Temporary Hair Dye Guide

With our temporary hair dyes guide, you can find out everything you need to know before buying or using the product including what temporary hair dyes work for dark hair and is it safe for kids to use temporary hair dye. If you're ready to buy or want to see our selection, visit our temporary hair dye page.

Top Temporary Hair Dye Brands

  • L'Oreal Paris
  • Color Wow
  • Lime Crime
  • Charles Worthington
  • Systeme Pro Vitamin

Temporary Hair Dye FAQs

What temporary hair dyes work for dark hair?

While all temporary hair dyes have the ability to work on dark hair, their effectiveness and vibrancy can really vary depending on how dark your base is.

Of course, when it comes to shades like cotton-candy pink and baby blue, having a lighter base works wonders as the hue can show up more easily and with a much stronger pigment. If you're wanting a pastel colour but are the proud owner of darker locks, then it may be worth investing in some sort of lightener or bleach first to brighten the hair so it's ready for that splash of colour.

If, however, you're not looking to touch the bleach, then tones like cherry reds and vibrant violets can beautifully and subtly add colour to darker hair.

Young girl with colourful dyed hair on white background

Is it safe for kids to use temporary hair dye?

The general consensus is that it is best to wait until after puberty (specifically late teens) before dying your child's hair. Why? Simply put, children's hair tends to be a lot finer than adult hair as it is still developing, so adding harsh chemicals to it makes the hair a lot more susceptible to damage. The health of your child's scalp is also worth considering, as strong chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide (to name a few) can affect vulnerable skin and even the airways of your son or daughter.

However, there is a silver lining. If it is absolutely necessary to dye your child's hair for whatever reason, using a temporary colour is your safest bet. Non-permanent colours tend to just coat the hair rather than deeply penetrating it like bleach would. Remember, it is important to always carry out a patch test first.

What's the difference between temporary hair dye and semi-permanent hair dye?

Semi-permanent hair dye delivers colour to the surface of the hair and helps to enhance your hair's natural colouring. Usually, semi-permanent dyes do not contain any ammonia and they therefore cannot be used to fully cover grey hairs, although it will soften the appearance of them. Semi-permanent dyes do not penetrate the hair shaft, but rather coats the hair shaft to alter the tone.

Semi-permanent dyes tend to stick around a bit longer than temporary dyes, making it better for those that want more than a few washes worth of colour.

On the other hand, temporary hair colour provides an instant splash of colour to the hair and can enhance natural colours. It does tend to wash out much quicker than any other dye, including semi-permanent dye. Temporary dyes do not lighten, darken or even alter the hair's natural colour, but it will coat it in an instant wash of pigment. Temporary dyes are ideal for hiding regrowth or for a commitment-free vibrant colour.

Temporary hair colours can usually be applied as a cream/liquid, chalk, powder or using a mascara wand which makes it a lot easier to do when applying to the hair.

Woman getting hair washed in salon hair dye

Does wash out hair dye ruin your hair?

To an extent, most forms of penetrative dyes have the potential to damage your hair, especially bleaches or dyes that use ammonia.

While wash-out hair dyes don't tend to use these kinds of chemicals, it can still have a negative effect on the hair if used consistently enough. Wash-out dyes tend to just coat the hair shaft rather than actually penetrating it like permanent dyes which makes them better for the health of your hair, but if used on extremely dry hair can cause further damage and may even be trickier to remove. Always put the health of your hair and scalp first before committing to any sort of dye.