I have always loved dyeing my hair. I started in 8th grade and I’ve never looked back. When I was young, I used box dyes from Walmart, but I can assure you, no matter how gentle or “nourishing” they say they are, box dyes are a bad choice for fine hair. They always left my hair feeling like straw, which is not a great sign that they were overly safe for my hair. I’m sure I did a lot of damage in those early years. Thankfully, I kept dyeing my hair and found other hair dyes that were safer, more effective, and just looked better.
If you have fine hair and you want to dye your hair at home, it is possible to do it without your hair falling out or becoming incredibly damaged. I do it all the time, and my hair is so fine, it actually feels like rabbit fur. I’m not joking, people used to “pet” my hair in high school, that’s how fluffy and fine it is. If my hair can withstand these dyes, yours can too.
*** Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or affiliate post. I do not make any money or benefit in any way if you choose to click on these links and purchase these items yourself. They’re just great hair dyes that won’t destroy fine hair, and I think the world should know. ***
Best Overall: Ion Permanent Liquid Hair Color
If you want to dye your hair a relatively natural color (even if it isn’t natural for you) and you want it to have nice dimension and depth (AKA, you don’t want it to look like a box dye), I absolutely recommend Ion liquid hair color. I have used their colors countless times, including in the photo above, and I’m always amazed at how great it turns out, despite my complete lack of coloring skill. Their red dye is also the best I’ve ever used. The color lasted literally months, it was incredible.
Ion also has a creme coloring solution, but since I haven’t used that, I can’t say how well it works or how gentle it is on fine hair. However, the Ion liquid solution is shockingly gentle. It does come with a bit of that straw feeling that you get from box dyes, but the color you get is so much better.
I know you will love Ion hair color, and I know you’re itching to change things up, so seriously, just buy it and be amazed at the high-quality color you get for a crazy low price and next to no damage to your ultra fine hair.
Best Semi-Permanent Color: Overtone
If you’re okay with dyeing your hair every week or so (which usually isn’t too big a time commitment for those of us with incredibly fine hair) then I cannot recommend Overtone enough. Overtone is a coloring conditioner, meaning it colors your hair and conditions it at the same time, making it absolutely perfect for fine hair. I used it to get this amazing coral color, and honestly, it made my hair feel so soft and not at all damaged. I was kind of amazed. If you’re interested in trying it, you need to check out my in-depth review of Overtone Coloring Conditioner.
Better yet, they offer plenty of fun colors like magenta, teal, and silver, and each color they offer has an option for brown hair. This is amazing, because it means you can get beautiful, unnatural colors without having to bleach your hair, something I definitely do not recommend trying at home (I did it once- it was a mistake). However, I will say that the colors for brown hair are definitely not as vibrant as those for blonde hair. If you’re looking for a truly bright color, read on.
Best Unnatural Color: Manic Panic
If you want bright, unnatural hair, there is no better option for fine hair than Manic Panic. It’s a vegan dye with no ammonia, meaning it is shockingly gentle on your hair. No straw feeling here! Plus, the color is truly incredible. In this picture, I did bleach my hair before applying the Ultra Violent Manic Panic, but the bleaching went very poorly and believe me, there was still plenty of color (mostly orange) in my hair. The Manic Panic covered it right up and replaced it with this incredible hue.
Like Overtone, Manic Panic is semi-permanent, which means you’ll definitely want to re-do the dye on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to keep that vibrant color. However, I’ve also used Manic Panic to do a few cute strips in my hair every now and again, and it fades out very naturally. There’s a few days toward the end where it looks a little odd, but then it washes out and it’s like it was never there.
Think about it this way: Manic Panic is fun, safe, and gentle. There are honestly no drawbacks. Give it a shot!
Bonus: A Few Tips for Successfully Dyeing Fine Hair
So these are the hair dyes I can recommend from my personal experience, but I’ve also learned a thing or two about the process of dyeing fine hair that might make your experience more enjoyable. So here are a few tips to help you through the home-dyeing process.
- Use 20 volume developer, unless you’re trying to dye your hair a lighter color, then use 30 volume. Never go above 30. The higher the volume the harder the developer will be on your hair, and if you have fine hair, gentleness is key. If you have very sensitive skin or hair that’s even finer than rabbit’s fur, and you’re dyeing your hair a color that is relatively similar to the one you have now, then 10 volume might work. It just isn’t the best choice for drastic color changes because it isn’t strong enough.
- Avoid Wella Color Charm for red dye. I’ve never used it for other colors, but I’m sure it’s usually fine, but when I dyed my hair red using Wella, it faded so quickly. It couldn’t hold a candle to Ion.
- Always buy gloves when you buy your hair dye. I forgot this last time and my hands were dyed dark brown for literally a month.
- Dye your hair in layers, starting at the bottom, and apply the color from root to ends. This method will give your hair the best depth and most consistent color.
- Feel free to take the leftovers at the end and just sort of…throw it on and massage it all over. Will your scalp be dyed? Yeah, but that only lasts a day or two, and I find that adding this final step prevents any missed spots, which look way worse than a temporarily dyed scalp.
- Regardless of what you read on the internet, this article included, if you try a hair dye and notice that it’s way too harsh or damaging for your hair, do not continue using that dye. I love Ion, but if it’s bad for your hair, you definitely shouldn’t use it. At the end of the day, we’re all different, and your hair might react differently than mine.