A Year of Natural Health & Beauty Tip #39: Enhance Your Hair’s Dark Tones with Coffee or Tea

Image by THOR via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been following along so far, you’ve already gotten tips on making homemade blonde highlights, and perking up red hues with hibiscus tea. Well, if you’ve got lovely chocolate-hued or raven locks, you’ll be happy to know that you can enhance your dark hair just as easily—and just as naturally, too!

This easy DIY home remedy will also help to cover stray greys and peek-a-boo light roots. If you’re a natural-born brunette, you might notice your hair getting mousy over time. And if you color your hair brown with henna or herbs, you might want to add rich depth without spending a fortune.

My favorite all-natural, easy way to enhance dark hair is to simply use coffee or black tea! Unlike the blonde and red highlighting sprays, though, this remedy works best when your hair is completely saturated. So be sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour—and try to avoid using light-colored towels for clean-up 😉

Coffee will impart a rich, chocolatey tone; black tea will give your hair a deep tone with fantastic shine. If you’re feeling extra-bold (mmm, just like a fresh cup of coffee), use both coffee and tea!

And remember, if you are a blonde or redhead, be sure to check out my previous posts for tips suitable for your locks! (My hair has been just about every shade in the book, so believe me, I’ve done them all.)

Stuff to Know:

  • This rinse is recommended only for hair that is its natural color (“virgin” hair) or has been colored only with natural vegetable dyes or pure, natural products such as 100% pure henna or herbs. If your hair has been chemically treated or if you go to a salon for highlights or coloring, please talk with your stylist first.
  • Spot test any products or ingredients before using any homemade products on your face, head, or body, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to irritation and/or allergies.
  • This rinse is best used right away. Do not store it.

Coffee / Tea Hair Rinse for Brunette Highlights and Depth


  • 1/2 gallon brewed coffee, very strong. Do not use instant coffee, only freshly brewed.
  • OR 1/2 gallon very strong black tea (use at least 5 tea bags and brew for at least 5 minutes)
  • OR a blend of coffee and tea

To use:

  • Make sure your coffee/tea has cooled completely before using.
  • With a towel wrapped around your neck, align your head over a sink basin or bucket.
  • Very slowly pour the coffee/tea over your hair until each strand is fully saturated.
  • Comb through. Style your hair into a bun if possible, and cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap to prevent drips.
  • Leave on for one hour, then rinse and shampoo as usual.
  • Repeat as needed to keep you hair rich and deep!

Like this tip? Consider buying my book to get all 52 tips PLUS bonus tips in an easy-to-read format! It’s called A Year of Natural Health and Beauty: 52 Easy, Frugal, Natural Ideas to Enhance Your Mind, Body, and Spirit. You can buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other places. Click here to learn more or to purchase!


Questions for readers:

Do you have dark hair or dark lowlights?

Have you ever used coffee or tea in your hair care?

24 thoughts on “A Year of Natural Health & Beauty Tip #39: Enhance Your Hair’s Dark Tones with Coffee or Tea

  1. Hey! So I have Auburn hair, kinda brown kinda red, it has also never been touched with permanent dye. It has faded over the last few years. Can I possibly mix the black tea and the hibiscus tea to bring out both highlights that occur naturally in my hair?
    Ta 🙂

    1. Sure, why not? 😉 I’ve never tried that before! The only thing is it might end up just a darker brown depending on how strong the black tea is. I would definitely do a strand test first — try a small portion at the back of your head underneath in the nape area. That way you could try a couple of mixes and see which one turns out best!

  2. Ok great thanks. Also, how long does the stain stay in our hair for? Or does it just shampoo out each time? Ta 🙂

  3. I was just wondering, why not instant? What if it was a higher quality. Like, just crushed beans? Sorry, I’ve been doing that for awhile, with instant, and I was wondering why not to? Does it harm your hair?

    1. Instant coffee is very weak compared to fresh brew and is usually treated with chemicals that I personally wouldn’t want hanging out on my head. I only drink organic coffee, though. But if you find instant works for you, then go for it! 🙂

  4. Hi, would it make a difference if I were to use decaf coffee instead of regular coffee? Caffeine is known to be drying and I am wondering if anyone has had problems with their hair drying out after this treatment. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Wonderful! Thanks. I was also wondering if anyone here has tried this on hair that has been treated chemically previously (but not recently); if so, how did it turn out?

  5. Such a bummer, I was really looking forward to trying this!!! Unfortunately, I recently had my hair dyed dark purple & was hoping To try this coffee /tea method 2 add some definition and highlights 2 my hair.
    Why can’t this be used on color treated hair. … it was done over a week ago!
    Thank you,

  6. you can also add honey into these hair rinses to add moisturizing properties .. amongst other benefits.. and it should help increase the shelf life just a bit. .. i would think. ..Rosemary essential oil would also be good. (Thanks for your posts! Great ideas!!!)

  7. actually i used instant coffee with extremely hot water but i used a lot of instant coffee. and i mixed that in with a homemade conditioner of oils and egg yolk/yogurt, it definitely made my hair dark/chocolatey as well as glossy and very soft.

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