Hair coloring

How To Dye Your Dark Hair With Food Coloring

How To Dye Your Dark Hair With Food Coloring

Do you like experimenting with colors, but are afraid of causing damage to your hair with harsh chemical based hair colors? If yes is your answer, then food coloring may be a viable option for you. Dying your hair with food coloring is an easy and effective way to do so. The color may stay longer in blonde hair, but you can add a hint of your desired color to your dark haired tresses.

Remember every person has different hair, so the final results may vary. We have showed you how to temporarily dye your hair with crepe paper. Now, oneHOWTO, will show you how to dye your dark hair with food coloring.

You may also be interested in: How To Dye Your Hair With Walnuts

Can I dye my black hair with food coloring?

It is important to stress that if you have dark or black hair, food coloring will not give you a vibrant tint. It may give you a hint of color overall, but generally, this will only work well on very light hair.

If you wish to lighten or bleach your black hair before you DIY dye, do so. Food coloring is translucent so it will only add to whatever color is already there. If you have dark or black hair, the dye may not show up at all. If you have light brown or brown hair, the dye will turn out darker. If this is not an issue for you, feel free to skip this step.

We warn you that blue may turn out greenish on blonde hair, and brownish on brassy hair. To avoid this, tone your hair to a more neutral color.

In this article we show you 2 ways of dying your hair purple without bleaching and here we show you how to dye hair blue without bleaching.

1. Make sure your hair is clean

Wash your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioner. You want to apply food coloring onto clean and dry hair for best results, just as you would with dye.

2. Choose your work space

First of all, think about the work space you are going to work on. It is better to work on a tile or vinyl surface, so that the color does not stick to it. If you work on a carpet or a hard-to-clean surface, it may become permanently stained, which you would definitely not want.

3. Wear gloves

Wear gloves, otherwise your hands may get colored too. Click here to know How to remove hair dye stains from skin at home. In order to avoid your clothes from getting stained or colored, wear an old set of clothes only while dying. If you don't have any old clothes you don't mind ruining, put on a dark shirt instead. It is also a good idea to wrap an old towel around your shoulders.

4. Prepare the mixture

Take a small container, mix the food coloring of your choice with a clear gel that should be enough to cover the hair you want to color. A white conditioner or gel shampoo, or aloe vera gel will be a good medium to spread the color. Add a few drops of your selected food coloring, and mix until you achieve the desired color intensity. Once you get the desired color, add two more drops of the color, as it will seem darker in the container than it will look on the hair. You may even mix colors to achieve your desired color. For example, you can mix red and blue to get purple.

How much you use depends on how dark you want the color to be; the more food coloring you use, the deeper the color will be. Keep in mind that the color will turn out lighter than what's in the bowl. Be sure to use regular liquid or gel food coloring and avoid vegetable-based dyes as they won't adhere to your hair.

Adjust the dye color to neutralize yellow or brassy tones, if needed. If you lightened your dark or black hair earlier, you may be left with yellow or brassy tones. This may affect the outcome of your dye job. If you have dark or black hair, use green food coloring to counteract red tones or a combo of blue and green to neutralize a reddish-orange hue. For blondes, turn to violet to get rid of yellow tones.

Think pastel when it comes to dyeing your hair with food coloring. Dark blues will come out as turquoise, deep purple to fuchsia and dark pinks will appear peachy.

5. Divide hair into sections and apply

Divide your hair into at least four sections. This will make the process much easier. If you plan on dyeing your hair multiple colors, then divide your hair into sections based on the colors you want to use.

Apply the mixture on your hair starting from the roots, depending on whether you want to color your entire mane, or only a few streaks. You can do this with your hands, an old toothbrush, or even a special brush for applying hair dye. Be sure to massage the dye into your hair.

Blonde hair will be colored in 30 minutes, but dark or black hair needs at least 3 hours to develop. If you want a deeper color, you may need to keep it on for as long as 5 hours. You could also sleep with the color in over night. Wrap your head in a plastic hair net or shower cap if you do, making sure any streaks of hair do not touch any other part of your hair.

Leave the product in your hair for 30 minutes to 3 hours. The longer you leave the dye in your hair, the deeper the color will become. Keep in mind that the lighter your hair is, the faster the color will set.

How To Dye Your Dark Hair With Food Coloring -

6. Rinse hair

Wash your hair in a lukewarm or cool shower. Don’t apply shampoo or conditioner, as it will drain away the dye straight away. Then, blow dry on low heat. Make sure you know how to get rid of food coloring on skin if you have accidentally stained your hands or behind your ears.

7. Let it work its magic

Try not to wash your hair for a couple of days, as you should allow time for the color to set fully. Click here to know about caring for your highlighted hair. Temporary dye jobs will start to fade with each wash. They should last about 2 weeks total, depending on the color and your hair type. Some dye jobs may come out after only 2 to 3 washes. Permanent dye jobs will last about 3 weeks before they start to fade.

If you'd like to read similar articles to How To Dye Your Hair With Food Coloring For Dark Hair, we recommend you browse around our Beauty & Personal Care category.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Dye Your Dark Hair With Food Coloring, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.


  • Before jumping straight in with the food coloring, do a test. Take a section of hair from an inconspicuous place, apply and leave the dye and then give it a rinse.
Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
I have medium dark hair and I used Treseme 24 hour full body clear gel shampoo will it still work?
If I dye my hair with food coloring, can I use clear men's hair gel for the combination?
OneHowTo Editor

It should work fine. If the hair has been dried, the food coloring should have done its job. The gel might cause leakage of some dye if not dried properly.
I just- I should've thought this through before dying my hair xD my mom's gonna be MADDD by for a worth it!💖
i did it and it wasn't super dark just highlights of pink my mom wasn't really mad
This took me a lot of time and it didn’t work *at all*
OneHowTo Editor

As we state in the article, using food coloring for dye will only work to highlight and it won't work in the same way as more permanent hair dyes like henna or bleach. If you want some help in choosing your hair dye, here is an article on choosing the right one for you:

Hope this helps!
This didn't work for did it work for any one else??
The steps were specific, made a lot of sense and we're easy to follow, however, i tried this and it just doesn't work. Maybe on blonde hair. I have very light brown, left it in for 6 hours, used a ton of intense blue food colouring and there was not a single trace of colour anywhere except my ear.
How long will this last?
about 2-3 weeks will start to fade after 3 washes
I usually dye my hair blue black. But the beauty supply store was out of that shade. So I had to settle for jet black. My friend,who is a hair stylist told me to add about 12 drops of blue food coloring to the hair dye . So I'm going to give that a try & see how it works out .
OneHowTo Editor
Let us know how the blue food dye turned out!
Thanks for your comment.
So if u have brown hair with blonde high lights then how long do u think it will stay in
Kaia Gerber
It will definitely stand out more. It will probably last since light hair colors like blonde are easily colored and react quickly to it.
Excuse me, but i was considering this method and i want to know how long it will stay in darker hair(as in like almost black)
One wash so make the most out of it :)
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How To Dye Your Dark Hair With Food Coloring