DIY Coffee Rinse for Silky Brown Hair

A little taste of java for your hair...
A little taste of java for your hair…

I can’t decide if this recipe came about as a result of my own sheer brilliance or simply as a very happy accident, but either way the results have been fantastic.

It began because I had decided I wanted to try to darken my already medium-dark brown hair, and I had read in various places that coffee can do the job.  By that time I had settled into a pretty even routine of water-only washing with dry shampoo and hair balm in between, and I was a little worried that adding something else into the mix might mess with my hair right as it was finally accepting the no ‘poo routine.

But I was on a quest for naturally darker locks and was not to be deterred.  The rinse that resulted from this quest did not in fact give me what I desired — my hair is just about the same color it always was, and I chalk that up to it already being about as dark as coffee can make anyone’s hair.  What it did do, however, took me completely by surprise.  One wash later, I couldn’t believe just how silky it was.  Was this even possible? Could my hair really be so happy without ridiculous chemicals in the mix?

Several months later, I can safely say that the answer is YES, ladies and gentlemen.  This has essentially become my standard recipe for Not Quite ‘Poo, and I’m extremely happy with it.  If you have lighter hair and want to try it out, know that it will probably darken your hair to some degree.  If that’s not a desirable effect, this probably isn’t for you.  However, the darker your hair, the less that will show, so if like me it doesn’t do much to your color then have at it and enjoy the ensuing silkiness!

The ingredients here are approximate, so feel free to adjust them to suit the needs of your own hair.  Any leftover rinse can be stored in the fridge for at least a week if not longer — generally I end up using it all up before it has a chance to spoil.

Homemade Coffee Rinse

2 Tbsp instant coffee crystals (If you wish you can also use fresh brewed instead of the water, but I’m generally too lazy to make the real thing if I’m not going to be drinking it.)

2 tsp baking soda

A pinch of salt

2 cups filtered water


Combine all ingredients in a squirty bottle of some ilk (I use a repurposed honey bottle) and shake gently to combine.  To use, wet your hair in the shower and squeeze out any excess so you begin with wettish-damp but not sopping hair.  Squirt the coffee rinse on your hair until it is nice and saturated.  This may take some carefully aimed squirting — in my experience the rinse is not overly eager to disperse throughout your hair.  Next, wrap your hair up in a loose bun and clip it with a butterfly clip of some kind to keep all the coffee goodness from running out of your hair too quickly.

Let that sit for at least a few minutes. If you don’t care too much about the coloring factor, you can lightly rinse the coffee out at the end of your shower.  For me, I generally squeeze out any excess but then let the rest of it air dry.  (If you do this, you should be careful about towels/clothing/etc. that might get stained.)  By the time my hair is dry, it is generally happy and silky and never the wiser that it hasn’t seen shampoo in almost two years.

How about you all? Does anyone else have any interesting or zany ways of using coffee in one’s hair? Let me know in the comments!


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