One day you're holding your newborn baby and the next, they're asking to color their hair. Maybe they want to look like their friends or express themselves in new and exciting ways. But searching for the best hair dye for kids can be a challenge if you don't know what to look for.
You want something safe that won't damage the hair but is also vibrant enough they're satisfied. Top it off with one of the best hair detanglers and (hopefully) you'll have one happy, colorful kid.
"Adult hair dyes are usually more potent and last longer compared to kids' hair dyes," says Book of Barbering Founder, Khamis Maiouf.
"They contain ingredients such as ammonia, peroxide, and PPDs, which provide a more permanent coloring effect but can also cause allergic reactions or damage hair if not used properly."
"On the other hand, kids' hair dyes are often temporary, made with gentler, non-toxic ingredients. They wash out easily and are less likely to cause harm or allergic reactions. These dyes use natural or direct dyes, which are safer but less durable."
Generally, kids should use different products because their hair and skin are much more sensitive than adults. The best hair dyes for kids are gentle and non-damaging.
"The main reason we recommend different products for kids is because their skin and hair are more delicate," Maiouf says.
"Strong chemicals in adult hair dyes can damage their hair and cause skin irritation. However, once kids reach their teenage years, their hair and skin become more resilient, similar to adults. Then they can begin using more permanent types of hair dye, with caution and proper testing for any allergic reaction."
That said, some of the best hair dyes for kids who want a pop of color are affordable, easy to use, and non-toxic.
If your child is looking to experiment with hair dye, this four-pack is for you. It's actually a hair wax that is applied liberally and styled. Exciting colors including green, pink, blue and orange are included in the set, each weighing in at 4.2 ounces each.
If you're worried about how long the color stays, it washes out with one shampoo. Plus, the formula boasts hairy-healthy plant extracts like beeswax, tea extract and castor oil. This kid-friendly dye won't damage hair, so it's perfect for little ones. We love that it works on several shades of dark hair, too.
For parents whose kids want to experiment with a quick and easy color for the day, this Manic Panic color spray hits the mark. It goes on in quickly and dries in minutes, giving the illusion of a bright new do. With many colors to choose from, the spray is great for even the darkest hair with no bleach or peroxide needed.
Mix and match shades to create the coolest colors while also protecting hair from the damage of permanent dye chemicals. Wear this cruelty-free, temporary color, then wash it out. It's that easy, and a classic temporary hair color for kids option that parents have relied on for years.
Calling all Paramore fans! Good Dye Young's line of semi-permanent dye, created by frontwoman Hayley Williams and her stylist, offers a full longer-lasting experience. This non-toxic, conditioning treatment works by depositing color on top of the hair shaft, which is more like a stain that fades over time (around 15 to 24 washes).
It's made with natural oils like bergamot and sunflower extract to protect the hair from damage. While best on level blonde and light hair, dark-haired kids can use it as is for a muted, darker color or by using the included lightning kit. Plus, it's super affordable.
With more than 1,100 ratings and a 4.4-star average on Amazon, this 12-pack hair chalk kit is a great way to introduce your kids to color with very little commitment. Not only are these safe enough to be used as face paint, but they wash out with one shampoo. Better yet, each color works on dark hair too.
The set includes 12 hair chalk pens, an applicator wand and comb one pot of body glitter, one sheet of temporary glitter tattoos, one pot of fine glitter and a brush to apply them. It's a good alternative to clip-in hair extensions for little kids and an absolute blast to use. Voila!
As one of the bestselling products on Amazon, Arctic Fox knows how to give a great pop of color. With more than 83,000 ratings and an impressive 4.4-star average, this semi-permanent color offers highly-pigmented vibrancy.
Pre-lightened hair gets the best results, but if your kid has darker hair, this product gives a deep teal tint with a color like aquamarine. These long-lasting dyes are gentle enough for regular use, created with only vegan ingredients and come in a plethora of colors.
For all the blonde-haired babes afraid of choosing a color that stains forevermore, Hally Shade Stix has your back. This temporary, one-day-wear hair makeup comes in eight shades and goes on easily with a mess-free wand and built-in comb.
The best thing about this $10 product is the transfer-proof color that won't stain hands, clothes or furniture. Plus, a single lasts for 15 to 20 hair streaks depending on thickness and length.
There's good news—temporary hair color doesn't create the same chemical reaction with hair (or follicles) the way permanent hair color does. That means it doesn't cause damage and for the most part, sits on the top of the hair's cuticle. If you bleach or lift color before using a kids' hair dye though, there may be damage caused.
Well, that depends on the kids' hair dye choice you make. Options like hair chalk wash out in a single shampoo with minimal effort, whereas semi-permanent hair dyes can take up to 30 washes to be fully erased.
Sources: Book of Barbering Founder, Khamis Maiouf
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