For some of us, changing hair color is a way of life. We’ll boldly go brunette, then blonde, then silver… and then back to blonde again. But there’s just something about the bright colors we sometimes need to use to get our Halloween costumes just right that give us pause. Sure, it’s tempting to say “to hell with it” and go slime green without batting an eye—we just know ourselves too well, and that hair remorse come Nov. 1 would be nothing short of devastating. Thank God for temporary hair color, right?
Here are our five favorite ways to add a temporary pop of color to hair—no-commitment (or regret) required.
Every Halloween store you visit will have a display of color choices (including glitter) to change your locks with the touch of a button. If variety is more important to you than being able to run your fingers through your hair, then this is the product for you: These sprays will give you a case of helmet head, but every colorful strand will stay in place. IGK also makes a temporary color spray that’s a bit more hair-friendly—it’s paraben and sulfate-free—and comes in violet, pink and strobing glitter.
Another styling-product-with-color option is to use gel. Manic Panic’s Dyehard is a thick opaque temporary hair color that comes in a squeeze tube, allowing you to style and dye at the same time. The gel, which comes in neon, metallic, and matte shades, dries hard so it’s best for updos and mohawks/fauxhawks. (It also washes out easily with shampoo, which is a plus.)
If you’ve got multiple parties on your social calendar and want your hair color to last a bit longer, try a demi-permanent hair color (like the ones by N Rage, sold at Sally Beauty Supply stores.) You’ll have your crazy color for about 25 shampoos, but you won’t need to worry about it flaking off or making your mane unmanageable.
For those wanting pastel-colored hair, chalking is your best bet. It’s easy to use (just slide the product on dry hair) and you don’t have to worry about stickiness or buildup—you can still brush your hair or wear it down without it getting stiff. While the product is easy to rinse out with shampoo, it also has a tendency to rub off on your clothes if you don’t put hairspray over it. Check out Splat Hair Chalk for a variety of colors. It comes in a package that’s easy to carry with you if you need touch-ups.
For a completely risk-free experience, try clip-on hair extensions that you can simply take out when the night is over (no shampooing needed). We like the ones by OneDor because they’re heat resistant, come in a variety of colors, and can be curled, braided, crimped and teased into any style.
Originally published October 2015. Updated October 2017.