How to Use Coffee to Dye Your Hair and Improve Your Hair Health

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Have you ever thought of using coffee as a natural hair dye? Well, coffee  has been used as a hair dye and treatment for a long time.   Natural ground coffee is an excellent natural tool to darken hair. With the help of coffee, dark hair can acquire a beautiful healthy glow and even naturally dye your hair. At least once in your life, you’ve probably dyed your hair. I personally do it every 3 months. And let’s be honest, most natural store bought  hair dyes (like this one)  can be quite pricey and sometimes they don’t work as well. So, why not make your own dyes using only natural ingredients such as coffee?

Using Coffee to Improve your hair health

Natural methods of coloring sometimes don’t give a long lasting result (like these conventional ones), but at least they do not damage the hair and can even strengthen it. According to the National Cancer Institute there are over 5000 different chemicals used in conventional hair dyes, many of which are considered carcinogenic. Coffee is an absolutely natural product, which possesses beneficial properties.

Using this easy natural coffee mixture, you will get the desired shine, shade, and even promote hair growth. According to a study published in the January 2007 issue of the International Journal of Dermatology, coffee indeed helps with hair growth.

How to use coffee to dye your hair

  • Make really strong organic coffee ( I use this one) , preferably espresso.  Non organic coffee most likely contains some added chemicals. 
  • Let your coffee cool down.  
  • Mix 2 cups of leave in all natural conditioner with 2 tbsp. of organic coffee grounds and 1 cup of  cold brewed coffee.
  • Apply the mixture onto your hair and leave it in for about an hour.   It will give your hair a beautiful chocolate color without any damage.

Simple Coffee Rinse

Shampoo your hair first and then pour coffee over your hair. Leave it in for 20 minutes. Use apple cider vinegar to rinse the coffee out of your hair (it will help  seal in the color). Then rinse it off with warm water.

If you don’t see the desired results right away, repeat the same process for a few days in a row to allow the coffee to penetrate the strands of your hair.
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  1. On the third step it says: Mix 2 cups of leave in all natural conditioner with 2 tbsp. of organic coffee grounds and 1 cup of cold brewed coffee.

    Mix Two cups & leave or Mix two cups of leave? Also, what kind of natural conditioner? What do you use?

    • Hi Katie! Coffee works as a temporary dye! If anything, it will still work as a quick boost to add shine to limp hair and will restore your natural color. It works on my hair. Depending on your hair type, it should stay on for about 5 weeks.

      • Hi, I was just wondering if you think this would work as an safe & natural tint/dye for eyelashes as well? I detest mascara, but would really like something that would define my light eyelashes. I don’t trust the so-called eyelash tint kits at all. Seems like coffee might be a good natural alternative and I wouldn’t mind putting it on on a daily basis, as I would with regular mascara. Thoughts? TIA

        • Hi Kat! I haven’t tried using coffee on my eyelashes yet but I think it’s a great idea. Coffee has a ton of antioxidants which are really good for you. Let me know if it works for you!

  2. Thanks for this idea. That’s awesome. Although, I’m a little confused about the coffee rinse. Is that what should be done after the hour of the dye being on the hair? Just shampooing won’t work? Or is that another option for a hint of color and some shine?

    • Hi Melissa! You’re welcome! You don’t need to do a coffee rinse after the coffee dye method. Coffee rinse can be done once a week to secure the color!

    • Hi Jane! It should cover grey hair. Just make sure to brew a really strong pot of coffee.

      • I tried this, I have significant greying at the temples & made my mixture pretty thick, left it on the grey areas for about 10 minutes, then covered the rest of my and left it on for an hour with a shower cap on my head. The grey didn’t change at all in color, but my hair is much softer – but that could be the hour that the leave in conditioner was in my hair.

        • I didn’t have any luck with my gray hair either. I’ve done this method several times using espresso. I always leave the mixture on for a few hours under a shower cap too. My hair hasn’t changed in any manner. My scalp is a different story, I used to have really bad dandruff and this seems to have fixed that issue.

  3. Is it used coffee grounds or fresh in Step 3? And must it be a leave-in conditioner? I purchase a non-toxic conditioner made by my green salon and I already leave it in for like 5-10 minutes. I’m sure it could easily be left in an hour.

    • Hi Kim! You use fresh coffee grounds. And does not have to be a leave in conditioner as long as it’s all natural!

  4. Would you share a photo of your hair dye with coffee. I would love to see how dark it is.

    • Hi Katie! My hair color looks the same as in the profile picture. It’s not super dark; it’s more like medium brown.

    • Hi Torrey! It’s hard to tell. Coffee dye is usually recommended for dark hair. It also depends on the texture of your hair!

    • Hi Pupyka! You can use this method as well, just leave it on for about 10 minutes. And then rinse off.

  5. I use an organic homemade shampoo bar and once a week use an ACV rinse. What could I use instead of purchasing a leave-in?

    • Hi Amy! You can use any regular natural conditioner, or you can even use plain yogurt. I’ve tried it once and it worked too.

      • So two cups of plain regular yogurt (or greek yogurt) can be used instead of conditioner? It would be a lot cheaper as I doubt my Paul Mitchell leave and shine is all natural plus it’s like $7 for 8oz.

        • Hi Paula! Yes, you can use plain yogurt. Depending on the length of your hair, you can use only 1 cup of yogurt.

  6. Ok well I did this and just wanted to give some feedback. I have thick hair that is pretty long (to the middle of my back) and the two cups of conditioner were WAY TOO MUCH. I used a brush for applying hair color an put it on all of my hair. Also, what are the coffee grounds for exactly? They fell all over the sink and the floor in the bathroom & made a big mess. As far as the color, it did color my hair but not the grey. I think next time I personally would use a cup on conditioner to about a shot or so of espresso making sure that the mixture was really dark (mine looked about mocha color and my hair is dark brown) also I would probably leave out the coffee grounds. Thanks for the idea though. If I can get it to work w/ the grey it will save me from putting all of the chemicals on my hair every two/three weeks.

    • Thank you, Michele! When it comes to grey hair, the more times you apply it to you hair, the deeper and richer and more long-lasting the color becomes which will eventually color your grey hair. You can also wrap the plastic bag around your head to trap the heat which will make the coffee dye develop faster. I use coffee grounds because they help nourish your hair.

      • That’s a good idea about the bag. I thought of putting a shower cap but didn’t have one. The problem is that my hair grows so fast so the roots are about a 1/2 inch in about 2 or 3 weeks so unless I colored it for a few days straight the grey would be freshly colored and maybe not take the color again. I’ll give it a few more tries though. Thanks.

    • after the “coffee dye” has been left in your hair for one hour .. how did you rinse it off – just apple cider then warm water right ? just double checking … then every week after that – shampoo, then apple cider then warm water to secure the color…

    • Hi Eva! I wouldn’t use coconut oil just because it will be really hard to get it out of your hair. You can use plain yogurt instead.

  7. I’m allergic to hair dye so I can’t dye my hair with chemicals (it gives me a chemical burn like effect!) I’ll be giving this a try! For those who are looking for safe alternative hair dying, henna works great too (the real stuff though).

    • I use henna all the time! I buy it from henna hut, because it’s all natural real henna!

  8. Will this work if your hair has been treated with chemical dyes but you want to try to go back to more natural color? For example my hair is VERY blonde but it’s too much maintenance and darker roots show. Want to try to get back to natural color without more chemicals or ugly growing out process.

    • Hi Bette! It will work; It worked on my hair that was previously treated with conventional dyes. Since you hair is very blonde, I recommend to leave the mixture in for about 15 minutes.

  9. Hello.. Is it must to use leave in conditioner? or can i simply use dove conditioner?

    • Hi Saima! You can use any conditioner but I really recommend all natural (you want to avoid dangerous chemicals).

    • Hi Cindi! You can take a medium size pot. Put several cups of water. Add about 4 tablespoonfuls of coffee. Boil water with the coffee in it to taste.
      Strain in a strainer.

      • Thanks! I’m gonna give it a shot! I always said the natural color of my hair was coffee anyway!

  10. Hi, I tried this once so far & my hair is healthier.It dyed some of my greys but not all of it so trying it again. Do I need to use the apple cider vinegar b/c it slightly burnt my scalp? Also, I notice my head smells strongly of coffee when I sweat or wash my hair for days afterwards.

    • Hi Mary! I am glad your hair is healthier. Apple cider vinegar usually helps get rid of coffee smell. Try to dilute it with water. Blessings!

    • Thanks for posting your results, Mary! My hair is mostly silver (I refuse to have gray hair, lol), especially around my face. I used to color it, but several yrs ago, I decided to let it to natural. But if I give in to wanting my hair darker again (it was almost black when I was young) I’m happy to know this technique may work and nourish my hair at the same time!!

  11. Can’t wait to try this!! I have been looking for a natural way to dye my hair and am hoping this will do the trick! Thank you!

  12. Hi there! I am really excited to try this dye method but I have a few questions about the method. For the coffee dye method do you shampoo your hair first? or is this something you do out of the shower like traditionaly coloring hair?
    – For step 3, do you use brewed coffee grounds? or grounds before you brew?
    – and finally how do you wash out the dye method ( not the coffee rinse)?

    thanks so much!

    • Hi Raquel! You don’t have to shampoo your hair first; you do it out of the shower. For step 3: you can use either fresh grounds or used grounds. Just use regular shampoo to wash off the dye. It took me a couple of washes 🙂 Let me know if it works for you!

    • Hi Gevan! My hair is dark as well, coffee gives it a really nice deep shade.

    • Hi Sadaf! No, I do not recommend using instant coffee. It will not have the same effect!

  13. Hey! Do I wrap my hair inside a towel after I put the dye on or do I just leave it on bare?

    • Hi Olivia! Yes, it’s better if you put a shower cap after you put the coffee dye on. It will have a better effect!

  14. Hello! Would it be okay if I used coffee I brewed the day before? Or does it need to be fresh? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Jennifer! It doesn’t have to be fresh. Let me know if this method worked for you!

  15. I have neither chemically colored nor shampooed my hair in several months, but have used baking soda/water ‘wash’ and ACV rinse instead. My family has been inquiring when I was going to color my hair again (greying on top / near ears), so I bought chemical color, but I don’t want to color from a box again. Based on previous posts, ‘coffeeing’ my hair should achieve good results, but no one has stated that they use baking soda/ACV as their only hair care. How would my method effect coloring, and would I need to do something different? I plan to use yogurt as the conditioner during the coloring process.

  16. One more thing: I have a couple of questions for the author that I would really appreciate hearing her feedback on:

    1 – I would like to hear what the author here thinks of just putting in the coffee and leaving it there without rinsing.

    2 – When you say brew a “really strong” cup of coffee, what does that mean? I bought a bag of organic coffee today and after using two very large tablespoons of coffee and pouring 12 ounces of water through the filter, the coffee was still see through. Should we use “You should not be able to see through the coffee” as a barometer for adequate strength to provide hair color?

    3 – I wonder about coffee grinds in conditioner. I’d like to try to leave in conditioner mixed with dark coffee (no grinds) because maybe the conditioner will help the coffee “stick” better. Do you think that is true? Won’t the grinds be noticeable in your hair since they are granular and gritty?

    Thanks for answering. I really do want this to work out for me.

  17. Hi again,

    Update: So I purchased a bag of organic coffee and brewed a cup using a free fill k cup. Even at the 5 ounce size with the cup full, the coffee was very weak. I was extremely unimpressed. I think I bought a breakfast blend. I was afraid to buy the French Roast Dark because I don’t want anything radical on my head and thought it would end up too dark.

    I brewed a cup of an Organic k cup at the 5 ounce size and that was a bit darker, so I mixed it in with the weak stuff and used that as a rinse and really saw no effect at all. My husband said my hair looked about the same as before the rinse so no go there. So far the Starbucks cup had the biggest effect.

    Today, I went in search of leave in conditioner and organic instant coffee. I read elsewhere that instant coffee will dissolve better so I figured what the heck, I will try that. I bought a pack of 25 individual packets of organic instant coffee. I think it’s called Mountain something but I forget. I put a small amount of hot water in a cup to dissolve the coffee and then mixed it with leave-in conditioner. I was a little nervous because instead of looking like a typical cup of coffee it kind of looked like baby diarrhea. Eek. I wondered how much that color would transfer into my hair. I added another packet to try to make it darker but it didn’t do much. I hesitated to put in another packet and figured what the hell, I will try this.

    The only leave-in conditioner I could find was Fructis. I will find something more natural if this works. There is not much of a local selection around here. That surprised me.

    I washed my hair, rinsed, and towel dried it and then put the coffee conditioner on. I found that running a comb through my hair was a breeze and it usually is not. So right now, I am sitting on my balcony with wet hair, conditioner tinted with coffee in there and waiting on it to dry and see how this went.

    I will post an update later. This is a work in progress. If I can find some way to remove my face from a picture, I may try to put up a picture.

  18. Welp, it’s back to the drawing board. I left the coffee in my hair until it dried. I did not even rinse it out and I see no difference in my hair at all. I have such an odd color hair too. It’s like sandy brown so finding a color in a box is very difficult. I was looking at Nutritint, but that has PPD which is not good. I’m nervous about such things and am really reluctant to try something like that. I get the whole “just go gray” idea and I’m really not vain, but in today’s job world where 50+ folks can’t find jobs, I’m wondering if covering the gray is the thing to do. I’m not quite 50 yet but almost.

    I’ve never been to a salon and my cynical nature tells me that they will charge you a fortune and use the least expensive ingredients possible to cash in on the desperation of people to stay young looking.

    Decisions. Decisions.

    Another thing I wonder about is why is there shampoo in hair color for men but not for women?

  19. I couldn’t let this go. i have been reading about safely coloring hair and unfortunately for me, it’s either going to be coffee or going gray. I just can’t bear to take the risk. I did buy something called Fanci-full color hair rinse in a color with Fawn in the name. That looks kind of sort of like my hair but it only lasts for one wash so I’d have to use it every single day and even though it is ammonia and peroxide free, it still has other “stuff” in it that I don’t care to put on my hair. I did a patch test with it late yesterday afternoon and have had no ill effects or rash or anything so that is an option but I’m frankly afraid to use it. I wonder what the ingredients will do to my hair if I have to use it every time I wash. If I don’t wash for a day, it gets greasy and very unkempt looking especially in this hot weather.

    Last night I took 12 ounces of water and boiled it. I put 6 tablespoons– measured with one of those scoop things– of Megdalia Doro espresso in a can and ran that through. I put about half the grounds into the cup as well and let it cool. I put it in my hair and left a plastic bag on my head for about an hour. I rinsed it out and there was a little brownish water but not nearly as much as I had put in so I had some hopes. There were large splotches of coffee on my throwaway t-shirt but not as much as I thought.

    I thought it made a little bit of a difference but not much. I have just finished boiling 12 ounces of water and running that through 10 tablespoons of the espresso. I added half the grounds as well and it is cooling. I bought a shower cap and some clips today so I’m going to put that in my hair and leave the shower cap on for a couple of hours and see what happens. If it has any effect, I would be more than willing to do this every day or every other day. Fingers crossed. I’ll post back the results.

  20. Argan oil from Morrocon argan tree is found to be very effective for preventing hairloss.

  21. I didn’t see much of a difference with the last attempt but since my hair has a good amount of gray and the coffee is a natural dye, it may take many applications to work. I am currently sitting here in a shower cap with another batch of espresso and grinds on my head. I have about 45 minutes left. I’ll post my results again. I’m going to do this for the next few days and if there is no change, I will put this idea on the shelf for now. I will try to post some pictures if the results are good.

  22. Well, my attempts with coffee failed. Two weeks of daily soaking with dark espresso including grinds didn’t change anything about my hair. Ah well, it was worth a try.

    I’ve been using Fancifull mousse by Roux with great success for about a week now. I bought Frivolous Fawn and Plush Brown. I’m liking the brown better. It washes out right away and it might be problematic if you got caught in a downpour, but I have to wash my hair every two days and I use mousse anyway so it’s no extra effort to use this. Plus, it doesn’t have the harsh chemicals of dye. So I will stick with this.

  23. Hi I was just wondering my hair is black so if i just put on the cofee without antyhing else will my hair turn brown??

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