Ochre is a naturally occurring pigment that is used to color hair. It is made out of clay that contains iron oxide. Ochre’s reddish-brown color can be made darker by heating it or letting it dry in the sun. It can be applied to the hair either as a liquid or as a paste. Ochre paste or dye can be applied to hair that has been styled in nearly any way, whether in braids, in dreadlocks or left down to hang loosely. Ochre hair coloring is not considered to be a manner of proper hair dyeing, but rather as a method of staining the hair. Coating the hair in ochre affords it some UV protection.

Ochre is often used to touch up root regrowth in between professional coloring sessions. The reddish color blends well with conventional dyes but does not stand alone well as a shade that passes for a natural tone. If a shockingly red tone is desired, ochre can be used to cover the entire length of the hair. Ochre works best when the formulation is pure, so one must be careful not to purchase ochre that has been dilluted or that contains additives.

Ochre can be mixed with water or glycerin and “painted” on the hair. It can also be applied directly as a paste. Oils will strip the ochre from the hair. Iron oxide is an ingredient that is found in many commercial cosmetics and hair products, so it is not very different from beauty products that are more processed. Ochre has been used to color the skin and hair since ancient times, so its effectiveness as a hair pigment has been documented for thousands of years. Ochre is the perfect hair color for women who do not want to expose their hair to unnecessary chemicals.

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