How to make your own quick & temporary hair color and gel!

diy hair color

I never knew there were so many ways to make temporary hair color! You can use Kool Aid, food coloring, and Mio, just to name a few. Here’s how I made mine… super quick, instant, and easy!

Today was crazy hair day at school for my kiddos! So, of course I wanted to color their hair.. I just had one problem, I didn’t have any hair coloring.

So, I hopped on Google (like usual, Google knows all) and searched for a way to make instant, temporary hair color with things I already have at home. I found lots of different ways to make it, from Kool Aid to food coloring. I didn’t have Kool Aid, but I did have food coloring, so I went with one of those recipes. :)

I also wanted to spike my lil guys’ hair, so last night I made my homemade hair gel (quick recipe here) so it’d have time to set overnight. Then, this morning I lightly coated my palms with the gel and ran it through my kiddos’ hair. Since their hair is so long, it naturally went into a mohawk, which was perfect for crazy hair day!

After the gel dried, I mixed up the instant hair coloring. All it takes is a small puff of mousse mixed with about 5 or 6 drops of food coloring and it’s ready! I dabbed some of the colored mousse on my fingers (which stained my fingers bright red and blue.. you may want to wear gloves!) and I pressed it into the tips of their hair. Instant color! So very cool!

And if you don’t have mousse, I imagine you could just mix the food coloring in with the gel. Don’t know why I didn’t think to try that! I’ll have to try it sometime.. and if you try it, please let me know how it goes! :)

My boys and I had so much fun doing this! I definitely want to try it on the tips of my own hair sometime too. Just beware, it does seem to stain skin and clothes until it dries.  So wear gloves and an old tshirt just to be safe! :)

Now, you may be wondering, does it wash out? How long does it stay in? I don’t know! But I’ll find out tonight and give you an update. :)

Update: My hubby gave our boys a bath this morning, and the color washed right out with just warm water! My kiddos were sad to see the color go. We’ll definitely be doing it again! :)

If you try this, I’d love to know how it works for you! You can post pictures on the Facebook page too if you’d like! :)




  1. Rachel

    thanks! (:

    • Christina

      Hi Rachel! I’m just seeing your comment. You’re very welcome! Did you try it? How’d it go? Hope it turned out well for you! :)

  2. tally

    where did you get the hair dye recipe

    • Christina

      Hi Tally!

      I’ve been searching all over, but I can’t find a specific site that I found it from. I’m sorry! I always try to include links to the original article, but in this case, I don’t remember there being a specific article. I was just trying to think of things that I already had at my house that I could use.. and mousse and food coloring seemed like a perfect combo! :-)

  3. kim

    Christina …. soooooo happy I found this last night! It was super simple – not messy (if you wear gloves :-) ) and all items I had on hand!!! Best part – my little guy loved his hair for WaCKy HaIR dAy at school today. Thanks!

    • Christina

      Hi Kim! I’m so very happy this worked for you! So very glad your little guy loved it! My guys did too. Makes me want to do it with them again. Thanks so much for sharing your results. You made my day! :)

  4. Allison

    Hey Christina! Thanks for the idea! I’m definitely gonna try this for my junior high crazy hair day tomorrow! Can’t wait to try! :)

    • Christina

      Hey Allison! Did you try it? If so, I’m excited to hear how it turned out! I know it worked great for my boys, and I’m hoping it works well for other people, like you, too! :)

      • Allison

        Yes I tried it, and it worked out great!!! Thanks again for the idea. It lasted throughout the day and washed right out when needed. I have brown hair and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see the color, but I was able to see the blue. Thanks again! Looking forward to seeing more of your tips! :)

  5. Madison

    Does it wash out?

    • Christina

      Hi Madison! It washed out right away with water for my little guys. Didn’t even need soap to wash it out. However, I know different types of hair respond differently, so you may want to test a small part of hair first. Since mine is bleached, I’m thinking it may hold the color a little more, but I haven’t tried it yet. I also haven’t heard how it works on dark hair. I wonder if the color is strong enough to show up on dark hair. I’ll have to see if I can find someone with dark hair who will let me try it. :-) If you try it, I’d love to know how it turns out. Hope it works well for you! :)

  6. Coral

    it was alright in my hair of course I was eager to see what would happen and im only 12 but I did it my self and it was still really easy I didn’t use gel at all oh ya and I even have brown hair

  7. Katrina

    Thanks for the idea of food coloring with hair gel. Used food coloring with hair gel on my son today and it looks great. Brilliant colors, too. Washed right out of my hands after styling my son’s hair, so I don’t foresee any problems later.

    • Christina

      Yay, Katrina, I’m so glad it worked well for you! Did your son like it? Hope so! And I hope it washed out as easily for him as it did for my little guys! :)

      • Katrina

        He loved it! The color lasted all day and it washed out cleanly and easily in the shower at night. And FYI, he has dark blonde hair and the color was brilliant. I tried it on my light brown hair and I couldn’t see the color. However, I mixed the hair gel for him at night and let it sit for about 12 hours. When I tried it on my hair, I mixed and used right away. Perhaps that made a difference?

        • Christina

          Katrina, that is great info! Thank you for sharing. I’ve never thought to let it set. Maybe that is the difference! I’ll have to give that a try and see if it works on darker hair (may have to beg my husband to let me try it on him!). Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  8. Starr

    Thanks for the ideas. I went and bought colored gel and hair chalk. I may just try this instead. I’m worried that the colored gel will come off on my sons hands if he touches his hair. Ill be whipping up a batch tomorrow for my son. :)

    • Christina

      Hi Starr! I wish I would have seen this comment sooner to warn you that this colored gel made rub off on your son’s hands too. I don’t remember if it did for my boys, but it seem like it may if it’s touched. If you tried it, and that happened, I’m sorry! Hope it wasn’t too messy!

  9. Ruby

    Thanks for the idea. My son will be chucky for halloween i want to dye his hair just for that night. If i do use food coloring will it wash off easily?

    • Christina

      I’m very sorry for the late reply! Yes, it does wash out easily. Washed right out with warm water for my boys. If you tried it, I hope it worked well for your son! :)

  10. Belanloves1D

    Thank u so much and i have a question if you use hair cream will that work and wil it work for black hair ?

    • Christina

      Hi! I think it should work with hair cream, although I’ve never tried it. I’ve also never tried it on black hair. I’m not sure if the colors would be vibrant enough to show up. I’m sorry I’m not much help! You could always test it on a small spot to see how it shows up. Good luck! :-)

  11. Kristine

    Wacky hair day for my son tomorrow and if course I’m remembering at 10pm! Google lead me here! Thanks so much for this article!

    • Christina

      That’s the same thing I did for crazy hair day for my boys.. the inspiration for this article! :) I hope it turned out well for you! :)

  12. Jessa

    Love it! The reason why the food coloring washes right out is because to dye natural fibers (like hair) you’d need to combine it with an acid. Be careful with koolaid, it has ascorbic acid in it, so it’s not as quick to wash out. If you ARE looking for a lasting tint, throw in some vinegar :)

  13. Do you know if it was a water based food coloring? (like the normal drop bottles) or the candy type food coloring (oil based)? I’m assuming the water based drop-type bottles but just want to be sure. Thanks!

    • Christina

      HI Stacie! I’m very sorry for the late reply. Yes, it was the water based (normal drop bottle) kind. If you tried it, I hope it turned out well! :)

  14. Thanks Christina I need to know because tomorrow’s red and green day so I wanted our class to win thanks

    • Christina

      Hi Kelsey! Red and Green Day sounds like fun! I hope you guys had a great day, and if you used the coloring, I hope it turned out well! :)

  15. Danielle

    Has anyone tried it with regular gel? If so how much and how many drops did you use? I am going to try spiking the front if my sons hair tomorrow for a birthday party.

    • Christina

      Hi Danielle! I still haven’t tried it with regular gel, so I can’t help you much. I’m sorry! But at least one person who commented above, Katrina, mentioned using hair gel. Here’s her comment: “Thanks for the idea of food coloring with hair gel. Used food coloring with hair gel on my son today and it looks great. Brilliant colors, too. Washed right out of my hands after styling my son’s hair, so I don’t foresee any problems later.” I think it’s worth a try! I’ll add it to my list of things to try out so I can answer questions like yours better. :) If you try it with hair gel, please let me know how it goes! :)

  16. allie

    Thanks i tried it with mio and whala im only 10 and i tried on my sis hows only 6 and loves the idea of red hair and i was baby siting her and she wanted hair dye i told we did not have any and mom would not like it probably so i called her and asked if maybe i could find something online my mom said yes. my sis thought it looked so real she almost died of happyness she hated to see it wash out that she burst into tears thats she loves it so much. now it has be a regular day thing. you helped so much sorta but thanks for the tip your a life saver and i hope i find more thing from you.

    • Christina

      Hi Allie! It sounds like you had a lot of fun with your sister. I’m so glad! :) And I’m glad that the Mio worked well (and washed out!). That’s great to hear! I just posted something else your sister may like to do… take a bath with food coloring in the water. I did that for my little guy on his birthday and he loved it. Thanks again for sharing your experience! :)

  17. Eona

    I’m fourteen and my biggest dream since I was 12 has been blue dyed hair. I never dared to til now because my dad ‘threatened”‘that he would dye his moustache if I dyed my hair :) So I tried this this morning and it was a dream come true. I searched a little more to find out that mixing food colouring with conditioner and leaving it on in wrapped foil for about an hour makes it a little more permanent. Thanks alot!

    • Christina

      Eona, your comment is too cute! Definitely made me smile. :) I’m glad it worked out for you and that you found the conditioner tip too! I may have to try that way sometime too! I’m curious… what did your dad think of your hair? Did he dye his mustache?? :)

  18. Matt

    “Wah lah”? You mean voila.

    • Christina

      Yes, that was a very silly mistake I made! I’m very embarrassed to say I did not learn til recently that that’s how that word is spelled. haha I’ll go change it now. :)

      • Christina

        So, I changed it.. but it’s driving me crazy. I’m not a fan of words that are spelled differently than they sound. May just have to take the whole phrase out and leave it to the French. :)

  19. Ally

    Okay so its crazy hair day and your sure it will come out.

    • Christina

      I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner! Did you try it? Did it come out easily? Hope so! It came out of my little guys’ hair very easily.. but I can’t guarantee it will come out of yours. I’m sorry! Best bet would be to test a small section of your hair first. :)

  20. Eleanor

    amazing! did you use a specific type of food coloring though?

    • Christina

      Hi Eleanor! I just used classic food coloring.. the kind that comes in small bottles that you squeeze little drops out of. :)

  21. Jenna

    If you touch your hair during the day does the dye get on your skin??

    • Christina

      Hi Jenna! That is a great question. Since it was on my kiddos, I’m not too sure if it does get onto your skin when you touch it even after it’s dried. That’s a good question! Maybe someone else who has tried it can answer? I’ll have to try it again soon to find the answer to your question! :)

  22. Thumbs up! I’ll be doing this on my own hair. Haha! Thanks! :)

    • Christina

      That’s awesome, Jing! I’m still wanting to try it on my hair. Have you tried it yet? If you have, I hope it worked well! :)

  23. Abby

    Do you have to put the hair gel on first for it to come out on the first wash?

    • Christina

      Hi Abby! I just mixed the food coloring with the gel and then put it on their hair and it washed right out in their bath. :)

  24. Emily

    Hi, if i were to use this on long hair would i have to use the hair gel?????

  25. Arlet

    Does my hair have to be wet for me to dye it with the Mousseand food coloring? Or can it
    be dry

  26. Wanting To Be An Indian...

    I have lighter brown-blondish hair…and I want to dye my hair black, just for one night…do you recommend this or chalking?? I want it to wash out as easily and completely as possible!!

  27. Liz

    How do I use the Kool aid in the mouse

  28. Olivia

    Hi, about how long does it stay in for? Also, does it work for dark (almost black) hair?

  29. Lizzie

    I love this idea. I haven’t tried it yet but I will soon. I am only 12 and I am always looking for ways to color my hair.( since i don’t have tons of money)lol

  30. Breanna

    I love this cute idea! My kids love it.

  31. Nats44

    this is an awesome idea!
    i went to the dollar store with my little cousin (shes three) and we bought this temporary hair dye thing and it broke. so i looked on google because like you said google knows evrything! And found this. so i was about to try it on a test dummy but my cousin started having a meltdown because she wanted to do it so i did it on her im not sure if it will work to wash out but im hoping it does. if it doesnt her dad is going to be so mad at me:( but im keeping my fingers crossed. anyway thanks again!

  32. Kelly Brennan

    hi just to let u know i find that the colour looks more vibrant if you add a little bit of conditioner to it bye the loved this it was the only helpful website i could find on this xxx

  33. Lauren S.

    Will conditioner work instead of gel or mousse?

  34. Hello,
    We tried this for my blonde daughter yesterday for crazy hair day. It worked like a charm in red and blue and lasted all day. My only issue is that even after three through washes with a brightening shampoo there were still hints of color in her tips. It’s not terribly noticeable and only the last inch or so of her hair so a haircut/trim will get rid of the rest! Please be careful with your blondes if their ends aren’t perfectly healthy. I think a layer of hairspray under the ‘dye’ would keep it from tinting very light hair! Thank you though for the idea, it was last minute and worked great!

  35. Caslynn

    Hi I think it really worked out with me preety nice thank u but please also find a way without food colour

  36. Gelo

    Hi, I wanna know, does it work on dark hair color?