Dye your hair with food coloring!


Did you know you can dye your hair with food coloring? This is something I’d been pondering for a while. When I was a young and rebellious teenager, I dyed my hair quite a bit. I had every “natural” color under the sun, and quite a few unnatural colors. After seeing some seriously awesome dye jobs on Pinterest, I got the itch. I needed more color! The last time I dyed my hair like this, I used something called Manic Panic. But that can get kind of expensive. I think it was in the $8-10 range? So I decided to look it up online, can I dye my hair with food coloring? The answer was YES! I found this helpful website. It has lots of great tips on it. Ultimately, food coloring is a great way to get temporary color. But what if you want permanent color? It is SO possible! You know how when you open a box of hair dye, it has 2 bottles and a few other things? Usually the applicator bottle is filled with something called developer, and the other bottle is filled with dye. You can actually buy a bottle of developer at Sally’s, and it will make color STICK! So here’s what I did.

I mixed about 2 tablespoons of developer with about 1 tablespoon of food coloring. I mixed a little but of hot pink with fluorescent purple and blue. I spread it evenly on my hair, let it sit for about 40 minutes, and washed. This was the result.


It was a little bright for my taste, so I used a box of cheap hair dye (light blonde) to lighten it. This is what I got.


Alright, so I’ll admit, I was originally going for a nice deep purple. Apparently if you’re shooting for purple, fluorescent purple is going to turn out more of a fuscia. It’s too bad the blue I mixed in with it didn’t tone it down some! But I was really happy with the pink color I was left with! It ended up being a kind of light to bright peachy pink. It went well with my natural color (which is now starting to show through a little more after 3 weeks).

So all in all, yes, you can dye your hair with food coloring! If you want it to be temporary, just mix it with conditioner or hair gel (per these instructions). If you want a light color, keep it on for a short amount of time. If you want a deeper color, leave it on for longer. If you’re not sure what color it will be, do a strand test by washing a strand of hair to see how much color has stuck.

If you want it to be permanent, do like I did and use developer. It should be vibrant for a few weeks and slowly start to fade after that. Even with lightening my color, it’s still here after 3 weeks.

Obviously, this is going to work better with light blonde hair. But just because you have dark hair doesn’t mean it won’t work. If in doubt, chop off a small strand of hair (from a spot that won’t be noticed) and do a test with it to see what kind of color you can get!


39 thoughts on “Dye your hair with food coloring!

  1. Since youre using the hair dye developer…can I mix in a little bit of actual hair dye? Like a coin size, and will this affect the amount of time I should keep all of this on?…planning on doing it today but my hair is already damaged and I dont want to damage. It any more

  2. I just did my daughters hair using the neon colors by Mccormick (I think that is who makes them). I used conditioner as the medium to begin with and it washed right out after almost an hour on her hair. She is a light to medium blonde. SO, no we have gotten into my developer and trying this again using levels 30 and 40. ( I ran out of 40). Hope fully we will have My Little Pony hair before the night is through

  3. Hey, so for temporary dye you mix the food coloring with shampoo or gel? And for darker hair should you leave it in longer even if you want a lighter color?

  4. Everyone that’s going to try this with dark hair, take my advice and leave it in for 4 to 5 hours or sleep with it in, Trust me

  5. I LOVE the pastel pink. I always did it with aloΓ« vera-gel and the food colouring you can get in indonesian shops in Amsterdam. It will start fading after a week, but it’s so cheap – I think it comes down to like 50 euro cents a treatment.

  6. If you use a developer for the permanent colour, does it damage? At all? I was very harsh to my hair with bleach and dye for months and its only just started being healthy again (or at least looks and feels it) and I really don’t want to mess it up. Thanks

  7. I Use Mixed Food Coloring With Conditioner And Tried To Die MY Hair I Left It In For 2 Hours But When I Took It Out There Was Absolutely No Results. What ShoulD I Do To Get The Color To Stay In My Hair?

  8. Nice post. Its really good to about the dying hair with food color. You can use natural ingredients for coloring your hair. For red and light orange colors you can use henna. You’ll get color variations by the time you are keeping the henna on your scalp. You can get dark color by mixing indigo color to the henna. Henna also helps you in conditioning your hair.

  9. hey this was realy helpfull but if you are want your hair to be temporaralu colored that just brush food coloring in your hair w tooth brush then let sit for an hour

  10. Another way to test is with a cotton ball. let it sit on tin foil for the amount of time you desire and then wash it with your shampoo or conditior

  11. Hey! I just saw this and I’m trying this right now actually πŸ™‚ I’m using level 20 developer for a much lighter color and a level 40 for darker. I’m using neon blue, green and I mixed in a purple and blue food coloring and it seems to be working excellent! You’re a genius!

  12. Your hair looks aweosme ! My question is that i have a food colour (in powdered form ) so to start , first should i add a little water to it untill it gets a little wet so it would be easy to apply on ? Will it work ?? , secondly i have chocolate brown hair , how much time it’ll take to finish ? Thanks .

  13. Pingback: How to Dye Your Hair With Food Coloring | Ecocult

  14. I’m currently doing my hair bright blue because of this! I hope it turns out well, and I’m really excited to see the results. Thanks so much for the tips, I love your blog!

  15. thanks for the advice about the developer. I tried kool aid for my 11yo daughter who wants tips while she’s here for the summer, but it didn’t work very well. we will give this a try. I like your piercing! thanks again.

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