A temporary hair colour differs from its permanent counterpart in one aspect - it does not use chemical developers to stain your hair. Also, temporary dyes are deposit-only, which means they will coat your hair instead of penetrating the hair shaft to break down the melanin to lighten or darken it. Temporary dyes also happen to be trending as they are low maintenance and can be used at home easily.
Temporary hair colour does have a leg up on permanent dyes in one aspect - it is the only way to quickly colour your hair outside of a salon! If you wish to colour your hair at home, use temporary options since they have the following benefits -
- Since temporary hair colours do not have to be developed, they are easier and faster to use.
- Being ammonia-free, they don’t destroy the quality of your hair and maintain the base colour and texture of your natural hair.
- They are a good way to experiment with crazy colours, without the commitment of following through with a dye job that you may not like in the end.
- Temporary hair colours can be applied to super dark hair without bleaching it.
- They are more affordable than getting a full dye job done at the salon.
- Temporary hair colour types
- 1. Hair chalk
- 2. Hair mascara
- 3. Coloured hairspray
- 4. Semi-permanent hair dye
- 5. Vegetable hair dyes
- 6. Coloured hair wax
- 7. Colouring/toning conditioner
- FAQs about temporary hair colour
Temporary hair colour types
As seen above, you are spoilt for options while choosing an appropriate temporary hair colour. Let’s discuss these options in a bit more detail - how long they last, how to use them and how exactly the end result looks, shall we?
1. Hair chalk
Image courtesy: @rootflage
Hair chalks are very popular with festival fashionistas since you can pair these funky colours with equally adorable, summery outfits. There are a couple of different types of hair chalks - liquid, compact, stick and spray. Usually formulated by mixing sodium carbonate with silt and clay, hair chalks are opaque and show up on any base colour - even super dark hair.
Hair chalks can last anywhere between two to ten hair washes, depending on the type you choose. It can be used on both wet and dry hair. The main benefit of hair chalks is the ease of use and full control over what the end colour will look like. It is also available in a myriad of pastel shades, which might not be possible with permanent hair dyes without lifting/bleaching the base colour first.
2. Hair mascara
Image courtesy: @la_lonki
A product that looks a lot like an actual mascara, this one is a temporary touch-up tool for your hair. Hair mascaras come with a spoolie brush and are used to highlight individual sections of your hair. Formulated without any ammonia or peroxide, a hair mascara is a good way to quickly touch-up your roots, especially when you don’t have time to go to the salon.
More than just touch-ups, hair mascaras can be used to add little sneaky pops of colour to your tresses. They are also the most short-lived temporary dye on this list and can be washed out with just one shampooing sesh!
3. Coloured hairspray
Image courtesy: @hairby_jesss
Temporary hair colour sprays are a good alternative for box dyes as they look vibrant and last till about two to four hair washes. They are available in all the same shades as you might expect to get in a salon, plus, you can get glitter-only sprays that can add confetti colours to your hair. These low-maintenance colours are suited to cover greys as well, are super easy to use and perfect for commitment-phobes who want a statement colour without it being permanent.
Use a coloured hairspray in a properly ventilated area, protect your clothes with cover-ups and spray from a distance. Close sprays increase the chances of patchy colour and leaving blotchy residue behind. The coloured spray gives a matte look to your hair instead of a glossy, shiny one.
4. Semi-permanent hair dye
Semi-permanent hair dyes help deposit colour to your tresses that last for three to six washes. Unlike demi-permanent dyes, semis do not penetrate the hair shaft, but lightly stain the cuticle of your hair rather than lifting the actual natural colour. The dye job lasts for about 10-12 washes, depending on your hair washing habits. While semi-permanent dyes cannot lighten your hair, they are perfectly capable of depositing darker tones.
Unlike the previous entries on this list, semi-permanent dyes come closest, in terms of looks, to permanent dye jobs done at the salon. They give a glossy, shiny finish and are suitable to use on chemically treated hair. The removal process is equally easy - with tricks like using a clarifying shampoo to wash or adding a pinch of baking soda to it to speed up the process, will come in handy.
5. Vegetable hair dyes
Image courtesy: @hairbyyessi
Unlike permanent colouring products, vegetable dyes are made up of herbal ingredients and can stain your tresses for up to 30 washes. They can be customised to be super light or really saturated on your hair. They are also a good alternative if you are allergic to the chemicals present in permanent dyes.
Vegetable dyes are made up of similar ingredients to henna, in addition to plant-based inks that can be easily dispersed in your hair. They are sourced from fruits, flowers, roots, minerals, barks and stems. While mineral dyes are usually suitable for blending with the greys in your hair, colours extracted from flowers and fruits are more vibrant. For instance, chamomile-based dyes can render a yellowish tint in your hair, while being gentle and damage-free.
6. Coloured hair wax
Image courtesy: @jewejewebee
A temporary colour that can take your hair from super dark to pastel purple, and then an intense red the next day - coloured hair wax is a trend that is on a steep rise. It is especially popular with girls who have naturally curly hair as it is deeply moisturising and conditioning at the same time. It is super easy to layer as it takes only 15 minutes to dry, post which you can layer another colour for added depth and dimension.
Formulated with safe ingredients like beeswax, liquorice and some type of oil (castor oil mostly), coloured hair wax is damage-free and can be switched up as often as you want. They can be removed with a single wash and are often used for a special occasion when you want to add some cool streaks to your hair!
7. Colouring/toning conditioner
Image courtesy: @makeupbyfrances
Colouring or toning hair conditioners are mostly used to maintain the vibrancy of salon-dyed hair. They are available in stunning hues that can add new life to your hair colour in-between salon touch-ups. These conditioners are hyper-pigmented and can also be used to add a subtle colour change to virgin hair.
FAQs about temporary hair colour
Q. Can you temporarily dye your hair with toothpaste?
A. While technically the peroxide in your toothpaste can have lightening effects on your hair, it is not recommended because they are super drying and the end result is out of your control.
Q. How many washes does it take to clear out semi-permanent hair colour?
A. Depending on how dark or light you went, semi-permanent hair colour can be washed out in about three to six washes. Since it is deposit-only, all you need is clarifying shampoo to get rid of the colour.
Q. How long do vegetable dyes take to work?
A. Vegetable dyes are known to work quicker than semi-permanent dyes and take about 15-30 minutes on average to develop on your mane.
Written by Sumona Bose on Nov 20, 2020
Sumona Bose is a writer, skincare junkie and a self-professed makeup connoisseur. Equipped with a Master's degree in Fashion Management and over 3 years of experience writing in the beauty and fashion space, her passion for learning new things has no bounds. Working closely with dermatologists, beauty excerpts, makeup artists and hairstylists, she brings you the best of all things beauty. From trending skincare ingredients to makeup looks that help you slay, she manages to bring something new (and vital!) to our readers every single time. Her hobbies include home workouts, watching foreign films and binge-watching makeover shows!