Arthur Wing Pinero said, “Where there’s tea there’s hope.” Tea is actually pretty neat stuff. It has a ton of health benefits, gives you energy, and honestly what’s more comforting than a hot cup of tea on a cold day? Something that many people don’t know, however, is that tea isn’t just for drinking. Along with a thousand other uses, these hot wet leaves can do some amazing things for your natural hair. Does that mean you should dunk your head in a teapot like a tea biscuit? I remember I once asked an expert: Can I leave the black tea rinse in my hair? Let’s find out.
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What can tea do for you?
The answer is a whole lot, and it depends on what tea you’re using.
There actually are many different teas you can use on your hair for different benefits.
The whole range – from black tea to green tea to chamomile tea – can help your hair. I’m going to go over a couple of teas and what they can do for you.
Shedding like a dog? Black tea might be able to lend a hand.
One of the main reasons you lose hair is because of a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone, or to make our lives simpler, DHT.
DHT can be blocked by certain chemicals – one notable one is caffeine.
Black tea is chock full of caffeine, at least as far as tea goes.
It can also reportedly strengthen your hair and thicken your locks.
Black tea can also dye your hair. I’m not joking.
Haven’t you ever left black tea in your mug for too long and it stains the mug permanently? No? Only me?
Well anyways, black tea has certain tannins (not tannic acid, that stuff is a bit toxic) that can work to darken your hair.
You’d have to soak your hair in strongly brewed black tea for a while, and you’d have to do it a few times, but it does work.
You won’t go straight from blonde to jet black, but you may darken a couple of shades.
It reportedly works even better when mixed with a bit of coffee.
Green tea does wonders fighting off dandruff and stimulating hair growth.
While comparable to black tea, green tea has many antioxidants and nutrients that may sway you to pick this tea for a rinse instead.
Green tea also has caffeine so it aids in treating hair loss as well.
Not only that, but green tea also helps against bacteria, fungus, and sun damage.
Remember how black tea can darken your hair? Surprise, chamomile can do the opposite.
It has tannins that produce a lighter color and is good for brightening your hair.
Just like with black tea, you’re not going to go all Marie Antoinette and turn white overnight.
However, you could see a bit of lift with enough washes.
Using teas as dyes are fantastic alternatives for those that want a minor change to their color without using the incredibly harmful chemicals found in chemical hair dyes.
The worst offender is bleach, which strips even carefully prepared hair and can destroy your perfectly healthy hair strands.
Maybe give chamomile a spin before putting that on your head?
Teas aren’t the only hot wet leaves that can benefit your hair.
Regular tea is just variations on one type of plant, there are plenty of herbal teas that you can also put in your hair.
Catnip and lavender promote good hair growth.
Horsetail can help if you have brittle hair and thyme is good for dandruff and oily hair.
With nettle, you can condition your hair, and it improves your hair’s texture.
It can also help with dry scalp, irritated scalp, and dandruff.
Rosemary is amazing. It works as a conditioner and tonic, provides luster and body, promotes growth, helps with dandruff, and can bring out dark highlights in your hair.
How do I get the tea in my hair?
If you want all of these benefits you’re looking for in a tea rinse, it’s not too complicated a procedure.
All you need to do is brew a type of tea stronger than you would for just drinking – typically three to five tea bags for one cup of water.
Let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes, strain the tea, and then let it cool.
Then after your regular shampoo, condition, and detangle hair care session, pour the tea over your hair and gently massage it in.
Depending on what effect you want, either leave your hair wet with the tea in it (good for dyeing) or dry it with the tea still in your hair.
If you really want to go wild and have WAY too much tea on your hands, you can even brew a tea bath.
Tea has just as many benefits for your skin as it does your hair (it can do wonders for those of us with oily skin), and taking a long soak in tea just sounds amazing.
Can I leave the black tea rinse in my hair?
Tea isn’t going to hurt your hair, and you want to squeeze as much benefit out of it as you can.
If you’re worried about the tea dyeing your hair then you should rinse it out after around 30 minutes.
The best way to do this is to put conditioner over the tea, let it sit for a bit, then rinse it all out together.
If you’re looking to pull maximum benefit out of the tea you can leave it in for an hour then rinse.
You could potentially leave it in all day even, but be warned that tea does stain, so dress appropriately.
Black tea rinse for gray hair
One of the oldest remedies used by people across the world to minimize the appearance of gray hair is using the black tea rinse.
Gray hair doesn’t necessarily make an appearance when we are older.
I know of friends and relatives (of both genders) who started graying in their teens or early 20s.
You should start rinsing hair with black tea as soon as you spot a strand of gray.
This is a better option than using chemicals to address this issue.
The reason why black tea is such a good solution is the fact that it feeds the hair with keratin and melanin which reverses the strands’ color back to their original pigmentation.
The black tea coats the whole gray strand from the tip to the root.
Tea is very rich in tannin which is the chemical compound responsible for the bitter taste it has.
Tannin hinders the production of the hormone DTH (Dihydrotestosterone) which is the main culprit responsible for the graying of hair.
It is also responsible for hair loss especially in men leading to early baldness.
This makes rinsing your hair with black tea the best option even for the preservation of your lush mane.
A good tea rinse makes your hair softer and supple.
Black tea is more effective if you have darker pigmentation.
You can use rooibos tea if you are a redhead, and chamomile tea if your hair is naturally blonde.
How to do the tea rinse
The best way to get proper results is to rinse out your hair once or twice a week. Apply it on clean hair.
Brew up to six tea bags in two cups of very hot water.
You can also opt to boil tea leaves then allow the mixture to cool off. Strain the tea leaves.
After its cool enough, pour it on your hair while distributing evenly with your fingers.
Let the liquid sit in your hair for 10 minutes then rinse it off using cold water.
Do not shampoo your hair for this will reverse the effects of the tannin.
You can choose to use plain brewed black tea to darken gray hair or add another ingredient for added benefits.
You can opt to add coffee, rosemary, or tulsi which leaves your hair better than it was before.
You can also add lemon if you have dandruff.
There are very many blends of black tea available.
Use several and see which is the best choice for your hair.
It has to have good results otherwise it won’t give you the desired outcome.
Is there any side effect of black tea on hair?
Although the black tea rinse is a great way to deal with some of the hair issues we might be having, it also has some side effects that you need to be aware of.
Can stain lighter shades
Although black tea is very effective in restoring hair pigmentation, it can stain your hair if you have a lighter color.
For instance, it works to darken gray hair but it can have a different effect on lighter colors like blondes.
It’s best to keep this in mind as you try to reverse graying in your hair.
Pick the right tea blend for your color and leave black tea for darker textures.
Walking around with hair that has different shades because you want to minimize the appearance of gray hair is not the right move.
When it comes to using black tea to dye your hair or soften it, remember it contains caffeine in it.
Are you allergic to caffeine? If the answer is yes, then you need to stay very far away from this home remedy.
Caffeine allergy can result in hives breaking out and itchiness on your scalp that can cause further damage to your hair.
The solution is to try and use blends of tea that don’t contain caffeine in them; although the most effective as hair remedies are the natural tea bags that haven’t been altered too much.
Potential hair dryness
Black tea contains tannin acid which is very beneficial for the hair by discouraging the DTH hormone.
But if you use tea more frequently than the recommended once or twice a week, it can cause dryness in your hair.
Even when we just use it once or twice a week, we have to follow this up with a little conditioner to ensure moisture and natural oils are retained in the hair.
Dryness can result in an itchy scalp and flaking.
Dry hair is very brittle and vulnerable to split ends.
One way to control this is to dilute the solution with water if you want to use it regularly.
When we use black tea regularly to rinse our hair for its numerous benefits, the hair can retain a smell from the solution if not properly rinsed out.
Use cold water to rinse out the brewed tea from your hair and ensure it’s thoroughly done before you can pat it dry.
That smell left behind by tea when you’ve not rinsed it out completely is not very appealing.
Hinder iron absorption
Tea is known to hinder the absorption of iron by our bodies.
Regular tea rinses may not be the most effective solution for your hair if you have an iron deficiency.
You need iron for your hair to grow.
Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss because it’s not getting the required amount to keep stimulating growth.
Tannin is the main culprit because it combines with nonheme iron (iron from animal protein) reducing its rate of absorption.
This is why we should limit the rate of tea rinses to once or twice a week.
Tea isn’t a sure thing. If you have a serious problem with your hair, or want to dye it jet black or platinum blonde, it is unlikely that tea will do the trick.
But that doesn’t mean tea should not or can not have a place in your hair care routine.
While every person will have a varying degree of benefits from tea rinses, it’s worth a try.
Can I leave the black tea rinse in my hair? Well, by the time I was writing this post, I’d already done it.
For a whole hour. No regrets whatsoever.
Try out a tea rinse when you spot that gray hair on your mane as soon as you can.
This is a safer option than using chemical solutions like hair dyes which have more adverse effects on our hair.
Do it once or twice a week followed by a conditioner to keep dryness at bay.
It doesn’t cost all that much to do and doesn’t take much time either.
If you have time for tea then you have time for a tea rinse, so I say let’s try some tea.