How To Dye a Synthetic Wig (5 Steps)

Published By: Kennedy

Fact Checked By: Dasia

Last Updated: October 28, 2022

Any additional styling to synthetic wigs can be a challenge, especially when you want to change its color. However, there are effective ways to effectively dye synthetic hair.

Steps To Dye A Synthetic Wig

You can dye a synthetic wig by following the 5 steps below:

Step 1: Use Synthetic Dye

Synthetic Dye

The best dye to use for synthetic hair is synthetic dye. Human hair dye will not be effective for synthetic hair because it is not real hair.  

Synthetic hair is composed of artificial hair strands of plastic – usually acrylic or nylon – that are made into ultra-thin fibers and chemically processed to mimic real hair. These processed fibers make them difficult to dye because they do not have the pigments that human hair does. This is because these synthetic fibers are not as penetrable.

Human hair products may damage synthetic fibers because the ammonia and bleach used in the dyes will destroy the texture and material of the wig and make them irreparable. It is better to use synthetic hair dye instead of human hair products. 

Synthetic dyes are actually fabric dyes that are specially made for polyester and other synthetic materials.  Many experts agree that it is extremely tricky to bleach synthetic wigs unless you are a professional because the bleach will often cause too much damage to synthetic hair. This is the reason why it is usually only possible to dye a synthetic wig a darker color than its original.

Synthetic dyes are actually fabric dyes that are specially made for polyester and other synthetic materials.  Many experts agree that it is extremely tricky to bleach synthetic wigs unless you are a professional because the bleach will often cause too much damage to synthetic hair. This is the reason why it is usually only possible to dye a synthetic wig a darker color than its original.

Step 2: Prepare Water

Instead of placing the dye directly onto the wig, add the dye into boiling water. The water acts as a carrier and will make it easy to distribute the color more evenly across the synthetic wig. 

Start by boiling enough water to completely submerge the wig. Next, add some of the dye into the water and mix it in. 

How much dye you put into the water depends on how intense you want the color to be. If you add in the entire bottle, the color will be very intense, which might look unnatural. 

A good general guide is that for every cup of water you use, add about 3 teaspoons of dye. 

Dip the ends of the wig to check if this is your desired color. If yes, dip the entire wig into the dye solution until it is completely submerged.

Step 3: Achieve the desired color

After you have mixed some dye into the water, dip the ends on the wig into the pot first. This will allow you to test the color intensity and see whether it is the one that you want. If the color is not the proper intensity, you can gradually add more dye until you achieve the desired result. 

After you have achieved the desired result, place the entire wig into the water until it is submerged. 

Step 4: Rinse

After 2-3 minutes remove the wig from the dye and rinse it with cold water. If you rinse the wig with hot water, the color will rinse out. When you are rinsing, be sure not to rub too much, so that you can keep most of the color intact. If you don’t like the color intensity, you can re-dip the wig to achieve more color.

Step 5: Dry

It is best to let the wig air dry after it has been wet. Do not comb or style a wet synthetic wig because that can damage the fibers. 

Check out this video on dying a synthetic wig:

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair With Food Coloring?

Food Coloring

Yes, you can dye synthetic hair with food coloring. This can be a cheap and effective option for changing the color of a synthetic wig without spending too much money.

However, you should be aware that food coloring will not spread evenly on its own, so adding a few drops to some hair mousse or conditioner and then applying it to the hair will help it to spread evenly. After applying the dye, it will need to sit on the hair for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water.

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair With Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic Paint

You can dye a synthetic wig with acrylic paint, as long as you use a medium, to help thin the paint. Using acrylic paint without a medium will result in the wig becoming still as the acrylic paint thickens and becomes stiff. 

In order to distribute the paint easily on the hair, you will need to put ¼ teaspoon of paint into a spray bottle mixed with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, which serves as a carrier for the paint.

After completely spraying the wig with the paint solution, let it dry for an hour and then rinse with cold water. Using acrylic paint should be done in a well-ventilated room for safety. 

Should I Wash My Wig Before Dying It?

It would be helpful for the hair to be clean in order for the color to penetrate the strands better. Sometimes sweat, dirt, and grease can prevent the color from seeping into the hair. Washing the hair first and letting it dry can help achieve optimal results. However, unless the hair is visibly very dirty, you can continue with dyeing it and still get good results.

Can You Dye A Synthetic Wig With Semi-Permanent Hair Dye?

Semi-permanent hair dye is too aggressive for synthetic fibers. The dye would strip the fibers causing them to look dull and less silky. Semi-permanent dye sticks to human hair because of its cuticles. All human hair strands have pores in the cuticles which the dye can fill. 

However, synthetic fibers do not have poreish cuticles, so there is nothing for the dye to stick to. Therefore, using synthetic dye for human hair on synthetic hair will not have the same effect. If you want to get the best results for dying, you should use dyes that are specifically made for synthetic fibers – they are non-damaging and look the best on the hair.

The Final Word

The most important thing to consider when dying a wig is the type of dye you use. Using the wrong type of dye can damage a wig, and dying a wig in the wrong way can also ruin the fibers.

However, while dying a wig correctly can seem like a daunting task, if you follow the steps above, you will have a brand new look in no time!


I have always had a love for writing and have been blogging for about 3 years now. I have a passion for teaching what I have learned over the years, especially about hair. I have had almost every hairstyle - typical of a cosmetologist’s daughter- including the big chop in 2015. With all the knowledge I have gained, I feel it is my duty to help others on their healthy hair journey. I believe education can be fun, and I strive to make it fun to learn about beautiful black hair.

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