How long does temporary hair dye last?

By: | Last Updated: June 8, 2022

If you’re hesitant about experimenting with bright hair colors because you’re worried it might ruin your hair, temporary hair dyes are a great way of testing out the waters since they’re washable.

They’re available in a wide range of colors that you can even pick a different shade each week.

Since they’re easy to apply, they’re also great pigments for practicing and improving your hair dyeing skills. Just think about the color layering, ombre, and dip dyeing techniques you can play around with!

But in case you only want to dye your hair for an event or occasion, how long do temporary hair dyes last?

This article will break down how different types of temporary hair colors will last, so read on to find out.

What is temporary hair dye?

What is temporary hair dye

Before we break down how long temporary hair dyes last, let’s define what they are first.

Temporary hair colors are direct dyes that are in chalk, gel, wax, spray, mousse, shampoo, or conditioner forms, so you can use some types to style your hair while also adding color.

You won’t need to mix them with a developer since their pigment molecules are too big to go inside your hair shaft. Instead, their color pigments will only coat the exterior of your hair strands; that’s why they’re easy to wash out.

The only downside of using temporary hair dyes is that their colors won’t be as vivid on dark hair as on blonde hair, so you’ll need to pre-lighten it. But if you don’t want to bleach your hair, certain brands also have temporary dyes meant for dark hair that are more pigmented.

Does temporary hair dye damage your hair?

Now that you’re curious about temporary hair colors as they’re easy to use, you want to know if you’ll have to deal with weak and crunchy strands after.

So, does temporary dye dry out your hair?

Unlike permanent dyes, temporary hair colors may be the healthiest way of applying pigment to your hair since they won’t need to use any harsh chemicals, like ammonia or peroxide.

As mentioned above, temporary dyes won’t need to use a developer since their color molecules won’t have to go inside your hair cortex for color to show up. So in short, it won’t damage your hair since it won’t alter its structure.

But some types tend to make your hair feel dry since they don’t contain any moisturizing ingredients. 

So if you don’t like that texture but still want to add some color to your hair, you can opt for a temporary hair color conditioner instead.

Temporary vs semi-permanent hair dye

Temporary and semi-permanent hair colors often get interchanged since they will wash out of your hair. But what you don’t know is that they actually have some slight differences.

Like temporary pigments, semi-permanent dyes don’t contain ammonia or peroxide, so their pigments will only sit outside of your hair shaft. But since semi-permanent colors have smaller molecules, some can get inside your hair cortex; that’s why they’ll sometimes leave a stain.

The size of their color molecules is also the reason why semi-permanent dyes can last longer, where they can stay for up to 6 weeks on your hair.

Since temporary hair colors only have a short lifespan, how long do they actually last on your hair?

How long does temporary hair dye stay in your hair?

How long does temporary hair dye stay in your hair

If you want to find out how long a hair color will last, it will usually have to depend on your hair type, condition, and the color you choose. But since you want to dabble with temporary hair pigments, you’ll also have to factor in what form of dye you will use.

So how long does wash in wash out hair dye last? Let’s find out.

How long does temporary hair chalk last?

Hair chalks have been around for a while; you might even have played with some when you were younger. Nowadays, you can usually spot them around toy or beauty stores, so they’re still easily accessible if you want to do a little hair experiment.

They’re great for adding pops of color to your hair since they’re quick and easy to use.

Depending on your hair color, hair chalks can last for up to 2-4 washes. But if you have dark hair and want it to last a couple more washes longer, a simple hack is to wet your hair before rubbing the chalk stick on. You can then let it air dry or give it a quick blast with your blow dryer and style it the way you want.

How long does temporary hair dye spray last?

Temporary hair dye sprays may be one of the easiest forms of hair colors to apply, but if you’re not careful, they can sometimes get messy. So if you want to do a full-color coverage, make sure to place a towel on your shoulders or at least aim the spray away from your clothes if you don’t want them to match your hair.

What’s great about them is they’re meant to last for only 1 wash, so you’re free to change your hair color as often as you like. But on light hair, some hair color spray brands tend to stain, so they will take a few more washes to come out.


How long does temporary hair color wax last?

If you often use hair wax to style your hair, a temporary hair color wax is a great way of adding a subtle change to your routine.

You can still do your usual go-to hairstyle, or change it up to something that will show off the new color.

Hair color waxes will last for only 1 wash, so you have to make it count if you plan on using one.

But if you want to preserve your hairstyle for a couple more days, you can wrap your hair up in a bonnet or silk scarf at night to avoid the color from transferring to your clothes and pillowcases.

How long does a temporary color depositing mask last?

If you have dry hair and worry about damaging it further by applying hair dye, a temporary hair color mask is an excellent alternative for putting color to your hair.

It contains moisturizing ingredients, so your hair will feel softer after washing the product off. So they’re good for when your hair needs to take a break from harsh chemical hair dyes but you still want to add a little bit of flair.

Temporary color depositing masks can last for 3-6 washes, but on blonde or pre-lightened hair, some colors can last for 8-9 washes as they could leave under pigments.


How to make temporary hair color last longer

How to make temporary hair color last longer

If you’ve fallen in love with your temporary hair color and want it to last for a few more days, the best thing you could do is to hold off on washing your hair for a couple of days.

Avoid adding any more hair products once you already have the color on, as it could dilute the pigments, making your color last less.

As mentioned above, you can also wrap your hair up with a silk bonnet or scarf at night to prevent the color from staining your pillowcases.

But once the color fades out, you can always apply the product again to get the pigments back. Since it’s a temporary hair color, you won’t have to worry about any hair damage, so you can paint them every few days.

The bottom line

Temporary hair dyes are great for when you want to add a bit of color to your hair for an event or as part of a costume.

They’re also helpful for beginners as it allows you to play around with pigments without worrying about doing a non-stellar job, as most types will wash out with only 1 shampoo.

But if you do end up loving having some color on your hair and want a longer-lasting hair dye, you can then upgrade to using a semi-permanent or permanent hair dye. Who knows, it might even start your journey as a hair color enthusiast.

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