Traditional hair dyes contain a long list of harsh chemicals, often including ammonia, coal-tar additives and lead acetate. Natural alternatives to permanent hair dyes, such as a strong brew of coffee, produce a softer gradation of color that lasts a few days and takes longer to build up in intensity. Regular application of a coffee rinse produces a soft, nutty brown hair color, and helps to bring out amber highlights on darker locks. Blond tresses typically darken a few shades for a gentle, light brown.

The stronger the coffee, the better the hair dye. Invest in an organic coffee to avoid any unknown additives and to give your hair an all-natural high. Opt for finely ground espresso for a stronger, darker color.

Brew 1 1/2 cups of ground coffee with 3 cups of water in your coffeepot or French press as usual. This ratio is about three times stronger than a normal cup of coffee. Allow the brew to cool completely to avoid burning yourself. Place the mixture in a tub or your sink.

Tips

Add a couple tablespoons of conditioner to this cooled mixture if you want a little boost of moisture while you dye.

Wash your hair with your regular shampoo to remove any buildup or debris before you begin the dyeing process. Comb through you hair very gently to remove tangles for more even application. Dip your damp hair into the coffee mixture and use a small cup to pour the mixture over the back of your head and any hard-to-reach places.

Keep pouring the mixture over your hair for a few minutes to ensure the mixture coats your whole head. Take your time to ensure the color reaches every strand, and comb through any thick areas with your fingers.

Remove your hair from the sink and squeeze out any excess mixture. Loosely pin your hair up on the top of your head to keep it out of the way, and leave the coffee rinse in place for at least 20 minutes. You can leave this mixture in place for up to an hour.

Rinse your hair out completely in the shower with a gentle shampoo to avoid stripping off all the color you just applied. You can also rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar for a natural cleanser that helps seal in the color.

This rinse can be repeated for a few consecutive days to build up the color and allow the coffee to penetrate the hair strands more effectively. The color generally fades over a couple of weeks and can then be boosted at regular intervals in your hair care routine.