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!


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