Party City, Lime Crime, Wella
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Whether you're into Halloween costumes or not, it's undeniable that one of the easiest ways to change up your look and get into character is by applying Halloween makeup and temporarily dying your hair. In fact, we'd argue that switching up your hair color is the easiest way to make a quick DIY Halloween costume. Want to be Beetlejuice? Just spray your hair with green dye and throw on a striped blazer. Thinking about channeling Dua Lipa? Dye two front sections platinum blonde for a night and wear your favorite neon ensemble.
There are many temporary hair colors perfect for Halloween, from chalks to sprays, but they all have different effects and may or may not show up on brunette hair. To help you know how to best dye your hair this October, we asked celebrity hairstylist DaRico Jackson how to switch your color up, what products he recommends, and how to avoid rookie mistakes.
Different ways to add temporary hair color:
For temporary hair dyes, there are three main formulas, each with a different effect.
Hair chalks: Hair chalking is an easy way to get super-precise hair color exactly where you want it, making it perfect for creating bright blue highlights and fun hair color designs. However, the formulas tend to suck out the moisture from the hair, so they're best for special occasions, like concerts and Halloween.
Hair sprays: Just a few spritzes can give you highly pigmented color that easily washes off at the end of the night. You can find these sprays in bold shades and fun finishes, such as glitters and metallics.
Hair dyes: Temporary hair dyes are often semi-permanent and last longer than hair chalks or color sprays, so they're great if you're on the fence about permanently dying your hair. Unlike the chalks and sprays, though, dyes take a little longer to settle into the hair since the color penetrates the hair shaft, so you'll need to give yourself ample time to apply it if you're planning to use it on Halloween. "One of my favorite things to do is to add a little conditioner to temporary color mixture," says Jackson. "This way the hair is being conditioned at the same time the color is processing."
How to apply temporary hair color:
First, make sure that you're applying the hair color to dry, clean hair. If it's wet or oily, the pigment won't grasp onto the hair as well and the results will be subpar. For chalks, simply glide them across your chosen strands in downward motions, applying as many layers of color as needed to get desired results. For sprays, spritz them onto the hair from at least a 12" distance. For dyes, follow the instructions on the package, as directions can vary from formula to formula.
One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is not using a pre-base on the scalp prior to color application. "Temporary hair colors are dyes and they are designed to stain hair, so it can and will stain skin and scalp," explains Jackson. "Make sure the application is neat and always base the hairline and scalp before the application."
How to wash out your Halloween hair:
Jackson explains that there's no need to shampoo wash-out dyes like chalks and sprays since they're formulated to be water-soluble, so rinsing in cool water is sufficient after the application. However, if you're using a semi-permanent dye, you'll have to shampoo your hair several times to get the color to fade out.
The best temporary hair colors for Halloween:
Best value temporary hair color: Party City Hair Spray
hellogiggles - $3.99 Available at Party City
If you're looking for a no-frills spray that will do the job, look no further. This low-budget formula works on all hair types and colors, delivering highly pigmented shades from roots to tip. This spray won't give you glossy hair though. Instead, it gives off a matte finish.
Best temporary hair color for brunettes: Clairol Professional Jazzing
hellogiggles Available at Amazon
This is Jackson's go-to for brunettes. He says that he particularly loves the red tones this line offers, as, "they show up as a blended additive with the browns, making the color even more rich and shiny with a beautiful red glow when you go out in the sun."
Best metallic temporary hair color: Dark & Lovely Go Intense Spray
hellogiggles - $7.79 Available at Sally Beauty
Get mega-watt shine with a few spritzes of this hair color that's marketed as "makeup for hair." Whether you're looking for a gold, silver, or rose gold finish, this spray will get you there in under a minute.
Best temporary hair color chalk: Splat Hair Chalk
hellogiggles - $5.99 Available at Target
Pastel-colored hair chalks work best on blondes since light color hair helps bold colors appear more visible. To use, simply grab the chalk and gently glide it through the hair in downward motions for the smoothest effect.
Best temporary hair color for shine: Wella Colorcharm Paints
hellogiggles Available at Amazon
Revamp or change your hair color with this easy-to-use semi-permanent dye. Available in 18 shades, it can help elevate your existing hair color or temporarily give you an Insta-worthy shade. "This product is great for adding slight color, conditioning, and shine to virgin hair," says Jackson. Just note that this dye will remain in the hair for up to 20 washes.
Best temporary hair color for blondes: Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Semi-Permanent Hair Color Full Coverage
hellogiggles - $16 Available at Ulta
Although Lime Crime has a line for brunettes, we've found that the colors don't pop on darker-haired people as well as they do on blondes, so if you have brown hair, opt for a colored hair spray on Halloween. However, if you're blonde, this fun dye will do the trick. It has a super-hydrating formula that will condition your hair while giving it unicorn-worthy color and shine. This formula will typically wash out after one shampoo, but it could take two or three depending on how much product you use.
Best temporary hair color for bleach blondes: L'Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Color
hellogiggles Available at Amazon
This option is best for people with bleach blonde hair, although there are options for brunettes—they're just a lot darker. To apply, choose the areas you want to color, put in the dye, wait 15-30 minutes for your hair to grasp the color, then rinse out the excess dye.