8 Ways to Temporarily Dye Your Hair

By on February 24, 2015

Looking for a hair color change, but not keen on permanent and damaging chemical hair dyes? You can express your creativity with non-permanent, temporary hair dye instead! It’s fun, fleeting, and super-easy to do by yourself at home. There are many temporary hair dyeing methods, but we’ve chosen 8 Ways to Temporarily Dye Your Hair to give you the best options for coloring your locks quickly and reversibly.

The results often vary due to different hair types, colors, and conditions, but all of these techniques have been tried, tested, and proven to give great results if done properly. Temporary hair colors are great for experimenting with new looks at home, trying out a striking look for a party or a night out, or simply for expressing your current mood or your personality. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!


1. Hair Chalking


Hair chalking is one of the easiest ways to add a temporary pop of color to your hair. It’s easy to apply, and it comes off after a few hours (depending on how often you touch your hair!) or when you wash your hair. It works on both light and dark hair, and it won’t damage your locks in any way. You’ll need proper soft chalk pastels – NOT normal chalk, as this will not work. It can get messy, so you might want to wear an old t-shirt and gloves when applying the chalk to your hair. Lasting time: anywhere between a few hours to 2 days.

How to:


Dark hair:

  • Wet a section of hair, and comb through it carefully
  • Wet your chosen color pastel a bit, and then rub it onto your hair in a downwards motion (never up, this will cause dreadlocks)
  • Leave to air dry, and then seal the color with heat using a flat iron or curling iron
  • Style hair and try to avoid touching it!

Light/blonde hair:

  • Keep your hair dry (only wet it if you want a longer-lasting color)
  • Twist a section of hair and then apply your desired color with a dry piece of chalk
  • Seal with heat (flat iron or curling iron)


2. Temporary Hair Color Spray


Temporary hair color spray is a fun way to dye your hair crazy, bright colors. You can use it to change your hair color for a day, and you can even use stencils to spray patterns onto your tresses! Some colored hair sprays contain glitter, making them perfect for fancy dress or parties. The color washes out after one shampoo, so you can experiment with any color you like. If you have very light blonde hair or bleached/dyed hair, the color may stain or come out funny, so you may want to try one of the other temporary hair dyeing methods instead. Lasting time: a few hours, comes out with one thorough wash.

How To:


  •  Shake the can well, and then hold it about 20 cm from your head before spraying the color onto your hair.
  • If you want to use multiple colors, use a paper towel to cover sections of hair to keep them separate – this will allow for more vibrant colors.
  • For long hair, you may need at least two cans for a full head of color.
  • Take care not to inhale the spray, or get it in your eyes!


3. Anastasia Hypercolor Brow and Hair Powder 



Anastasia Hypercolor Brow and Hair Powder is a product made especially for applying temporary color to your hair. It’s a lot easier than chalking, and the bright powder colors are incredibly vibrant on all hair colors. However, applying the colors is time consuming and very messy, so you’ll need to prepare properly to prevent staining your clothing or counter-tops! With the right tools, you will get fabulous results. Lasting time: anywhere between 5-18 hours, and it washes right out.

How To:


  •  Prepare carefully – you will need a leave-in conditioner or hair serum to provide a base for your hair to stick to, hair spray, a brush, gloves, an old towel or t-shirt, and hair clips. It’s best to apply the color in the bathroom as it is a very messy process.
  • Brush your hair out, apply the leave-in conditioner to the tips of your hair, and then divide it into sections. Separate the sections from the rest of your hair with clips to prevent the colors from running into one another.
  • Put on your gloves, drape the towel over your shoulders, and sandwich one of the color discs between your hair section and your thumb. Drag it downwards (never up!) to apply color. Repeat until you get the desired color intensity.
  • Set with hair spray, and style as usual!


4. Eye Shadow


Coloring your hair with eye shadow is a cheaper alternative to buying pricey temporary hair coloring products such as Anastasia Hypercolor or Hair Flairs Color Rub, and it gives an equally vibrant color. It’s best to use eye shadow that comes in small pots or tubs, so you can rub it straight onto your hair instead of mixing a dye. I’d recommend using old eye shadow and not your favourite or most expensive brand, no matter how pretty the color is. It’s a great excuse to use that crazy-colored bright eye shadow you bought a while back and never tried out! Lasting time: A few hours, depending on the amount of transfer. Washes right out.

How To:


  • As you would when coloring your hair with the Hypercolor pots, protect your clothing and skin with a towel over your shoulders, and wear gloves. It can get very messy!
  • Rub a bit of conditioner into the section of hair you want to color, and brush your hair carefully.
  • Sandwich the pot between the section of hair and your thumb, and rub downwards to apply the color. Keep applying color until you’re happy with the result.
  • Use hairspray to seal the color – this may not always work, so experiment with different ways (heat, other hair products).

5. Food Coloring


Using food coloring (the kind that you buy in tiny bottles in the baking section of the supermarket) is an incredibly easy way to dye your hair. It is technically a semi-permanent hair dye, as it lasts for several washes, and may linger for months in light blonde hair. Bear this in mind before dyeing your hair every color of the rainbow, as it may be stuck that way if your hair is lighter and more absorptive! Food coloring works well for a full head of color, as long as you apply it evenly. Lasting time: 1 week to 3 months, depending on hair type and color.

How To:


  • Drape a towel over your shoulders, and pour some food coloring of your choice into a disposable cup.
  • Apply the color evenly using a toothbrush, taking care to keep the color away from the skin around your ears, face, and neck. It may stain, so we recommend protecting your hairline with vaseline before starting.
  • Leave your hair to absorb the dye for 15 minutes.
  • Blow dry your hair, and do not wash it for at least 24 hours. The first wash will probably remove excess dye, so use old towels to prevent staining.


6. Kool Aid


Kool Aid as a hair dye has many mixed reviews. This brightly colored juice concentrate can dye your hair beautifully, but it can also stain hair or damage it – it depends greatly on your hair, and your method. We recommend trying it out on the tips of your hair first, or on only one strand, to see how your hair reacts. That way, you can prevent any hair color disasters! The colors are vibrant and bright, and application is quite easy. Perfect for dip-dying and ombre. Lasting time: anywhere between 1 week to 6 months!

How To:


  • Choose a color (or mixture of colors) of unsweetened Kool Aid or a similar colored juice concentrate and buy at least 3 sachets, less for a subtle color and more for a very bright color.
  • Mix the contents of the sachets into a bowl with very hot or boiling water. Leave it to cool for a bit, as you don’t want to damage your hair.
  • OR, mix Kool Aid in a bowl with a simple white hair conditioner until you get the color you want.
  • Drape a towel over your shoulders, put on some gloves, and dip your hair into the solution, leaving it in the colored water for 2-5 minutes. With the conditioner version, paint it onto your hair with a hair dye brush.
  • Remove hair and blot it with an old towel and/or paper towels. This can be messy!
  • Let hair dry, and then wash it in cold water. If you want your hair to stay extremely bright, you can let it dry and then only wash it after 24 hours.


7. Colored Mascara


Colored mascara is incredibly easy to apply, and it’s well suited to adding colored streaks to your hair, or creating a dip-dyed effect on the tips. You can buy colored mascara at most stores that sell makeup, although the color range is a bit limited. Waterproof mascara delivers the best results as it won’t transfer. Lasting time: one shampoo.

How To: 


  • If you have light or blonde hair, simply apply the color with the mascara wand, using only downward strokes. Allow to dry, and you’re good to go!
  • If you have dark hair, you may need to use a white mascara primer first for the color to stand out. You can even use lemon juice to lighten streaks of hair before adding your color, but bear in mind that the highlights will last much longer than the color that you apply! To create natural highlights with lemon juice, mix some freshly squeezed lemon juice with leave-in conditioner and a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply the solution to sections of hair you want to lighten, and then just sit in the sun for a while!


8. Colored Washable Markers


Colored markers are another quick and easy way to temporarily dye your hair. There are many methods to dye your hair with markers, ranging from coloring your locks with the nib to making a liquid dye with the ink, but we have chosen the easiest method for you to save time and messy experiments. Lasting time: 1 week to 1 month

How To: 


  • Prepare with gloves and a paper towel to prevent stains, and wear an old t-shirt.
  • Remove the back of the marker, and pull out the plastic tube that holds the dye-soaked felt.
  • Wearing gloves, cut the tube open and pull the felt out. Then wet it with a few drops of water so that the color will transfer easily.
  • Rub the felt onto your hair in a downwards motion until you get the color you want. You may need to squeeze the color out of the felt onto your hair.
  • Let it dry, and set with hair spray.

These are the best ways to temporarily dye your hair – have you tried any of these methods? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


  1. Avatar


    August 11, 2016 at 6:34 am

    I am going to a Comic Con event as Black Widow so need red hair, I have dark brown hair and was looking to give the colour spray a try. Is it suitable for using curling tongs on it after colouring or would you recommend styling it first then spraying?
    Thanks in advance!

    • web admin

      web admin

      August 12, 2016 at 12:06 am

      Whatever course of action you take, it would be most wise to look at the instructions and warnings on your hair color spray. I am not certain which ones you are able to get, but I feel like it would be wise to color after you heat it. However, it would be wise to do your research before you begin. Your idea sounds like a fantastic one! Have a great time!

  2. Avatar


    July 29, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I want to dye my hair with kool aid but I’m afraid the color will stay in I have really really blonde hair and it curly if i dye my hair will the color come out

    • web admin

      web admin

      July 31, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      I am really not sure. While it depends on your natural hair color, it should come out after a bit. There are also temporary dyes for $5 or $10 that will wash out for sure. I am not a big fan of them though because it is hard to find a wash-out dye that does not end up feeling like chalk. Let me know what works for you–I am sure that our other readers will appreciate getting the extra feedback. Good luck, Katie!

  3. Avatar


    May 29, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry if you already got the comment I posted but I don’t see it so I will say it again just in case. Does it matter if the markers are washable or not? I don’t have that many washable markers and the ones that I do aren’t the colors I want. Thanks!

    • web admin

      web admin

      June 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      It seems like you may have commented twice on this one. I have to answer and approve every comment manually, so it can sometimes take a bit for me to get around to answering all of them. If you do not see your response or comment right away, do not worry because you will. Read through my first response and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Avatar


    May 29, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Does it matter if the markers are washable or not? I only have a few washable and they aren’t the colors I want to use.

    • web admin

      web admin

      June 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      I am not actually sure–I wasn’t the writer for this. Perhaps one of our other readers has some advice? let me know how it turns out, KK! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Avatar


    April 22, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    If I want a dark red by using the food colouring method will adding more food colouring make it darker or is it just going to make more of it?

    • web admin

      web admin

      April 23, 2016 at 10:57 am

      It depends. If the dye is watered down a lot to start with, it will make it darker. If it is already at its maximum darkness, then adding more should not make a real difference. Thanks for commenting, Faith and good luck!

  6. Avatar


    March 29, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I’m currently dying my hair red with crayola but I didn’t do it this way I put one end of the ink felt in a little bit of water till it goes white then I blew it out into a container and added conditioner mixed it till it was one colour then applied it, I’m currently waiting four hours to wash it with cold water no conditioner and I think it’ll work

    • web admin

      web admin

      April 4, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Cool! Let me know how it turns out! Thanks for commenting!

  7. Avatar


    March 27, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Do you know what colors of Kool-Aid or markers work best on a medium-brown hair color? This would be really helpful to know, as I know that some colors look like garbage on us brunettes…

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I think darker colors will probably look better. Light colors probably will not show up because your dark hair will override them. A darker color should work, although it still may not show up as well as it would on lighter hair colors. 🙁

  8. Avatar


    March 27, 2016 at 3:44 am

    highlighters work!!! 😛

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Awesome–that is great to know. We had a few readers ask about that, and I wasn’t sure since I was not the person who wrote the article. I am sure that our other readers will appreciate getting your personal feedback and insight. Thanks for commenting, Bianca! 🙂

  9. Avatar


    March 25, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I have African American hair and it’s really curly. How would markers work in my hair?

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 28, 2016 at 11:58 am

      I am not sure if they would. Markers work better for light colored hair. With darker hair, it is harder for the temporary color to show through. You could try one of the temporary dye options though because you can always rinse it out if it does not work for you. Good luck and let me know how it works out for you!

  10. Avatar


    March 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    If you dye your hair with markers and you leave it in all night is that good or bad?

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 19, 2016 at 9:24 am

      I honestly do not know–one of our writers wrote the article, so I am not sure about the specifics. Perhaps one of our readers has some advice on the topic? Good luck, Jasmine!

  11. Avatar


    March 12, 2016 at 4:46 am

    I have ultra dark hair and i tried doing the pen dye and left it in for like 5 minutes and it didn’t leave anything.
    Also does the lemon trick work on Really dark hair?

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 13, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      I am not sure about the lemon trick for darker hair. Even for light hair, it takes weeks and weeks of doing it to really lighten up your hair–you should take a picture before and after though, because the incremental changes would be unnoticeable otherwise.

  12. Avatar


    March 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Do you reply to all comments?

    • web admin

      web admin

      March 3, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Yes, I do, unless it is a spam comment. If you already sent the comment through, then it should have already appeared. If it has not, go ahead and comment again and I can answer it. Thanks!

  13. Avatar

    Bay Jhones

    January 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I have blondish-brown hair naturally and Im hoping to change the colour for maybe a day or two but I don’t want to damage my hair, kool-aid is out by the way, I’ve tried, doesn’t work on me. Any suggestions. Also, by chalk, do you mean like chalk pastels or art pastels because I’ve heard of methods with the art kind.

    • web admin

      web admin

      January 29, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Art pastels are what I believe the author was referring to–the article actually mentions that it is not talking about normal chalk. Personally, I am not a fan of artificial dyes because they hang around on my hair for far too long. I think the Anastasia Hair Powder is my favorite though, although washable markers work for small sections if you don’t have the money to buy actual temporary hair dye. Good luck, Bay Jhones!

    • Avatar


      January 30, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      By chalk they mean hair chalk (can get at ulta) or oil/pigmented pastels from the craft store

      • web admin

        web admin

        February 6, 2016 at 8:47 am

        Yes–thank you, Athena!

  14. Avatar


    December 31, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Oh my gosh thanks so much my hair is now purple!!! The koolaid works perfectly!!!!! The only thing is I’m going for a gothic/scene/emo look (not that purple isn’t) but I was hoping for black. I don’t think pastels work too well but do you have any suggestions? Thanks a lot!!!

    • web admin

      web admin

      January 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      I am not sure about pastels. If you were going for black, why didn’t you use a black option instead? Purple sounds rather cool though. Perhaps it will give you a feel for what darker dye looks like and you could try out a permanent black hair dye.

  15. Avatar


    December 23, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Will Faber castle connector pens work for the washable marker method?

    • web admin

      web admin

      December 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      I am not sure, but you could try them, I guess. Do the connector pens say washable on them? You want to make sure that the marker you uses can be washed out, or the color could become permanent. Markers are fairly cheap to buy though, so it might be worthwhile to just go ahead and buy a set to use. Good luck, Kate!

  16. Avatar


    November 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the awesome tips, can’t wait to try them out!

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 28, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      You are very welcome! Let me know how it turns out!

  17. Avatar


    November 1, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Never mind the cool aid did not work

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 2, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      It depends on your hair type and the method that you use, although I think that results are generally quite mixed for kool-aid. I like the fact that it is non-toxic though, plus the fact that it washes out fairly well is a good thing. Thanks for commenting, Jneya!

  18. Avatar


    November 1, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Hey I think this will be the best on coloring ever

    • web admin

      web admin

      November 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. If you liked this article, there are plenty of other articles like it on Her Interest. Thanks for commenting!

  19. Avatar


    September 3, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I am sure they will really helpful!

    • web admin

      web admin

      September 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks! I am glad that you enjoyed them! If you like this article, there are a number of other ones on Her Interest that could interest you. Thanks for commenting!

  20. Avatar


    April 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Amazing.. Your Article was simply Good.. Great Research for sure and you have a awesome resource Page… 🙂

    • web admin

      web admin

      April 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I am glad that you enjoyed the article. There are plenty more like this on the website–if you have the time, check them out!

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