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How Long Does Temporary Hair Dye Last?

There may be many occasions when you feel the urge to color your hair for a special event but hesitate due to your office environment.

At other times, you might be curious about how a certain color would look on you but aren’t ready for a long-term commitment.

In such situations, temporary hair dye can be the ideal solution. However, knowing the longevity of temporary hair dyes is important so that you can make an informed decision about dyeing your hair.

What Is Temporary Hair Dye?

temporary hair color

Temporary hair color is a type of hair dye that provides a color change for a short period of time by coating the hair.

Unlike permanent or semi-permanent hair colors, which penetrate the hair shaft and cause a lasting change, temporary hair color simply coats the surface of the hair.

This type of dye doesn’t use harsh chemicals and typically washes out after just a few shampoos. So, there is no chemical reaction or loss of your natural hair color. It’s like giving your hair a colored tint. 

Temporary hair dyes are available in various forms such as sprays, waxes, chalks, etc. The intensity and longevity of the color depend on the product type.

How Long Does Temporary Hair Dye Last?

how long does temporary hair dye last

Temporary hair dyes last 1 or 2 washes. So, if you wash your hair every day, it will last about two days. 

Temporary hair dye will fade 60%-80% on the first shampoo wash after dyeing. It’ll typically wash out completely or almost completely by the second shampoo wash. This is great if you only need the dye for a brief time, such as for a party or other event. 

There’s no magic product to make it last longer without going down the semi-permanent or permanent hair dye route. 

Here are the longevity of different types of temporary hair dye:

  • Hair chalk: Hair chalk comes in the form of a stick or comb application. You apply it by stroking the stick or comb repeatedly onto damp hair until you achieve the desired color. Hair chalk washes out after 1-2 washes.
  • Colored hairspray: Colored hairspray comes in an aerosol can. To apply it, you spray it directly onto your hair. This type of temporary hair color lasts 1-2 washes.
  • Hair mascara: Hair mascara is designed to cover small areas. Many use it for highlights, root touch-ups, or grey coverage. It washes out after 1-2 washes.
  • One wash hair color styling gel and wax: Gel or wax color is applied in thick layers for coloring and holding spikes or a mohawk, then left for 10-15 minutes for drying. You can also apply them on whole hair and comb your hair gently after drying for an effect similar to hair chalk. These types of temporary hair colors last only 1 wash.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color Vs. Temporary Hair Color

Semi-permanent hair dye is often called temporary hair dye because it deposits color onto the surface of the hair like temporary hair colors.

However,semi-permanent hair colors slightly penetrate the outer layer of the hair. That’s why these types of hair colors last longer than temporary hair colors.

While a temporary hair dye lasts 1-2 washes, a semi-permanent dye lasts up to 6-8 washes. The color range of semi-permanent dyes is more natural-looking and not as bright as temporary dyes.

So, semi-permanent dye is less damaging than permanent dye but can have a more lasting impact than temporary color.

How to Apply Temporary Hair Dye?

applying temporary hair dye

While some temporary hair dyes do require wet hair for application, some believe it’s always best to dye your hair when it’s dry, not wet. 

The theory is, that if your hair is wet, it won’t soak up all the hair dye you apply, as it is already full of water.

The water essentially dilutes the temporary hair dye. Dyeing dry hair has the potential to make the color much more vibrant. 

So, if you’re unhappy with your results after dying wet hair, give this theory a try.

Wrap Up

Temporary dye starts to fade after 1 wash. If you see it fading, you can easily retouch it as it isn’t as damaging to your hair as a permanent dye that contains bleach and other harsh chemicals.

The purpose of temporary hair dyes is short-term color changes, like for a special event or a costume. If you want your hair color to last longer without damaging your hair, you should choose a semi-permanent hair dye.


Here are some frequently asked questions people have when thinking about temporary hair dye and how long it lasts.

Will temporary dye last longer than hair chalks?

Temporary dye and hair chalk last about the same time. This is because hair chalk, like temporary hair dyes, only sticks to the outermost layer of your hair.

There are no chemicals involved to cause further penetration. 

How often should I retouch temporary hair dye?

Using temporary hair dye isn’t harmful to your hair, so you can retouch it as often as you want. If you’d rather not retouch the dye daily, retouching it after every second shampoo wash is usually a good idea. 

Does temporary hair dye wash out completely?

Yes, temporary hair dye will wash out completely. It’ll typically take a few washes, but usually, by the third wash at most, there will be no more pigment left. This type of dye is very short-term.

Does temporary dyes damage hair?

No, temporary dyes will not damage your hair because there are no harsh chemicals in them to cause the damage. It cannot penetrate further than the cuticle. 

Are there any benefits of using temporary hair dyes?

Some benefits of using temporary hair dyes include the following:
– You don’t need to use bleach, and there aren’t any harmful chemicals in the dye itself, so it won’t damage your hair.
– It’s great for short-term uses like a party or experimenting to see what colors you like. 
– They give a more natural, muted look to your hair.