Hair dyes and chemical treatments are probably safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, according to the American Pregnancy Association, but many moms choose not to use them because of their ever-changing formulations and lack of pregnancy safety testing. If you’re one of these moms, or a mom of an older child trying to lighten or darken her hair naturally, natural products offer the flexibility to change your look without exposure to chemical products.
Lightening Your Hair With Lemon Juice
Wash your hair to remove excess oils, but don’t condition it or add styling products. You want the lemon juice to get right to your hair instead of getting blocked by hair oils and styling products.
Squeeze the juice from one or two fresh lemons into a measuring cup until you have 1/4 cup of juice.
Pour the lemon juice into the spray bottle. Add 3/4 cup room temperature water. Place the cap on the bottle and gently shake to mix.
Spray the lemon juice mixture all over your hair until it’s saturated. If you don’t want to lighten your entire head, choose sections of hair for highlights and saturate only those areas.
Head out into the sun and let the sunlight dry your hair. Repeat for seven days and you should notice your hair has lightened significantly. If you aren’t achieving the results you want, add undiluted lemon juice to your hair or stay in the sun longer.
Darkening Your Hair With Henna
Measure 3 to 5 ozs. of body-paint quality henna powder into a bowl. Use 3 ozs. for shoulder-length hair or shorter and add more henna for long hair.
Add herbs, spices and other ingredients to slightly change the color your hair will be after applying the henna. Henna tends to darken your natural hair color and add red overtones. Add coffee, walnut powder or black tea to get more brown and less red. Add grape juice or paprika to get more red. Add turmeric or marigold infusion to get more golden results.
Squeeze enough lemon juice into your henna powder so that it creates a thick but pourable solution, much like a milkshake or smoothie. Cover your bowl and let the henna rest overnight to deepen the color results. If you don’t want to let henna rest overnight, add half boiling water and half lemon juice to the powder.
Rub petroleum jelly over your ears, neck and the skin around your hairline to prevent skin staining.
Put on gloves. Massage the henna into your hair. Apply a thick coating and make sure each strand is fully saturated.
Cover your hair with a shower cap, then wrap it in a towel to help slightly heat the henna and allow it to penetrate deeply.
Look at a strand of your hair every 20 minutes to check for the color developing. Leave the henna in anywhere from 20 minutes to 8 hours. Henna will not damage your hair if you leave it in for an extended period of time.
Rinse your hair until the water runs clear and style as usual. Always rinse in a sink or with a hand-held sprayer in the tub to avoid stains on bathroom fixtures.