How to Make Black Hair Dye at Home

Written by julia michelle
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How to Make Black Hair Dye at Home
Homemade hair dye is gentler than commercial products. (dye image by Orlando Florin Rosu from

Homemade hair dye is gentler on the hair because many of the herbs used in the dye, such as henna, also have conditioning properties. The dye also does not penetrate beneath the outer layer of the hair, which means the dyes are not permanent. However, homemade dyes are easy to make, easy to use, and easy on the environment. You can find the henna at health food stores and squid ink is available at speciality food stores, either local or online.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Heat-safe ceramic or glass bowl
  • 1/2 cup black henna
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • Stick blender
  • 1 tbsp squid ink
  • Mild shampoo
  • Two bath towels
  • Rat tail comb
  • Plastic hair clips
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Rubber gloves
  • Shower cap

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    Making the Dye

  1. 1

    Add the henna to the heat-safe bowl. If the henna is in brick form, break it up with the stick blender.

  2. 2

    Pour the boiling water over the henna. Let it sit for two minutes, then mix it into a paste with the stick blender.

  3. 3

    Add the squid ink to the henna paste. Mix with the stick blender until the ink is fully incorporated.

    Applying the Dye

  1. 1

    Wash your hair with a mild shampoo and rinse. Do not use a conditioner. Wrap a towel around your shoulders to protect your clothes.

  2. 2

    Use the rat tail comb to part your hair into four sections: back-to-front and ear-to-ear. Hold each section in place with plastic clips.

  3. 3

    Apply the petroleum jelly around your hairline, including your neck, and over your ears. The petroleum jelly will protect these areas from staining.

  4. 4

    Release a section of hair at the back of your head. Put on the rubber gloves, and apply the henna mixture with your fingers. Work the henna into the hair but avoid massaging it into your scalp because it will stain your skin. Gather the hair back up, and secure it with the clip. Repeat with the rest of your hair.

  5. 5

    Cover your head with the shower cap and dip a bath towel in hot water from the tap. Wring the towel and wrap it around your head. Wrap the second, dry, towel around the wet towel. Wash any drip areas with warm, soapy water, and wait 40 minutes. Rinse your hair until the water runs clear, then shampoo and condition as usual.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are unable to get squid ink, substitute one tbsp of black india ink.
  • Ink stains. Use bowls and utensils dedicated to dye-making. If you have warm weather, consider rinsing the henna outside.
  • Do not use squid ink if you have a shellfish allergy.
  • Do not use metal bowls and utensils, they may react with the henna and affect the colour.

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