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Kool Aid Hair Dye: How To Get Bright Colors For Just Pennies!

Ever heard of using Kool Aid Hair Dye?  Like seriously dye your hair using the drink mix Kool Aid?  Sounds crazy, right?  

But it actually works, and works really well on dark hair to get amazing colors without bleaching it!  

We actually tried two different methods of using Kool Aid as hair dye, but one worked way better than the other.

In this post, I’ll tell you all about what Kool Aid Hair Dye method worked, which one didn’t, and how to do it yourself for awesome results!!  

I’m including printable instructions for this project at the bottom of this post, but it’s really just the absolute basics meant to refresh your memory. 

You’ll want to read the whole post first to get all the important tips and tricks for using Kool Aid Hair Dye to get this project right the first time!

Kool aid hair dye pin image

Dying dark hair is harder than you think!

My 13 year old daughter has been begging to dye her hair a bright color for months.  Several of her friends had amazing colors in their hair and she just wanted to do something fun too.  

She has pretty dark brown hair, and I was doubtful that color would even show up in it. 

Since she’s barely a teenager, and I wasn’t a huge fan of using bleach on her hair so that the color would show.    

So we started on our journey to find a hair color that would actually show up in her dark brown.  

We started at our local beauty supply store and bought a semi-permanent color.  We went through the entire, painstakingly smelly process of putting it on her hair, only to have it not even be really visible at all.  

Then we tried hair paste, purchased from the same beauty supply store.  It sort of showed up, but it made it stiff and hard to style and it was gone after one wash.

After all the frustration and disappointment, we’d kind of given up.  I was tired of making a huge mess in our house only to have zero results from it and I was also REALLY tired of the high price tag of these experiments!

But one day my daughter stumbled upon a chart, listing which flavor combos of Kool Aid make which colors in your hair.  

“Can you really make Kool Aid hair dye?,” she asked me. 

I didn’t know how to answer her.  I’d never really thought about it.  So we started doing some research together.  

Purple Kool Aid Packets

Pretty quickly, we were able to find lots of different methods for using Kool Aid hair dye. 

Some used mixtures of conditioner and Kool Aid.  Some just made a paste out of Kool Aid powder.  Some used a dip dye method. 

Every method we investigated was extremely inexpensive and involved easy to find ingredients.   

Kool Aid Hair Dye: Method #1 

Since I was pretty doubtful it would work, we decided to use a Kool Aid Hair Dye method that involved leaving a conditioner/Kool Aid concoction on her hair for an entire day.  

It involved an extremely messy mixture that was difficult to apply and even harder to clean up after the inevitable mess we made putting it on.  

She also had to wear baggies on her hair covered by a shower cap ALL. DAY. LONG.  Talk about uncomfortable!

After all that work, it still didn’t show up.  

I was baffled.  Why had this Kool Aid Hair Dye method failed us?  What did we do wrong?

I started analyzing the steps we took and figured out that the mixture we made of the conditioner and the Kool Aid probably didn’t have enough pigment in it to really make a difference.  

I’d simply just diluted it too much.

I still had two packets of Kool Aid left, so we decided to try a different, simpler method the next day.  Spoiler Alert:  this one worked!  

Kool Aid Hair Dye: Method #2

This Kool Aid Hair Dye method, called dip dying, involved mixing the Kool Aid with hot water and letting the ends of the hair sit in the mixture until colored.  

We followed the instructions to the letter, and to our surprise, it worked AMAZINGLY well!  In under an hour, we had gorgeous bright color on her brown hair!

Here’s what we did to accomplish the dip dye method of Kool Aid Hair Dye:

We started by prepping an area to work in.  We used our bathroom, but if you can work outside, it’s even better for clean up.  

We spread towels out all over the floor and brought in a chair for my daughter to sit on.  We also wore old clothes.  

Kool Aid Hair Dye CAN and WILL stain clothes and surfaces, so use a lot of care here so you don’t make a terrible mess.  

We gathered her clean, dry hair into a low ponytail at the back of her neck.  

Then we went into the kitchen and mixed two packets of UNSWEETENED Kool Aid with just one and a half cups of water in a saucepan.  

We heated it on the stove and brought it to a boil.  We let it boil for two minutes and then transferred the mixture into a large mug. 

We used a mug for stability and ease of movement since the handle won’t be hot.    

Now we had our Kool Aid Hair Dye, and we moved immediately into applying it.  

This is the part where we had to be REALLY careful.  We were working with a boiling hot mixture here, and any spills could cause injury.  

We started by covering her shoulders with two layers of towels to protect her from burns.  

Then we had her sit back in the chair, close to the countertop of the bathroom.  

I then gently lifted her ponytail and placed the end into the piping hot Kool Aid Hair Dye mixture.  

We let her hair soak for 30 minutes in the mug.  

When our 30 minutes was up, I gently removed her ponytail from the Koolaid Hair Dye and immediately rinsed it in cold water until the water ran completely clear.  

Then we just styled it as usual.  

This Kool Aid Hair Dye method was super easy to do, and clean up was SO much easier. 

It also blended really nicely.  We ended up with a really nice ombre effect, with the color gently transitioning at the bottom. 

The final product turned out really pretty, and my daughter was so excited she could barely stand it.  

The results of Kool Aid Hair Dye on the ends of brown hair.

The color is supposed to last 4 to 6 weeks, but I’ve heard varying reports from friends about how long it actually stayed in their hair. 

For my daughter’s non-chemically altered hair, the Kool Aid hair dye seemed pretty permanent. 

She kept it in for about 4 months with very little fading before she decided to chop her hair off short.  

If you want it to fade, I recommend using a non-color safe hair products.  

My hairstylist recommended using dandruff shampoo to make color fade.  

I’ve also heard that using a paste made of crushed Vitamin C tablets can help remove hair color.   

I’ve actually tried this myself with a permanent box dye from the drugstore and it did lighten it up a shade or two.  It definitely didn’t remove it completely, but it did help.  

I haven’t tried it on Kool Aid hair dye, but I can only imagine that it would do the same thing.  

Bottom line, this method seems pretty permanent, so I’d keep that in mind when using these steps.  

You’re in luck today because I’m happy to share our printable “how to make Kool Aid hair dye” instructions!

*WARNING*:  Please use extreme caution when using this method, as you are dealing with water temperatures that can burn you.   I DO NOT recommend using this method on children, due to the risk for burns.   

Yield: Enough for One Application

How To Make Kool Aid Hair Dye

The results of Kool Aid Hair Dye on the ends of brown hair.

Use this Kool Aid Hair Dye method to dip dye the ends of your hair. Even works great on dark hair colors!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $0.50

Materials

  • 2 Packets Unsweetened Kool Aid (use more for darker pigments)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water

Tools

  • Sauce Pan
  • Large Mug or Heat Proof Bowl
  • Several scrap towels
  • Hair Tie or Hair Band
  • Disposable gloves (optional)

Instructions

  1. To avoid staining, prepare the area of your home that you will be using for Kool Aid Hair Dye by laying old towels or some other covering on the floor. Or work outside if you can.
  2. Pull clean, dry, freshly brushed hair back into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck, or use multiple ponytails if necessary. This method works best on long hair.
  3. In a saucepan, mix two or more packets of unsweetened Kool Aid with water.
  4. Heat on stove to boiling and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour mixture into your mug or bowl.
  6. Cover shoulders with towels (we used 2 layers) to protect from heat and burns.
  7. Place the end of the ponytail into the container, letting the desired length you want colored be fully submerged. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL AS THIS MIXTURE IS VERY HOT!
  8. Let hair soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Lean towards the 30 minute mark on darker hair colors for more vivid dye colors.
  9. Carefully remove the hair from the mixture, taking care not to drip on clothes or surfaces, since Kool Aid can easily stain.
  10. Immediately rinse hair under cool water until water runs clear.
  11. Style as usual. Now you've experienced Kool Aid Hair Dye!

Notes

WARNING: This method is NOT recommended for use with children, as there is a risk for burns. Please use extreme caution!

You are making dye, and it will stain surfaces, hands, clothes, and other items. Use with care.

The mixture will be very hot after boiling and can cause injury. Please use extreme caution.

This method is VERY difficult to do on yourself. Find a friend to help you apply the dye.

The permanence of the dye seems to vary on different types of hair. The color stayed bright and vibrant for us well over a month, and only really was gone once her hair grew out and we trimmed it. Be aware that this method might be permanent!

Got spills on your furniture that need cleaning up?  Check out my DIY Steam Cleaner Solution Recipe!

Want more fun things to do with your teens and preteens? Check out How to Make a Hexaflexagon!

How To Make Kool Aid Hair Dye

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Sapphira

Monday 3rd of May 2021

What flavor should you use for purple? Or blue? Should you mix red and purple kool-aid for a nice purple?

Louise Emery

Monday 3rd of May 2021

I'd use grape. That would give a nice deep purple color. If you want it lighter, I'd use blue raspberry and maybe pink lemonade. It would be more on the blue side, but still pretty!

Sarah

Saturday 6th of March 2021

Which flavor did you use for your daughter’s hair? We used two packs of grape on my daughter’s brown hair which is similar to your daughter’s hair and it worked amazingly well but turned out a very dark color. Almost black. Did you use cherry for the red effect?

Louise Emery

Saturday 6th of March 2021

Yes. We used the cherry flavor for the red. I think the Fruit Punch would work well too.

Loretta

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

I did Method #2 with my daughters hair per your instructions and her hair turned out so good!

She has dark brown hair, and the cherry DID show up!

She is super ecstatic about her hair for her birthday, and I am the coolest mom ever now for not only letting her, but for helping her, too.

Thanks for the helpful tips!

Louise Emery

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Yay! I'm so glad it worked out for you! My daughter loved hers too.

Kristan

Monday 2nd of November 2020

I have been dip dying my daughters hair for years with Kool Aid. And yes, it is extremely permanent. It fades a little over time but we usually end up trimming it eventually. You can Google different ways to remove it that are pretty harsh on your hair. We just leave it in. It's my daughters trademark hair now haha!

admin

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

Awesome! My daughter loved hers, and I'm sure we'll be doing it again soon!

Dianne Grambau

Monday 21st of September 2020

Is it possible to separate hair into several sections dyeing each a different color? We are concerned that when washed the colors will bleed. Thank you!!

admin

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

You can definitely do that! I wouldn't worry too much about the colors bleeding. The pigment needs time to set into the hair, and the rinsing process shouldn't give it enough time to do that. If you're still concerned, after dying each section, you could wrap it in a plastic baggie, secured by a rubber band and rinse each section individually.

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