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Can You Use Acrylic Paint to Dye Hair?

Acrylic paint is a very popular medium and it’s usually the first choice for many artists. It’s easy to use, can be used on a variety of surfaces, and can even be baked in the oven! With all these wonderful capabilities, you may have found yourself wondering if you can dye your hair with acrylic paint, too. Sadly no, you can’t use acrylic paint to dye your hair, because it will wash off right away, and it’s also toxic to the skin.

There are a variety of reasons you should avoid using acrylic paint to dye your hair, and a number of other products that will suit your hair-dying needs just fine instead. Keep reading to find out all the details about why acrylic paint shouldn’t be used to dye hair and what your alternative options are. 

Why Shouldn’t You Dye Your Hair with Acrylic Paint?

The first reason is that it simply would not work. Hair dye is specifically engineered to penetrate your hair follicle and dye the strand of the hair itself by depositing color onto it. That’s why after you wash hair dye out, the color stays in your hair and the hair continues to retain its flexibility and acts like, well, hair! 

Acrylic paint on the other hand, would not deposit color onto the strand. Rather, the paint would sit on top of your strand of hair and become dry- almost like plastic or rubber, and your hair will be stiff and look rather strange. If you choose to wash it out, the paint will come out with the water.

Not only will it wash off, but putting acrylic paint on your hair can actually cause your hair to clump together, and you might be forced to cut it. It would be so devastating to have to cut some of your hair off due to paint. Think of it like getting any other type of regular paint stuck in your hair.

Secondly, unless the paint is labeled non-toxic, acrylic paint is not safe for use on the skin (or any other part of the human body for that matter) as it will absorb the toxins into your bloodstream. If you were to attempt to dye your hair with the paint, you would likely find that your scalp would become irritated.

Check out my other article to know all about, if acrylic paint is toxic. It goes over all the questions and answers you might have.

Even if the paint is labeled non-toxic, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to put all over your skin or head. It’s best to avoid using any kind of paint that is not specifically made for use on the skin altogether.

With all the fun colors available in acrylic paints, this can be disappointing news for some, but not to worry! There are alternative hair dye options you can choose from, so let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of hair dye available, and what the best brands to purchase are. 

What are the Different Kinds of Hair Dye I Can Choose From?

When it comes to dying your hair, it’s best to buy products specifically made for that purpose. There are three main types of hair dye available to consumers- wash-out, semi-permanent, and permanent. 

Wash-out hair dye is hair dye made specifically to wash out in one go. This type of hair dye includes spray-on or chalk hair dyes. If you’re looking to dye your hair for a single event or just for a short period of time, this is a good avenue to explore. 

Semi-permanent hair dye on the other hand, is similar to regular hair dye, but will wash out within two weeks on average. You can find a variety of fun, unnatural colors in semi-permanent hair-dye ranges, or you can choose the classic blonde, red, brown, or black colors as well. This type of dye is great for getting realistic results without a long-term commitment.

Finally, permanent hair dye is likely what you imagine when you think of hair dye. It’s meant to stay in your hair long-term. The market for permanent hair dye is changing, but as of right now, there aren’t many permanent hair dyes with fun colors- you can usually only find natural hair colors in permanent hair dye ranges. 

What are the Best Brands for Each Type of Hair Dye?

If you’re looking to get a wash-out hair color, I recommend Beyond the Zone’s Color Bombz Temporary Hair Color Spray. This range of spray-on color products features twelve different colors to choose from, ranging from Pink Flamingo to Explosive Black.

For semi-permanent dye, no brand is more reliable than Manic Panic. There are ten colors to choose from, featuring unnatural blues and reds and classic greys and blacks. This dye will take around two weeks to wash out of your hair after application. You’ll have a full head of vibrant, realistic-looking dyed hair until it does. 

If you’re looking for a long-term dye commitment, I recommend Wella Color Charm Permanent Hair Color. You’ll purchase a dye solution and developer, mix them together, and apply them to your hair. After processing, you’ll have a long-lasting permanent dye job. Wella has an incredible number of natural hair colors to choose from, and all products have customer-approved quality. 

Final Thoughts

While acrylic paint is both unsafe and unfitting for the purpose of dying hair, there are plenty of other options available to you. Whether you want a wash-out color for an event, semi-permanent color to try a new look without a commitment, or a long-lasting permanent color change, this list of options has you covered. Good luck!

Don’t forget to check out my Recommended Products Page for all your acrylic painting needs. Happy painting!

Acrylic Art World

Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

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