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How to Use Temporary Hair Colour

Updated on August 26, 2010
Audrey Kitching with her trademark pink hair.
Audrey Kitching with her trademark pink hair.

Temporary or deposit-only hair colour is a simple and effective way to colour your hair. Containing no harsh chemicals such as peroxide or ammonia which are in permanent hair dyes, temporary colour is much gentler on the hair and often leaves it feeling conditioned and soft. Temporary dye works by staining the outside of the hair shaft and not penetrating it like other dyes. As a result, temporary hair colour will usually fade in about 8-30 washes most commonly.

"The girl with the rainbow hair".
"The girl with the rainbow hair".

Why use it?

People often use temporary hair colour to give their natural hair colour a 'boost' - to add vitality, shine or slightly different tones. Loreal Colour Pulse is designed specifically for this purpose. It will enhance your natural hair colour and is available in a wide variety of shades. Its delicious fruity smell and awesome mousse formula make it a really appealing option.

With the exception of blonde, most natural hair colours are not able to be changed very dramatically by deposit-only hair colouring. This feature, as well as its short duration, means that temporary hair colour is a safe way to experiment with different hair colours. Temporary dyes generally have corresponding permanent shades which people will opt to use once they have tested the temporary version and decided they liked it.

What about blonde hair?

Naturally blonde or bleached blonde hair is able to be radically changed using temporary colour. Since bleached blonde hair is usually damaged to some degree, it is best to stick to using temporary hair colour over the top of it - as some people bleach their hair specifically for this purpose. Almost any shade of temporary colour will be evident in blonde hair. There are even temporary blonde shades you can try. However, you must be aware that blonde hair can be permanently stained by temporary hair colour, or you may receive a much brighter result than expected - so unless you are prepared for the consequences, it is best to be cautious. Red temporary hair colour over bleached blonde hair looks horrible the fortnight after.

Blue hair colour.
Blue hair colour.

How do I use it?

Temporary hair colours are very simple to use. As it has no harsh chemicals to mix together, it usually comes in just the one packet, whether it be a foil pouch or a pump tube. In most cases, you simply need to apply it to your hair and leave for around 15-45 minutes. However, some dyes require you to wash your hair first and apply the dye while your hair is damp. Always make sure to read the directions in the leaflet that should come with the dye to make sure that you don't make any costly mistakes.

Usually once you have let the dye develop in your hair you simply rinse it out. There is generally no need to shampoo your hair straight afterwards, as this will make the colour fade even quicker. Learn how to preserve the colour in your hair.

Manic Panic temporary hair colours.
Manic Panic temporary hair colours.

My Recommendations

Manic Panic comes in a wide range of unnatural hair colours, however, the formulas don't last very long in hair. It is available online from Schwarzkopf Live Colour lasts around 8 washes and is available in a lot of natural colours, inclusive of purple and red shades. They are usually available for around AU $5 from any supermarket, but can be purchased for cheaper at any discount variety stores. Fudge Paintbox are by far the most superior of temporary hair colours I have ever used. They will set you back around AU $16 and are available at chemists and Price Attack. The colours are unnatural but generally long-lasting.

If you have used temporary hair colour before, which is your favourite brand?

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    • VerityPrice profile image

      VerityPrice 2 years ago from UK

      I love Fudges Paint Box. I used their pretty flamingo colour and got amazing results. I wish it would have lasted longer though. I have to apply bleach for about 30 mins before I apply my colour.

      I want to go blue over summer but I feel my hair might be too dark to go the shade I want. Do you think that blue dye on top of 2 application treatments of bleach would look alright, or would it taint the colour?

    • profile image

      tracey 4 years ago

      thank you for the info on how to use hair tint as mine didn't come with any info brought from savers thank you very helpfull

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      not audrey in the first pic :)

    • rebu profile image

      rebu 7 years ago from Coorg,India


      very good hub...keep ur good works goin on....

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 8 years ago from UK

      Hey choke, this is a great hub about temporary color. We do have a lot in common, and if someone cannot find what they are looking for at my place, I will sure send them to you.