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Synthetic Hair Coloring


If you regularly wear a wig or hair extensions, you may be wondering how to color synthetic hair. While you might assume that dying synthetic hair is easier than dying real hair, the opposite is true, for a variety of reasons.

The Challenge

The problems associated with coloring synthetic hair all stem from the fact that it’s made from plastic. Any products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide are immediately out, as they can effectively melt the plastic. This eliminates all synthetic dyes created for natural hair. Any method that requires the application of anything more than very low heat is also out because it will damage the plastic. Vegetable based dyes designed for natural hair and fabric dyes don’t work because they don’t adhere to the plastic. Any moisture at all would cause the wig to run.

Synthetic Wig Dye

Dye made specifically for synthetic wigs does exists, and but it comes in limited colors, is often hard to find, and can be very expensive. Still, if you can afford it, and the color you want exists, it’s probably your best bet.

The Sharpie® Method

If you can’t find synthetic wig dye in your color, begin by buying Sharpie® permanent markers in the shade you desire. Remove the ink sticks from the pens and use a sharp knife to slit the plastic coating. Put the ink sticks in rubbing alcohol and shake vigorously. If the resulting color is darker than you want, add more alcohol. If it’s lighter than you intended, add more ink sticks. Once you achieve your desired shade, apply the mixture to the wig. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Allow the wig to dry completely before washing it with cold water. Allow it to dry completely again before checking to see if you’ve achieve your desired result.

The FY Method

This method is similar to the Sharpie® method, but it’s easier and less time consuming. Simply buy artists’ ink in the desired shade and then mix it in a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol until you achieve the desired color. Spray the mixture onto the wig. Allow the wig to dry completely and then wash it with cold water. When it dries the second time, check to see if it’s the shade you wanted.




“Effective Wig Dying Methods.” All Hairstyles Haircuts. N.p., 5 June 2009. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.

“NiceNEasy Instructions.” Clairol. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.

“The Basics of Synthetic Wig Styling and Maintenance.” Musical Theater Production. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.

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