What’s the Best Way to Color Your Natural Hair?

What's the best way to color your natural hair?
30 Nov 2015

I’ve had natural hair enthusiasts say to me: “You’re no longer natural because you have color in your hair.” or “Your hair is altered. So, you’re not pure.” Today, I am setting the record straight. I love color! Color makes me happy. And real talk, I’m not trying to see any gray. I may not be the most natural person on the planet, but I love my hair in its locked state. Also, I am super okay with my choice to offer cut and color service to my clients. When I decided to wear locks, I did it because I love the hairstyle. It’s my choice. With this reflective declaration, I now turn the question to you, what’s your color choice?


After countless natural hair consultations, I’ve discovered people are attracted to henna because it’s natural. Some clients want to use henna because they’re tired of the grays but have no interest in using traditional color. Sometimes, women are afraid of color. But once they start seeing more gray hairs, I’ve found their perspective on color begins to change.

Another concern for women is their overall hair health. Henna-wearing sisters care about the products that are added to their mane. They are not willing to compromise the integrity of their hair for color, so they opt for a more natural approach to color. On one occasion, I had one client who only wanted to use henna to help aid with their hair shininess. It worked. If you are only concerned with these new grays and you don’t want to add color chemical products to your hair, then perhaps you are one of many true henna folks.

Traditional Color

For traditional color, the options are abundant. Do you want your to appear dark or light? How about highlights or lowlights. Colors and color placement is only limited by your imagination.

Here are 3 tips for you to consider:


Tip #1: What is your current Hair Health?

Have you contemplated the current health of your hair? If you hair is strong, then you have a great foundation for adding color. If your hair is dry and brittle, then color products will only make your hair drier.

Most important, how good are you about maintaining your natural hair? After you color, you must moisturize. To avoid breakage, you must follow the hair maintenance moisturize rule. If you don’t, then it’s a sure way to cause damage to your hair. Are you committed to maintaining your new hair color? If not, then think twice.



Tip #2: What is your ultimate goal?

The chart below contains sample questions that I mention during my natural hair color consultations. Take a look.

Are you looking for  new trendy hair colors?


Are you looking to enhance your existing hair?
What colors suit you? Color options are unlimited.


For Henna and Indigo color products, the color choices may feel somewhat limiting.  Is this okay with you?
Do you want mild or intense color? Are you concerned about chemical hair products?


Do you looking to achieve unique color placement?


Are you hesitant about really bold products?




As an expert stylist, I offer two options for henna application:

  • Option A: Arrive for an early morning Henna application appointment.  This service takes 45 minutes.  Six hours later in the day, the client returns for shampooing and styling.
  • Option B: This option is most requested by existing lock wearers; their locks are maintained and the henna is applied. The client leaves the salon with a fresh henna application. Later in the day, most likely after 6 hours, the client shampoos their hair at home. (To avoid Henna stains, I recommend for the client to shampoo their hair in a stainless steel sink)

As special treat for all henna applications, I use a hair steamer for an additional conditioning and moisturizing boost.  (Important note: it usually takes at least 6 hours for henna to deposit its pigment stain on hair.)



A color consultation is critical for ensuring application success. Be sure to review the salon’s hair color swatch samples. As for a color application service, the stylist drives the process. So sit back and relax.

So, my next question to you, what process is right for you? Did these hair color tips help you? Be an inspiration for others and post your hair color photos with the hashtag #BoldandFearlesshair. We might just feature you on our page!

Photo by Deborah Cooper-Asberry

Octavia Hooks

Octavia Hooks is a contributing writer who loves promoting Natural hair care! She is the founder of Octavia’s Natural Hair Care Experience. Hooks is a licensed Barber, Certified Lock stylist with over 10 years of experience in caring for and maintain natural hair. In addition, Hooks is a certified LEED Green Associate and has a Master’s degree specializing in the management of non-profit and government organizations. For more information on Octavia, visit www.octaviasnaturalhair.com.

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