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Hair color wax is a trendy product floating around on Instagram and YouTube, which is how I personally discovered it. When I saw naturals using it the first few times, I couldn’t understand how they were getting such bright colors to show up on their brown and black coils. Don’t you have to bleach your hair to achieve that type of color? The answer is no.
I have always loved the gray hair trend, mainly because I am a 30-something who's already graying. I wanted to try on a silver color without taking a permanent, possibly damaging plunge. My experience was fun, and everyone around me thought that I’d actually dyed my hair silver until I walked back into work a few days later with my usual brown hair (and several natural grays peppered in).
For a few days, I felt like Marvel's Storm (without the superpowers). But the most enjoyable part is that the process is super easy and non-damaging. Below, I’ll share how to find the right wax, how to apply it, and what to expect once you’ve placed the paint on your curls. Keep scrolling for more!
Weigh Your Options Before Purchasing
When I purchased my first jar of hair paint wax, I went with what seemed to be the most popular version from Mofajang. Since my first use in 2019, there are a few more brands, including a woman-owned, Black-owned brand that is now in the mix (more on that below). Depending on what your haircare requirements are, you’ll want to take a look at the ingredients in each option. Also, the color possibilities are quite vast. You can go blue, pink, purple, gold… the list goes on!
Each of the three most popular options has one key ingredient that helps the color show up and helps the curls pop: Cera alba, also known as beeswax. Of the three, Mysteek Naturals is the simplest formula, only using three ingredients (beeswax, petroleum jelly, and color pigment) to make her coveted hair paint wax.
Both Mofajang and ORS Curls Unleashed Color Blast are made with several ingredients, one of which might yield some concern, and that is titanium dioxide, which is commonly used in sunscreens and as a thickener/emulsifier in beauty products. There have been many debates on whether or not the ingredient is safe, but according to the EWG, titanium dioxide scores at just 1-3/10 on a toxicity rating (10 being the most toxic).
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How Do You Apply Hair Color Wax?
Hair paint wax is super easy to use, but it can get quite messy. I recommend applying with a pair of gloves and wearing a shirt you don’t mind getting dirty. Depending on your hair’s length and type, you’ll want to work in sections, as that will ensure you get even coverage all over (coarser hair may need more product, whereas finer hair will need less). I followed my post-wash product layering, and then applied the wax. One thing to keep in mind is you don’t need to apply a lot of wax to achieve a color payoff. Over-applying can cause flaking and can be prevented with the right level of application. After applying, I did go back over some spots that I wanted to highlight for an extra silvery pop, then I let my hair air dry, and followed up with a diffuser.
If you want to take a look at a tutorial before trying this on your hair, YouTube vlogger, Whitney White has a great video here.
How Long Does It Last?
My hair painting session lasted for four days with little retouching needed. The only place I found myself needing to add a little more paint was around my edges since I used water to pop my hair up into a puff. If you do decide to touch up your color, I would use as little product as possible to avoid flaking and curls that are stringy or crunchy.
How Do You Rinse It Out?
You may be wondering if it takes an extra effort to rinse away the wax, and the answer is no. However, you'll want to incorporate buildup-busting products like a pre-poo to loosen up the wax and pigment, followed by a scalp and hair scrub to clarify and remove excess buildup.
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The only issue I had with the wax was flaking, which can be remedied by using a lighter hand to apply the wax in the first place. (On my first application, I did have flaking, but it only lasted for the first day.) There is one additional downside, specifically for those with finer hair types: Since this is a wax, you may have to do a little testing on your curls before you find the right way to use it without weighing down your hair.
Hair Color Wax vs. Traditional Dye
The major difference between traditional dyes and hair paint wax is how long they stay in the hair. Rinses can have a similar effect since the color coats the hair and lasts for a couple of washes, but this type of color is best used to go darker on deeper toned hair. On the other side of the spectrum is a permanent hair color that uses chemicals to change your hair color until you grow it out. If you’re trying to achieve a super pigmented color on dark hair with permanent color, bleaching is usually the only way to go, and that can lead to irreversible hair damage.
Before I wrap this up, I want to share one more temporary hair color option with you: Crown Paint Colors give the same bold color payoff as wax, however, unlike hair paint wax that is usually applied to wet hair, this is best if applied on dry hair. It's similar to hair paint wax, but instead of a beeswax base, this colorful paint is cream-based.
Hair paint wax offers a simple, temporary way to try on new hair colors sans the damage traditional hair color can leave behind. If you're curious about it, give it a try! If you're anything like me, you'll be adding a new color to your cart after seeing your hair for the first time.