9 Best Temporary Hair Color: Your Buyer’s Guide (2018)

temporary hair color

Temporary hair dye is perfect 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. But it can also be disappointing if you’re not using the best temporary hair color.

If you’re looking for inspiration, see Buzzfeed’s 22 Cool Examples Of Hair Chalking to check out some of the awesome things you can do with temporary hair color.

An important thing to note, 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.

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 “eventually” can mean a lot of things. I’ve narrowed it down to dyes that can last anywhere from one wash to a month. Depending on your hair color (I’m looking at you, blondes), hair condition (previously bleached), and choice of dye color (blacks and reds especially) it’s possible for even temporary hair colors to stain.

Temporary hair dye comes in many different forms and staying powers.

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.

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

What Are the Best Temporary Hair Color Options?

temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full coverage is possible
  • Washes out in one shampoo
  • Doubles as styling gel foro short hair
Price: $9.94 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full coverage
  • Comes out in a couple of washes
  • Will cover dark hair
Price: $12.12 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • For vibrant streaks
  • Comes out in one shampoo
  • Color and glitter options
Price: $6.10 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comes out in one shampoo
  • Good for dark hair
  • Many color options
Price: $6.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Three jars of blue pink and teal hair dye Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full coverage
  • One week to a month
  • Doesn't need bleached hair
Price: $7.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full coverage
  • Natural and funky colors
  • Washes out in one shampoo
Price: $7.53 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great for kids
  • Washes out in a couple of shampoos
  • Rainbow and metallic colors
Price: $14.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Nearly full coverage
  • Washes out in a couple of shampoos
  • Won't stain hair
Price: $12.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
temporary hair dye, washable hair color, temporary hair color spray, hair color spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full coverage is possible
  • Comes out in one wash
  • Won't stain hair
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. Mofajang Hair Color Wax

    Pros:
    • Comes out in one wash
    • Won’t rub off easy
    • Color choices
    • Lightly fragranced
    • Great for coarse or thick hair
    Cons:
    • Not as good for thin hair
    • Not long-lasting
    • Will rub off on pillow

    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.

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

    Pros:
    • Vibrant pigments
    • Works on dark hair
    • Comes out in one to two washes
    • Many colors to choose from
    • Good for wider coverage
    Cons:
    • Tends to get everywhere
    • Not as controllable as a non-aerosol
    • May transfer to clothes

    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 feline-themed colors Tiger Orange, Jaguar Green, Bengal Blue, Cougar Red, Panther Purple, and Siberian White.

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

    Pros:
    • Great for streaks
    • Unique applicator brush
    • Stays put once dry
    • Glitter options
    Cons:
    • Not for full coverage
    • Will transfer until dry
    • Leaves hair a little stiff

    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.

  4. Onedor Temporary Hair Color Mascara

    Pros:
    • Comes out in one wash
    • Won’t transfer once dry
    • Shows up on dark and light hair
    • Many colors to choose from
    Cons:
    • Not for full coverage
    • Takes time to apply
    • Can make hair feel stiff

    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.

  5. Punky Colour Semi-Permanent Dye

    Pros:
    • Easy to apply and get full coverage
    • Lasts from one week to one month
    • Color choices
    • Can control brightness
    • Works even on unbleached hair
    Cons:
    • Too long lasting for some
    • Looks best on light or bleached hair
    • No natural colors

    If you’re looking for something that lasts a little longer, check out Punky Colour which will last as long as a month.

    This dye works on both bleached and unbleached hair. Of course it will show up best and brightest against light and bleached hair, but you can still get a tint on darker hair with this. It’s simple to apply like you would a conditioning treatment.

    You can control the strength of the color by how long you leave the dye in your hair (from one hour to overnight) and by diluting it. For full pigment, use as is; for lighter colors, dilute the dye with conditioner before applying.

    So this isn’t for a funky hair day or weekend concert because it will stick around past then, but still, as a one month commitment, it’s a great option to have.

    Punky Colour comes in several shades including turquoise, midnight blue, poppy red, lagoon blue , and flamingo pink.

  6. High Beams Intense Temporary Spray on Hair Color

    Pros:
    • Good for full coverage
    • Great for temporary root touchups
    • Has both natural and funky color options
    • Washes out easily in one shampoo
    Cons:
    • Sprays can be messy
    • Sweat and rain can make it run
    • Blonde colors don't look great

    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 as they don't look great.

    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.

  7. Scented 36 Piece Hair Chalk Marker Set

    Pros:
    • Washes out in one shampoo for most
    • 36 markers in the set
    • You get both standard and metallic colors
    • Blendable
    Cons:
    • Not for full head coverage
    • Harder to wash out of blonde hair
    • Not everyone loves the scented bit

    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.

  8. Hailicare Unicorn Purple Hair Wax

    Pros:
    • Washes out in one to two shampoos
    • Safe for bleached and blonde hair
    • Less messy than sprays
    • You can get wide coverage
    Cons:
    • Thick gel feeling in hair
    • Application takes time
    • A bit of a mess to put on

    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.

  9. Joico Instatint Temporary Color Shimmer Spray

    Pros:
    • More controlled spray
    • Comes out in one shampoo
    • Safe for blondes
    • Lots of color choices
    Cons:
    • Small can
    • Stiff hairpray feel
    • Have to be careful not to spray face

    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 .

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

1 Comment

1 Comment

Anonymous

I got the HailiCare Unicorn Purple Hair Wax after read your post. Good item, and bought other colors, all works amazing. My daughter like every color. Thank yooou!!!

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