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Dye Your Hair …with Coffee!

by Lisa on December 3, 2013

I dye my hair regularly. Not because I’m high maintenance or really care that much about my hair color… but because I have premature grays. I had one or two in high school, and about ten when I was in my mid-twenties. After my sister died, I almost immediately got a gray streak, and it kept spreading after that. The only reason I’m bringing that up is because it caused me to do a lot of reading about stress and gray hair–turns out, some mineral and nutrient absorption is blocked during the stress response, and this ultimately leads to gray hair (i.e. copper plays an integral role in hair color).

Oh, wait, there’s another reason I told you about that!

Because I have a combination of dark and gray hair, when I dye my hair naturally, the “dye” can’t be wimpy if it’s going to cover the grays! Generally, I find organic or natural salons and make sure the worst chemicals are not used in their color. However, right now I’m pregnant, and I wanted to delay coloring my hair at all until after the first trimester was over. I knew this would be a rough process—my hair grows quickly, and in 12 weeks, I’d have over an inch of regrowth.

I thought about using henna, but as I researched natural hair dyes, I found a few links that talked about using coffee. Of course, I didn’t follow any of the directions because I thought I could come up with a better way to do it—and I did, but it took me two tries.

hair coffee

Dye Your Hair with Coffee! 

1/2 cup conditioner (I used the most natural one I could find – Young Living’s Rosemary Mint)

3-4 Tbsp organic instant decaf coffee (the decaf part is optional, I was just being extra careful)

Instructions: Mix the two ingredients together until the coffee dissolves. Put a brown towel around your shoulders, dip your fingers in the “dye” and spread it evenly throughout your hair, starting with the roots. Clip your hair on top of your head so you don’t drip the mixture on anything, and leave it on for at least one hour. If you wait longer, it will start to dry and that makes it more difficult to rinse out. Rinse, but don’t wash, your hair until the water runs clear. Style as you normally would. The first time you do this, you’ll probably want to do it two days in a row (if you have grays).


  • Use more conditioner and more coffee if you have long hair. My hair is thin, so this amount worked.
  • Don’t worry about dripping the “dye” on your skin or sink—it doesn’t stain these things (but it might stain clothes or furniture, which is whyI recommend the hair clip and brown towel)!
  • This is not for blonds!
  • If you have grays, you’ll want to do this two days in a row to get full coverage initially
  • You’ll need to do this once a week if you want to keep the results (I wash my hair every 2-3 days)
  • Many of the recipes I looked at online involved brewing coffee (I tried this the first time, and it was way too watery and messy)
  • I read that putting a plastic bag on your head could help the color to “process” but I didn’t try this, and I don’t really recommend it (it just seems unnecessary)
  • Mixing this with henna would probably work amazingly well too, and probably help the color to last longer
  • You don’t have a lot of specific control about what color your hair will be–this is more of a “stain” and the mixture looks a lot lighter than you would think it would (assuming your conditioner is a whitish color)
  • After the first time I did this, I stopped measuring the conditioner and the coffee–it’s not so exact that you need to measure precisely

I did this process for several weeks, and it worked really well. I did stop a couple weeks before I hit my second trimester because I was feeling so sick that the smell of coffee (and the smell of conditioner) were making me want to throw up. I wore headbands and hats till I was feeling better.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ll do this 100% of the time. It does work, I promise! But I’m a bit lazy, and although it is very easy, affordable, and not messy AT ALL, I may supplement this with organic/natural hair color at the salon.

Have you used any natural products to dye your hair with? If so, what? And did it actually work?

Side note: I also have been using essential oils on my hair/scalp to help with dryness. I’m not sure how it affects the coffee color (I don’t think it does really), but it has been an awesome addition to my hair care routine! If you want to join my essential oils facebook group, please c’mon over! All I ask is that you’re nice, and you don’t solicit people… We just like to chat in there about essential oils and how to use them for all different body care, cleaning, health purposes and more. I’m slightly obsessed—so I’ll be happy if you join me in that passion!


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