Can You Dye Hair Extensions? Easy Beginner’s Guide

Human hair extensions can enhance your looks and allow you to experiment with modest hairstyles.

But, finding an extension that is a perfect match for your unique hair can be an uphill task. Like many other users, you may end up thinking of dyeing your hair extensions. 

Can you dye hair extensions

But, can you dye hair extensions?

The short answer to this question is yes. You can dye any human hair extension to your preferred shade. All you need is to use a darker or the same tint since going lighter may destroy rather than improve your hair. Also, you should avoid applying the tint in the application area as it may break the attachment and cause the hair to fall. 

Can You Dye Your Hair Extensions? Consideration to Make

As mentioned above, you can color your hair extensions to your preferred shade. However, whether you can dye your extensions will depend on whether the hair is human or synthetic.

Before you start dyeing, you should ensure that your extension is 100% human and not synthetic.

Perhaps you are wondering, ‘why not use synthetic hair extensions?’ That’s because synthetic hair extensions are made of plastic.

That means they cannot process the dye even if you apply the color a million times. If you attempt to dye synthetic hair, it may turn frizzy and unusable.

Also Read: Extensions Don’t Match Hair Color: How To Fix

How to Tell If Extensions Are Made From Human or Synthetic Hair

The simplest way to differentiate between synthetic and human hair extensions is to burn hair strands from both hair extensions.

If the hair is human, then it will catch fire and produce an unpleasant smell of burnt hair while burning.

On the other hand, a synthetic hair strand won’t catch fire but melt instead.

Can You Lighten Hair Extensions?

If you are dyeing your extensions for the first time, it’s important to note that you can darken your hair, but it is almost impossible to lighten them.

This is because most hair extensions undergo extensive processing, which leaves their cuticles in bad shape.

Therefore, bleaching the hair whose protective layer is damaged won’t lighten but destroy it. Only try it knowing that the extension might end up in the garbage.

What Hair Extension Types Can You Dye?

What Hair Extension Types Can You Dye

As mentioned earlier, human hair extensions are ideal for dyeing as they don’t include chemicals in their processing.

The different human hair extensions you can dye include:

Virgin Hair Extensions

As the name suggests, virgin hair extensions are 100% pure human hair. In other words, the hair has never undergone any chemical processing.

It is the highest quality extension available on the market. It is also the most expensive. 

Another unique thing about virgin hair extensions is that each extension comes from a single young donor with a long, thick, healthy, and full ponytail.

That ensures that the hair is free from split ends and grey strands. 

Though this hair does not need further processing, most extension companies would normally clean and process the virgin hair gently to produce different color options for their customers. 

However, some manufacturers may use harsh chemicals to process their virgin hair extensions.

That’s why it’s always safe to buy your extensions from reputable manufacturers only.

Also check out: Can Hair Grow With Extensions In?

Remy Hair Extensions

Remy hair extensions are famous for their high quality and affordability. Like the virgin hair extensions, Remy hair extensions are collected from humans with long and healthy hair. 

However, the two differ in that the virgin hair extensions come from a single person while the Remy hair extensions come from a mix of ponytails from different donors.

More specifically, they are collected from different donors, and then blended for processing.

However, the fact that they are blended does not compromise their quality. Their cuticles remain intact, and the strands move in the same direction, meaning there is no tangling or matting.

Healthy cuticles further imply that you can dye the hair with minimal damage. If well maintained.

Remy’s hair extensions can last up to 12 months.

Remember, harsh chemicals can destroy the extensions the same way they can destroy your natural hair. Avoid them by all means.

Also Read: Why Do My Hair Extensions Cause an Irritated Scalp?

Non-Remy Hair Extensions

Non-Remy hair extensions are not ideal for dyeing. However, they are sometimes labeled as Remy.

Non-Remy hair extensions comprise human hair that is collected from unreliable sources like temple grounds, random sellers, and salons.

Due to poor collection, their cuticles face different directions and are subject to problems such as matting and tangling.

To conceal the issues related to non-Remy hair, the processing firms use abrasive chemicals to strip the cuticles and then apply a thick silicone coating to make the hair silky and soft.

They are not the best option because the silicone coating fades after several washes, leaving the hair brittle, tangled, and matted.

Additionally, non-Remy hair cuticles are almost dead from the harsh chemical treatment. That means that they are ill-suited for dyeing.

How to Dye Hair Extensions

woman at hair salon

Want to change the color of your virgin or Remy hair extension? You can certainly do that using the right procedure and materials. Keep reading to learn how:

Step 1: Get Your Color and Other Essential Supplies

Materials needed:

  • A set of human hair extensions 
  • A pair of gloves (disposable)
  • A professional dye and a developer (stick to 20 volume developers and the instructions below to avoid destroying your hair)
  • Tinfoil
  • A boil for mixing the color and an application brush
  • A towel
  • A deep conditioner for caring for the extension after dyeing
  • A wide-toothed comb
  • A plastic wrap
  • A large working table

Step 2: Prepare the Workspace and Mix the Color

Place your supplies on a large table while leaving enough space for your dyeing operations. Cover the operation area using tinfoil to avoid staining your working space with the dye.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the dye with the developer. For the best results, you can mix them in the ratio of 1:1.

The volume of the color solution should be 3 to 5 ounces, or otherwise, depending on the length of the extension.

Step 3: Apply the Color

Put on the gloves and use the paintbrush to apply the color on your virgin or Remy extension.

Make sure that you apply the paint from the top (where the clip or the tape is attached) to the bottom, since painting them otherwise may tangle and dishevel the hair strands.

Do not forget to saturate both sides of your extension with the color solution.

Step 4: Process the Color

Now, cover the colored extension loosely in plastic wrap to allow the color to soak in.

Give the color 20 to 40 minutes (or the time specified by the manufacturer) to process. The processing should take place at a standard room temperature.

During processing, you want to monitor the progress of your hair extensions to assess whether their color is satisfactory.

To achieve this, use a paper towel to rub some part of the extension every 5 to 10 minutes. If the extension has not absorbed enough color, reapply the color using the paintbrush.

Repeat the process to monitor the progress until the extensions have absorbed enough dye, then rinse them over the sink.

Step 5: Rinse the Extensions

Use lukewarm water to remove the excess dye from the hair extension.

When rinsing, allow the water to follow the natural fall of hair to allow the strands to remain in the same direction. A complete hair rinse should take between 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 6: Air-Dry the Extension

The next step after rinsing the extension is to dry them.

Place the extensions on a towel, and then apply a leave-in conditioner on all sections of your extension.

Use your wide-toothed comb to straighten the hair strands, and then leave the extension to air dry.

You can style the extensions to your preferred hair design after they are completely dry.

Also Read: Why Won’t My Hair Take Color? (12 Surprising Reasons)

Is It Possible to Dye Hair Extensions that Are Already Fitted?

Is It Possible to Dye Hair Extensions that Are Fitted Already

No, it is impossible to dye hair extensions that are already fitted because hair extensions process more quickly than natural hair.

That implies you may end up with patchy hair if you try to apply the dye on both your hair and the extension.

Additionally, some chemicals can have adverse effects on your scalp should it contact the chemicals when dyeing.

That said, it is always safe to color the extensions before you fit them, as this will allow you to experiment with different colors and help you avoid harsh chemicals.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.