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Spray-on Dyes

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 28 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Spray-on Dye Hair Dye Permanent

If you want to change your hair colour quickly and with minimum fuss, spray-on dyes could be for you. They're great if you want to look different for a night out but revert to your usual appearance the following day. They can also be a good choice for people who suffer from allergic reactions to permanent and semi-permanent dyes. Yet they don't have a great reputation. What do you need to know to get the best out of them?

Colour Choices

When spray-on hair dyes first became available, they were generally only made in colours like blue and pink. These can be great for parties but are not so helpful if you want to experiment with a new natural-looking shade. The good news is that, in recent years, a much wider range of colours has come onto the market. Not all chemists or salons carry them, but you can easily get them over the internet.

Natural colour spray-on dyes are great if you want to make thinning hair less obvious, as they stain your scalp as well as the hair itself. They can also be useful for touching up your roots if you have permanent dye in place and are not ready to re-do it.

Bright coloured spray-on dyes are great when you want to look really different for a night out. They can be good for costuming, whether for fancy dress parties or for the stage. There are now dyes available that glow under UV light, and others that include glitter.


To use a spray-on dye effectively, start by washing and shampooing your hair, but don't condition it. This will leave individual hairs with a rougher surface for the dye to adhere to. Wait until it's completely dry and then use Vaseline or a similar cream to cover your hands, ears and forehead - this will stop dye sticking where you don't want it to. You will then be ready to spray in the dye.

Most spray-on dye canisters are designed for a single use on shoulder-length hair. This means that you may need an extra canister if you have really long or thick hair, and you may get extra uses out of a single canister if your hair is really short. Some spray-on dyes can also be used on wigs.

Some cheaper spray-on dyes remain sticky after application and may come off on clothes or pillows, so be careful. There are better quality ones on the market that don't do this. After application you can comb your hair but you shouldn't heat-treat it. Because spray-on dyes are water-soluble, you'll need to protect your hair from the rain.


Despite the fact that spray-on dyes are designed to be water soluble, they don't always come out quickly when you want them to, so make sure you have time to wash your hair thoroughly. A shampoo designed for oily hair is usually the most efficient means of stripping them out. You will need to condition your hair afterwards, but the dye should not do your hair any harm.

Because spray-on dyes are kind to your hair, it's possible to put a new colour in immediately after washing the old colour out. If you leave a colour in for more than one day it will gradually fade as it comes into contact with moisture in the air. Because this doesn't always happen evenly, it can quickly start looking a mess, but freshly added spray-on dye, if properly applied, can look just as good as a permanent colour job.

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