How to Color or Dye Synthetic Hair Extensions

Dye synthetic hair with permanent marker ink.

Photo: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Hair extensions in wild colors are all the rage. But what if you hit the store and find only the same boring selection of synthetic blond or brunette hair extensions? Buy the blond -- you can always color them later. While you can't color or dye synthetic hair the conventional way, all it takes is a trip to the arts and craft aisle for some permanent markers.


Prepare a work surface before you begin coloring. This method can be messy, so you don't want to risk permanently damaging your carpeting, furniture or counter tops. Lay a few old towels out on your work surface and cover the floor around you with a drop cloth.


Remove the ink sticks from the casings of five permanent markers -- all the same color. This can be a bit tricky, especially if the tips of the markers won't budge. A pair of pliers should do the trick. Simply grab the tip of the permanent marker with the pliers while holding the casing firmly. Turn the pliers until the tip pops off. Voila!


Set the ink sticks aside while you prepare an alcohol bath. Pour a bottle of 70-percent rubbing alcohol into a large bowl. Lay one of the ink sticks in front of you. See the clear plastic tube that wraps around the ink stick? Make a vertical slice along the entire length of the ink stick using a sharp knife. Be careful! It's an alcohol bath not a blood bath. Slice open the plastic tubing of each ink stick and toss the ink sticks into the alcohol bath.


Let the alcohol bath sit overnight. This will give the ink plenty of time to leach into the bowl. Take a look at the bowl in the morning. Is the color deep enough? If not, add more of the same color ink sticks and let the bowl sit for another few hours. Keep checking the bowl until the color reaches the depth you want. Now, onto the dyeing!


Slip on a pair of rubber gloves. Lay the synthetic hair in the bowl. Use your hands to massage the ink into the hair extensions, trying not to miss any spots. Let the synthetic hair sit in the bowl for several hours, checking it periodically to see if you are getting the color you want. Once you do, remove the synthetic hair extensions from the dye and rinse them under cold water. Listen up! You need to use cold water. Synthetic hair does not like any type of heat, so keep it cool.


Rinse, rinse and rinse the hair extensions until the water runs clear. If you don't, the ink may rub off on your clothes. Lay the freshly colored synthetic hair extensions flat on an old towel to dry. Once they're dry you're good to go. Ta-da!

Things You'll Need


1.Old towels or drop cloths


5.Sharp knife

2.Permanent markers

4.70-percent isopropyl alcohol

6.Rubber gloves


Tips & Tricks


If you are looking to add only a few streaks of color to the synthetic hair extensions, skip the alcohol bath. Just color the strands by hand. Simply lay the synthetic hair on a flat surface and color away -- just as if the hair were a coloring book. Easy enough, right?

Many times if you search the aisles of the big bargain box stores you will find rainbow packages of permanent markers. This isn't very helpful when you need at least five or more of the same color. A trip to the stationery store can solve the problem. Most sell permanent markers separately, so you can choose as many of one color as you like.

Don't skip the rubber gloves! Permanent marker and skin don't mix. If you get the ink on your skin, it will be a nightmare to remove, requiring a lot of soap, water and scrubbing to get it off. It may even take days for the color to fade.


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