Can You Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions?

Do you love your synthetic hair extensions but are no longer too big of a fan of the color? Whether switching up your hair color on a whim or thinking that the shade is a smidgen or two off, you may think about dying your synthetic hair extensions. But can you?

You can successfully dye synthetic hair extensions. However, the process is a tad bit more complicated. That’s because synthetic hair does not allow the dye to penetrate it like natural strands, so it’s not as “simple.”

If you’re preparing to give your synthetic hair extensions a makeover, you’ve come to the right place. I love playing around with colors, and I’ve successfully figured out how to dye synthetic hair extensions. Yes, it’s different from the “norm,” but I promise it’s doable – with no experience necessary.

Let’s learn whether or not you can dye synthetic hair extensions (and how to do it successfully)!

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions?

First and foremost, let’s answer the main question – Can you even dye synthetic hair extensions? And the simple answer is yes, it’s possible.

The keyword here is possible.

That’s simply because synthetic hair does not allow the color to penetrate like natural strands. Therefore, it’s trickier to get the color how you want it, and you won’t use any ole box dye to get it done.

Also, you have to keep in mind that you cannot use bleach on synthetic hair extensions. Therefore, you won’t be able to lighten or brighten darker shades. For instance, you can’t take brown synthetic hair extensions to blonde, but you can take them to a darker shade, like black.

How to Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions

So you have synthetic hair extensions and want to create a darker shade. Great! That’s totally doable. (And by the way, it will work even better on low-priced synthetic hair extensions. High-quality ones may be too smooth to hold the color!). 

Here’s how to bring your color dreams to life, queen!

1. Thoroughly Wash and Dry Your Synthetic Hair Extensions

Have you ever tried to apply product to hair that’s greasy, oily, or riddled with product? Yeah, it’s a nightmare, if not entirely impossible. 

That said, give your synthetic hair extensions a deep wash before you try to color them. A mild shampoo should do the trick! 

Let them air dry before moving on to step two. While drying, use a wide-toothed comb to eliminate any tangles and knots that can be troublesome when you’re trying to distribute color.

2. Choose Your Coloring Method

As I mentioned, you can’t use a box dye from the store to color your synthetic hair extensions. It simply will not work. When it comes to coloring synthetic hair extensions, you have to be more creative. You have three choices:

  • Alcohol-based ink and water. You can mix an alcohol-based ink (in your desired shade) with water in a 1:1 ratio inside a spray bottle. Shake to incorporate. If you want it a little lighter, add more water.
  • Sharpie ink and water. You can also use a Sharpie to reach magnificent colors! Empty the contents of a Sharpie into a spray bottle filled with water. Shake and allow the color to blend with the water for 8-12 hours. 
  • Acrylic ink and rubbing alcohol. Mix ½ teaspoon of your acrylic color with four tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Add it to a spray bottle. Shake until incorporated.
  • Food coloring and hair mousse. Mix your preferred food coloring with hair mousse. The more food coloring you use, the more intense the shade will be. You be the judge!
  • Fabric dye and boiling water. The final option is to add three teaspoons of fabric dye to every cup of water in a pot and boil it. 

3. Saturate the Synthetic Hair Extensions

Now that you’ve “made” your DIY hair color, it’s time for the fun part – coloring your synthetic hair extensions! Again, you have two fabulous options for success:

  • Spray or rub the color into every inch of your synthetic hair extensions. You will need to use your fingers or a comb to manipulate the hair and reach every inch from root to tip. Let dry.
  • Soak in a plastic bag. Pour your mixture into a plastic bag. Add synthetic hair extensions. Make sure there’s enough product to cover the extensions completely. Let soak for at least five minutes (the longer, the better!). 
  • Soak in the boiling dye and water. Now, this option is reserved for those using the fabric dye and water method. It’s simple, though. Bring water and dye to a simmer, reduce to a simmer, add hair and wait until you’re satisfied with the hue.

4. Rinse with Cold Water

By now, your synthetic hair extensions should be wowing with their brand-new color! The last thing to do is to give them a nice rinse with cold water. 

You do not need shampoo, and you definitely do not want to use hot water. Shampoos and water at high temperatures will cause the colors to run out, leaving all that hard work for nothing. You can, however, use a little bit of your favorite conditioner to add some silky smooth texture.

If you are unsatisfied with the color, you may need to perform the “dying” again. For the second round, opt to use a touch more of the chosen color. For example, add more food coloring to the mousse or use two Sharpies instead of one.

Once you’re satisfied with the shade, limit washing to once or twice a week, maximum. This will prolong the color and resist fading.


See? I told you that dying synthetic hair extensions is easy! So what are you waiting for? Start coloring! Wait, you’re still here? OK, OK. Fine. Here are a few questions that readers have asked.

What happens if you dye synthetic hair extensions?

If you try to dye synthetic hair extensions with a box dye or bleach, two things will happen. For one, it won’t work. Worse, it could destroy your extensions. Yup! That’s right – dye and bleach can ruin the texture and material, resorting your extensions to the trash can.

Can you dye synthetic hair extensions with normal hair dye?

You cannot dye synthetic hair extensions with regular hair dye. Don’t even try it, hon. It’s a disaster waiting to happen (not to mention a lot of wasted time and money). Opt for one of the coloring methods above!

How long can you wear synthetic hair extensions?

Unfortunately, synthetic hair extensions simply don’t have the longevity of extensions made with 100% Remy human hair. However, you can get around three months of wear before they need to be replaced, especially if you opt for a more expensive set of synthetic hair extensions.

It’s Easy – But Different – To Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions!

No, dying synthetic hair extensions isn’t as straightforward as dying human hair extensions, but it’s still possible. You just have to step out of the box with other color options, such as food coloring, acrylic paint, or even Sharpie!

Have you ever dyed synthetic hair extensions? Which method did you use? Do you have any methods to recommend? Share with us in the comment section!

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