10 Best Temporary Hair Dye Kits of 2018

temporary hair dye

Temporary hair dye is the perfect in between for when you don’t want to take the plunge and commit to a hair color. It’s just right for Halloween, school spirit week, theme parties, performances, festivals, and even to try out a hair color before going for a permanent dye job.

An important thing to note though, is that folks who make temporary hair dye and the people who use temporary hair dye have somewhat different definitions of what “temporary” means. And that can get you into a tight spot. Sure you want that bright pink hair for your Halloween costume, but you didn’t want it two weeks later at work. So let’s break it down.

Quick hair refresher. The strands of your hair are made up the cortex, or center of your hair, and the cuticle which is the protective coating that surrounds each strand.

Permanent hair dye. Dyes that are considered permanent contain chemicals, like ammonia, which open up your hair’s cuticle and allow dye to seep into the center cortex of your hair. It’s almost like a tattoo–the color is deposited below the surface so it’s not going anywhere. Bleach has a similar effect in that it makes your hair extremely porous and more able to absorb color.

Demi-permanent hair dye. These won’t penetrate as much as permanent hair dye, but will last longer than temporary hair dye. You’re looking at something like 20 to 25 shampoos before fading is noticeable, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever fade completely.

Temporary hair dye. Technically “temporary hair dye” refers to any dye that doesn’t penetrate the cortex of your hair which means that they will eventually wash off.

But this umbrella covers a lot of products and “eventually” can mean a lot of things. These dyes can last anywhere from one wash to over 12 washes and include products labeled as temporary and semi-permanent. Unless you’ve used bleach beforehand, most temporary dyes cannot lighten the color of your hair, and instead only “paint” over it.

Temporary hair dye comes in many different forms and staying powers. Here are a few to look out for.

Semi-permanent dyes. These are the boxed dye kits you find at the drugstore, the one’s your stylist begs you not to use–but I’m totally guilty. They generally come with a color and developer which you mix together. After applying, they work their magic and you wash them off to reveal your new color.

These dyes typically stick around for at least 12 washes before they really start to fade. You probably won’t get back to your natural color, but there will be significant fading.

Depending on your hair color (I’m looking at you, blondes), hair condition (if it has been previously bleached), and choice of dye color (blacks and reds especially) the color may not ever fade completely. For this reason, while they are technically temporary, they aren’t temporary in practice so I’m not going to be including them in this list.

Hair chalk. This refers to powdery or slightly creamy sticks of color that you rub on your hair, with or without the use of water. They tend to last from one to three washes. For more information on hair chalks, read my guide to the best hair chalk kits.

Colored hair sprays. These are spray on colors that coat your hair in pigment and wash out in one or two shampoos.

Hair mascara. Welcome back to my childhood in the 90’s! Hair mascara coats your hair with a cream-like dye. Just like sprays and chalks, these wash out in a couple of shampoos.

Colored pomades. Fairly new on the scene, these hair gels are thick and highly pigmented. They’ll leave your hair feeling gelled but deliver good color that washes out in one to two shampoos.


Try using a clarifying shampoo every day for a few days if you need to get your temporary color out sooner rather than later. It will help strip out the color faster than normal shampoos.

Be aware that having blonde or previously bleached hair will put you at risk of some light staining depending on which method you’re using.

Okay, let’s get to the best temporary hair dye kits on the market today.

1. Elera Hair Chalk Set

Image of six bright colored hair chalk markers


These hair chalk “markers” from Elera have a consistency close to lipstick but a little bit harder. Mixing hair chalk into a medium like this makes it easier to apply than regular chalk. Since they’re softer, you can use multiple colors and blend them into each for a neat, gradient look.

Unlike the harsh permanent dyes that feel like they’re burning your nose-hairs off, these hair chalk pens are non-toxic and use plant-derived ingredients. This is a very temporary hair dye that washes out in one to two washes. This set comes with six markers, but you can buy these colors separately too in pink, blue, green, orange, purple, and red.

Price: $10.99 (8 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Elera Temporary Hair Color Chalk Set here.


  • Rinses out quickly
  • Blendable
  • Choice of single colors or set
  • Non-toxic


  • Not for full head coverage

Find more Elera Temporary Hair Color Chalk Set information and reviews here.

2. Jerome Russell B Wild Tiger Orange Temporary Hair Color Spray

Image of hair spray can with bright orange cap


If you’re looking to cover more of your head than just some accent streaks with a chalk, a spray might be a good way to go. Sprays let you cover a wider area faster and with less effort. The B Wild collection from Jerome Russell is a temporary hair spray that packs some serious pigment.

It goes on a little darker than you expect and dries to a much brighter, vivid color. To get this vivid color, you do want to really saturate your hair. A light misting won’t cut it.

As with any colored spray, you’ll have to take precautions to make sure you’re only dying the things you want to. Wear gloves and don’t apply this sitting on your expensive white couch. The downside to this spray is that it does tend to find its way onto other surfaces like your hands and your shirt if your hair is long enough so be mindful of what you’re wearing.

This spray comes in a package of two and comes in six different colors Tiger Orange, Jaguar Green, Bengal Blue, Cougar Red, Panther Purple, and Siberian White.

Price: $10.15

Buy the Jerome Russell B Wild Tiger Orange Temporary Hair Color Spray here.


  • Vibrant pigments
  • Works on dark hair
  • Comes out in one to two washes
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Good for wider coverage


  • Tends to get everywhere
  • Not as controllable as a non-aerosol

Find more Jerome Russell B Wild Tiger Orange Temporary Hair Color Spray information and reviews here.

3. Mofajang Hair Color Wax

Image of jar of silver hair wax


By now we’ve probably all seen the Instagram and Facebook ads for this Japanese product. This thick hair wax has a smooth clay texture to it, almost like cake frosting, that you apply to your hair wherever you want the color to be.

This is another good choice for wider coverage, it would feel pretty heavy to cover your whole head in this. It won’t leave your hair crunchy though it will leave it feeling like it has some soft hold hair gel in it.

Mofajang Hair Color Wax doesn’t rub off easily when touched, but prolonged contact, like on your pillowcase, will cause some bleeding so best wash this out before you go to bed. It comes off easily from both hair and skin in one wash.

When it works, the Mofajang Wax pops with bright color. When it doesn’t, it can look kind of dull. It all depends on your hair type. If you have thick or coarse hair, this seems to work awesomely. If your hair is thinner or porous, it takes a lot more product to get the same effect which can lead to frustrations.

Along with this grey, it also comes in blue, gold, green, purple, red, and white.

Price: $11.99

Buy the Mofajang Hair Color Wax here.


  • Comes out in one wash
  • Won’t rub off easy
  • Color choices
  • Lightly fragranced
  • Great for coarse or thick hair


  • Not as good for thin hair
  • Not long lasting
  • Will rub off on pillow

Find more Mofajang Hair Color Wax information and reviews here.

4. N’Rage Colorageous Brush’n Color Temporary Hair Color

Image of clear tube of clear green hair paint


The N’Rage Brush’N Color has an easy applicator tip which looks like a nail oil pen. There’s a small brush, like a paintbrush, at the end of the tube and when you squeeze, it applies paint to the brush making it easy and controllable to paint onto your hair.

This makes this dye best for highlights, streaks, or coloring isolated parts of your hair. When used like this, you can get some pretty opaque color. This isn’t for an all-over look though.

It can be a little messy when wet, so you’ll want to wait for it to dry or hit it with a blow dryer to set it before leaving the house. Once dry, it will stay in place. If green isn’t your style, it’s also available in iridescent pink. This Brush’n Color is very temporary and comes out in the first wash.

N’Rage also has a glitter version of this in several colors including lavender, neon pink, and powder blue, but the color isn’t nearly as opaque with these as it is with the original Brush’n Color.

Price: $5

Buy the N’Rage Colorageous Brush’N Color Temporary Hair Color here.


  • Great for streaks
  • Unique applicator brush
  • Stays put once dry
  • Glitter options


  • Not for full coverage

Find more N’Rage Colorageous Brush’N Color Temporary Hair Color information and reviews here.

5. High Beams Intense Temporary Spray on Hair Color

Image of brown can of auburn colored hair spray

High Beams

Another spray on product, High Beams Intense Temporary Spray on Hair Color is available in both wacky and natural colors making it great for both Halloween and Spirit Week as well as for root touch-ups and trying on a new hair color before taking the plunge with a more permanent dye.

As with any spray, this has the potential to be messy, but also the potential to cover a large portion of your hair in half the time it would take for brush in type colors. Treat it like a spray paint. Wear gloves, make sure the area is well ventilated, and avoid doing this near anything you’re particularly fond of.

As much as it can be a hassle, it does have great coverage and the colors, while not quite as bright as advertised, certainly pop. The color will bleed on your hands while wet, but once dry, you’re good to go.

They wash out super easily, but also keep in mind that water will make them run so it’s best not to wear this out in the rain or in an activity when you’ll be sweating heavily. The black color makes me nervous on blonde hair, so spray at your own risk. The only colors I would say to avoid would be the blondes.

Spray on blonde doesn’t seem possible. If you need blonde hair for a costume, stick to wigs. Your natural color choices include copper, black, auburn, brown, and white. For unnatural colors High Beams has options like Punky Purple, Popstar Pink, Headbangin Blue, and Rockstar Red.

Price: $7.75

Buy the High Beams Intense Temporary Spray on Hair Color here.


  • Good for full coverage
  • Great for temporary root touchups
  • Has both natural and funky color options
  • Washes out easily in one shampoo


  • Sprays can be messy
  • Sweat and rain can make it run

Find more High Beams Intense Temporary Spray on Hair Color information and reviews here.

6. Elera Herbal Temporary Hair Color Mascara

Image of tube of yellow hair mascara


From the same brand that makes the non-toxic hair chalk markers at the top of the list, Elera also makes a non-toxic hair mascara in gold, pink, blue, green, purple, and red.

Or you can pick up the whole Set of Six for 15.99 and basically get six colors for the price of two which seems like a ridiculous deal. Like all hair mascaras, this isn’t for covering your full head and just for adding highlights and stripes.

The Elera Hair Color Mascara is easy to work with and covers well even on dark hair, especially with the lighter color dyes. The brushes on the opposite end of the mascara wand help you evenly distribute the color through your hair without having to get dye on your normal combs. Once dry, it won’t rub off on your skin and it washes out in one to two shampoos.

Price: $14.99

Buy the Elera Herbal Temporary Hair Color Mascara here.


  • Non-toxic
  • Comes out in one to two washes
  • Six colors to choose from
  • Perfect for streaks
  • Good opacity


  • Not for full head coverage
  • Darker dyes not as effective on darker hair

Find more Elera Herbal Temporary Hair Color Mascara information and reviews here.

7. Scented 36 Piece Hair Chalk Marker Set

Image of plastic case of colorful markers


These chalk markers have great pigmentation and are fun for kids to use because they’re fruit scented. But don’t worry they’re also non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

This set comes with 36 markers, for all the colors of the rainbow as well as a few metallic colors. They’ll wash out with one shampoo for most, but may take a couple of washes for blondes or previously bleached hair. If they aren’t completely dry, they will transfer onto skin and clothes so give this a good blow dry on cool to set it.

Price: $34.95

Buy the Scented 36 Piece Hair Chalk Marker Set here.


  • Washes out in one shampoo for most
  • 36 markers in the set
  • You get both standard and metallic colors
  • Blendable


  • Not for full head coverage
  • Harder to wash out of blonde

Find more Scented 36 Piece Hair Chalk Marker Set information and reviews here.

8. Joico Instatint Temporary Color Shimmer Spray

Image of red hair spray can with black cap of colored hair spray


Here’s a temporary color hair spray that says it won’t stain blonde hair, so if you’ve been wary of others, give Joico a try. It comes in a tiny can with a fairly concentrated spray so it’s less likely to get absolutely everywhere compared to other colored hair sprays.

The dye has good opaque coverage with vibrant pigments when used close up and a more diffuse, lighter look when sprayed from farther back. It comes out in one wash and shows up well on both light and dark hair, though like most temporary dyes, darker colors like reds won’t show up as well on dark hair.

Joico InstaTint will leave a stiff hair spray like texture to your hair, but if you comb or brush through it as it dries, you can avoid that crunchiness. Unless you have a pixie cut, you’ll need a couple of bottles if you want this for full coverage.

It comes in many colors including Ruby Red, Mermaid, Orchid, and Fiery Coral .

Price: $14.99

Buy the Joico InstaTint Temporary Color Shimmer Spray here.


  • More controlled spray
  • Comes out in one shampoo
  • Safe for blondes
  • Lots of color choices


  • Small can

Find more Joico InstaTint Temporary Color Shimmer Spray information and reviews here.

9. Onedor Temporary Hair Color Mascara

Image of blue tube of hair mascara


If you’re looking for a more metallic shine, this hair mascara by OneDor may fit the bill. It’s not meant for full coverage unless you have extremely short hair, but is perfect for adding streaks and accents.

The dye has a good pigment load and shows up on both dark and light hair. Once dry, the dye won’t smear or transfer so keep an eye on your clothes while it’s wet. You can flat-iron it gently to set it faster.

Be sure to use the extra fine brush tool they provide because the product can go on a little clumpy, just like mascara. If it’s still feeling a little stiff when dry, give it a comb through and it should relax. The color can hold up for a couple of days but comes right out in the first wash.

You’ve got lots of colors to choose from including blue, gold, pink, and lavender.

Price: $6.99

Buy the OneDor Temporary Hair Color Mascara here.


  • Comes out in one wash
  • Won’t transfer once dry
  • Shows up on dark and light hair
  • Many colors to choose from


  • Not for full head coverage

Find more OneDor Temporary Hair Color Mascara information and reviews here.

10. Hailicare Unicorn Purple Hair Wax

Image of white jar of hair wax with purple hair wax inside


Another pomade, Hailicare offers a range of vibrant colors that are safe to use on all hair types, even bleached blondes. As a hair wax, it’s a very different application process and does take more time than a spray or mascara would, but with a product like this you can mostly avoid transfer onto your skin and clothes.

It’s going to get all over your hands when you apply it, but it washes right off with water and a little soap. If you have dark hair, it may take a a couple of coats to get the bright color that you want, but you can get there with this.

As a wax, your hair will have a soft hair gel feeling to it and it dries to a matte clay feeling. A brush or comb will help you evenly distribute the color and keep your hair as soft and natural looking as possible.

This brand of colored hair wax comes in five colors including Unicorn Purple, Blue, and Silver Grey.

Price: $10.31

Buy the HailiCare Unicorn Purple Hair Wax here.


  • Washes out in one to two shampoos
  • Safe for bleached and blonde hair
  • Less messy than sprays
  • You can get wide coverage


  • Thick gel feeling in hair
  • Application takes time

Find more HailiCare Unicorn Purple Hair Wax information and reviews here.

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