Coloring Kids' Hair

Parent Q&A

  • Kid-safe hair coloring options?

    (6 replies)

    My daughter recently started asking about coloring her hair. She’s got friends that use hair chalk, but for some reason, on her hair it doesn’t even last the morning at school. Anyone out there have a great semi-permanent option that’s not going to destroy her hair? She just wants a fun streak or two for “unicorn hair”.

    I use Overtone on my gray hair for bright unicorn purple/pink/blue/teal colors. It’s a conditioner that washes out over time. Not smelly, easy to use and tons of fun colors in pastel/vibrant/extreme shades. Check it out. 

    We’ve had luck with kool-aid! Certain colors work better than others but if you google this there is a plethora of info online :) my daughter has brown hair and was delighted to have her tips pink for a week or so. And I felt better about this option than about bleaching and dying her hair. Hope this helps!

    Is her hair light or dark? If it's light, you can just plop hair color on top of it. Go to Sally's Beauty Supply and they have several unicorn options in the semi-permanent aisle. Semi-permanent dyes go on top of your hair, so it doesn't damage anything -- in fact, that's why people dye their hair before using it, to damage the hair enough so it'll hold onto the color. There is nothing particularly toxic about these dyes. At first, I stuck to the old stand-bys from my youth, Punky Color and Manic Panic, but was sad to find out they didn't stick to hair as long as some of the newer brands. I've used Arctic Fox, Wella Color Charm, and Ion Neon Brights, all three of those stick pretty well. Arctic Fox is scented like grape (at least the purple is), which is so silly and a tiny bit gross. If her hair is dark, color chalk is prob still your best option, but you'll get at least SOME result from the semi-perm. I've actually bleached streaks in one of my daughter's hair, very carefully, far from her scalp and she loves it so much she just decided to forgo the color and enjoy the "highlights." 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Purple streaks in my hair?

Aug 2009

I am a 12-year old girl and I would like to get purple streaks in my hair. My mother has health concerns and I would like to know if any other mothers have done research on the safety of getting highlights/streaks and what they found out. Also, is there a more natural or safer kind of dye that would still be vibrant and if so, which beauty salons use it? Thanks for your help. Anon

My advice would be to go to the Beauty Supply shop and ask them about healthier products. You have to bleach your hair if it's dark and then dye it, so you need to find out about two different products. One thing I do know is that you want to stay away from products that have ammonia in them. It's bad to breathe in. I dyed my daughter's hair many times, many colors. She has graduated high school successfully with all of her brain cells (as far as I know). If you do it in your bathroom, line the floors and sink with newspaper so you don't dye the room too and wear plastic gloves. have fun peacock!

Try Manic Panic! Natural products from a great company based in NYC's East Village. This is a well established company that made its name in the glam rock days! (Ask your parents.) We bought their product at a beauty supply store in San Leandro (in Washington Plaza), but I believe Manic Panic products are very widely available. Check out their website at for more info. Patricia

Hair extensions are an alternative to bleaching out and then dying sections of hair. As a birthday present, we treated our daughter to two extensions at $10/each, and they lasted about 7 weeks. Hers were synthetic, and the salon mixed electric blue and purple in each one. Have fun! Maybe I'll get neon extensions too :-)