutes. Check the color. If satisfied, proceed. If the color is too dark, cut the dye with water and shorten the dye time. If the color isn't dark enough, repeat steps 1 to 3 with 1/2 cup of grated turmeric root.
Check the absorption rate on your hair. Too much turmeric can leave hair a clownish, bright yellow color rather than the golden highlights intended.
Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.