Wig wearers everywhere love human hair wigs for their styling versatility, as they can be dyed and bleached like natural hair.
But synthetic wigs are a lot different; their fibers aren’t made of human hair, so some assume that they can’t be dyed. If you’re wondering if this is true, this is the article for you! In it, we’ll tell you whether you can dye a synthetic wig. Let’s get right into it!
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Can You Dye a Synthetic Wig?
You can dye a synthetic wig, but the catch here is that you can’t dye a synthetic wig like you would a human hair wig. For one, you can’t use typical hair dyes made for human hair. These dyes are designed only for hair that comes from a human head. Synthetic hair is unnatural and often derived from nylon or acrylic fibers.
Think about it: when you dye your hair or a human hair wig, the dye must come in contact with a hair cuticle to do its work. The color will either be deposited onto the hair cuticle or underneath it.
There’s no possibility of this happening with synthetic hair, as there’s no cuticle to speak of. Don’t believe us? If you use permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, or any other dye made for human hair or a synthetic wig, you’ll experience some odd effects.
Either the color will eat away at the synthetic hair fibers or fail to change the hair color at all. Still, you can dye your synthetic wig if you’re willing to take an alternate route.
But you’ll have to go about it differently than you would normally. We’ll touch more on that later.
Synthetic Wigs Cannot Be Lightened, Only Darkened
You read that right! You cannot lighten a synthetic wig, at least with dyes and materials available to the general public. Products that lighten natural hair cannot be used since synthetic wig hairs don’t have the same structure or attributes as natural hair.
If you want to experiment with changing the color of your wig, you’ll have to start with a light-colored synthetic wig. Luckily, synthetic wigs are so cheap that most people can afford to buy a blonde one for DIY color transformations.
How to Dye a Synthetic Wig
To dye a synthetic wig, you’ll use agents capable of changing the color of plastic. Synthetic wigs are, after all, made of processed plastic. The dyeing methods you’ll see here differ completely from those for natural hair.
If you’ve ever used food coloring before, then you know that the stuff stains nearly anything. It turns out that it’s superb at staining plastic, which your synthetic wig is made of.
Here’s how to dye a synthetic wig with food coloring:
- Gather the materials you’ll need for the job:
- Food coloring in the shade(s) you want
- Plastic spoon
- Tinting brush
- Hair mousse
- Wig stand
- Put the towel on a flat surface where you’ll dye the wig.
- Protect your hands by putting on some gloves. It also helps to wear an old shirt. More often than not, food coloring dye sessions get messy in a hurry.
- Detangle your wig and place it on top of the towel.
- Mix your food coloring by combining 5 to 10 drops of food coloring with a cup or two of hair mousse in a mixing bowl. To make the color less vibrant, use more hair mousse. Conversely, use less mousse to make the color more vibrant. Stir with the disposable spoon until the mixture is smooth and only one color.
- Apply the color to your wig with a tinting brush. Ensure the wig is clean and dry before this. Use a comb or brush to distribute the color evenly.
- Wait for up to 45 minutes, then rinse the color out of the hair with cold water.
- Let your wig air dry on a flat surface or a wig stand.
How to Dye a Synthetic Wig with Fabric Dye
Fabric dye is regularly used to alter the color of textiles made of the same materials your synthetic wig fibers are derived from. You can use it to change the color of your wig in a snap.
But be warned; this method is a little more involved than the food coloring method. You could end up with more even, long-lasting results, though.
- Gather your materials. For the fabric dye method, you’ll need the following supplies:
- Fabric dye in your desired shade(s). Note that you will need one that can change the color of synthetic materials.
- A stove
- A pot
- Wig stand
- Prevent a fabric dye mess by wearing gloves and a shirt you don’t care about. You can also protect the floors by putting newspaper down. Leave no area uncovered. The fabric dye can stain wood and tile.
- Boil some water in a large pot. There should be enough water to submerge your entire wig. Take note of how many cups of water you put in the pot; you’ll use that information later.
- Turn the fire off right when the water starts to boil.
- Refer to the water measurement you noted earlier. Add three tablespoons of dye for every cup of water in the pot.
- After adding the dye to the pot, carefully stir the water with a metal utensil. Ensure that the ingredients are mixed thoroughly – otherwise, you won’t get an even result.
- Submerge your wig into the water and leave it there for up to an hour. The longer you leave the wig in the water, the more vibrant the color result will be.
- Take the wig out of the water.
- Rinse the dye out with cold water.
- Air dry the wig on a wig stand.
How to Dye a Synthetic Wig with Acrylic Paint
Coloring a synthetic wig is an art, so it only makes sense to reach for the acrylic paint. This paint, and not watercolor or oil paint, can temporarily change the color of your synthetic right before your eyes. Here, we’ll tell you how!
- Gather your materials. For this dye job, you’ll need:
- Acrylic paint
- An empty spray bottle
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Wig stand
- Prepare your space and skin by wearing gloves and covering your floor and surfaces with newspaper. Also, you should ensure that the space has a lot of ventilation. Acrylic paint fumes can irritate the sinuses and even make you sick.
- Add three tablespoons of alcohol and a half teaspoon of acrylic paint to your empty spray bottle. If your wig is long or super thick, you can double or even triple the recipe. You’ll have to use your judgment, but it’s better to mix too much pain than too little.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly by shaking the bottle vigorously for a few seconds. The better you mix the ingredients, the more even your results will be.
- Run your gloved fingers through the wig hair to distribute the ingredients evenly.
- Set a timer for 2 hours. This color transformation takes quite a bit of time.
- Use cold water to rinse the wig. If you use hot water, you’ll notice that a lot of the pigment will be rinsed away – you don’t want that.
- Air dry the wig on a wig stand. Blow drying isn’t recommended, especially right after a color job.
How to Dye a Synthetic Wig with Rit
- Can You Dye Synthetic Hair?
- Can You Dye Hair Extensions?
- Can You Put Mousse on Synthetic Hair?
- Best Lace Wigs
So, there you have it! You can definitely dye your synthetic wig. Just follow the instructions in this article, and you can make it happen!
We hope you found all the information you needed, and we wish you the best of luck as you experiment with alternative dyeing methods.
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With over 15 years of experience, Kenneth has been dedicated to hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box alongside his wife. As a team, they promote healthy hair care practices through their comprehensive platform, Curl Centric. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.