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How do you dye synthetic braiding hair?

Synthetic braiding hair has become a popular choice for protective and fashionable hairstyles. Unlike human hair, synthetic fibers do not readily accept hair dye. However, with some preparation and special products, it is possible to successfully dye synthetic braiding hair and achieve vivid, long-lasting color.

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair?

Synthetic hair is made from nylon, acrylic, polyester, or other manmade fibers. These materials are designed to resist absorbing moisture and chemicals. As a result, regular hair dye does not bond well to synthetic fibers.

However, specialized synthetic hair dye is formulated to permeate the synthetic fibers and create a permanent color change. Using the right type of dye along with proper preparation steps will allow you to transform the color of synthetic braiding hair.

Choosing a Synthetic Hair Dye

There are a few options for dyes made specifically for synthetic hair:

  • Semi-permanent synthetic hair dye
  • Temporary synthetic hair dye
  • Permanent (oxidative) synthetic hair dye

Semi-permanent dyes create a longer lasting color that gradually washes out over 4-8 weeks. This type of dye molecules are small so they can absorb into the synthetic fiber shaft. Semi-permanent dye is best for fashion colors like bold reds, pastels, and ombres.

Temporary rinse-out dyes last only 1-2 shampoos. They coat the outside of the hair fiber rather than bonding within. Temporary dyes are great for trying out fun colors before committing to something more permanent.

Permanent oxidative dye uses a two-step process to open up and penetrate the synthetic fiber. Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide work together to swell the cuticle and enable color molecules to bond inside the shaft. This creates long-lasting vivid color that does not fade or wash out. Permanent synthetic dye can be used to achieve natural hair colors as well as bold fashion shades.

How to Dye Synthetic Braiding Hair

Follow these steps for successfully dyeing synthetic hair:

  1. Wash and dry the synthetic hair before applying dye. Any coatings or finishes from the manufacturing process can inhibit dye absorption.
  2. Detangle the hair. Work through knots and tangles so the dye can reach all areas evenly.
  3. Section the hair. Divide hair into four sections to manageably apply dye from roots to ends.
  4. Mix the dye. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Shake or stir well until uniform consistency.
  5. Apply dye. Use a tint brush to thoroughly coat from roots to ends. Divide hair into smaller sections to ensure full coverage.
  6. Process the time indicated on dye instructions. For permanent dye, this is typically 25-35 minutes.
  7. Rinse dye under warm running water until it runs clear.
  8. Wash with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner made for synthetic hair.
  9. Air dry the hair completely before installing or braiding.

Tips for Dyeing Synthetic Hair

Follow these tips for best results when coloring synthetic hair:

  • Always do a strand test. Dye a few pieces first to ensure the color develops as expected before applying to the full head.
  • Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing fumes.
  • Stir the dye frequently as you apply to prevent uneven coloring.
  • Rinse for 5-10 minutes until water runs clear for clean results.
  • Shampoo at most 1-2 times a week to make the color last.
  • Use cool water washes to prevent fading.
  • Avoid brushing wet dyed hair.
  • Do not dye hair while still attached to a weft or full head band. Remove bundles first.

How to Remove Dye From Synthetic Hair

If you need to remove semi-permanent or temporary dye from synthetic hair, there are a few options:

  • Clarifying shampoo can help strip out temporary color. Lather and let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing.
  • Baking soda soak – Mix 1 tbsp baking soda with 1 cup warm water. Soak hair for 15 minutes to draw out dye.
  • Dawn dish soap has degreasing properties that can help remove coatings of temporary dye. Lather and soak hair for 10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Vinegar rinse – Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water. Soak hair, then rinse until water runs clear.
  • Color remover – Look for a specialty color remover made for synthetic hair.

These methods can help remove non-permanent dyes. However, permanent synthetic hair dye cannot be reversed. You will need to cut or replace the hair.

Best Products for Dyeing Synthetic Hair

Some recommended products for dyeing synthetic braiding hair include:

Product Type Key Features
Adore Semi-Permanent Hair Color Semi-permanent – Lasts 4-8 weeks
– Easy to apply
– Ammonia-free
Sparks Long Lasting Bright Hair Color Semi-permanent – Vibrant, non-fading colors
– Conditions as it colors
– No peroxide or ammonia
Clairol Nice’n Easy Permanent Hair Color Permanent – Long-lasting gray coverage and color
– Achieve natural and bold shades
– Two-step process

How Much Does It Cost to Dye Synthetic Hair?

Dyeing synthetic hair at home has the following approximate costs:

  • Synthetic hair dye kit: $5 – $15
  • Tint brush: $3 – $5
  • Gloves: $5 for a multi-pack
  • Shampoo & conditioner: $10 – $15

So for less than $40 you can have enough products to transform the color of synthetic hair. This is a budget-friendly way to change your look compared to paying for professional dye services.

The amount of dye needed will vary based on the amount and length of hair. For one pack of synthetic braiding hair (100 grams), one bottle of synthetic hair dye is usually sufficient.

How to Dye Lace Frontals and Wigs

Lace frontals and full lace wigs made with synthetic hair fibers can also be dyed. Follow these tips for application:

  • Detach the lace from the wig cap.
  • Dye the hair bundles while detached from the lace.
  • Carefully apply dye along the lace part for a natural hairline.
  • Rinse upside down to prevent getting dye on the lace.
  • Use a towel on your shoulders to avoid dye transfer.
  • Wash out dye over a sink using cold water.

Take extra care when dyeing synthetic lace frontals and wigs to keep the lace clean and prevent staining the wig cap. Work over a sink and protect surfaces from drips.

How to Dye Synthetic Dreadlocks

Synthetic dreadlocks can be transformed with synthetic hair dye. Here are some tips:

  • Dye dreadlocks before installing for easiest application.
  • Separate and spread out sections before applying dye.
  • Use a tint brush to thoroughly coat the fibers.
  • Wear gloves and rinse carefully to avoid transfer to hands and clothing.
  • Dry fully laying flat, away from direct heat.
  • Group dreads into bundles after drying and attach your way (sew, crochet, twist, rip and dip).

By pre-dyeing synthetic dreadlocks, you can achieve an all-over vibrant, bold color result. Take the time to evenly apply dye from roots to ends before installing.


With the right preparation and products, synthetic braiding hair can be transformed with semi-permanent, temporary, or permanent dye. Specialty synthetic hair dye, correct timing, thorough rinsing, and proper drying are keys to success.

Dyeing synthetic hair allows you to experiment with trendy colors in fabrics that mimic the look and feel of real hair. You can customize your style, change colors frequently, and save money compared to dyeing human hair extensions.

Just be sure to use the proper hair dye formulas made specifically for synthetics. With some care and technique, you can achieve beautiful, vivid color results.