How to Color Your Hair With Black Walnut Husk

Written by morgan richter
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People who are sensitive to the chemicals found in commercial hair dye formulas or who are interested in homemade beauty remedies can make their own hair dye out of natural ingredients. The husks of fresh black walnuts contain large amounts of a powerful black dye, which can be used to darken hair to a deep sable colour. The colour produced by this dye is semi-permanent and should last through a couple of weeks of regular washing and styling.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Black walnut husks
  • Hammer
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Sieve
  • Spoon
  • Jar
  • Funnel
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Conditioner
  • Towel

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  1. 1

    Peel the green ripened husks off of fresh black walnuts to get roughly a pound of husks. Wear rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands. Fresh husks can be peeled off with your fingers. If the husks have dried, crack them with a hammer before peeling them off.

  2. 2

    Place the hulls in a large pot and cover with 473ml of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

  3. 3

    Strain the mixture through a sieve into a wide-mouthed jar. Use the back of a spoon to press the husks against the sieve to squeeze out any remaining dye.

  4. 4

    Pour the dye through a funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle. An empty 454gr dish soap bottle or a water bottle with a squeeze nozzle works well. Fill the bottle about half full, then add any brand of hair conditioner to fill the bottle to the top. Plug the nozzle shut and shake the bottle well to combine the conditioner and the dye.

  5. 5

    Shampoo and rise your hair as usual. Drape an old towel around your shoulders to protect your clothing, then, while wearing rubber gloves, apply the dye evenly throughout your wet hair. The conditioner will give the dye enough viscosity to prevent it from dripping all over and staining everything. Saturate your hair from root to tips.

  6. 6

    Leave the dye in your hair for 15 minutes, then rinse it out until the water runs clear.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have access to fresh walnut husks, black walnut shells also contain a significant amount of dye. Crush walnut shells in a blender or food processor, then boil in water and prepare the dye as described above. The dye will be less potent, but should still effectively darken hair.
  • Rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly onto your skin around your hairline and on the tips of your ears before applying the dye mixture. This will create a moisture-proof barrier to prevent the dye from staining your skin.
  • Black walnut stains are extremely difficult to remove from skin. Wear gloves, and try to avoid drips when applying the mixture to your hair. To clean stained skin, soak a cotton ball in lemon juice or vinegar and rub it over the skin, or use an abrasive bar soap.

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