Hair Extensions

How to Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions or Wigs? (2023)

If you were looking for a cheaper way to add volume or length to your hair, you have probably bought synthetic extensions or a wig. It was all good in the beginning, but now you kind of got bored with it. Maybe dyeing could revive your purchase a little bit?

If you have ever tried to dye synthetic hair with real hair dye, you probably discovered that it doesn’t work. Hair dye is made for real hair and not the synthetic fibers that some extensions and wigs are made of. Don’t worry. There are a couple of ways to change the color of your synthetic hair. We’re going to go through them all.

Can You Color, Tone or Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions?

While there are always new advancements when it comes to synthetic hair, the consensus was always that of no. You cannot color any kind of synthetics. Up until now, at least. The reason is simple: since most hair dyes contain ammonia or bleach, they will simply destroy your synthetic hair, or you won’t get a good result at all.

Synthetic hair isn’t made to be dyed with regular hair dyes, and that’s why you have it available in so many different shades. So you have to stick with the color you have bought or simply purchase a new set. That may be disappointing to many of you, but that’s just the truth of synthetic extensions.

However, there’s a solution! Truth be told, there are some cheap hair extensions (starting from $25) that are made of real hair and that you can always dye, curl, straighten or do any kind of modifications. However, let’s jump straight into the dying action.

Pastel colors work best. Keep in mind that whatever method or coloring technique you use, the synthetic hair must be light-colored to get good results. Since you can’t bleach synthetic hair, it must just start off lighter than the color you want to dye it. This means that white, silver, blonde, and pastel colors will work best.

1 Acrylic Ink Dye

You can dye synthetic fibers by using a combination of ink and alcohol. One of the best ways? Use acrylic ink and isopropyl alcohol. To get started, mix up your DIY synthetic hair dye. Pour the acrylic ink into the spray bottle and then add some rubbing alcohol. The amount of alcohol that you’ll want to use depends on how light you want the color to turn out. Use more alcohol to dilute the ink if you want a lighter, less opaque color, or use less alcohol for a more vibrant, richer color.

Put on some gloves to keep your hands clean, and then go ahead and apply the dye to the wig/extensions by just spraying it on. You can first spray it on in sections and then just dig your fingers all up in there to make sure the hair is saturated, not just on the top but on the underside too, and that it is coated all the way through.

Move the hair around as you go so you’re not just dyeing the top layer of hair. Start using a comb to brush the dye through to make sure you’re getting it on all the hairs, all the layers, front and hair back, roots, and everything.

Time Estimate: 30 to 45 Minutes

2 Sharpies Dye

There’s another way to create a similar ink combo. Mix rubbing alcohol with the ink from Sharpies or other alcohol-based markers. For this method, you’ll need Sharpies, of course, rubbing alcohol, a spray bottle, pliers, a knife, and gloves.

Use the pliers to pull the Sharpie apart. Your goal is to get the ink tube out of the marker. So, grab the colorful front section of the Sharpie with your pliers and wiggle it around, and pull it until it all comes apart. This can take some practice! It can be hard at first, but you got this!

Once it’s apart, put the ink tube aside. Use your pliers to remove the little tip from the front of the Sharpie for a little bit of extra ink. This part should come out much easier. And then, using something sharp, slice open the ink casing so the ink will come out easier.

Drop the ink tube into the spray bottle and add some alcohol. Let it sit for a while. The longer you let it sit, the better. It is best to leave it overnight to get the most out of the ink casing.

Now, simply apply it the same way as the acrylic ink mix. Make sure that the dye is applied everywhere.

Time Estimate: 1 Hour

3 Rinsing and Drying

Once you’re satisfied and think you’ve got it all covered, it is time to step back and let it air dry. If it’s fully saturated, it’s probably going to drip everywhere. We’d recommend that you do this first… Cover the workspace beforehand with trash bags, a plastic tablecloth, or newspaper. Save your table!

Give it at least an hour to dry. Sometimes it might take a little bit longer, depending on how thick and long the hair is. Once you can touch the wig and not get dye all over your hands, it’s probably dry!

Now that the synthetic hair is dry, you can rinse the dye out in cold water until it runs clear. Get all that ink out of the hair so that it doesn’t transfer to your clothes later. Also, if you’re using a wig, make sure you rinse the cap out because while dyeing it, you probably got some ink in there, and you don’t want that transferring to your hair either. If you have an opportunity, try rinsing hair extensions outside, this will save you some time because you don’t have to wash a dye-colored sink or bath.

After it’s all rinsed out, lay it out on a towel to dry. Since this is fake hair, we do not recommend blow-drying it or using any hot tools. That will damage the synthetic fibers. After it dries, brush the hair thoroughly.

That’s it, your synthetic hair is ready to wear, and you can show off your new color!

How Long Does the Dye Last?

Normally, the hair dye lasts until you wash it, but since you don’t have to wash synthetic hair that often, that can be for a long time. So if you want the color to come off, you simply need to wash the hair with warm water, and it will come right off.


It’s still not real hair. Although there are some methods for dyeing synthetic hair and making it look more natural and fresher, it will never replace real hair. Remy hair extensions and wigs look beautiful, feel nice, last for a very long time, and don’t get damaged easily.

With synthetic hair, you will get tangling, matting, and it will quickly look worn out and damaged. It often looks fake, and unnatural, and many people will notice it. You also have a lot fewer styling options, nor can you use normal hair dyes. 100% Remy human hair looks natural and is indistinguishable from your hair. It is also much easier to maintain and take care of.

That’s why it’s worth it to invest a few extra bucks and grab real extensions. You will not regret it because the difference is huge, and you will never get back to synthetic hair.

In addition to that, it will help you to save hours of your precious time that can be spent on better activities than using acrylic or Sharpie dyes. Still, that’s for you to decide.

That’s it! Enjoy the newly dyed wig.

Sam Fisher

Sam has been working in beauty and health industries since early 2000s with some of the world’s most popular brands. You probably have some of these products at your home right now. With almost 20 years of experience, Sam has a deep understanding of hair extensions, wigs and all things beauty as well as nutrition, fitness, teas and topics of similar nature.

View Comments

  • Hi what can I do to color my synthetic hair extensions to honey golden blonde. I have dark brown and ash blonde ombre and I want to color it honey golden blonde what are the items i need?

  • May I disagree? I love my synthetic wigs (I have alopecia) so much that I've become addicted -- up to 14 now (I think 2 wks worth of changes is enough, tho' I may make it a nice round 15). You don't have to style them. You don't have to wash them often. You look like you just came out of a big city, posh salon (which, when you're in a rural area like me, is otherwise impossible.) And they're just a lot of fun -- going all the way from a short, medium-brown bob one day to long. dark red hair that is styled rather on the thin side, not bushy at all like novices expect of a wig, so it looks totally natural, only with a high-fashion, trendy dye job. So...JMHO...would not trade my $100 wigs (less on sale) for the human ones I see advertised for several hundred for anything.

  • I have a platinum blonde extensions and I need it to be a natural blonde/dark blonde color. Is there any way to achieve this.

  • I have a synthetic bun "strawberry blonde and brown". The blonde is too white ,,what can I use to tone the white down?

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