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Temporary Black Hair Dye | Top 7 Picks & How to Use

You can use temporary black hair dye to try out a rich, ebony color that washes out within a few shampoos. Learn what it is and see all the uses for temporary black dye, plus get our top dye picks below.

What Is Temporary Black Hair Dye?

What is temporary black hair dye image in a before-after of someone using it

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Temporary black hair dye allows you to temporarily color your hair black without the long-lasting or permanent effects of more robust, harsher dyes. It comes in a variety of forms, from sprays and liquid to creams, chalks, and powders.

When you use temporary black color, the results last only a few shampoos instead of months or longer. That’s a big deal, especially if you often color, bleach, or highlight your hair.

Being able to choose a temporary black color that will wash out easily is a much better option for your hair than opting for permanent black hair dye. Did you know that stylists consider permanent black box dye one of the most difficult color situations to correct?

That’s because black dye molecules are particularly stubborn and challenging to remove from the hair when you’re ready to try a new color or look. If you don’t want to back yourself into a color corner, you’ll need to choose your hair dye responsibly. 

Starting with temporary black dye when you’re after a rich, ebony color is a great way to explore how you’ll look with the color without getting “stuck” with black hair for months or years.

It’s all the payoff without the color commitment! Keep reading to learn about the different types of temporary black hair dye, pros and cons, how to use it, and see our favorite temporary black dyes.

We’ll cover the things you should consider before trying it out and share a few recommendations from stylists along the way. Let’s get started!

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Temporary Black Dye: The Pros and Cons

Guy using temporary black hair dye on his head

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Before you decide if temporary black dye is the best choice for you, you need to consider and weigh all the pros and cons. While it’s a short-term, less damaging alternative to permanent black dye, it is not without issues.

Read on to learn about the positive and negative potential of black temporary dye.

Pros

  • Washes out with shampoo: While all hair color will fade somewhat with shampooing, temporary dyes are formulated to completely wash out with shampoo. Since temporary dye doesn’t work its way into your hair strands like permanent dye, it’s only a matter of time and shampoo to rinse the topical color out completely. If you’re looking for a short-term dark color change or are just managing things yourself until you can get back into the salon, this makes temporary black dye the best choice. 
  • No roots, no worries: When you use temporary black dye, it won’t stick around long enough to make color maintenance a concern. That means you don’t have to worry about getting your roots touched up or getting a gloss every few weeks to refresh your color! 
  • Won’t damage hair: Any temporary dye, including black, is going to be much more gentle on your hair and cause less damage than harsh permanent dye. Temporary dyes don’t chemically peel open the cuticle layer of the hair like permanent dyes do. They only sit on top of the hair to give a short-term color change. Less damage during coloring means healthier hair that is stronger, shinier, and less prone to frizz and breakage. 
  • Try a new color without commitment: Trying out a new drastic hair color is risky, but if it’s temporary, you can ensure you won’t end up stuck with a hair color that isn’t right for you. Since black can be a difficult color to pull off (especially if you have a lighter natural color), starting with a temporary dye lets you see how it looks on you without long-term commitment. 
  • Easy to DIY: While we usually advise avoiding any dye DIY, doing your own temporary color is different. Since the color will wash out with shampoo, many women can feel confident doing this type of color at home without a professional. If the color turns out patchy or you hate it, that’s okay – it will wash out! 

Cons

  • Staining potential: Even temporary black dye can cause lighter hair colors to stain on a semi-permanent or permanent basis. It all depends on the porosity and health of your hair as well as the color you start out with. Use with care if you have a light natural hair color, or if you’re using temporary dye on lightened hair. 
  • Color doesn’t last: This is fairly obvious, but it can still be a con if you end up loving the results of your black temporary dye. The color will wash out in anywhere from 3 to 28 shampoos – a big range, but nowhere near permanent dye. 
  • Fading starts immediately: The best your temporary black color will ever look is right after dying. From there, it’s only going to fade bit by bit. You can combat fading by limiting how often you shampoo and using gentle, sulfate-free shampoo, but no matter what, temporary dye is going to start fading in intensity right away. 
  • Application can be messy: Any type of black dye – temporary to permanent – has the potential to stain and makes for a messy application. You’ll want to cover clothing with a towel or cape during use and take special steps to avoid transferring some types of temporary dyes onto your pillowcase or clothing. 

The 7 Best Temporary Black Hair Dyes in 2022

Temporary black dye comes in many different forms. If you’re thinking about using it, you need to know the different ways you can use and apply this short-term color to your hair to get the best results.

Keep reading to see the different types of temporary black hair dye and the best products in each category. 

Temporary Black Color Sprays

Temporary black dye sprays are liquid dyes in aerosol form that can be sprayed directly onto your hair to change the color short-term. You’ve probably seen sprays like this around Halloween in wild and vibrant colors or in the hair care aisle as a root touch-up spray. 

If you’re hoping for a one-night color change, conceal grown-out roots, hide grays, or just want to add depth to your dark hair color for a short time, these sprays can be a great option.

They can transfer onto other items, however – pillowcases, hats, hoods, etc. – so use with caution and only for temporary purposes. 

Best Temporary Black Hair Dye Sprays

Best for Roots
L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer Spray Black, 2.01 Oz
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L’Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer Spray in black is the best temporary root touch-up spray you’ll find. With almost 50K reviews, this is the most popular black temporary color spray on Amazon and for good reason.

It washes out with a single shampoo and will seamlessly cover pesky grays until you can get into the salon for a touch-up. It’s not great for all-over color, however.

Best All-Over
High Ridge Beams Intense Temporary Spray On Hair Color
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High Ridge Beams Intense Temporary Spray On Black Hair Color is a better option if you’re looking to do an all-over black temporary color rather than just touching up roots.

It evenly coats hair with temporary black dye to give you a short-term rich, deep color without the commitment. This option is very temporary and washes out with a single shampoo. Thousands of reviewers give it excellent 4 and 5 star reviews

But the main complaints are that it makes hair feel stiff and can transfer onto other objects. That makes it best for one-night color changes for a costume, play, or party.  

Temporary Black Hair Chalk

Temporary black hair dye in chalk form is another option. Chalk hair color is very temporary and washes out with a single thorough shampoo. This is a wonderful option if you want a single night hair color change, want to touch up roots, or need to conceal patchy areas of existing black hair color.

It’s not a great all-over option because of the texture of the chalk and the stiff, waxy feeling it can give strands. 

Best Temporary Black Hair Chalk

Our Top Pick
Professional Hair Chalk Temporary Hair Dye
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Joyous Professional Hair Chalk Temporary Hair Dye comes in a 2-pack so you’ll be set anytime you want to touch up your color, add lowlights to a lighter shade of color, or conceal grays and grown out roots.

Reviewers love the product for its effectiveness, but warn that the application process can be messy. Wear latex gloves while you apply and put a towel over your shoulders to avoid staining clothing! 

Temporary Black Hair Color Powder

Temporary black hair color powders are a great option if you’re uncomfortable using sprays or chalks. These ultra-fine powdered dyes are dusted onto your hair directly to temporarily change the color and help conceal uneven patches, bald spots, thinning areas, and grown-out roots. 

Black dye powder isn’t a great option for all-over color, but in a pinch, it can work. Typically, you apply powdered black color with a powder puff that you dip into the powder before dabbing and applying it right to the areas you want to cover with black color. 

Best Temporary Black Hair Color Powders

Best All-Over Powder
Instantly Hair Shadow - SEVICH Hair Line Powder
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Sevich Black Hair Line Powder comes with a big powder puff applicator so you can get more coverage in less time. If you do plan to use powder for all-over temporary black color, this is the one to try.

Reviewers rate this one very favorably with more than 5,000 users giving it an average of 4.3 stars. The powder is sweat-proof but will wash out with a single, thorough shampoo.

Best for Thinning & Bald Spots
BOLDIFY Hairline Powder Instant Stain-Proof Hair Dye
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Boldify Black 48-Hour Hairline Powder really caters to anyone looking for solutions for thinning areas and bald spots. This black color powder comes with a smaller applicator that makes it difficult to use all-over.

But it’s perfect for spot-treating patchy areas without dousing your entire head in black color powder. It can last for up to 48 hours, making it one of the longer-lasting temporary products. It still comes out with a single shampoo! 

Temporary Black Semi-Permanent Dye

While the name can be misleading, semi-permanent dye is not permanent at all. It lasts just 3-6 shampoos, making it a temporary dye option that won’t leave you committed to the color.

Keep in mind that semi-permanent black hair dye can still stain light-colored hair, so be cautious! Semi-permanent dyes are sometimes called direct dyes because they don’t need to be mixed with a developer like demi-permanent or permanent dyes.

You can find semi-permanent black hair dye in gel or cream form as well as in color-depositing shampoo, conditioner, and hair masks.

Best Temporary Black Semi-Permanent Dyes

Best Overall
ARCTIC FOX Vegan and Cruelty-Free Semi-Permanent Hair Color
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Arctic Fox Transylvania Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye is our number one pick across all categories for temporary black hair dye.

This one is the best-loved by reviewers too, getting an amazing 4.5 stars on average from more than 64,000 users. The black “Transylvania” color has blue undertones to keep the dark color from looking skunky, brassy, or gray as it fades.

It does tend to stain light hair, so while it technically washes out in about 6 shampoos, you may need to reach for a good clarifying shampoo to truly remove the last traces of color.

Best Color-Depositing Shampoo
Keracolor Clenditioner ONYX Hair Dye - Semi Permanent Hair Color Depositing Conditioner
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Keracolor Clenditioner Onyx Color Depositing Conditioner envelopes your hair in a moisture-packed conditioner that leaves it hydrated, soft, and silky. Semi-permanent black dye is mixed right into the conditioner to leave temporary black color on every strand.

The color lasts 3-6 shampoos, but you can use this conditioner with every wash to get prolonged temporary color. Reviewers really love this option for short-term black color and it has nearly 60,000 reviews! 

Things to Consider

Temporary black hair dye powder in jars

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Black temporary dye is always the best choice if you’re doing your own hair color or just need a quick touch-up between salon visits. Opting for a temporary black hair dye is a great choice in many scenarios:

  • All-over black temporary color on darker hair colors
  • Covering grays in black hair
  • Concealing and touching up roots in black hair
  • Disguising bald spots or thinning areas in black hair
  • Adding lowlights and depth to any hair color
  • Enriching faded black hair color

However, remember that there are times you should avoid temporary black dye, too. Anyone with a light hair color (which temporary black dye can stain long-term) should steer clear without the guidance of a professional.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting color that lasts more than a few washes, temporary black dye won’t be the right choice for you. Deciding whether or not to use black temporary hair dye means taking an honest look at your specific situation. Why are you considering using it? 

If you want all-over black color without committing to it long-term and your hair color isn’t very light (light brown to dark brown works best), it’s a great option.

But if you’ve got blonde or light copper hair, even a temporary black dye can stain your hair and leave you with an in-between color for months. It may even require an expensive color correction session with a professional to fix.

Should You Use Temporary Black Hair Dye?

If you’re looking for a way to cover up gray hairs or hide your grown-out roots and you have black hair, temporary black dye is perfect. You’ll get short-term color that hides grays and roots without damaging or permanently coloring your hair. 

We even like using temporary black dye to deepen and enrich fading black permanent hair color. Rather than doing back-to-back damaging chemical processes on your hair, you can get by with using temporary dye in between salon visits to make your color look vibrant and fresh. 

Temporary black hair dye is an easy way to play around with black hair color without the permanency and commitment of using a longer-lasting hair color.

Make sure you choose the right type of black dye for you – whether that’s a spray, chalk, powder, or semi-permanent color – to get the results you want. 

If you end up loving the way you look with black hair color, don’t try to DIY permanent black color at home. That’s a story for another day and a job best left to a trained professional!

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