Can you dye hair extensions

By: | Last Updated: July 6, 2022

Did you order hair extensions that you thought were the perfect color, but when they arrived, you realized they’re actually 2 shades lighter?

Since you don’t have the time to buy new ones and don’t want to throw away your recent purchase, you’re thinking about dyeing them instead to obtain your perfect hair color.

But is it easy to dye extensions? And if so, what happens if you dye hair extensions? Would their hair fibers start to fall off? 

Before you go down the rabbit hole of overthinking, dyeing your hair extensions at home is possible, it just requires a little care and patience.

So if you don’t know where to begin, this article will guide you on the dos and don’ts of dyeing your hair extensions at home.

Can fake hair extensions be dyed?

Can fake hair extensions be dyed

Fake or synthetic hair extensions usually consist of nylon, acrylic, or polyester to look like human hair. 

Since they’re primarily made out of plastic, some believe it can be challenging to dye them since their colors are already integrated into their fibers.

But the trick to dyeing synthetic hair extensions is to use fabric dye instead of hair dye. Since fake hair extensions contain artificial fibers, it’s only fitting to use fabric dye as you would dye your clothes, towels, or carpets.

The only catch is that the extensions need to be light for the colors to show up. So if you want to dye your extensions, get blonde, white, and pastel-colored ones as they will work best.

Can human hair extensions be dyed?

Human hair extensions consist of real human hair. That’s why they’re more expensive than synthetic ones.

But the perks of investing in human hair extensions is having the freedom to cut, heat style, and dye them as you would your own hair.

Since they contain the same structure as your hair, hair dye would be effective for changing their color.

So if you want to freshen up the shade of an old set of human hair extensions, make sure to do a strand test first to see how well they will react to the dye.

Can you dye clip-in hair extensions?

Clip-in hair extensions are one of the healthiest forms as you can easily remove them any time you want.

But if there’s a particular look you’re going for, dyeing them can freshen up an old set as long as you know whether they’re real or synthetic hair.

As mentioned above, synthetic hair extensions will only absorb fabric dye. So if you use the hair dye on them, your efforts would be wasted.

When dying your clip-in extensions, be careful not to dip the clips into the dye so you won’t end up staining them. Discoloring the clips would make them more obvious when you finally wear your extensions.

Can you dye hair extensions lighter?

Can you dye hair extensions lighter

If you have several dark hair extensions that you want to lighten, it’s important to know that dark synthetic extensions won’t respond to hair dye or bleach since they’re made of plastic.

But just like your own hair, human hair extensions will take longer to lighten with hair dye alone. So if you want to see noticeable results, it’s better to use bleach.

If you’re brave enough to try, Remy hair extensions will be easier to lighten since the hair has never gone through any chemical treatments.

So if you want to lighten your extensions by 3-4 levels, make sure to do it in several separate applications to avoid damaging them.

Applying developer alone could also lighten your extensions by 1-2 levels, but since the results can be unpredictable, the risk of damaging them is also higher.


Can you dye hair extensions darker?

It’s recommended to dye synthetic hair extensions darker as this is the only way the colors will appear. So as long as you have blonde, white, or pastel-colored extensions, dark fabric dye will be effective.

Applying a dark color hair dye to your human hair extensions would be less damaging, so it’s more preferred than lightening them with bleach.

But since human hair extensions tend to absorb the pigments faster compared to your hair, anticipate that the results will turn out a shade or two darker.

So it’s essential to do a small patch test first, so you’ll know what color to expect.

Can you dye hair extensions with box dye?

If you like to color your hair at home, a sneaky trick to making your human hair extensions match is to use the same shade of box dye.

The application process is similar; you just need to make sure to brush out your extensions first before applying the hair color.

Lie your extensions over sheets of foil so you’ll have a flat surface to work on while preventing stains on your table or counters.

To get an even color, don’t forget to apply hair color on both sides of your extensions and cover them with another sheet of foil to prevent the dye from drying out.

When you’re satisfied with the color, wash the dye out from your extensions and apply a moisturizing conditioner so they’ll stay soft and shiny.

Spread your hair extensions on a towel and allow them to air dry.


Can you dye hair extensions while in your head?

Can you dye hair extensions while in your head

In theory, it may be easier to dye your natural hair and extensions simultaneously since you can kill two birds with one stone. 

But in reality, it would be better to dye your extensions when they’re not attached to your head. This way, you can see your extensions better to get an even coloring.

If you have clip-in extensions, having them on when dyeing can also increase the risk of coloring the clips.

Also, since your extensions tend to absorb the pigments faster, they may achieve the color you want quicker than your natural hair. So if you don’t take them out earlier, you’ll end up with darker hair extensions.

How long to leave hair dye on extensions?

Once you’ve gathered all the supplies you’ll need to dye your extensions, the only thing left to find out is how long you’ll need to process them.

For synthetic hair extensions, the color could take about 40 minutes to fully absorb. But to be safe, remember to check your extensions every 10 minutes to make sure it’s not getting damaged.

For human hair extensions, you can follow the directions on the hair dye you’ll be using. But the pigments typically take around 20-40 minutes to process.

But as a cautionary measure, peek at your extensions every few minutes to ensure you’re not overprocessing the color.


Best hair dye for extensions

Synthetic hair extensions

Since hair dye won’t color synthetic hair extensions, a few fabric dye brands that are often recommended are:

  • Rit DyeMore Synthetic Fiber Dye
  • Dylon Fabric Hand Dye
  • iDye Poly Fabric Dye

The method works best when you mix the fabric dye with boiling water. So, test a small portion of your extensions first to see if they can handle the high temperature. Otherwise, you’ll end up with completely melted strands.

Human hair extensions

You will get the best results if you use professional hair colors when dyeing your human hair extensions. Some hair color brands that give excellent color payoff are:

  • Wella Professionals Permanent Hair Color
  • Paul Mitchell PM Shines Demi-Permanent Hair Color
  • Pravana Permanent Hair Color

Since you can pick which developer to use, 10 or 20 volumes will work best on your extensions. But avoid 30 and 40 volumes as they can be too strong, which will increase the risk of damaging your extensions.

The bottom line

If you like to change your look often, hair extensions are the easiest way to transform your hair without going to your hairdresser.

But since hair extensions can get expensive, you sometimes need to be crafty if you want your hair to keep up with your style.

Good thing you can dye synthetic and human hair extensions, as long as you know which type of dye you’ll need to use.

But before you go all out with the dyeing process, always remember to do a patch test on your extensions to see how well they’ll react with the dye.

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