Fun, Conditioning Temporary Hair Dyes for Black Hair

Achieve high-impact hues at home with affordable, easy-to-apply products that condition as they color.

Woman with hair dyed green.
Temporary hair dyes let you switch up your color whenever the mood strikes.Retha Ferguson, Pexels

Remember that time Rihanna rocked the world with her fiery red hair? What about when Alicia Keys brought her brightly colored braids to the covers of major magazines? And who can forget Lil’ Kim’s iconic outfit-matching blue, yellow, green and red wigs in the 1996 “Crush on You” video? Each of those women were continuing an ages-old tradition of black women wearing their hair as an artistic accessory. Lately, more women are wearing fantasy-colored hair in their everyday lives, and the beauty industry has made it easier than ever to create these looks at home. From metallic sprays and hair chalks, to temporary dyes and colored conditioners or hair wax, there are numerous affordable ways to DIY fun-colored hair. Note that some products are most visible on pre-lightened hair, and the process of lightening may strip hair of moisture or cause changes in curl patterns, so it’s important to make sure you’re using effective conditioners and properly moisturizing your color-treated hair. Always spot test a product before using it on your whole head.

Keracolor Clenditioner Hair Dye (18 Colors) Depositing Color Conditioner Colorwash, Semi Permanent, Vegan and Cruelty-Free, 12 fl. Oz
Maintain your mane and add pigment all at once.Keracolor

Let’s say you’ve been getting your hair colored at the salon, but you’re refreshing your own color for the first time and are nervous about how to apply the dye. A product that cleanses, conditions, and deposits color all at once will help take the guesswork out of achieving the hue your heart desires. Simply apply it, let it sit for a while—according to the instructions on the package—rinse and then style. If you’re intentionally letting your fantasy color lighten so that you can switch shades, a product like this will help keep your color even during the process. However, if vibrant color is your goal, a few applications may be required.

Adore Semi-Permanent Haircolor #190 Cotton Candy 4 Ounce (118ml)
If your locks are shoulder-length or longer, consider buying at least two bottles.Adore

When you’re applying coloring your hair, remember to wear gloves. Just because the dye is temporary doesn’t mean it won’t stain your skin—and we’re confident that cotton candy-colored tresses look much better than rainbow hands.

Manic Panic Plum Passion Hair Dye - Classic High Voltage - Semi Permanent Hair Color - Purple Shade With Red Undertones - For Dark & Light Hair – Vegan, PPD & Ammonia-Free - For Coloring Hair
Create custom hues with easy-to-mix products.MANIC PANIC

Those who are looking for more customized colors should look for product lines with dyes that mix easily with each other. Some even have products you can combine to convert vibrant colors to pastels. Basically, your only limitation will be your imagination, especially if your hair is already lightened. There are even some shades that glow under a black light.

Arctic Fox Vegan and Cruelty-Free Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye (8 Fl Oz, VIRGIN PINK)
Intense pigments work well on darker strands.ARCTIC FOX

If you want to apply color to hair that hasn’t been lightened, look for semi-permanent dyes with high-intensity pigments. While pastels won’t be possible, deeper reds, blues, teals and purples will likely show up, especially on naturally lighter shades of brown. Be sure to look for products that don’t contain ammonia to keep from damaging your curl pattern. If you’re eco-conscious, there are also vegan and cruelty-free options.