Rhubarb, the plant that lightens hair: how to use it and apply it to highlight blonde tones

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How to lighten hair naturally with rhubarb: its powder releases a warm and intense yellow color, to obtain blonde tones

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How to lighten hair naturally with rhubarb: its powder releases a warm and intense yellow color, very useful for obtaining or highlighting blonde tones (on a starting base, however light)

Il rhubarb (Rheum officinale or Rheum rhaponticum) is a perennial medicinal plant native to China and Tibet. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and in herbal medicine for its digestive, purifying and refreshing properties as well as for its antifungal and antibacterial capacity, rhubarb is also used in the kitchen, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries. It is the ingredient of sweet and savory recipes such as jams, jams, compotes, side dishes or salads but also the basis for the preparation of digestive liqueurs and herbal teas with laxative power.

But few know that the dust obtained by crushing the rhizome or leaves of this plant has remarkable dyeing properties, known and appreciated since ancient times in the textile sector.

In Tibet rhubarb is the main substance used for color the carpets yellow / orange.


The dyeing properties of rhubarb:

In addition to its dyeing properties and its use in the medicinal and culinary fields, rhubarb is highly appreciated in the cosmetic field for its active ingredients. It has an antioxidant and cleansing action. Thanks to polyphenols and tannins, rhubarb extract often appears in creams, because it helps keep the skin young.

Applied to the hair, rhubarb has properties:

  • antifungal
  • purifying
  • sebum-regulating

Precisely because of these characteristics, rhubarb is used in production of specific shampoos. In terms of coloring, its powder releases a warm and intense yellow color, very useful for obtaining or highlighting blonde tones, on a starting base that is however clear.

The released color is not permanent, since the only plant capable of coloring the hair permanently is henna, whose molecule is the only one capable of binding to the keratin of the hair.

How to apply rhubarb on hair

By applying the rhubarb on fair hair, a medium-resistant yellow color is obtained if the dust comes from the leaves. If, on the other hand, it is extracted from the rhizome, that is, from the root, the herb gives a warmer, more orange and more persistent tone. For this reason, it is always recommended to stick to the golden rule of all dyeing herbs: try the color on a hidden lock of hair, in order to avoid nasty surprises in terms of unwelcome colors.

On dark hair, the effect of rhubarb is very mild, since its powder, as is the case with all other dyeing herbs, is not able to bleach the hair. The actual bleaching can be obtained only and only through the use of chemical dyes, which through the action of oxygen are able to subtract melanin from the hair. With natural methods we can only yellow hair, gild it, highlight blonde tones, but much of the final result will depend on our starting color. However, if we have constancy and perseverance, we will be able to obtain a pleasant lightening effect over time even on a dark base.

The important is don't be discouraged at the first try and have patience to constantly repeat the applications of the single herb or of the different dyeing herbs. It is worth a try, because while chemical bleaches remove melanin from the hair by lifting the cuticles of the shaft, with the result of weakening and damaging it, the dyeing herbs not only do not damage the hair, but on the contrary exert a beneficial action on it.

How to make rhubarb hair mix

As mentioned, rhubarb has a very high dyeing power: that's enough mix it with hot water and let it steep for a few minutes so that he immediately releases his own coloring capacity. For this reason, very little powder is needed: one or two teaspoons are enough, depending on the length of the hair. On blond and light brown hair, rhubarb colors a lot.

It manages to cover white hair, making it yellow and can also be used for revive streaks and highlights that are now dull and faded. It is applied on dry or wet hair, but preferably clean, and is held in place for a variable time from 20 to 90 minutes depending on the intensity of the color you want to obtain and whether or not you need to cover gray hair. The effect is not permanent but is still quite long lasting. In case of application of pure rhubarb, the dyeing batter is still rather liquid and impractical to manage on the hair.

Given the very high dyeing power, it is advisable to use gloves during application and it is advisable to wear old clothing. Once applied, the batter should be kept moist covering the hair with a cap or with cling film. It sounds like trivial advice, but sometimes the most obvious things are the ones we tend to overlook. At the end of the application they wash their hair only with water, possibly applying a nut of balsam. As always, the acid rinse is recommended, which consists in adding an acid substance (vinegar or lemon juice) to the water of the last rinse. This practice serves to better fix the color, closing the cuticles of the hair and giving shine to the hair.

It is important to point out that, due to its very high dyeing power, rhubarb is almost never used alone, but we tend to prefer a combination with other herbs, even non-dyeing, such as cassia, able to dilute the yellowing effect, while giving softness and shine to the hair. In this way, among other things, the batter manages to have the ideal consistency for application. The ideal blend could consist of 85-90% cassia and the remaining 15-10% rhubarb, dissolved in hot water and left to macerate for a few minutes.

Read also Cassia: the neutral henna that lightens and strengthens the hair

Se added to lawsonia, rhubarb can be useful for turning brown towards warmer and more orange tones, as well as exploiting all the beneficial properties of henna. On light hair, rhubarb is useful for getting the so-called titian red, a particular nuance with a very bright shade and very close to natural red. When mixed with henna and dyes that turn nutty, such as nagar motha or walnut husk, you can get wonderful apricot shades. up to the cognac color. On dark hair, as mentioned, its action is decidedly mild, since we know that no dyeing herb has the power to affect the hair's melanin in order to bleach it. In addition to the classic dyeing batter, you can try, having a lot of patience and perseverance, to reflect your hair and give it more brightness by applying a decoction of rhubarb at the end of each shampoo. But the results are never immediate.

Rabarabro to lighten hair, our advice

Rhubarb powder is often used in the mixes that we find on the market with the wording of “Blond henna”, together with cassia, turmeric chamomile and other herbs with yellowing power. These are generally good quality products, as long as they contain pure herbs, without chemical additives or dyes. Always check the INCI of the packages before purchasing.

These blends can still be reproduced in a home version. The advantage in this case is to be able to better exploit the individual characteristics of the different herbs, modulating their quantities according to our starting point and the desired result. Keep in mind that cassia is a reflective herb, capable of gild hair only if oxidized in an acidic substance for at least 12 hours. Chamomile also has a reflecting power, while turmeric and rhubarb are herbs with a very strong dyeing power. Both help to impart or accentuate the blonde color to the hair, but differ in hue: turmeric has a colder effect than rhubarb. Turmeric colors a straw yellow, which can sometimes even turn greenish. For this reason it is not recommended to use it in purity on white or bleached hair. In these cases, it should always be mixed with henna beforehand.

Read also Curcurma: how to have golden highlights and lighter hair

The yellow conferred by rhubarb, on the other hand, is warmer, sometimes even orange, to the point that its powder is used to obtain a particular type of red, the Titian red. Furthermore, rhubarb is able to cover white hair as well as revive streaks and highlights. We must consider the strong tendency of rhubarb towards warm, intense, orange and even copper tones. Having in mind the peculiar characteristics of each herb, we will be able to obtain beautiful multi-faceted and always natural effects on the hair.

Other dyeing herbs to color hair naturally:

  • Curcurma: how to have golden highlights and lighter hair

  • Henna: everything you need to know to dye your hair

  • The nagar motha: properties and how to reflect brown hair

  • Walnut husk: natural brown highlights for the hair

  • Hibiscus: how to dye your hair red using dyeing herbs

  • Madder: how to dye your hair red using dyeing herbs

  • Katam: the “black henna” that darkens hair naturally

  • Indigo: the natural black-blue hair dye

  • 10 dyeing herbs to color or reflect our hair

  • How to dye white hair naturally

  • From Japan the green method that dyes the hair blonde

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