Walnut husk: natural brown highlights for the hair

Walnut Husk

The walnut husk is the inner part of the peel that covers the walnuts. When the fruits are ripe, this peel is green, then starting to darken due to the action of tannins present in the plant, until it assumes the characteristic brown color.

The nocino liqueur is obtained from the fresh hull of young walnuts. If dried and pulverized, however, the husk produces a powder that can be used for dyeing purposes to color wood, textiles and hair. The color with walnut husk is an ancient technique, used by the Persians to dye wool for the manufacture of carpets. On the hair the walnut husk does not release a real dye pigment, but an effective reflective pigment to obtain or accentuate the brownish reflections, darkening the light blond or brown hair.

Walnut husk: properties

The scientific name of the walnut is juglans regia, so in the Inci you can find it under the name juglans regia shell powder or juglans regia seed coat powder. If applied on the hair, the walnut husk has properties:

  • polishes
  • reinforcing
  • sebum-regulating

As said, through repeated applications, the walnut husk is able to progressively darken light hair until intense brown / chestnut color is achieved.

How to prepare the dye pack with walnut husk

It is sufficient to dissolve the powder in hot water, to form a creamy and homogeneous mixture, of the same consistency of the yoghurt. By adding a teaspoon of bicarbonate, it is possible to reinforce the released color, since the walnut husk prefers a basic environment. Wait about 15 minutes and then proceed with the application on clean hair, no matter if it is dry or wet. Distribute evenly on the hair and cover with a transparent film or a cap to preserve the moisture of the batter, a necessary condition to ensure dyeing power.

Shutter speeds range from 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the desired coloring intensity. At the end, it is advisable to wash the hair with only water, applying a balsam nut to counteract the possible dryness of the tips. Acid rinse is recommended, which performs the important function of closing the scales of the hair, polishing it and fixing the color at its best. Just add an acidic substance, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to the last rinse water.

Walnut husk plus henna to cover white hair

On the hair already intensely brown, however, the effect of walnut husk does not affect the final color, being able to only reflect them and giving at the same time more body and intensity to the starting tone. In the presence of white hair, moreover, the walnut husk is not able to guarantee the covering, since it contains a reflecting pigment and not fully dyeing. The whites treated only with this powder will take on a slightly amber color destined to fade in a few washes. In this case, the walnut husk can be used in combination with stronger dyeing herbs, first of all henna.

When used in combination with the lawsonia, the walnut husk manages to dampen the coppery and orange reflexes, cooling the henna color. Moreover, this combination guarantees a better grip and a longer life of the hue obtained over time. In fact, henna is the only dyeing herb capable of permanently binding itself to the keratin of the hair, acting as a carrier for the other dyeing powders. And above all, in this way a complete and uniform coverage of white hair is guaranteed.


In this case, however, the hair, including the whites, will take on color and red hues. The walnut husk, just because reflecting, alone is not enough to turn the red color of the lawsonia towards shades of brown. If this type of dye is desired and at the same time there is a need to cover white hair, the walnut husk should be used in combination with henna and a dyeing herb with darkening power, namely katam or indigo.

The lawsonia will be mordant, ensuring also the complete and satisfactory coverage of the whites, the brown or brown color will be released by the katam or indigo, while the walnut husk will give more or less amber or hazel shades, giving depth and body to the color the final.

On a medium brown, a good mix could be represented by a dyeing pack consisting of 30% of henna, 40% of darkening grass and 30 of walnut husk. But they are only indicative percentages, not to be taken literally. The final result will depend on a number of factors including the basic shade, the percentage of whites and the porosity of the hair. Each hair is different and there are no universally valid rules. In case of abundant white regrowth, the percentage of lawsonia may increase, or if you want lighter shades you can decrease the percentage of indigo or katam.

The important thing is that the quantity of darkening grass present in the mixture is greater than that of the walnut husk, because they are respectively the katam or the indigo to dye the brown hair. The walnut husk has only the power to reflect or accentuate the nuances obtained. In any case, before applying the color, always test on a lock of hidden hair, for example behind the back of the head. In this way you will avoid the risk of unpleasant colors.

There are various mixtures known as ‘hazelnut’ or ‘walnut husk’. These are ready-made mixes in which walnut husk powder is combined with henna and indigo. Generally it is good quality products, but always check the Inci of the packages to verify the purity of the ingredients. Only the scientific name of the individual herbs should be reported, without the addition of dyes or chemical additives. These blends are especially suitable for those who want to save time. Otherwise they can be reproduced in the home version, with the advantage of being able to better modulate the percentages of the individual herbs according to different factors, including the initial color and the desired result.


If, on the other hand, there is no need to cover the white hair, but you only want to reflect the hair, giving more amber shades or chestnut nuances, you can use walnut husk in combination with the cassia. In this way the final result will be truly remarkable: the shades of brown will be enhanced and at the same time the hair will appear voluminous, shiny, soft and silky.

The different shades of the reflections will obviously depend on both the initial color and the shutter speed. In short poses, the compress will release amber reflections, which will gradually become darker and increase shutter speed. By oxidizing the cassia for at least 12 hours in an acidic environment, it will release golden reflections on our hair. Combined with walnut husk, oxidized cassia can be used to obtain golden brown tones. The only precaution to follow is the method of preparation: the walnut husk will be macerated separately in hot water and a pinch of bicarbonate. and added only at the end, since this powder prefers a basic environment.

As you can see, the possibilities are many. Knowing the characteristics of the individual dyeing herbs and mastering the related preparation techniques, it is possible to obtain always unique and always different results, in the name of anti-socialism, hair health, beauty and naturalness of the final effect. The important thing is to want to experiment and not be discouraged after the first application if perhaps the result does not satisfy us fully. Knowledge, experience and perseverance are the keys to access the universe of herbal dyeing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here