How to Dye Hair Extensions

A common question that people ask about extensions is if they can be colored. And the answer is yes! But there are things you need to know before you start the coloring process. In this article, we will give you all the information you need to know before coloring your extensions and how to color them! Our goal is to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.


Is The Hair Human?

Make sure your extensions are human hair before you even think about coloring them. You won’t be able to color synthetic hair since it’s made from plastic and will matt up and deteriorate. If you’re not sure whether your extensions are human or synthetic, you can do a burn test. Do this by cutting off a small piece of hair that is 3 inches long and placing it near a candle. If the hair catches light and produces an unpleasant burnt smell, it’s human. If it melts, it’s plastic. In order to avoid this test that might be dangerous, buy your hair from a reputable business that you know sells human hair. Here at Perfect Distraction Hair Gallery, all of our hair is 100% human. Buy it here.


Are You Going Darker or Lighter?

It is easier to darken your extensions than lightning them. Almost all hair extensions are previously colored, so that means if you want to lighten them, you need to use bleach. If you don’t mind taking a risk, you might get away with it. Only try to lighten your hair extensions on the understanding that when you’re finished there’s a good chance they’ll end up in the trash. If you’re going darker, that’s a lot easier than trying to lighten your hair extensions, but there are a few things to consider. Most hair extensions will grab the color faster than your natural hair would, so you might not need to leave the tint on as long as instructed. Check the color every few minutes but remember that wet hair is darker than dry hair. When in doubt, go to a professional!


Coloring Your Extensions- Step by Step

Now that we have the basics, let’s discuss the steps. Pick a color from a professional developer line. Boxed color won’t give you the sophisticated look you’re going for, and it might look cheap. A 10-volume developer or a semi-permanent color is best. You can use a 20-volume developer if necessary, but avoid 30- and 40-volume developers as they will damage your hair extensions if you're not careful. You will need:

  • A color bowl and brush
  • Hair color gloves
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic wrap
  •  A wide tooth comb
  • Towel

If possible, set up your supplies on a large counter or table space with plenty of room. The room should be both warm and well-lit. Following the manufacturer's directions, prepare your color. Most color is made by mixing equal parts color and developer. You'll need approximately 3–5 ounces of prepared color for your extensions, but more color may be necessary depending on the length. You don't have to wash them prior to coloring, but make sure to thoroughly detangle them. Lay them across the tin foil and let them dry.

Using gloved hands and a color brush, saturate each section of your hair extensions with the color. Be sure that the color completely coats both sides of your extensions, from tips to ends. It's better to use too much color than not enough. Start at the top of the extension where the clips or tapes are located moving downward to the ends, following the natural fall of the hair. Applying the color upwards could damage your extensions, and will leave them matted.

After you've applied color to each section of your extensions, loosely cover them with plastic wrap in order to prevent the color from drying out. Allow the color to process at standard room temperature for the amount of time specified in the manufacturer's directions—anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

Check a small section of the hair extensions every five to 10 minutes during the processing time by gently rubbing the color off the extension with a paper towel. Reapply the color with your color brush after checking. When the processing is complete and the color of your extensions is completely satisfactory, it's time to rinse out the hair. 

Rinse the color from your extensions with cool water (not too cold) at low pressure, using your fingers to gently work the excess dye out. It's important that you allow the water to flow in the direction that the hair naturally falls. A truly thorough rinsing should take an absolute minimum of 15–20 minutes. Make sure you remove all the color. Follow up by shampooing your extensions with a mild, sulfate-free, moisturizing, or color-safe shampoo. You don't want to dull the extensions before you wear them!

After you’ve rinsed the extensions completely, lay a towel down. Apply a leave-in conditioner to each section of your extensions and detangle them gently with a wide-toothed comb. Finally, allow the extensions to air-dry thoroughly before using or styling them, especially if you plan on using any kind of heat tools.


Do you plan on coloring your extensions? We hope that this article was helpful and you’re confident about your next color session! If you want your hair extensions professionally colored and installed, Perfect Distraction Hair Gallery is the place to go!


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