People have been using homemade concoctions to tweak hair color forever, trying everything from peroxide and lemon to rinsing with sage and rosemary. If your children are desperate to go neon green or bright blue, there are temporary ways to indulge this form of self-expression. Hair dyes made with Kool-Aid can tint hair a wide variety of colors, but the effect only lasts for a few days, and in many cases, washes out with the first shampoo.

Choosing a Color

One of the best things about using Kool-Aid is the versatile rainbow of colors to choose from. Kool-Aid drinks are available in everything from hot pink to bright blue to dark purple. The color of the drink is the color you’ll be attempting to recreate. Heads-up, the natural color of your child’s hair will influence the final results. Those who have light hair to begin with will be able to choose any color they like. The end result will be about the same color as the drink. Redheads should probably be steered away from green or blue dyes, as the end result can look a bit muddy. Brown hair works well with red or orange tints and those with black hair will see great results with blue, purple, or dark red (black cherry) flavors.


If your child has oily hair, you’ll need to make it as clean as possible before the color is applied. Oil coats the hair follicle, making it difficult for the tint to adhere. So, wash their hair and then apply baking soda to it while it’s still wet. Leave the baking soda in for 10 minutes and then rinse under warm water. If their hair is normal, wash it prior to applying color and if their hair is dry, simply spritz it with water to dampen it. Once the hair is wet, drape a towel over their shoulders to protect their clothing. Then, make the dye mix. Empty the contents of the chosen packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid into a small bowl. Add ¼ cup of hair conditioner and stir until well blended. For longer lasting color, add one tablespoon of white vinegar to this mixture prior to applying it.


Once the dye is thoroughly combined, apply it to the hair. If you’re applying it with your fingers, be sure to wear disposable gloves. Streaks can also be put in with a paint brush or by using an old ketchup-style squirt bottle. To dye a full head of hair, apply the dye and then comb through the hair. Wrap the treated hair in plastic cling wrap and wait 60 minutes. Then rinse and style in the usual manner. To remove, wash hair as normal. The color generally washes out within three to five shampoos.

References and Resources

Kool Aid FAQ