Archives for category: Natural Alternatives

In my previous post I listed more than 12 ways to lighten hair:

This time I’m going to give options for how to darken hair naturally for those with light hair or those who’ve lightened their hair more than they’d intended. I know I’m a bit worried about my hair getting to light so it’s reassuring to know how to make it dark again. I’ll also put methods on reddening hair too since I don’t think there’ll be that many on just darkening.


Darkening and dying dark colours

1. Cherry tree bark or cloves (darkens brown)- Boil 1/3 cup of either cherry tree bark, black tea or cloves in 2 1/2 cups of water and use as a rinse. You can either leave it in or rinse it out with water. (note: cloves apparently make the hair slightly reddish)

2. Black tea (subtle darkening)- Brew some strong black tea, let it cool, lean over a tub or sink and pour the mixture over your hair. Repeat this process many times and then rinse out hair with water. Repeat weekly for optimal results. 

3. Coffee (subtle darkening) – Brew strong black coffee. Let it cool before pouring in hair. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary and then rinse hair with water.

4. Sage and/or Rosemary (subtle darkening) – boil sage and/or rosemary in water until it’s a similar colour to dark tea. Let it cool before pouring in hair and let it sit for a 15-20 minutes. Repeat as necessary and rinse with water. It smells wonderful and is good for hair.

  • I used this but I’m not so comfortable using the stove to make hair products so I just use hot water from the water dispenser in a bucket/bowl with the herbs and put a lid over it and leave it for a while
  • Apparently it’s good for use on grey hair

5. Black walnuts (quite dark) – Put the entire walnut in boiling water and boil for 15-25 minutes. After the water is dark, let it cool and strain it to remove the walnuts and shells. Read the precautions in bullet points before continuing. Then apply the dye evenly in your hair either using your hands or those brushes from commercial hair-colouring kits (they’re really cheap usually). Put on a shower cap or plastic bag and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Don’t let the hair dry with the dye in it and monitor the colour frequently so it doesn’t get too dark. After that, remove the shower cap and bend over so the hair hangs downwards so that, when you rinse, the whole body doesn’t get stained. Once the dye is rinsed, wash hair (maybe twice for no-poo). Dry hair to see final colouring. If it isn’t dark enough, repeat process as necessary. The steps are more clear on this website

  • Be very careful not to spill anything. It will stain everything, including skin.
  • Make sure to do this with either as few items of clothing as possible or wear something old you don’t care about getting stained.
  • Surround your area with towels and work over hardwood/tile/linoleum floor and not carpet.
  • It is recommended to put masking tape over your forehead as this will stain your skin and look awkward. Rub the top of the tape with oil (or petroleum jelly but that’s less preferable)
  • Wear latex gloves and cover any exposed skin with oil so the dye will hopefully roll off. If the oil doesn’t work, petroleum jelly will definitely work but has been linked with cancer.

Reddening hair colour

1. Mix 1/2 cup of beet juice and 1/2 cup carrot juice and let sit in hair for one hour. Perhaps use a shower cap.

2. Boil 1 cup Rosehips in 2 cups of water. Strain and massage into hair. Can be left in until next shampoo.

3. Boil 3 Hibiscus tea bags down in 2 cups of water until you have 1 to 1/2 cup of liquid. Massage into hair. This can also be left in until your next shampoo.

4. Boil down 1/3 cup crushed marigold flowers in 2 cups water. Strain and add 1 cup of red wine. Massage into hair and leave in for 30 minuets.


I’ve seen a lot about henna for hair colouring as well as strengthening but I don’t know enough about the topic to write about it at all. I would recommend you just look it up if you’re curious (I will tomorrow since it’s 3am).

All of these are natural and can be used by those of you who go shampoo-free (no-poo).


I’ve got brown hair and since I’ve been living in Jakarta, my hair’s been really bland and dark since I don’t get out much. I used to get my highlights in my hair at the salon using bleach but I decided to stop doing this since it dries out the hair and does serious damage to it.


Instead to lighten up my hair and get natural highlights, I’m switching to natural methods of hair lightening. Here are a few options:

1. Black Tea – Boil water and put a teabag in as usual, allow to cool and then use it as a rinse. Let it sit in your hair for 15 minutes or so. It is recommended that the rinse is repeated between 3-6 times before rinsing it out with water.

  • I actually use this one. Camomile tea specifically works best (and might even be better fresh). I only do one rinse and I don’t leave it in very  long so that it’s a very slow transition and so it doesn’t get too light. Apparently fresh camomile is even stronger.

2. Lemon Juice – Rinse hair with lemon juice and let set for 10-20 minutes. It’ll get crunchy after some time as it dries (which is why lemon juice works as natural hairspray!) and that’s a good sign to rinse the lemon juice out with water. 

  • Lemon juice alone dries out the hair so it is recommended to dilute it with an equal part of water or olive oil. This will make it take longer to get the desired effect but more healthy for your hair.
  • Olive oil has lightening effects so this will be more quick and hydrating than water and is also recommended in equal parts to lemon juice. It might require shampooing twice to remove so it isn’t recommended for those who don’t use shampoo.
  • Brown hair will probably turn more orange if used too much. Brunettes cannot achieve very blonde hair with this method.

3. Rhubarb – Mix 1/4 cup of chopped rhubarb to 2 cups of water and then boil. Let the mixture cool before straining it and using it as a rinse. 

4. CinnamonMix cinnamon (powdered or boiled sticks) with water and let it sit in your hair for about an hour. It will lighten the hair and make it more of a reddish-caramel colour than the other rinses (which is not flattering on all hair colours).

5. Baking Soda – If you’re going no-poo (no-shampoo) then you will notice that after washing your hair with baking soda over a longish period of time that your hair will lighten in the process. 

6. Vinegar – Rinse your hair with 1/6 parts vinegar to water and let it sit for a little bit. This will only work over a long period of time. Apple cider vinegar  works best and is better for your hair.I assume most who go the no-poo route do this regularly already. 

7. Vitamin C – Crush about 8 vitamin C tablets and mix with shampoo (or baking soda with water) and clean hair. Maybe wash hair multiple times for more noticeable effect. 

8. Salt – Mix salt with water and let sit in hair for 10 minutes or so. Apparently it works quite well.

9. Honey – Add 1 tablespoon of honey to a cup of water and wait for half an hour (apparently that makes it work better) and then coat the hair with the mixture and leave in for at least 20 minutes. You can sleep with this mixture in if you cover your hair with a shower cap or saran wrap. 

10. Henna Powder and Camomile (for dark hair) – mix henna powder with powdered camomile (or any other light herb) and mix with enough boiling water to make a thick paste. Let the mixture cool and then comb it into wet hair. Put a plastic bag or shower cap over your hair and leave it in for half an hour to two hours. Leave the dye in longer for darker hair (such as black). Remove the plastic and rinse hair.

  • note: try this mixture on a small section of the back underside of your hair before doing large amounts as henna is strong

11. Swimming – Swimming in chlorinated pools or salt water (seas/oceans/salt-water pools) will lighten hair as chlorine and salt make hair lighter. Salt water is recommended, especially for those going no-poo because of chemicals.

12. Sun – The easiest and most natural way is just to spend time outside! Make sure to protect your skin while naturally getting your hair done 😉


Mixing up lightening methods will work faster and more apparently:

1. Mix Camomile tea and lemon juice and use as a rinse. Perhaps let it sit for a few minutes and repeat. 

2. Spray hair with lemon juice and sit out in the sun while hair dries. This would be good to do at a beach or something with a spray bottle. Rinse with water after hair dries. Repeating this process multiple times is recommended for stronger effect. This will likely dry out your hair so maybe dilute it with water. 

3. Mix salt with lemon juice and let dry then rinse. It will definitely dry out your hair so perhaps between doing this, put olive oil or conditioner in for a little bit. 

4. It would be quite effective to do any of the rinses (1-7) and let hair dry in the sun before rinsing. Maybe even rinse it out while swimming

5. Vinegar can be added to any of the other rinses (1-5 and 7) to improve the lightening as well as condition your hair.


All of these are effective if you are going shampoo-free as they contain no chemicals, no commercial hair product, are natural and other things that mean the same thing. All the rinses can be used as conditioning after cleaning the hair with baking soda.

Hydrogen peroxide is used by many people to lighten hair quickly and it is natural but it damages the hair so I would not recommend it.

I’ve lived on three different islands in Indonesia and one place in Canada and one of the persistent problems is that there are always a lot of ants everywhere. In Canada it was different than here because there was an ant hill outside a window of the house so we knew where they were all coming from at least.

Here they just come from everywhere and the bug spray most used here (in my experience), Baygon, is really harmful. It even says on the spray can “Toxic symptoms: dizzy, lots of sweats, breathing hard and stomach cramps.” and half of the label is filled with precautions. I’m thinking it’s not the safest thing to be using around a household, especially indoors.

Here are a few alternatives for inside the house using harmless natural ingredients:

1. Get whole nutmeg and break it open with a hammer and leave it in areas that tend to have ants. I’m sure powder would work too. 

2. Leave citrus or cucumber peels in areas that tend to have ants because they are poisonous to the fungi that ants eat.

3. Sprinkle cinnamon, chilli pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cloves, mint or garlic in areas where ants are known to be. Ants avoid these strong scented things. 

4. Make a barrier of chalk, charcoal powder, citrus oil, pepper (black, cayenne or chilli), cinnamon or turmeric arranged in an unbroken line near entrances to the room.

5. Put bay leaves (laurel) in individual foods such as sugar, paprika and flour containers to keep ants out of it. (I might see if this works with cereal)

6. Gaps where ants enter (i.e. corners and holes) can be filled in with a mixture of baking soda and toothpaste and left to dry. 

7. A solution of vinegar, water and tea tree oil (about 10 drops) can be sprayed around, which will make the ants lose their scent trail and they might get lost and die. 

8. Wiping down counters, cupboards or wherever you’ve seen ants with 50-50 water and vinegar will prevent them from finding their way back.

9. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth near entrance points or common areas where ants are. It dehydrates them and they die. 

10. Sprinkle cornmeal and the ants will walk through it; it’ll get stuck to their legs and then they will bring it back to the colony; a bunch of ants will try and eat it. Since they cannot digest cornmeal properly, it will cause them to die. 

11. Leave out a little puddle of syrup and the ants that are attracted to it will get stuck and then the ants and syrup can be removed with a warm, wet cloth.

12. Leave out cream of wheat. Ants will try and eat this and it will expand inside of them and make them explode. 

And for outside the house:

1. Sprinkle used coffee grounds around outside because ants seem to hate it and also it’s a good way to recycle the used coffee.

2. Put 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle with the rest filled with water and spray mixture over yard.

3. Dig a hole in anthill and pour about three gallons of boiling water into it. The intention is to kill the queen and it will kill others in the process. (note: boiling water will likely kill grass) 

4. Make a repellent by blending citrus peels and water and pour onto the anthills.

Some people use baby powder, borax which are both harmful to people so I don’t recommend it very much