We tried the revolutionary new hair dye made from RIBENA.. here's how it turned out

As I already have experience dying my hair pretty much every colour under the sun, I took it upon myself to visit the university, volunteering as the first ever person to try out the all-natural hair dye.

What exactly is it?

Scientists at the University of Leeds have devised a brand new extraction technique which pulls out all of the usable colour from the pressed berries left over in the production of Ribena, and turns it into hair dye.

According to Ribena, around 90% of blackcurrant crops in the United Kingdom is solely used to make their drink, which undoubtedly produces a lot of waste once the berries have been pressed.

Dr Richard Blackburn, who is the colour chemist behind the company Keracol Cosmetics, who make the fully sustainable hair dye wanted to develop a biodegradable alternative to the hair dyes we currently have on the market, in a bid to minimise potential health risks.


The amount of dye they can actually produce varies according to how dark the potential hair colour needs to be.

Dr Blackburn told Fabulous: "We process 100 kilograms of blackcurrant skins at a time, which makes enough hair dye to dye around 1,500 heads, if they were to dye it pink".

What's the process?

The process of creating the powdered dye is broken into three main stages:


Once these stages are complete we're left with a dark purple powder, which is mixed with a special conditioner and natural acids such as citric acid, which can be found in citrus fruit.

This creates the paste which we know as hair dye, and is ready to be put on the hair in the same manner as any other dye would be.

Picking the hair colour

I was surprised to find that the dark purple blackcurrant powder, once paired with the right amount of acid or alkaline, could create a wide spectrum of different coloured hair dyes.

The scientists have been able to create blues, violets, reds, pinks and even browns from the one simple berry.

With so many different options available on the day (the team had prepared over 20 samples for me!) it was hard to decide on just one, so I ended up settling for two shades.

I went for a mixture of bubblegum pink and a peachy pink and decided to have both equally weaved through my hair!

The application

Amara and June at the University Union based salon, Pamper Me were the ones who applied the dye to my hair and made sure I got the desired result.

Before dying my hair I had light, lifted golden blonde hair with bleach highlights running throughout.

For a product like this from Keracol, it's vital that the hair is bleached beforehand, as it makes the hair texture more porous, which allows the dye to colour the hair in a way that it wouldn't on unbleached hair.

The dye had already been mixed in bowls when I got to the salon, and was applied in the same way  any hair dye would be.

June sectioned my hair and applied the different pinks in a manner that would get the colour running through in a subtle way once washed out.

As we had decided on applying two colours, instead of one block colour all over my head, we decided to use foils, which takes longer to apply but has a better end result.

The whole application took an hour, and the hair was left to develop for half an hour from when the last foil went on.

After half an hour, I was taken to the sink to wash out the pink dye, now was the big moment…

The natural hair dye is a semi-permanent and is expected to stay in the hair for up to 12 weeks, depending on how often you wash it.

The end result

My hair was blowdried by Amara and June to give it some volume, and I wasn't allowed to look in the mirror the whole time.

I had a bit of a crowd that had gathered to watch the big reveal, Mereyem and Richard who are on the team behind the dyes were watching eagerly to see what the end result looked like.

Once it was blow dried we had the big reveal…

My hair was a lovely warm pink, with some paler pink highlights running through.

I was, and still am delighted with the result, it's quite hard to believe that this all came from some Ribena berries and that no harmful chemicals were used whatsoever- a far cry away from my usual toxic hair dye.

My hair didn't feel dry like it normally does after getting my hair done, it left it feeling really light and healthy.

Everyone was really happy with the result, as although the Keracol team had done a large number of tests on samples of human hair, I was the first ever person to try this hair dye on my actual head.

This meant there was definitely a lot of pressure for it to look good!

I had no doubt it would turn out great and had complete faith in the team and their product.

Where can I get it?

According to Dr Blackburn, the hair dye is expected to go on sale towards the end of this year, and will be sold straight to consumers as well as salons.

The process of using the hair dye for consumers will be simple and straightforward, as they'll receive a cream formulation and dye powder, tailored to the colour they want.

They will mix them both together, apply to the hair and wash off after 30 minutes, exactly like I did but from the comfort of their own homes.

Although they won't be on sale for a few months, the company do have a product which is due to go on sale on Amazon in a few weeks..

Their Natural Purple Berry Brightening Serum, which is similar to a silver shampoo, eliminates brassiness and yellow tones in blonde hair.

More information on all of the products is available on drcraft.co.uk and keracol.co.uk

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