Courtney enjoys writing about beauty tips and giving advice to others.
Are You Looking for Short-Term Colour?
If you’re looking to dye your hair a crazy colour but don’t want a permanent shade due to school, college, or work commitments, then Kool-Aid dyeing can be a great alternative. Many semi-permanent dyes are hard to get out of your hair, even after the colour has started fading, which is not always ideal. If you are only looking for dyed hair for a short period of time—for the holidays, a costume, or to test out a colour—then temporarily dyeing your hair with this technique may be a good idea for you.
Dyeing your hair with Kool-Aid is short-term, relatively easy to remove, and can provide you with the hair colour that you are looking for—without having to commit!
Less Harsh Than Alternatives
Another benefit of using Kool-Aid to dye your hair is that it doesn't contain harsh chemicals. If you (or perhaps your parents or guardians) are worried about traditional hair dyes in case they damage your hair or scalp, then this can be a great alternative.
Hate dyeing because of that chemical smell lingering in your hair? Using Kool-Aid on your hair not only eliminates this, but you will get to smell like the flavour that you used! Delicious!
Even on fairly dark hair, many people have found that Kool-Aid gives them some colour. This can vary—some people have managed to dye dark hair bright and bold with Kool-Aid, whereas others have achieved more of a shimmer or tint to their normal colour. Although hair varies, as a general rule, the lighter your hair is the more the Kool-Aid dye colour will show.
How to Select the Right Kool-Aid Mix
When buying your Kool-Aid mix make sure that you go for the unsweetened packets. This is because the sweetened ones may leave your hair a bit sticky afterwards, which will not only make it look less fantastic, but will also leave you feeling a bit like a giant lollypop. If you want a specific shade that none of the packets will create alone then you can mix them together in order to create the colour that you are looking for. Remember, also, that if you have long or thick hair then you will need more packets of Kool-Aid.
Make Sure That You're Only Dyeing Your Hair!
Remember that you are using the Kool-Aid to stain your hair, so it may also stain other things, such as clothing or skin. Ensure that you are wearing clothes that you aren’t worried about getting ruined or alternatively cut head and arm-holes into a garbage bag and use that to protect you. Investing in a pair of rubber or plastic gloves may be advisable so that you don’t stain your hands, and smearing petroleum jelly around the edges of your forehead and on your ears will stop the Kool-Aid dye from dyeing your face so much—not a good look!
How to Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid
Method 1: Make a Paste
One way of dyeing your hair with Kool-Aid is to add a small amount of water to the mix (and conditioner, if you’d like, which helps the colour to sink in) in order to make a paste. Then apply this to your hair and cover your head with a shower cap. This method takes a while for the Kool-Aid to show good results, so keeping it on overnight is advisable for the bright colour that you are looking for. You may want to cover your pillow with an old towel in case the shower cap comes loose as you sleep. Taping around the cap may also help ensure that you do not stain anything, and will also help the dye permeate the hair by keeping your head warm. To remove, simply wash your hair as normal with shampoo and conditioner.
Method 2: The Dip Technique
An alternate way of using Kool-Aid to dye hair is one that is only ideal for dip-dyes or streaks, but it takes considerably less time. For every packet of Kool-Aid that you use add one cup of water and boil it in a saucepan. Once boiling, pour the mixture into a bowl (ensure that this is heat-proof). Then dip your hair into the Kool-Aid mix and leave it in for five minutes. You will need to cover any and all surfaces for this method, or you may want to try it outside. When you remove and dry your hair you should have the bright colour that you are looking for! If you are going to do more sections of your hair then you will need to boil the Kool-Aid again so that it remains hot enough.
How Long Does It Last?
Depending on your hair, the colour should last between two and six weeks. If your hair has been chemically permed, straightened or relaxed, or has undergone a lot of damage, then you may find that it lasts longer than expected. Kool-Aid can be a wonderful alternative to semi-permanent dyes if you are looking to ensure that your hair will not be damaged by chemicals or if you are worried about the long lengths of time that some semi-permanents take to fade and wash out.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: When the color fades out, does it turn funky colors or will your hair go back to its natural color?
Answer: It would probably fade differently for every person's hair type, so it's hard to tell. You could try a strand test and see how that fades if you aren't sure!
shay on August 13, 2019:
how long do you keep it in if its only a strand of hair
Joann on June 22, 2019:
If im allergic to hair dye should I perform a patch test
Laura on June 13, 2017:
What if you swim will it ruin it?
CUPCAKELOVER on February 16, 2017:
One thing is u can use regular koolaid packs with the sugar in them but first u might wanna get a container put coditioer and water mix it together let it sit for 20mjnutes then add the color packet let that sit t or 10minutes after you stir then put it on and let it sit in your hair for 2hours and then take it and *pow* ur done it wont be sticky and it will smell like the flavor it is MAGIC!♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ and kt lasts for 2 months i did in january and still km hav it in b although it is fading it still beautiful mwa ur welcome peace out peeps love en ya guys♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥:) :) :) :) :) :)♥♥♥♥♥♥
Lacey on October 26, 2016:
For dying my whole head orange how what color kool aid do I use? My hair is a medium brown, please help.
Anonymous on September 07, 2016:
So I have really light blonde hair and I want to try this! But I'm scared that the Kool aid will not come out of my hair. Or that my hair will turn a different color help me
Ps. My hair is fine too and just get a hair cut that is short but would like it to be a light purple!
Reena on August 18, 2016:
My friend has black hair. I'm not sure what color to do. Do u guys got any colors that work??
CourtneyHingley (author) on November 13, 2014:
Jasmie, I would imagine that the paste method would be better for just doing the underneath
Jasmine on October 18, 2014:
I am trying to dye the underneath of my hair purple, should Iusethe paste method or the boiling one?
CourtneyHingley (author) on December 11, 2013:
Leaha - I'm very glad your kool-aid hair dying went as planned!
Rebecca98 - I hope it all went well!
Rebecca98 on November 25, 2013:
Thank you so much! Most useful article I have found on the internet! I am going to do the dip dye method this afternoon with pink lemonade on my medium brown hair. :) Cant wait! I am going to do a strip of hair in the under layer of my mid-back length hair. I hope it turns out how I am imagining it... ;)
Leaha on February 18, 2013:
I have dyed my hair with kool aid for a few months and it works perfectly and I was giving advice to my friend about it, I find it an easy way to dye your hair without damaging it at all.
CourtneyHingley (author) on December 15, 2012:
As long as your hair is lighter than the colour you're aiming for, yes. But I would recommend leaving it as long between dyes as you can just to leave your hair some recovery time
lilly on December 15, 2012:
Would this work out if i dyed my hair rcently like 3 weeks ago?
CourtneyHingley (author) on November 25, 2012:
Elizabeth - I'm not religious, but I can't imagine that it should be too much of an issue; you can worship no matter how you look & so can the younger children :)
Bob - This will work best on light shades of hair.
Hi on November 19, 2012:
So I really want to do this and really should tell my parents thx for the tips =)
kalee on October 23, 2012:
thxx just did it looks so cool!!
bob on September 21, 2012:
Will it work on blond hair?
Elizabeth on September 18, 2012:
I dont know if I should do this, I'm very known in my church so I wouldn't want to send the wrong message to kids that are younger than I am, I would never dye my hair with chemical-base products, but I've always wanted to do something different to my hair other than a new haircut.
BiancaMary on September 02, 2012:
I'm going to try it now, wish me luck!
Trouble333 on September 01, 2012:
My 11 yr old daughter has a costume party this weekend and needs Pink hair for her costume. She hates to wear wigs (can't blame her; we both have enough hair for 3 people each, it gets really hot under wigs), so I thought I'd try this method. Any suggestions for Pink? She has blonde to light brown hair (dirty blonde), we can only leave it in for a day b/c of her school. Any suggestions to get it out FAST?
CourtneyHingley (author) on August 27, 2012:
Priscilla, Joey & Caty - It says in the article - between 2 & 6 weeks on average.
Kallie A - It won't last forever. You can always buy hair dye removal products if you want it out immediately.
Meghan - I've not heard any stories of Kool Aid leaking when swimming in chlorinated water, but I'm not sure how much this could vary individually/based on how recently it was dyed.
Emma - The more your hair is washed, the quicker it will fade. Your hair will be your natural shade underneath the dye.
Beastly457, Melaniee^_^, Jay.* & Devanae - It depends individually. You can strand test to be sure.
Sandra & Sarah - It says in the article - keep it in for 5 minutes.
Nicole - You can strand test to be sure how long the colour lasting varies depending on amount put on & whether it looks good.
Cat - You can straighten your hair once it is dry. Any application of heat will make the colour stay in for longer.
Matilda - This will vary. Strand test to be sure.
Amy - This can be done on clean or dirty hair.
Sparkle - Whatever conditioner you usually use should be fine.
Anna - Just add as much conditioner as it takes to make a nice paste.
Jrpslp - Do whatever colour you prefer. I would suggest using the other method if you're not dip-dying. I would recommend strand testing if you want to see what the colour/fading time is like, as well as to ensure that the mixture will not irritate you.
Leah - This will vary between people.
Karina - Yes, just shower normally. Shampoo & condition your hair.
Kara - I'm not sure what you mean by this.
Jen - Strand test different flavours or mixtures of flavours.
Sonika - Strand test to see what shows up best & use differing volumes to see whether using more is helpful.
Gabby - I've heard stories of people ending up incredibly uncomfortable & sticky using sweetened Kool-Aid, so I wouldn't recommend it!
Gabby on August 25, 2012:
Could you use sweetened koolaid? Or would that just leave your hair in a big sticky mess
Devanae on August 24, 2012:
If my hair is dark brown would I be able to dye it with grape kool aid?
Sonika on August 23, 2012:
Hi! Okay, i have very thick curly black hair....what color do you think would show up the best? And if i just do all my hair tips with a lot of Kool aid at the same type would you think that would work out?
Jen on August 22, 2012:
Which Kool-Aid flavor should I use for blue tips? thank you xx
Kara on August 15, 2012:
I want to mermaid dye my hair using this method... Any suggestions????
jay:* on August 15, 2012:
are there colors that stay in longer than others?
melaniee^-^ on August 13, 2012:
i got red highlights in my hair (Dark Brown) ihad to put bleach in my hair....but then i dyed the color out and now its back to the normal color....would the bleach in my hair effect the kool-aid color in any way.... im thinking of gettng the tips red..
Caty on August 10, 2012:
How long does the dye last?
karina on August 09, 2012:
mmm when you dye your hair like that && you leave it all night what do you do when you wake up take a shower normally? or how please help me!!
Kalgal3 on August 09, 2012:
Sarah on August 04, 2012:
After you dip dye your hair , do you leave it in all night as well?
Joey on August 02, 2012:
How long does it last for roughly?
bailey on August 01, 2012:
One cup of water...
huuuhh on August 01, 2012:
How many cups of water do I put in for juat one packet?
Leah on July 31, 2012:
I kind of forgot to put cOnditioner in the solution. Is it gonna stay?
Meghan on July 31, 2012:
Should I wash my hair before i dye my hair.
Jrpslp on July 30, 2012:
Im gonna try this underneath my hair so when I have high ponys or buns in, it'll show:) should I do red or purple? They're both unsweetened and I don't really care if it fades. My hair is darker brown underneath but super light on the bottom and I have blonde highlights! I'm thinking to dip dye it but I don't know how I'll get all the way up my hair in the bowl. ( I don't want to miss an inch or two way up) any ideas?? Also is it okay not to do a strand test? I am wanting red to fade to pinkish orange to so that doesn't matter to me:) thanks!!! And try to respond soon cause I may be doing this tonight.... I'm 13 btw
Nicole on July 24, 2012:
I have light/medium blonde hair and about a year ago I mixed Berry Blue with a drop of green food coloring to make aqua/turquoise. It stayed in for about a month and a half and stayed fairly bright for that time. I left my hair soaking for 20 minutes instead of 5. Also, I washed the stranding the sink after taking it out. I really enjoy this fun, easy, and natural way to dye hair!
Anna on July 24, 2012:
how much conditioner should i mix with the coolaid, like what's the recipee for this?
sparkle on July 24, 2012:
what kind of conditioner should I use????
amy on July 24, 2012:
can you do this with dirty hair and then wash it or should u take a shower before
Matilda on July 23, 2012:
Does this work with generic brands of fruit juice mix?
Cat on July 22, 2012:
I Want To Do The Conditioner And Water Way But Can You Straighten Out Your Hair When You Do This? Thanks (:
Nicole on July 22, 2012:
I love this! my friend has medium brown hair just like me and used 2 packets of red. i only want it to last about 2 weeks should i use 1 or 2 packets? i have long thick medium brown hair. Will the purple look good in my hair? thanks:)
livie on July 20, 2012:
when i dyed my hair with koolaid i washed it first then put my tips in the koolaid for twenty minutes and dried it and then straightened the tips i dyed.i have brown hair and did red koolaid and it looked awesome and lasted for five-six weeks even when i went swimming and washed my hair!love it!!(:
Sandra on July 18, 2012:
i want to dip dye my hair and my mom said yes because it is tempoary and i dont want my hair dyed for school and school starts in about 4 weeks how long do i keep my hair in the bowl ?
beastly457 on July 17, 2012:
does this work o darkkkk hair?
Emma on July 17, 2012:
I want to dip dye my hair..but I really want this to last for only about a week! When I wash it a lot will it fade? And if it does fade will it go back to my natural colour hair(dark brown) or will it fade to a different colour? I have school so I really need to wash out within a week! I have no chemicals in my hair..never did! :) Can you reply asap!
Rojo on July 16, 2012:
I did red on my hair and its a light brownish kind of dark. We boiled it and i left it in for about 10 minutes and it showed up perfect!!!
Meghan on July 16, 2012:
If you do the dip dyed hair and then go swimming in chlorine filled water, will it leak into the pool? Please answer
Kallie A. on July 12, 2012:
Also I wanted to know if it was bad for your hair? Everyone is saying it stays in FORVER. And that really scares me. I dip dyed my hair with the cherry color and I have blonde hair!!!! I'm REALLY NERVOUS! HELP!
Kallie A. on July 12, 2012:
I used the cherry color and I put 2 packets in, I have blonde hair but I'm nervous it won't come out for a long time! Think it will last forever?!
priscilla on July 12, 2012:
How long dose it last i mean.
priscilla on July 11, 2012:
How long dose it ?
CourtneyHingley (author) on July 11, 2012:
HannahAlexis - You're just boiling water. It's boiling when it's bubbling, if that helps. Water boils at 100 degrees celcius, but there's no hob setting for 'boiling water' because you just heat it until it's boiled.
The article tells you 'For every packet of Kool-Aid that you use add one cup of water' (you can find converters online if you don't work in cups).
HannahAlexis on July 10, 2012:
When you boil the Kool-Aid, What's the temperature it needs to be on? And how much water do you put in it?
CourtneyHingley (author) on July 10, 2012:
Maddie - I wouldn't imagine so, but it is possible. I would suggest strand testing & continuing to use mousse to evaluate
Magda - Results will vary on everybody, this is why it's suggested to strand test with the colour that you will be using some time beforehand. I hope that you're not too disappointed with the results - you could buy hair dye removal products or try some home remedies?
Melanie - To go a lighter shade than your hair would require bleaching, for any kind of dye, Kool-Aid or otherwise
Alyce7 - I don't know. Can anybody offer any advice?
Eden - It will depend on your hair
eden on July 09, 2012:
never mind. if its not to hard to answer it, but thanks mlpfim for the answer u gave 2 Carly7.
eden on July 09, 2012:
will the die come off in the pool?
Alyce7 on July 08, 2012:
What is the best flavor for a pink streak in dirty brown hair?
melanie on July 07, 2012:
my hair is dark brown . almost black . and I want to dye my hair cherry red with the koolaid .. would I have to dye it ?
magda on July 07, 2012:
I just did the boiling method and it turned my hair a dark green! I tried it again and it made it a little bluer so now it's blue-green! Is this normal or supposed to happen. Also I have dirty blonde hair.
Maddie on July 06, 2012:
Um, my hair is extremely curly an bright blonde naturally. I want to do this, but I use mouse to let my hair curl up right after a shower. Is that going to affect it?
mlpfim on July 04, 2012:
I think you could use Berry Blue. :3
mlpfim on July 04, 2012:
My friend told me about "kool-aid dying" the day I went over to her house for a pool party, and hers didn't even come out a little when we went swimming. In fact, it looked great ;)
She used the boiling method.
Carley7 on July 04, 2012:
can I go swimming after or will it come out?
Addy on July 02, 2012:
How long do u keep it in for?
Imblonde on July 01, 2012:
Ok so I'm blonde and I want to get a bright blue! What colors would I get it flavors?
Isabel on July 01, 2012:
They should make a product called Kool-Aid Dye for your hair and I totally think this is way better that color hair spray. Kool-Aid would prob. last a little longer I think
Autumn on July 01, 2012:
adorablegirl on July 01, 2012:
I luv koolaid dye. Works so good.
Isabel on July 01, 2012:
I'm 11 years old and I tried convincing my mom to let me have red highlights but she said your too young and I told her my friend has them and my mom said no. So I'm definitely gonna try to convince her to let me do this... She'll have to say yes because it fades (but i dont know about my dad) and I have to say Kool Aid can be pretty cool for your hair :) Thx A Lot Courtny Hingley Wish Me Luck!
CourtneyHingley (author) on July 01, 2012:
Shampoo does wash out the dye quicker, Michaela, although most people will agree that after putting something as sticky as Kool-Aid onto your hair that it would be a good idea to wash it out pretty thoroughly, including using shampoo.
michaela on June 30, 2012:
It wasn't that good of a hub because you aren't suppose to wash your hair with shampoo takes out a lot of the color and takes almost all of the dye out. But if you have dark hair you should use red koolaid bcuz the blues and purples don't show up as well!!! But everyything else about this hub wasn't that bad
CourtneyHingley (author) on June 30, 2012:
Hannah - Yes, you can if you want.
Rachael - I wouldn't see why not, unless the consistency changes as it cools or anything.
Sydney - It should for human hair extensions, but I'm not sure about synthetic ones. You could strand test?
Dayday - Lemon juice will not bleach your hair. You can use a hair dye removal product (ColourB4 in the UK or Color Oops in the US, for example) to remove the dye.
Alex Moore - With that method, it is ready to go once it is dry. Also, the video is not mine, I just embedded it from Youtube.
Jess - I'm not sure - you could strand test to find out.
Isabella - Kool Aid will not bleach your hair. Any shade lighter than your hair colour will not work. It will definitely wash out, but the time period of that is different for everybody.
Autumn - Either method should work. I can't say how long it will last, it differs - the timescale in the article is an average, though. You can wash your hair whenever you like, but the more that you do, the quicker it will fade. Usually people tend to just aim to wash their hair less frequently than what they are personally used to.
Autumn on June 29, 2012:
Also, how often should I wash my hair?
Autumn on June 29, 2012:
I did this at 11 o'clock this morning and it's 7:30 in the afternoon. I'm going to wear it all night... I used the paste method for the bottom of my hair. I have dirty blonde hair, how long do u think it will last? And also do u think that I did the right method? Or should I have used the boiling one?
Isabella on June 28, 2012:
will it permanently change the color of my hair if I have dark brown hair naturally? Will it bleach it at all or change from the original color after being washed out
Jess on June 28, 2012:
Do you know if crystal light drink mix would work the same way?
Alex moore on June 26, 2012:
So all we have to do is what you said in the video, do you have to wrap it overnight or anything? Or is it ready to go once its dry?
Dayday on June 26, 2012:
If i want to get the color out before school and my hair is blonde then can i just soak it in lemon juice to bleach it back to blonde?
Sydney on June 26, 2012:
Will it come out with extensions ?
Rachael on June 26, 2012:
Thanks- another question though; on the strand testing, can I reuse the koolaid I heated up for dying again?
Hannah on June 24, 2012:
Can u wash ur hair with shampoo and coindtioner if u did the boil method
Rachel8371 on June 24, 2012:
I am doing blue highlights in my hair but i have to go somewhere the next morning what should I do!!
CourtneyHingley (author) on June 22, 2012:
Hannah12014 - I presume that you mean once you've washed the Kool-Aid mix out of your hair & are just left with the colour? That would be fine.
Rachael - Splat is a semi-permanent hair dye & one that does last a fairly long time (a lot of people like it for this reason), whereas this should probably be more temporary. However, it will vary in how long it stays in from person to person. I would suggest either strand testing or buying a hair dye removal product in case you want to remove the colour.
Hannah - with light hair any colours are likely to work fairly well on your hair. If you are in any doubt then try dark shades (dark red for example) as these may yield better results.
Madi - I would suggest a hair dye removal product, or perhaps try with Head & Shoulders shampoo since many people say that this fades hair dye quickly.
Madi on June 22, 2012:
I did it and the blue turns out grey. Tried everything to get it
Out but nothing work not even fading what should I do
MZF13zmt on June 21, 2012:
If your wondering about if it will last in a swimming pool:
My grandma is a professional, and when she dyes my hair with real dye she says to rinse my hair with regular water before going into a chlorine pool. I don't know if it's the same with kool-aid, but I suggest you try it to be safe. It may fade a bit though, I'm not 100% sure.
Hannah on June 21, 2012:
I have a really light brown hair that's almost blonde. What color would you say works best? And also, which method (boiling water and conditioner) last longer?
Rachael on June 21, 2012:
I want just a streak for a week or two this summer, but I'm kind of afraid to try. My friend, with the same colour hair as me, tried using Splat and it would not come out even after going to the salon. I am scared this will happen to me with koolaid, and suggestions? Thanks
Hannah12014 on June 21, 2012:
will your hair burn if you curl it with the koolaid in it?
CourtneyHingley (author) on June 21, 2012:
You can't do much to make it show, unless you want to bleach your hair, Yasmin.
Lalala, yes, they do.
Lalala on June 21, 2012:
Do they have different colors?
yasmin on June 21, 2012:
I'm planning to use red kool aid for the tips of my hair so if I have dark brown hair will it show? And if it doesn't what can I do to make it show?
CourtneyHingley (author) on June 20, 2012:
I would recommend strand testing with colours & selecting the one that turns out best, Rachel. & yes, you can use curling tongs or straighteners after you have dried your hair - in fact, it should help seal in the colour for longer.
There are two methods in the article, Hannah - one is using water and conditioner, & the other is boiling just water. I think you're probably looking for the first. If your hair is dark then try to select a darker colour, also.
Rachel8371 on June 20, 2012:
Also Can you curl or straitened your hair with the kool aid in it
Hannah12014 on June 20, 2012:
does it also work if u put in conditioner instead of water? because i watched another video and it said conditioner instead of water. imma not sure. also what color do u recommend for dark brown hair? thanks!
Rachel8371 on June 20, 2012:
Courtney what colour would you recommend for light brown hair