How to Dye Your Hair with Tea!


Many people use hair dye to darken their natural hair color, particularly if they have grey hair. However, regular hair dye is made with chemicals that some people may prefer not to use. Plus, overuse of regular hair dye can be damaging to your locks. That’s why some people recommend using black tea as a natural alternative to hair dye. So, can you really dye your hair with tea? Keep reading to find out!

Using Black Tea to Dye Hair: How It Works

Black tea is rich in plant polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that can act as antioxidants. Together, the polyphenols in black tea form a complex called tannin.

Tannin gives black tea its dark color, and in some cases, that tannin can stain other surfaces. For example, you may have noticed that black tea will stain the inside of your mugs after some time. Similarly, black tea can be used to dye your hair.

However, don’t expect drastic or permanent results for black tea hair dye. Traditional hair dye uses a developer to open up the protective outer layer of the hair. This allows the dye to penetrate and permanently change the strand’s color. Since black tea doesn’t contain a developer, it cannot penetrate the hair shaft and permanently alter its color. Thus, any darkening effects you get from using black tea to color your hair will only be temporary.

woman applying hair dye home closeup bathroom mirror at home hair dye tips tricks viviscal hair blogBlack tea also will not drastically change the color of your hair. If you’re a blonde, don’t expect to have black hair after using tea to dye hair. However, you can achieve a more dramatic effect by leaving the tea on your hair for a longer period of time, or by repeatedly dyeing hair with tea.

Benefits of Dyeing Hair with Tea

A Subtle, Temporary Change

Dyeing hair with tea is an excellent way to add subtle, temporary richness to your natural hair color. Want a small change for an upcoming event? Black tea could be your answer. You can also use black tea to gradually darken your hair color over time.

Fewer Chemicals

There’s no doubt about it: traditional hair dyes are loaded with chemicals. If you’re concerned about your chemical exposure, tea is a natural alternative to chemical hair dyes. While tea may not have the same dramatic results as traditional hair dye, it can still provide color without all the chemicals.

Less Damaging than Regular Hair Color

Since black tea doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, it’s less damaging for hair than traditional hair color. If you have damaged hair, switch to black tea hair color for gentler dyeing. Hint: Viviscal also can help you grow stronger and healthier-looking hair. Viviscal Supplements nourish hair follicles from within with a blend of marine collagen complex, vitamins and minerals, to reduce hair shedding and promote thicker, fuller hair in as little as three months.†*

Long shiny brown hair woman behind top tips fixing dull hair viviscal hair blog

Keep your hair looking healthy by dyeing with black tea and taking nourishing Viviscal supplements

How to Dye Hair with Tea

Now that you’ve learned how black tea hair dye works and its benefits, learn how to dye hair with tea:

  1. Brew some strong tea using 3-5 teabags of black tea per one cup of water. For additional darkening, add some dried sage to the mixture.
  2. Allow the tea to cool, then apply the tea to dry hair using a hair dye applicator bottle.
  3. Let the tea sit in your hair for at least an hour. For more intense results, put on a shower cap and leave the tea in your hair overnight.
  4. Rinse out hair thoroughly, then apply a lightweight nourishing conditioner like Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Conditioner.

A few watchouts: Always do a skin test of any new hair dye or at-home beauty recipe before applying it fully to your hair and scalp. If you have sensitivities or allergies to the ingredients, don’t use them. Repeating the dyeing process will give you darker, more intense results.

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How to Dye Your Hair at Home


At-home hair dye can be tricky, but it can also be a great way to save money if you color your hair regularly. Here’s how to dye your hair at home and get practically professional results from a box from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

Choose the Best At-Home Hair Color for You

At-home hair color kits generally come in four categories: permanent, demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary.


As the name implies, permanent at-home hair color is a long-term commitment that generally will last until the hair grows out. Permanent hair dyes open the cuticle of the hair to deposit color inside the strand. But permanent hair color can still fade, however, so this type of hair color requires special aftercare to maintain its vibrancy.

woman applying hair dye home closeup bathroom mirror at home hair dye tips tricks viviscal hair blog


Demi-permanent dyes coat the outside of your hair strands with color. They last for a while — usually around 26 to 28 shampoos — but don’t require as much of a commitment as permanent color.


Semi-permanent hair color lasts about 8 to 12 shampoos. Semi-permanent at-home hair color kits don’t include a developer, which means they can’t be used to lighten hair. But semi-permanent is a great option if you want to darken your hair without committing to a long-term or permanent change.


Temporary at-home hair color usually lasts only until your next shampoo. Temporary colors come in the forms of sprays, waxes, hair washes or even brush-in powders. They’re the best option if you just want to change your hair color for one night for a special event or costume party, or if you simply want to test-drive a new hair color first before making a commitment.

woman side view blonde pink blue green colors white background at home hair dye tips tricks viviscal hair blog

Temporary hair dye is a great way to try out a new color without making a commitment

Decide on a Shade

Major changes (like going from brunette to blonde, or vice versa) are best left to the professionals. But if you’re staying within a shade or two of your natural hair color, at-home hair color is usually easy to use and it can save you a significant amount of money.

When shopping for at-home hair color, don’t trust that the shade pictured on the box will reflect your exact final results. Your natural hair color can affect the final shade, so do a strand test before applying dye all over (see below).

For permanent hair dye, choose a shade that’s slightly darker than your desired outcome. For semi-permanent (or demi-permanent) hair dye, choose a shade slightly lighter than the color you want to achieve.

Girl holding lemon citrus fruit

What About Homemade Hair Dye?

Should you try homemade hair dye? There are countless recipes for homemade hair dye on the internet, usually calling for natural ingredients you might already have in your kitchen like lemon and tea. 

While these ingredients certainly have the ability to change your hair shade, the results aren’t guaranteed. Lemon can lighten your hair in the sunshine, but there is of course no picture on a lemon to show you the results you can expect! If you want to experiment and don’t have a specific outcome in mind, homemade hair dye may work for you. But if you’re looking for a predictable final result, it’s best to stick with at-home hair color kits. 

Test Ahead of Time

Most manufacturers of at-home hair color kits recommend performing a patch test on your skin at least 24 hours before coloring your hair at home. Home hair dye kits contain many chemicals that can potentially cause allergic reactions. You should never skip this step, even if you’ve dyed your hair many times before.

If you’re trying a new shade, it’s also smart to perform a strand test. Mix up a little dye and apply it to a small piece of trimmed hair or to a small area of your hair that’s not easily noticeable. This will show you how well your hair will absorb the dye, and how long processing will take to achieve the color you want.

Fine hair tends to process dye more quickly than thick or coarse hair. So if you have fine or thin hair, you might be able to shorten the recommended processing time by 5 or 10 minutes to get your desired result.

Dyeing hair at home

Buy Two Boxes of At-Home Hair Color

You don’t want to run out of hair dye halfway through the application process. So buy two boxes of hair dye if your hair is longer than shoulder length or if it’s very thick. No one wants to run out halfway through a dye job to buy more hair color!

If you don’t need the entire second box, don’t try to save it. Hair color must be applied right away after mixing the hair dye and developer together. Otherwise, it will lose its effectiveness.

Prep Your Hair for Coloring

Healthy hair absorbs color more evenly and maintains its color. Get hair into tip-top condition by applying a deep conditioning mask a few days leading up to coloring.

Don’t wash your hair on the day that you plan to color your hair. It’s better to color hair that hasn’t been washed for a day or two because the extra sebum and natural oils can help protect your scalp against irritation.

Feed your follicles what they need to grow thicker, healthier-looking hair that resists coloring and styling damage. Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements are formulated with a unique mix of proven hair growth nutrients including B vitamins, iron, zinc, and an exclusive marine collagen complex called AminoMar™. So they promote healthy hair growth from the inside for gorgeous hair on the outside.*

applying messy red hair dye woman closeup looking up cautious at home hair dye tips tricks viviscal hair blog

At home hair dye can be messy. Apply petroleum jelly along your hairline before you start.

Protect Against Spills and Splashes

If you’re coloring your hair at home, you can end up with stains everywhere. Minimize the mess by doing the following:

  • Before coloring your hair, remove any rugs from your bathroom.
  • Change into old clothes that you don’t mind staining.
  • Apply petroleum jelly or lip balm along your hairline to keep the dye from staining your skin.
  • Wipe up any spills on surfaces or floors as soon as they happen with a damp rag or makeup remover wipe.

How to Dye Your Hair at Home Like a Pro

Now you’re finally ready to color your hair! Before you begin, make sure to review all the instructions in the box. They’re there for a reason – so follow them to a tee! 

  1. Brush your hair to remove all tangles. Then comb hair into four sections: two in the front, and two in the back. Secure each section with a clip.
  2. Apply hair color to the sections in the back first, then move to the sections in the front. Your hair in the back can be naturally darker and requires more time to process. Use a handheld mirror to check that you haven’t missed any spots in the back.
  3. Once you’ve applied the hair color, leave your hair down while it processes. Twisting hair into a bun will result in uneven color.
  4. Wait the suggested amount of time on the box or the length of time indicated by your strand test.
  5. Put back on the hair dye gloves and step into the shower. Add a small amount of lukewarm water to your hair to emulsify the dye. Then rinse thoroughly. Do not shampoo hair, as this will remove the hair dye.
  6. Once your hair is rinsed, apply conditioner liberally. Conditioner helps seal the cuticle of the hair, allowing the color to continue to develop. You can either use the conditioner that comes in the at-home hair color kit, or use your favorite nourishing conditioner like Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Conditioner.
  7. Enjoy your freshly colored hair!
Attractive woman applying conditioner on her hair

Deep conditioning your hair will help to maintain the color.

How to Maintain Your At-Home Hair Color

  • Water washes away hair color, so try to cut down on hair washing, especially right after dyeing hair. Try using dry shampoo to freshen up your hair on non-wash days.
  • Protect your hair against color-fading UV rays by wearing a broad-brimmed hat on sunny days.
  • Avoid heat styling your hair because high heat can open up your hair’s cuticle, releasing the color. When you do use heat tools, always prep hair with a heat protectant spray before styling.
  • Hair color can dry out hair, so use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to keep your hair hydrated.

Have you ever colored your hair at home? Share your tips and tricks with other readers in the comment section below.

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