Home » Hair Color » Can You Dye Synthetic Hair with Semi-Permanent Color?

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair with Semi-Permanent Color?

If you love cosplay or downright, just expressing yourself through bold, glamorous looks, wigs and extensions come in handy. They let you run wild with how you present yourself—every day another hairstyle.

And when your creative juices are aching to come out, you might get the sudden urge to change up the color not just of your clothes or nails, but your wigs too.

Dyeing your synthetic wigs is a great idea because repurposing old ones is more affordable than buying more wigs, which tend to be on the expensive side. 

It also allows you the freedom to choose your color in the perfect shade. It’s super fun to refresh your wigs and extensions into something new and trendy again!

But if the big plan is to color it with the same semi-permanent dye you usually use on your natural hair, you might want to think twice.

See also: The 5 best synthetic hair for braiding

Is it possible to dye synthetic hair with semi-permanent color?

Remember that synthetic wigs aren’t the same as human hair. Your wigs’ strands are likely made from polyester or polyvinyl, not real hair.

Because of this, the products you usually use to wash, nourish, and color your hair won’t be effective on your wigs.

If you have semi-permanent hair dye lying around, don’t even think about it. These dyes are designed for human hair’s chemical composition and structure.

That means the strands you’re coloring must have cuticles that the pigments can penetrate and stain.

Since your synthetic wigs don’t have these pores and gaps in the strands, semi-permanent dye won’t work on them.

Heck, even permanent dye can’t. The ammonia and other potent chemicals will burn your synthetic hair, leaving them shriveled up.

Human hair dyes are simply too rough and strong for delicate synthetic wigs.

Even if your wigs do maintain their integrity after using semi-permanent dye on them, you can’t get the assurance that the color will be vivid and vibrant.

Wig Collection
Synthetic hair color (Credit: babygaga.com)

See also: Can you dye synthetic braiding hair?

What can I use to color my synthetic wigs and hair extensions?

You can let out that breath you’ve been holding. Fortunately, dyeing your synthetic wigs shouldn’t be that complicated. 

You could even say it’s less tedious than the stressful process of bleaching and coloring your real hair at home. The best part is you can dye your wigs with materials you might already have at home.

Keep in mind that you can only color wigs with a light shade, like pale blonde or white.

Deep brown and jet black wigs won’t change up the color of your wig, and since it doesn’t have the structure of human hair, you can’t just bleach it to lighten it up. Always pick a color that is darker than your wig’s.

(Check out the ways to darken your synthetic hair)

The easiest, most hassle-free way to color your wigs is by spraying on the color with acrylic or alcohol-based ink—yes, you can even use ink from your Sharpies and permanent markers for this.

If you’re going for acrylic ink, mix it with rubbing alcohol and put the concoction in a spray bottle. The more alcohol you pour in, the more subtle and pastel your result will be.

And if you’re using alcohol-based ink, you can simply do the same thing, but with water instead of rubbing alcohol.

Now for the fun part. All you have to do is spray it across your wig, evenly saturating each section with the color.

Leave it to settle for 45 minutes or so, or until it’s scorched. Rinse in cold water, and voila! A newly-colored wig and all you had to do was do a couple of sprays.

But the best way to color wigs is by using high-quality fabric paint. Remember, synthetic wigs are technically made of fabric.

It gives you the best color pay-off, which is always eye-catching and vivid. It takes more work than the previous two options, but the result is always worth it.

color wigs
The synthetic wig after coloring (Credit: arda-wigs.com)

How to color your synthetic wigs with fabric dye?

This method is a bit more complicated and can get pretty messy too. The first thing you have to do is take all the precautionary measures to keep your skin clean, as well as your kitchen counters and tiles.

  • Step 1: Cover your skin and floors

To avoid hair dye staining, you should wear an old T-shirt and cover your floors with newspapers.

  • Setp 2: Fill up a large pot with water and bring it to a simmer

Make sure your wig can fit in the pot and that you have space to turn the wig over multiple times during the process.

  • Step 3: Add your fabric dye

The more paint you put into the pot, the more rich and bold your color will be. If you use less pigment, you can create a bright and striking pastel shade.

But don’t add way too little—if you do this, you’ll do nothing but tone your hair, not change the base color.

  • Step 4: Put your wig in the pot

Make sure your wig is a bit wet before you put it in the pot. Like fabric, your synthetic wigs will be easier to dye when they go in the damp.

  • Step 5: Make sure the color is distributed evenly

Turn your wig over in the pot every minute to make sure the color is distributed evenly across the wig. When you’re happy with the color, you can fish it out of the pot.

  • Step 6: Dry your wig

Rinse your wig in cold water until it runs clear to shake off excess fabric paint. Place your newly-colored wig on its stand and detangle it with some conditioner and a comb. From here, let it air-dry.

Once it’s all dry, you can wear it right away and enjoy a brand new colored wig to add to your collection.

It wasn’t as stressful and hazardous as coloring your actual head of hair, was it? That’s the underrated beauty of coloring synthetic hair for fun.

To maintain that radiant, brilliant color in your wig, try not to heat style it as much. If you’re super tempted to straighten or curl your wigs, make sure you only use the lowest heat level.

This not only extends the lifespan of your wig but also lets your color last longer.


It can be frustrating when you can’t use the same dye for your natural hair on your beloved synthetic wigs. That could’ve made it a lot less complicated, right?

But when you realize that all you need are household items and markers you probably already have lying around in your craft room, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Acrylic paint, alcohol-based markers, and fabric dye will be your new BFFs when it comes to livening up your synthetic wigs.

With these commonplace craft materials, you can revamp your entire wig collection and have extensions in any color you want!

So what are you waiting for? Get going and spruce up that wig you’ve been dying to transform into a bright, brilliant color!

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I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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