The Best Temporary Hair Color for Kids: 13 Products to Try
Your little Katy Perry is begging for pink streaks or blue tips to complete her pop star Halloween look this year, but you’re worried about whether or not it’s safe to dye her hair at all. The good news? There are plenty of temporary options you can try that won’t damage your child’s strands and will be all the rage at their school’s costume contest.
As Brian O’Connor, a celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Good Dye Young explains, “If you’re looking for quick and easy color, there are pastes, sprays and chalks that you can wear and wash out easily in one shampoo. The next level up would be a semi-permanent dye, which will last anywhere between four to eight weeks before gradually fading."
Once you’ve decided on the color, you’ll want to take a few precautionary measures to ensure you have the safest and most enjoyable experience possible (and by that we mean one that requires the least amount of clean-up afterward).
HOW TO APPLY TEMPORARY HAIR COLOR
For starters, set up a well-ventilated workstation. Sitting outside is your best bet, but if you’re indoors, make sure to open any windows and cover the floors and countertops with newspaper to prevent stains. Keep a pair of plastic or rubber gloves on hand, a comb and something to drape over your kid’s shoulders (like an old towel or a garbage bag with a hole cut out of it so it serves as a makeshift poncho).
OK, ready to color? We’ve found 13 options for you, at varying levels of permanence.
THE BEST TEMPORARY HAIR COLOR OPTIONS FOR KIDS
1. Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Star Mist
Best for Glitter Hair
This spray-on sparkle is pure magic in a can. Packed with the finest flecks of glitter, it will make strands glimmer whenever it hits the light. Just make sure you give the can a good shake before every use as glitter tends to settle to the bottom. Treat this like you would a hairspray and use it as a finishing touch on dry hair. The mist comes in four shades (we love rosé, which is a rose gold glitter) and washes out when you shampoo.
2. PUNKY TEMPORARY NATURAL COLOR HIGHLIGHTS
Best For Ombré Highlights
For sun-kissed strands without any bleach or sunburn, try this subtle highlight spray. As with any spray-on formula, we recommend that you protect your child’s eyes and mouth by covering their face with a shield or towel while you quickly spray each section. Then, hold the can at an arm’s length from the hair and spray in small bursts to get an even application. The no-commitment color dries quickly, doesn’t make strands sticky or crunchy and washes out easily with shampoo.
3. Mofajang Hair Coloring Wax
Best For Colorful Tips
Though it’s labeled as “hair coloring material,” users describe this temporary color as having a wax- or pomade-like texture. Apply it to slightly damp hair (you want it to be at least 80 percent dry) and start with a finger’s worth of wax on each section of hair you want to color. The more wax you use, the firmer it will dry. The highly pigmented color (in shades like purple and red) and spreadable texture wins bonus points for its compatibility with curly and natural hair.
4. Jerome Russell B Wild Color Spray
Best For Colored Highlights
Prefer a more hands-off approach? This saturated spray adds colorful streaks wherever you direct them. Choose from eight hues including white, neon pink, blue, orange and green. Tip: Apply some mousse or gel to each section you want to color before spraying if you want it to look even more pronounced.
5. Hawkko Colored Clip-In Hair Extensions
Best For Kids Who Can’t Decide
Changing hair color doesn’t get any easier than this. Each extension is about 20 inches long and is attached to a small comb-like barrette that easily clips in and out of your kid’s hair. The synthetic strands are surprisingly soft and heat-resistant so you can curl or flat-iron them on a lower heat setting. Pick from solid shades like blue or red, or go for the multi-color pack for variety.
6. Got2B Playful Temporary Hair Chalk
Best For Chunky Streaks
Hair chalk is great because you can really target each section you want to color. Simply separate one-inch sections of your child’s hair and brush through them to make sure there aren’t any tangles before you glide the chalk over them. Start at the top of the head and work your way down to the tips before coating the undersides of each section. Set the color with a fine mist of hairspray to finish.
7. L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup
Best For Dark Hair
For dark brown or black hair, we like this highly saturated, squeeze-on color. Place an old towel over your kid’s shoulders to start. Then, using your fingertips, apply a dime-sized amount onto a thin, dry strand of hair. The color will be slightly wet-to-the-touch when first applied but will dry on its own after a few minutes (though you can speed things up with a hairdryer). Repeat as needed and simply shampoo to remove the tint.
8. Good Dye Young Semi-Permanent Dye
Best For a Lasting Look
If you’re OK with using a slightly more permanent color, we like this peroxide- and ammonia-free option from Good Dye Young. It’s a semi-permanent formula that lasts between four to six weeks and has a creamy, conditioning base that’s less drying. Still, we’d recommend doing a patch test before plopping this all over your kid’s head to make sure they don’t have any reaction to it. If they’re in the clear, proceed with an ointment (like Vaseline or Aquaphor) around their hairline and the tops of their ears to prevent the dye from touching the skin directly in those areas.
“If you’re using a semi-permanent dye, you may have to lighten your child’s hair first for the true color to shine bright,” O’Connor says. “Not into bleaching? Pick a bolder color like blue or purple that will show up on darker, unbleached hair.”
9. Hair Paint Wax A Splash Of Color
Best For Natural Hair
Not only is this pick environmentally-friendly, but it’s made with ingredients like carnauba wax, tea extract and castor oil to moisturize and add a touch of gloss to your kid’s natural coils. This water-based hair coloring solution promises zero scalp irritation and no harm to your health.
10. Hair Color Spray
Best For Non-Greasy Application
Applying temporary hair-dye can be messy business. But thanks to this Hair Color Spray, you don’t have to spend another ten minutes post-application scrubbing your hands. This non-greasy option isn't sticky in the slightest, which means you can easily wipe it off when it (inevitably) gets all over your bathroom sink.
11. Curlsmith Hair Makeup
Best Vegan Color
With no sulfates, silicones, mineral oils or phthalates, Curlsmith’s Hair Makeup is a cruelty-free option that will please parents and kids alike. Not only is it vegan, but it's super easy to use. Apply to damp hair same way you use styling gel and transform your tot into Poison Ivy or Princess Ariel. The formula is free of stains or dyes and once dry, it’s completely transfer free, so there’s no need to worry about your pristine white walls.
12. Good Dye Young Poser Paste Temporary Hair Makeup
Best For Unpredictable Weather
It’s not going to be able to withstand a torrential downpour, but even if you’re expecting some light showers on all Hallows eve, your kid’s handmade Violet Beauregarde costume is still going to be a hit. This temporary hair makeup—which is infused with sunflower wax, bergamot essential oil and sweet orange essential oil—is also vegan and cruelty-free.
13. dpHUE Gloss+ Semi-permanent Hair Color and Deep Conditioner
Best for Permanently Dyed Hair
This color and conditioner combo is ideal for when your teen’s already dyed hair is starting to grow out, but it’s not time to hit up the salon just yet. The semi-permanent solution merely boosts existing color and gives those tresses some new bounce, shine and vitality. Available in 11 shades, dpHUE Gloss+ Semi-permanent Hair Color lasts up to ten shampoos.