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Can You Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions? Hair Dye? Kool-aid?

Cute black girl wearing a dark brown wig and red lipstick

We all know that synthetic hair extensions are an efficient, cheap way to enhance your hair’s fullness and length. They also come in a ton of different styles, textures, and colors.

But what if you grow tired of the color of your synthetic hair extensions? Can you dye synthetic hair extensions? That’s precisely what we’ll address in this article. 

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions?

Stylish African American female wearing a wig with synthetic hair strands and natural fibers

You can dye synthetic hair extensions, even though you may have heard conflicting opinions. You 100% can dye your synthetic extensions, and there are several ways to do so. 

If you’re thinking about stopping by your local beauty supply store and picking up the same hair dye you’d use on your natural hair, stop right there.

Typical hair dyes work by depositing dye molecules inside or outside of a real hair cuticle. However, since synthetic hair doesn’t have a natural cuticle, this method of dyeing doesn’t work.

If you attempt to dye synthetic hair with typical hair dye, one of two things can happen: 

  1. After rinsing the dye out, you may not notice any color change at all. 
  2. The chemicals in the regular hair dye could destroy your synthetic hair extensions, making them brittle and more prone to tangles. In the most extreme case, the extensions could even burn. 

This is why many people say you can’t dye synthetic hair extensions (or synthetic wigs). It’s a risky process if you don’t take the proper precautions since regular hair dyes don’t work.

Here are a couple of things you should know about dyeing synthetic extensions: 

  • It’s best to dye blonde synthetic extensions versus dark-colored synthetic fibers, especially if you want vibrant results. There’s no dye out there that can lighten the color of synthetic hair extensions
  • You should never bleach synthetic hair extensions. Doing so will negatively affect the condition of the extensions. The bleach will break down each strand, and the damage will worsen the longer the bleach is left on the hair. 

Best Ways to Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions 

Since synthetic hair extensions are completely different from human hair extensions, the dyeing process differs. Synthetic hair extensions, unlike human hair, are made of materials that are used in fabrics such as polyvinyl, polyester, and acrylic.

There are several effective and affordable ways to dye polyester and synthetic materials, and these methods also work for synthetic hair extensions (or to dye a synthetic wig). Keep reading to learn about some of the best ways to dye synthetic hair extensions


Use Fabric Dye

Fabric dye is a foolproof way to get a vibrant, even color result on your synthetic hair extensions. To try out this method, here’s what you’ll need: 

  1. A heat-resistant synthetic extensions or wig (if you’re testing the process use an old synthetic wig)
  2. Fabric dye (made explicitly for polyester and synthetics)(see here)
  3. A pot
  4. A heat source (a stove)
  5. Gloves
  6. Newspapers
  7. Water
  8. Wig stand (optional)

Follow the below steps for a flawless dye job: 

  1. Take proper precautions: Wear disposable gloves and clothes that you don’t mind ruining. Cover your floor with newspapers to prevent stained tile or wood. 
  2. Boil some water in a large pot. Use enough water to cover your synthetic hair extensions. Turn off the fire. 
  3. Measure the amount of fabric dye you’ll need. For every cup of water, you’ll need three teaspoons of fabric dye. 
  4. Add the fabric dye to the water and stir. 
  5. Place the hair extensions into the mixture of boiling water and fabric dye. 
  6. Leave the hair extensions in the mixture for around 20-30 minutes. You can leave them in for a longer period if you want a more vibrant color result. 
  7. Once time is up, remove the extensions from the mixture. 
  8. Rinse the extensions until the water runs clear. Use cold water to minimize color fade.
  9. Allow the extensions (or wig) to air dry. You can use a wig stand if you have one. Then style. 

Use Food Coloring

Another way to dye your synthetic hair extensions is to use food coloring and developer. 

Let’s hop into what you’ll need: a towel, a bowl, a brush or a comb, gloves, a wide paintbrush or tinting brush, a disposable spoon, hair mousse, and food coloring. Now let’s move on to the process.

Follow the below instructions for the best results: 

  1. Lay out a towel on a flat surface and then put on gloves. Also, consider wearing a shirt you don’t mind ruining. 
  2. Place your hair extensions on top of the towel and brush horizontally to remove any tangles. 
  3. Create a mixture of hair mousse and a few drops of food coloring (add each according to the color you want to reach). The more hair mousse you use, the less vibrant the result will be.
  4. Mix the mousse and food coloring together with a spoon or fork. 
  5. Brush the mixture onto the extensions, ensuring that each strand is coated. 
  6. Leave the mixture on for 30-45 minutes. Leave it on for longer than that if you want a bold color result. 
  7. Keep an eye on the extensions to monitor the color results. When your hair reaches the desired shade, use cold water to rinse the mixture out.
  8. Lay your extensions on a flat, clean surface and allow them to air dry. 
  9. Enjoy your new color. 

Use Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint can also be used to dye synthetic hair extensions. This method is great, given that there are virtually unlimited color options in acrylic paint. But it’s important to keep in mind that the results will be temporary.

Just like with the other methods mentioned, you’ll want to cover the floor with newspaper. Then gather the proper ingredients: a spray bottle, rubbing alcohol, gloves, and acrylic paint. 

Important: Your work area should have free airflow. Concentrated fumes from acrylic paint and alcohol can be harmful to you. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do for this method:

  1. Add about ½ teaspoon of acrylic paint and a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to a spray bottle. 
  2. Shake the spray bottle vigorously to mix. 
  3. Spray the mixture onto the extensions. Make sure that each strand is coated in the mixture.
  4. Use your fingers to distribute the mixture throughout the extensions.  
  5. Wait for up to 2 hours for the color to adhere to the hair.
  6. Rinse the wig thoroughly with cold water and let it air dry. 
  7. Gently detangle and style. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Coloring Synthetic Hair Extensions

Beautiful lady with arched eyebrows and synthetic extensions dyed with a Sharpie ink tube

Dyeing synthetic hair extensions come with risks and struggles. Here are some dos and don’ts to help ensure that you get the best possible results. 


  • Always detangle synthetic hair gently using a wide-toothed comb or shower brush before dyeing it. It’ll help to limit breakage and snags and ensure a more even color result. 
  • Do take your time to cover each strand in the hair dye. Any strands you don’t thoroughly saturate will not absorb the color efficiently.


  • Don’t try to dye very dark synthetic hair extensions. It’s impossible to lighten them, and most colors won’t show up on darker extensions. Following this tip will save you a lot of frustration. 
  • Don’t hesitate to consult a hair colorist if your synthetic hair extensions are on the expensive side. 
  • Don’t wash synthetic hair extensions often after dyeing them. Limit wash sessions to 1-2 times a week, so the hair dye doesn’t fade out quickly. 
  • Don’t ever wash your hair extensions with hot water, as this will fade the color quickly. 
  • Don’t leave your hair extensions unattended during the hair dyeing process. That way, you won’t end up with a hair color result that’s too vibrant. The longer you leave the hair dye on your synthetic hair, the darker the shade will be. 
  • Don’t try box dye or other dyes meant for human hair. 
Attractive black women with dark brown skin wearing fake hair extensions colored with real hair dye

Related Articles

There you have it – three of the best ways to dye your synthetic hair extensions. Some report that certain methods work better for them than others.

But the only way to know whether a given method will work for your synthetic hair extensions is to give it a try. We hope that this article is helpful to you and wish you the best with your hair extensions.