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Is arctic fox a box dye?

Arctic fox is a popular brand of semi-permanent hair dye that comes in vivid, fashion colors like blue, purple, pink and green. It’s beloved by people who want to temporarily transform their hair into a bright, eye-catching shade without a long-term commitment. But unlike permanent box dyes that use harsh chemicals to penetrate the hair shaft, arctic fox is conditioning, fades gracefully and won’t inflict damage. So is it technically a box dye? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Arctic Fox Hair Dye?

Arctic Fox hair dye is a line of vivid, semi-permanent hair colors made by a company called Arctic Fox Hair Color. It’s a direct-to-consumer brand that got its start on Etsy and is especially popular among teens, punks, cosplayers and anyone who wants to temporarily make a bold hair color statement.

Some key facts about Arctic Fox hair dye:

  • Comes in a wide range of colors from primary hues like blue, red and purple to mixes like aquamarine, electric blue and violet.
  • Lasts 4-8 weeks before fading, depending on hair type and washing frequency.
  • Uses gentler ingredients compared to permanent dye like vegetable-based dyes.
  • Free from harsh chemicals like ammonia, peroxide and parabens.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula.
  • Can be purchased online via the Arctic Fox website or Amazon.
  • Comes in 8 oz plastic bottles with a tinting brush.

The dye is easy to apply at home. The color payoff is vibrant and the conditioning formula makes hair feel soft. Fans love that it fades nicely without obvious roots or a hard line of demarcation. It’s great for trying out fashion colors temporarily or for special occasions like festivals or Halloween. Arctic Fox even offers a color removal kit to help get rid of the color faster.

How Does it Work?

Arctic Fox is a direct dye, meaning it deposits color onto the outer cuticle layer of your hair without penetrating into the cortex the way oxidant permanent dyes do. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. The dye molecules are attracted to the slight positive charge of the hair’s outer cuticle layer.
  2. The dye adheres to the cuticle and becomes trapped between the overlapping scales.
  3. This allows the color to deposit and show through while remaining semi-permanent.
  4. Over time the dye molecules gradually wash out as the cuticle layer sheds and hair grows.

Rather than using harsh oxidative chemicals, Arctic Fox relies on gentler alcohol-based ingredients to open the cuticle slightly and allow the dye to enter. But it does not permanently alter the underlying hair structure.

Is Arctic Fox a Box Dye?

While Arctic Fox comes in a box with everything you need to color your hair at home, it does not contain the same powerful chemicals that make up a traditional permanent box dye. Here is a comparison between Arctic Fox and typical box dyes:

Arctic Fox Box Dye
Semi-permanent direct dye that coats hair shaft Permanent oxidative dye that penetrates cortex
No developer needed Comes with developer that activates dye
No ammonia or bleach Contains ammonia to open cuticles
No peroxide Uses peroxide to penetrate cortex
Gradual fading over 4-8 weeks Permanent result with roots regrowth
Conditioning, gentle formula Can damage hair over time
Vegan, cruelty-free May contain animal byproducts

As you can see, Arctic Fox lacks the powerful bleaching agents, peroxides and ammonia used in permanent box dyes. It won’t dramatically lighten hair or create a lasting result. This makes it gentler and less damaging over time. The color payoff is vibrant but temporary.

Benefits of Arctic Fox

There are many benefits to using a semi-permanent dye like Arctic Fox rather than a harsh chemical box dye. Here are some of the main pros:

  • Less hair damage: Without oxidative ingredients, it won’t dry out your hair or cause breakage the way permanent dye can.
  • No roots: As it gradually washes out, you won’t have obvious regrowth at the roots.
  • More color options: From mermaid blues to neon purples, it offers lots of vivid shades.
  • Safer for sensitive scalps: The gentle formula causes less irritation and allergy risk.
  • Temporary: It allows you to experiment with colors without a long-term commitment.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free: A good option for animal-friendly lifestyles.
  • Kid-friendly: The non-toxic formula makes it safer for teens.
  • Budget-friendly: At around $15 a bottle, it’s very affordable.

If you want vibrant hair without permanent damage, Arctic Fox offers an easy, conditioning and risk-free solution.


There are some downsides to be aware of with Arctic Fox as well:

  • Temporary color: It won’t permanently change your shade.
  • Fades quickly: Depending on hair type, it may start fading within a few weeks.
  • Color not as predictable: The end result can vary more than permanent dye.
  • Won’t lighten hair: You can’t go from dark to light with Arctic Fox.
  • Has to grow out: Removal solutions only help so much.
  • Can stain: It may temporarily stain your bathtub, hands, clothes etc.
  • Roots grow in: Your roots will show unless you re-apply it.

While the formula is gentle, it does contain alcohol so could potentially dry out your hair if overused. It’s best to give your hair breaks between re-applying it. Also be cautious if you have very porous or dry hair to begin with.

How Long Does it Last?

On average, Arctic Fox dye will last between 4-6 weeks, but results can vary based on your hair type and color habits. Here’s an overview:

  • On virgin hair: Typically lasts the longest, around 5-6 weeks.
  • Previously color treated hair: May begin fading after just 2-3 weeks.
  • Frequent washing: Can fade faster than hair washed 2-3 times per week.
  • Heat styling: Daily heat tools can accelerate fading.
  • Darker dyes last longer than pastels or brights.
  • Light/bleached hair shows the most vibrancy but fades quickest.

No matter what your hair type, you will need to re-apply every 4-6 weeks if you want to maintain a bold, intense shade. Arctic Fox makes this easy with a gentle, conditioning formula designed for frequent use.

How to Make it Last Longer

While Arctic Fox will fade faster than permanent dye, there are some tricks to make it stick around longer:

  • Wash with cooler water and less frequency
  • Use shampoo/conditioner specifically for colored hair
  • Don’t wash immediately after coloring
  • Rinse with cold water or use a color-depositing conditioner
  • Protect from sun, heat tools, and chlorine/salt water
  • Embrace the fade – allow a softer ombre effect

Prolonged vibrancy will depend on your unique hair characteristics. But in general, gentler washing and styling will prevent the color molecules from rinsing down the drain too quickly.

How to Remove Arctic Fox

While Arctic Fox isn’t permanent, the vivid color can stick around longer than desired. If you want to speed up the removal process, you have a few options:

  • Use a color stripping shampoo weekly.
  • Make a baking soda paste and massage into hair before rinsing.
  • Use an anti-dandruff shampoo containing zinc pyrithione.
  • Try a vitamin C treatment to oxidize the color molecules.
  • Purchase the Arctic Fox Color Remover kit.
  • Simply wait and let it fade gradually over time.

Keep in mind any removal methods may dry your hair. Be sure to use a deep conditioner after stripping dye. You can re-color once your hair returns to a lighter base shade.


So is Arctic Fox a box dye? Technically no – it lacks the permanent, damaging chemicals of a traditional home hair color. The gentle formula simply coats the hair temporarily without penetrating the cortex. This makes Arctic Fox a great option if you want to play with vibrant colors for a few weeks without long-term commitment. While the results are less predictable than permanent dye, the ease of use, affordability and low maintenance are perfect for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of bright and bold hair hues.