Artificial dyes replaced natural dyes after their introduction. Weavers appreciated the bright colors that chemical dyes afforded and appreciated how easy they were to use. More recently, textile weavers at the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco have resumed use of natural dyes. These natural dyes afford a variety of colors. For example, combining kiko flowers plus aniline dye results in yellow, while using anil (indigo plant) results in blue dye. Because it was not available in Cusco and because the process was so time-consuming, weavers would send their yarn to be dyed where it did grow.

Natural dyes are better than chemical dyes for both people and the environment. They are, however, more expensive and time-consuming to produce, particularly if not made from local materials. Natural dyes can be made from a variety of plants and even animals: q’olle (flowers), molle (leaves), tayaka (leaves), chiqchi (root), qaqa sunkha (lichen), chillka (leaves), cochinilla (cochineal, a form of insect), mot’e mot’e (fruit), chaphi (branch), kinsa q’ucha or quin sak’ucho (branch with fungus), and anil (indigo, not currently grown in Cusco).