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Natural Hair Rinses


Natural hair rinses have been used for years to cleanse, condition and highlight your hair. They are simple to create much like making a cup of tea or a strong herbal infusion. We have all heard of using baking soda, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to cleanse your hair and scalp. These ingredients work well at getting your hair clean and removing any residue left on your hair from well water, swimming pools, or styling products. But besides getting your hair super clean, hair rinses can also add subtle highlights to your hair. Keep in mind these are all natural rinses so the results will not be as dramatic as a chemical dye but over time they can alter the appearance and color of your hair. Chamomile tea makes a wonderful lightening rinse. Rosemary, sage, and thyme can all be used to bring out highlights in darker shades and cover gray. Here are some simple yet effective hair rinses you can do at home. Make sure you use them on clean hair. If this is a new treatment or ingredient you will also want to try a “patch test” at the base of your neck, or under your hair where you can see the results and decide if you like the color or effect.



Rhubarb Hair Lightener

People have used rhubarb to lighten their hair for years. It is a vegetable, not a fruit, which belongs to the smartweed family and originally came from Mongolia. The stalks grow to be two feet tall, and are a thick and reddish green, each topped by a single large, umbrella-like leaf. Use only the stalks in this recipe; the leaves should not be used, as they are poisonous.  

Yield: 16 ounces


3 fresh rhubarb stalks, chopped

1 Tablespoon honey

2 cups water


Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool completely then strain. Pour the liquid into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. To use: Massage about 1 /2 cup of the liquid through clean hair; cover with a warm towel or plastic wrap and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse your hair well and dry or style as usual.


Note: The longer you leave the rhubarb mixture on your hair, the greater the lightening effects will be. You may also need to repeat this treatment weekly for significant color change.



Chamomile Blond Cocktail

This recipe combines three popular and powerful natural hair-highlighting ingredients into one super solution. Chamomile tea brewed fresh from the garden flowers is an old folk recipe for keeping your hair light and blond. In Sweden, pure vodka is the ingredient of choice. Lemon juice hair lightener and brightener and is the most widely used of the three. So, whether you choose to use them individually or combined after a few weeks of applying any number of these ingredients you will have beautiful, naturally highlighted hair.

Yield: 8 ounces


1 cup strong chamomile tea

1 Tablespoon vodka

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Mix all the ingredients and stir well. Pour into a clean bottle with a tight-fitting lid. To use: Spray or comb through damp hair before going outside. The sun’s rays will react with the ingredients and lighten your hair over time. Note: This treatment can be drying to your hair so you will want to use a hair conditioner or hair oil if needed.


Darkening Hair Rinse

Both rosemary and thyme have been used for centuries to darken the hair and keep it soft and silky. They are also herbs with natural antiseptic properties, which give this rinse the bonus of keeping your scalp healthy and free of dandruff. After several uses, you will notice the results. Herbal rinses need to build up over time, but the added advantage is that your hair will darken quite subtly and naturally.

Yield: 16 ounces


1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 cups boiling water


Place the herb leaves in a ceramic or glass bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Allow the leaves to steep until cool. Strain the liquid and pour into a clean container. To use:  After shampooing and conditioning your hair, pour this rinse over it. Leave the rinse on your hair for at least 20 to 30 minutes (longer if you like). Use a final rinse of two cups cool water, with one tablespoon apple cider vinegar added.


Calendula Petal Rinse

Yellow or orange calendula flower petals produce a dye for the hair that was used by European women as early as the sixteenth century. One publication from that time, from that time, The New Herbal (1551), states: “Some women used to make their heyre yellow with the flowers of the calendula plant not being content wit the natural colour which God hath given them.”  Today calendula petals are used in skin toner, crams, and bath products. They still do make a wonderful highlighting rinse that can be used by both brunettes and blondes.

Yield: 16 ounces, enough for 1-2 rinses


1 /4 cup fresh calendula petals or 2 Tablespoons dried

2 Cups boiling water


Place the calendula petals in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let the mixture cool completely. Strain the liquid. To use: After shampooing pour the rinse water through your hair.


Sage Tea Rinse

Fresh Sage infusions have been used for years to cover silver or gray hair. This treatment is most successful when used over an extended period. Sage is the best of all plants for darkening and toning the hair. It also has strong antibacterial properties that help keep your scalp clean and healthy. People have used sage for years as a mouthwash, tooth cleanser, and hair growth stimulator.

Yield: 16 ounces


1 /4 cup fresh sage leaves

2 cups cool water

2 teaspoons vodka or witch hazel


Gently tear your sage leaves into small pieces and place them in a medium size saucepan. Pour the cool water over them. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat source. Let the fresh leaves steep for several hours. Strain off the liquid and stir in the vodka (or witch hazel). Pour into a clean bottle or jar. To use: After shampooing your hair, pour this rinse through it and leave in. Do not rinse. Dry and style your hair as usual.


Blackberry Leaf Rinse

This rinse will gently enhance your hair color, deepening the color of dark hair and highlighting lighter shades. The green prickly leaves make a cleansing rinse that also helps treat dandruff and will leave your hair clean and shiny. If you cannot find fresh blackberry leaves, look for dried leaves in the bulk bin of a natural food store or herbal tea made from blackberry leaves.

Yield: 12 ounces


1 /2 cup clean fresh blackberry leaves or 1 /4 cup dried leaves

2 cups water

Fresh blackberries (optional)


Place the leaves in a small saucepan and cover with water. For a darker color you can add a few fresh berries to the water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool completely. Strain the liquid and pour into a clean container. To use:  After shampooing your hair, pour this rinse through it and leave in. Do not rinse. Dry and style your hair as usual.


 For more recipes and ideas check out my latest beauty handbook.

You are beautiful!



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