Darken Greying Hair Using Sage

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn, Batkingnz and 15 others

For some, a head of grey hair can be a distinguishing feature showing maturity and wisdom. However, if you're not yet ready to embrace your changing looks, darkening your hair is a good way to make you appear more youthful, or just make you more comfortable with your hair in general. Over the counter dye products and salon color treatments are popular with both men and women, but there's a safer, cheaper, environmentally friendly and more natural alternative you can try to get dye grey hair.

Color Your Grey Hair With Sage

There are a number of commercial hair dyes that can be used to give your hair an intense and very youthful color. If you want a softer, gentler, and a more natural color, it may be beneficial to try herbal remedies. The herbs used are; sage, rosemary, or naturally occurring henna hair color and indigo. You can also try home or kitchen products such as coffee, cocoa, black tea, black walnuts, or mustard seed oil.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis L.) is an herb used in many recipes to render flavor, especially in dishes using ingredients like vegetables, poultry, fish, other meats and eggs. It gives turkey stuffing its distinctive flavor. Aside from being a food enhancer, sage is also known for its associated health benefits.

How to Prepare the Sage Tea Rinse

Although sage leaves are light in color, they can be used to darken grey. Using sage tea or a sage rinse is one the oldest practices to darken brunette hair and getting rid of grey hair. The rinse can be made from sage leaves or sage tea bags. This rinse can be made by soaking the dried herbs in boiling water for an hour or longer, until the preferred darkness is reached. You can then apply the solution - when it has cooled - weekly, until the desired hair color is achieved.

Things You'll Need

  • ½ cup or a handful of dry or fresh sage
  • 2 cups of water
  • A large bowl
  • A Strainer
  • Kettle or pot


  1. 1
    Bring the water to a boil.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Add the sage and let the hot water boil for at least 2 minutes.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Steep the sage tea for at least one hour.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Using a strainer to separate the liquid from the sage leaves, as you pour the Sage tea into a bowl or container.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  5. 5
    Discard the leaves.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  6. 6
    Pour the strained liquid back into the pot or kettle.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  7. 7
    Hold your head over the large bowl and pour the COOLED liquid onto your hair catching the run-off in the large bowl.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  8. 8
    Pour the run-off back into the pot and repeat as many times as necessary.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  9. 9
    Repeat the process weekly until you achieve the desired darkness and then repeat every two weeks to maintain your hair color.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Sage and Rosemary Rinse for Brunettes

Blending Sage with Rosemary makes for a potent natural treatment to darken greying hair. It can bring out beautiful natural highlights as well as some red tones in brunettes. There are two ways to prepare this rinse with and without apple cider vinegar.

Without Apple Cider Vinegar

Things You'll Need

  • ¼ cup Sage
  • ¼ cup Rosemary
  • 2 cups of Water
  • Strainer
  • Kettle or pot
  • Large bowl


  1. 1
    Put together the two herbs.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  • 2
    Add the boiling water and let the herbs soak in it for at least 10 minutes.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  • 3
    Strain the herbs.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  • 4
    Apply the sage-rosemary extract to the hair.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  • 5
    Rinse after about 30 minutes.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

  • With Apple Cider Vinegar

    Things You'll Need:

    • 2 cups of fresh or dried sage.
    • 1-1/2 cups of fresh or dried rosemary.
    • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
    • Enough water to cover.
    • Non-aluminum pan and cover.


    1. 1
      Put the herbs and water into a big non-aluminum pan. (glass or stainless steel are best)
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    2. 2
      Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    3. 3
      Let it simmer for about six hours to reduce the liquid.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    4. 4
      Continue to monitor the simmering process to ensure that the water does not completely dry out. Add more water if necessary.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    5. 5
      Strain as usual and cool before adding the apple cider vinegar. Blend the mixture thoroughly.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    6. 6
      Apply the sage-rosemary extract on the hair after shampooing. Rinse and style.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

    Coffee-Green Tea-Sage Mix

    This blend or technique is a powerful way to darken hair, but minus the usual damage that usually accompanies dyeing with harsh chemicals.

    Things You'll Need

    • Coffee grounds enough to brew three cups of TRIPLE STRENGTH coffee.
    • 1 small bag of green tea.
    • 4 tablespoons of crushed sage.
    • 1 large towel.
    • 1 pair of plastic gloves.
    • Hair clips.


    1. 1
      Brew the coffee. Start by brewing the three cups of triple strength coffee that will result in a very thick brew. Let it cool down.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    2. 2
      Steep the green tea with the sage. Bring one cup of water to a boil. As soon as it reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat. Add the green tea and the sage. Replace the lid of the pan and steep the green tea-sage mixture.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    3. 3
      Cool the two mixtures, and strain the solids out. Strain the triple strength coffee brew first, before straining one cup of the green tea-sage brew into a big mixing bowl. Blend all the ingredients to make sure the hair color rinse is all mixed up.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    4. 4
      For best results, use it on your hair while it is still warm, but not hot to the point of scalding your sensitive scalp.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    5. 5
      Apply as you would a commercial hair dye. Leave in your hair for 35 to 40 minutes or until the preferred coverage.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    6. 6
      Rinse out the color. Use warm water to rinse your hair -until the water runs clear.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
    7. 7
      The weekly deal. For best results, do this on a weekly basis, or immediately after your first application if you find the color not intense enough.
      Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

    Additional Tips and Suggestions

    • Sage is safe and mild so you can use it more often than commercial dyes.
    • Sage and the other natural hair color solutions suggested above are gentle or with faint dyeing effects so you may need to apply it daily for a week or longer to get the desired results.
    • Sage is also known to be an effective component of natural blends to treat baldness or stimulate hair growth.
    • Pour Sage rinse into a spray bottle for a light coating that you can leave-in.
    • Coffee makes a great natural addition, as it is an excellent source of vitamin E as well as having color compounds.
    • Green tea is a wonderful source of antioxidants for the hair. It can effectively remove buildup of previous chemical hair color leaving your hair soft, bouncy and shiny. Sage also has similar properties, due to the natural acids it releases.
    • If the hair feels sticky to the touch, after rinsing, use a small amount of mild or herbal shampoo to remove the excess color.

    Questions and Answers

    Does sage add yellow to hair?

    I am just wondering because of the water tint.

    Sage gradually darkens grey hair, and deepens brunette hair if you use if on a regular basis. However, your hair may react differently, depending on its color and condition. Applying it to other hair colors, such as light brown or dark brown hair may result in a bright yellowish color. If your hair is one of these colors, you may have to use other natural ways to color your hair. Sage works for white hair and other light colors that can be easily dyed. It darkens your hair gradually so you can repeat the process of dyeing your hair using sage, until you get the shade you want. If you are uncertain of the results, as a test, try the sage mixture on a small section of your hair.

    What are the benefits of sage mixed with natural henna for hair.

    What are they?

    One of the benefits of mixing sage with henna is that it prevents thinning of the hair due to too many hair treatments. Besides preventing thinning hair, mixing henna with sage can also create another hair color shade or color variant.

    The use of sage has been known to offer varied culinary, medicinal, therapeutic, and cosmetic properties - specifically for the hair. Henna is a cheaper, natural, and a much safer alternative to chemically based hair dyes to solve greying hair dilemmas. This is also very popular for natural-looking tattoos.

    There are multiple benefits derived from sage mixed with henna for hair, such as the following:

    • Prevents hair loss as it encourages hair growth.
    • Eliminates dandruff.
    • Improves brittle hair by enhancing thickness and strength.
    • Reduces oiliness of hair and scalp.
    • Darkens greying hair.
    • Enhances hair luster and shine.
    • Stimulates blood flow in the scalp.
    • Provides great conditioning benefits to achieve a healthy and bouncy hair.
    • Natural and safe for the hair and scalp as opposed to chemically based alternatives for hair treatment.
    • Relatively cheaper than other chemical hair formulations.
    • Lasts for a reasonable period of time (4 months) and will not leave any awful residue on your hair and scalp.

    Can apple cider vinegar darken gray hair?

    I have heard that it can.

    Yes, apple cider vinegar can help. The long-term use of rosemary on darker hair helps darken the gray. It will blend in better.

    Use this concoction for your hair:

    • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup of rosemary


    • Put rosemary in a jar.
    • Pour the apple cider vinegar over the rosemary.
    • Cover the jar, and leave it in there for a week.
    • Strain into a clean jar and store in fridge.

    When you want to use the mixture, do the following:

    • Each time you use the mixture, dilute the mixture with water. (3 tbsp mixture to 3 cups water)

    How well does mustard oil work for grey hair?

    My grandmother suggested it.

    It works well on hair if you start early (when only a few strands of grey are showing), but will still work for you when your hair is already graying. Believe it or not, mustard oil has been used for ages. You can ask old ladies who use it, and you'll notice their hair is still dark because they have been using it for years. Remember, this also depends on your diet and genetic make up. Saturate your hair with mustard oil every night before you shampoo your hair.

    How much sage tea do I need to turn gray hair black, and how often do I need to repeat the process?

    Just wondering if there is an exact measurement to use.

    Usually, a tablespoon will do, but it depends on your hair type. Do it as often as you can to you're your hair darker.

    You can try this natural hair dye. You'll need the following:

    • Medium size pot (glass or stainless steel is best) ¾ filled with water.
    • 6 tea bags (use 2 bags of each: Chinese Black Tea with Ginger, Fujian Congou Black Tea or Wild Ginger)
    • 1 tablespoon of sage.


    • Boil the water.
    • Open tea bags and pour the loose tea into boiling water.
    • Add sage.
    • Boil for 20 minutes.
    • Turn off heat.
    • Steep for 2 hours.
    • Stir in chunks of tea and sage.
    • Place in a bowl big enough for your head to fit into.
    • Clean your hair and dry it out completely.
    • Make sure that mixture is already room temperature.
    • Stick your head in the bowl for 7-10 minutes.
    • Use a cup to rinse the roots while the ends soak (ask for assistance as this strains the neck)
    • Remove excess liquid.
    • Wrap up hair.
    • Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
    • Rinse it off with cool water (do not shampoo hair until the next day).
    • Do this weekly or as often as you can to make hair darker.

    Rosemary and sage for white hair.

    Will rosemary and sage work for white hair?

    Rosemary and sage are widely used to help bring back the dark color of hair, after it's started to grey.

    Make a tea with rosemary and sage. Boil water and add rosemary and sage. Let it sit for a few minutes. Wait for it to cool down before applying to your hair. Rub the solution onto your scalp and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Rinse off.

    You can also add the solution to your current shampoo making it easier to apply.

    Coffee sage hair dye.

    Does coffee work the well as the sage?

    Coffee is good as a hair dye, but it does not really work naturally like sage in targeting the hair color from the roots. Coffee can only benefit your hair because of its overall dark color. Basically, if you use it often, it will stain your hair significantly, thereby creating a naturally dark color. However, in terms of preventing the grey hair from coming up, it will be the sage that will have an effect on that.

    Afraid of commercial hair color.

    Still have 2-3 grey hairs, but I want to change my hair color.

    If you are hesitant or afraid of using commercial hair color, then you can opt for natural hair dyes that are inexpensive, safe, and very effective achieving the hair color you want. The only downside is that the colors are just temporary, and are not as strong as the commercially prepared ones. Here are the top plant-based or natural hair dyes you can use to cover gray hair:

    • Sage Rinse - This is one of the most effective hair dyes for brunettes, or those with dark brown or black hair who want to cover gray hair, or deepen their hair color. To prepare the rinse, you must boil the herb in water for around 30 minutes, set it aside to cool, strain, and then it's ready for application on recently shampooed hair. You should apply this weekly to achieve the color you desire and then monthly for maintenance.
    • Tag Alder Rinse - This is ideal for those who have dark brown or blonde hair as this produces a much more subtle or lighter color than that of sage. You can prepare the rinse by simmering tag alder bark chips in water for 30 minutes, set it aside to cool, and then use on shampooed hair, the same way as the sage rinse is used.

    How many tablespoons of Coffee grounds are enough to brew three cups of TRIPLE STRENGTH coffee?

    I don't drink coffee and need to know the above measurement.

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    Do I perform this on clean hair, or do I shampoo after using the coloring liquid I've prepared?

    I want to cover grey hair. Should I use it before or after shampooing my hair? Does it work better on clean hair or "dirty" hair? Thanks!

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    Is sage similar to Coleus Aromaticus? Is it available under Indian Herbals?

    Colouring grey hair. I have grey hair and would like to color my hair dark brown or black using natural methods. Could you help me?

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    Do you rinse with water at the end, or do you leave what's left on the hair?

    The next recipe says to rinse with water at the end, and this one does not. That 's why I'm wondering. The question is whether to leave any of this rinse in the hair or to rinse it away with water at the end. I have tried: Usually, and in the next recipe it says to rinse with water. I think it was caused by: This recipe does not say either way to rinse or not to rinse at the end.

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


    User Reviews

    Article Info

    Categories : Beauty & Aesthetics

    Recent edits by: DeleteQnA, VC, Nuance

    Share this Article:

    Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 72,095 times.

    Did this article help you?

    Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

    Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No