Logwood: what is it? how to use? Did you know that among its many uses as a natural dye (logwood dye) it can also be used to obtain beautiful natural colors for your hair? find out here, along with our advice.


Do you know what “logwood” is? we explain it to you here!

Logwood, in Italian “Legno di Campeggio” in German Blauholz, derives from a large tree of the Leguminosae family, called Haematoxylon campechianum: an ornamental thorny tree native to Central America and the West Indies. The word Haematoxylum literally means “blood wood“. It is a legume that can grow up to 9 meters in height, with thin and smooth bark but with a backbone, leaves that resemble laurel, small yellow and fragrant flowers, while the wood is very hard and compact, with a red color – brown to violet.

It is a legume that can grow up to 9 meters in height, with thin and smooth bark but with thorns, leaves 2.5 to 7.5 cm long with three to 5 pairs of leaflets 1 to 3 cm long and 1 to 2.5 cm wide, flowers with 5 small yellow and fragrant petals, the fruit is a drupe, while the wood is very hard and compact, with a red-brown to violet color.

Heartwood contains hematoxylin. Hematoxylin is present in wood in the form of a colorless crystalline substance, which when oxidized becomes haematinred: a real natural dye! the extracted hematin can be reacted with metal hydrates to produce colored lacquers, but not only!

Logwood: use of a natural dye

Logwood was introduced as a natural dye to Europe after the discovery of America by Spanish explorers. The best quality Logwood comes from the eastern shores of Mexico’s Campechy Bay, although it has also been imported from Jamaica and other areas of subtropical and tropical America. The value of a camping wood is related to the quantity and quality of coloring extract that it can give and depends not only on the place of origin but also on the age of the wood: old woods give more extract than young ones.

The Logwood is prepared by removing the bark and the external sapwood, then it is crushed, moistened, by the action of the air to facilitate direct oxidation and left to ferment.

The Logwood in the dry cleaners is used as it is or in the form of an extract: this is obtained by boiling the fermented fragments of Logwood with water and then extracting the dye. From the dye obtained, depending on the degrees of acidity or alkalinity used, we obtain shades ranging from dark red, to black and to blue and violet, to be used to dye fabrics.

Hematoxylin is also used as a coloring agent for the microscope: when it becomes haematin by combining with aluminum and oxidizing permanently, it is capable of staining cell nuclei and related chromosomes.

Logwood is also used in cabinet-making, in the form of dry or liquid extract, for dyeing wood: it allows to obtain an infinity of rather resistant colors with the various metallic mordants. Its solution diluted with stannous chloride gives a violet tint, turning brown if the extract is fermented; with copper acetate or copper sulphate it gives a blue-violet tint; with ferrous sulphate a blue-blackish tint, with dichromate of potash a blue-black tint.

Logwood in Ayurvedic medicine is a valuable astringent in chronic dysentery and diarrhea. It controls the frequent action of the intestine in these ailments without producing constipation and is taken as a decoction or pill.

Thanks to its natural coloring power, camping wood can also be used to obtain hair natural dyes. We explain how!

How to use camping wood on your hair

The LogWood to be used on the hair is Haematoxylon Campechianum Bark Powder, that is the bark powder, and is an excellent concealer to obtain multiple shades: from copper brown, brick to a deep and intense purple. You can also find it here, vegan ok, 100% vegetable and it is our Phitofilos logwood, which has this color and consistency:

However, we reveal to you that in reality pure camping wood powder alone is not recommended because it does not allow you to obtain high coverage of white hair. Furthermore, this plant, not being rich in mucilage, makes the compounds uneven and difficult to apply. So here’s how to proceed:

– to take advantage of its cold and purple soul, it is advisable to prepare the LogWood batter separately with the addition of sodium bicarbonate (1 tablespoon every 100 g of powder). It can then be added, before application, to the batter prepared with other powders (eg. Red Cherry or Walnut Hull Blend). To obtain “warm” reflections prepare the batter by mixing all the herbs together by adding vinegar, yogurt or lemon;

– Logwood can be used in combination with lawsonia (Red Henna No.2 or No.3), or Walnut Hull Blend to give brick red shades; It used together with the Chamomile Blend it helps to obtain a slight warm darkening of the tone (caramel nuances).

Dr. Laura Comollo

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  • The art and craft of natural dyeing: traditional recipes for modern use, di J. N. Liles
  • Hair-Dyes and Hair-Dyeing Chemistry and Technique- Di H. Stanley Redgrove, Gilbert A. Foan
  • Coloritura, verniciatura e laccatura del legno, di A. turco
  • Ayurvedic materia medica for domestic use, Di Thomas John Graham
  • Flowerig trees, di P. K. Valsalakumari.