The 9 Best Temporary Hair Colors If You Don't Want to Commit

Updated 06/03/19
Woman with blue-tinted hair

Commitment is scary—and not just when it comes to personal relationships. As beauty editors, we're the type of people who pride ourselves on a willingness to test new products, routines, and looks. Overhauling our skincare routines with anti-pollution products? We'll try it. Trying something that's colloquially referred to as a bird-poop facial? Sure, why not? We'll go through different hairstyling, makeup, and skincare products like it's our job (because it is).

But when it comes to hair color, that beauty decision is a harder one to make. Unlike a new face serum or cream, the maintenance and commitment of permanent hair color require a little more thought and consideration. The good news? You don't have to go all in with a permanent dye.

One option that doesn't last quite as long (about 12 to 24 washes) but still offers coverage for grays as well as deepens and intensifies your natural shade is demi-permanent hair color. Or if you're looking to subtly deepen your natural hair color or add a layer of color, try a semi-permanent color, which washes out in six to 12 shampoos. But the best choice for the truly noncommittal is a washable temporary hair color, which comes out after one shampoo.

So if you're someone who frequently changes their mind or if you're gearing up for an epic costume, keep scrolling to see the nine best temporary hair color products for light to dark hair.

Manic Panic Dye Hard Temporary Hair Color Styling Gel
Manic Panic Dye Hard Temporary Hair Color Styling Gel in Electric Lizard $10

Manic Panic is a classic when it comes to hair color, especially those that are shockingly bright. Although it's best known for its classic semi-permanent color, it offers another category of temporary hair dye in the form of these tinted gels. They're first and foremost hair gel, which means they provide hold and structure to strands. Unlike other hair gels, though, they're also tinted for a dye-like effect that washes out with shampoo.

Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Rainbow Mist
Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Rainbow Mist in Lollipop $14

Lime Crime's highly anticipated Unicorn Hair semi-permanent dye was a major hit with its loyal following, and this spray version makes it even easier to try any and every color in the range. Unlike other vivid hues, this formula contains absolutely zero bleach, which means it won't strip your hair or ruin your base color.

Good Dye Young Poser Paste
Good Dye Young Poser Paste Temporary Hair Makeup in Riot Orange $18

This hybrid product is another great option if you're looking for a styling paste that also temporarily colors the hair. Not only does it provide medium hold, but it also packs a real punch of color that shows up even on the darkest hair colors.

Biotera Sheer Illuminator Tinted Moisture Treatment in Copper $10

If it's not so much an all-over bold color transformation you desire, try this tinted moisture treatment from Biotera. It adds a colorful sheen to any existing color, while also hydrating each strand of hair. Consider it as you would a hair gloss, albeit temporary.

Shade Variation Care Nutritive Mask with Temporary Coloring - Chic Copper 8.33 oz/ 246 mL
Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care Nutritive Mask With Temporary Coloring in Chic Copper $53

Similar to the Biotera product, this color-enhancing mask from Christophe Robin adds warm and glossy copper undertones to all existing hair colors. It even improves the natural state of hair with almond butter and buriti oil.

Dark and Lovely Go Intense Color Sprays
Dark & Lovely Go Intense Color Spray in Rose Gold $7

Those with dark brown or black hair know the struggle: temporary hair dyes promise a lot, but only a rare few actually deliver the color you desire. This spray packs a pigment like no other, and it doesn't make hair feel tangled or brittle—a major plus for those with naturally curly texture who also want to experiment with color.

Hush Prism Spray
Hush Prism Airbrush Spray in Antique Red $24

Unlike the name "Hush," this bold temporary hair color spray is anything but soft and subtle. Though some spray dyes can make the hair look a little dull, this formula gives your strands shine and dimension as well as unbelievable color.

Garnier Intense Wash-Out Color Styler
Garnier Intense Wash-Out Color Styler in Blue Burst $9

The color of this dye is intense, so light-haired people beware. With that being said, if you have dark hair and you find temporary color rarely shows up, give this temporary hair color a go. But fair warning: this one might take two or three washes to remove completely, so save it for the occasions when you want your new color to last longer than a night.

Splat Hair Chalk
Splat Instant Color Hair Chalk in Violet Sky $6

Hair chalk, like this one from Splat, is the easiest and fastest way to "dye" your hair—just be sure to apply it over the sink. Its powdery, sometimes crumbly texture can make the application process a messy one, but it's worth it for the fun streaks of color that are perfect for Halloween.

Now that you know the best temporary hair dyes, keep with that Halloween spirit by checking out the best glitter hair sprays (you know, for your celestial-themed costume ideas).

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