You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Whether you’re a hair color virgin or a total Dye Hard, we’ve got all the pointers you need to get the Instagram-ready hair color of your dreams.

How To’s

How Do I Color My Hair With Manic Panic?

After you pass the patch/strand test (more about that below), you’re ready to apply your Manic Panic color to the rest of your hair. Start with clean, unconditioned, and dry hair. Apply the color evenly in sections to fully saturate the hair strands. Cover your hair with a plastic cap (optional) and blow dry to ensure your hair follicles are primed for absorption (also optional). Leave the color on for 30 mins-1 hour, then rinse with cool water until it runs clear.

Manic Panic colors are free of harsh chemicals, but they can stain towels, clothes, and porous surfaces. Make sure you dry your hair with dark towels and avoid splattering the dye on carpets. We also don’t recommend wearing your fanciest clothes while dyeing. Break out your old band t-shirts instead!

Do I Have To Bleach My Hair?

Yes and no. Some of our colors (especially neons, UVs, and pastels) work best on a pre-lightened base. If you want our signature intense color, we recommend lightening your hair to at least a level 7+ blonde. But we also have colors that give gorgeous colorful tints to dark hair. Each product on our website comes with hair swatches so you can see before and after results on light and dark hair.

How Do I Do a Patch/Strand Test?

Don’t know how to do a patch or strand test? No sweat, we created this little cheat sheet (just for you)! You’ll want to choose a patch of skin or strand that can easily be hidden by the rest of your hair. If you see no signs of irritation, you’re all cleared to #dyehard.

How Much Product Do I Need?

That all depends on the length of your hair! For pixie cuts and short hair, you’ll only need one 4 oz jar or bleach kit. For medium-length hair with thin-average thickness, two jars or bleach kits should get the job done. If your hair is super long or thick and curly, you may need three or more jars or bleach kits. If you don’t end up using all your hair color, our jars can be sealed and saved later for touch-ups (but go ahead and toss out the bleach since it can’t be saved).

Pro tip: We carry 8-oz jars in six shades. Talk about more bang for your buck!

Why Should I Use Manic Panic® Hair Color?

Because we’re the OGs in colorful vegan and cruelty-free hair dye. But if that’s not reason enough, our hair colors are free of harsh chemicals and fortified to condition your hair while you dye. With each Manic Panic® color, you can get the DIY look without the damage. That’s color without compromise!

How Long Do Manic Panic Colors Last?

Our semi-permanent formula lasts for about 4-6 weeks. But stronger formulas (like our Amplified collection) last longer because they contain 30% more pigment. 

If you want to fight the fade for longer, we have color-safe shampoos and conditioners made specifically to maintain our hair colors. Use cool water when shampooing and try to wash hair only once a week (the more you wash, the faster the color fades). We also have dry shampoo to keep your color fresh on days when you skip a wash.

Can I Use Manic Panic On My Eyebrows/Lashes?

Please do NOT use our hair colors or bleach products on your eyebrows and eyelashes as it can cause irritation. If eye contact occurs, rinse the area with warm water and consult your physician

How Can I Lighten My Hair So My Color Will Show Up?

We have three different Flash Lightning® bleaching kits with all the tools you need to pre-lighten your hair. Our bleach kits are prepared with the perfect ratio of bleach powder and your choice of developer to give you consistent results every time. If you’re not sure which kit you need to get the color you want, you can always phone a friend. Email us at customerservice@manicpanic.com and we’ll walk you through your options.

What Shampoos Should I Use To Help My Color Last?

There’s no shortage of color-safe shampoos, but you’ll want to steer clear of products using silicone, sulfates, heavy oils, harsh chemicals, and high levels of sodium chloride. You’ll also want to use a clarifying shampoo like Prepare to Dye before you dye to prep your hair for absorption. If you’re not sure which products to buy, we have our own line of shampoos and conditioners specially formulated for our colors (excuse the shameless self-promotion).

Pro tip: Use cool water while you shampoo to keep your hair color for washing out.

Can I Use Dry Shampoo With Manic Panic Colors?

Heck yes! It’s not only safe to use but encouraged to keep your color lasting longer between washes. Our vegan and cruelty-free dry shampoo uses tapioca powder to absorb oil without leaving a white residue. Use it before bed to absorb scalp oils while you sleep and touch up throughout the day as needed. Just shake the bottle, spray on a few pumps, and work it through your hair with your fingers — then your hair looks freshly washed and ready to go!

How Do I Remove Manic Panic Colors From My Hair?

To prep your hair for your next Manic Panic color, you can either let your current color fade naturally or use a clarifying shampoo like Prepare to Dye to wash it out. You can also use specially formulated color removers for semi-permanent hair color. But whatever you do, do NOT bleach your hair again! That will only drive your current color deeper into your hair follicles, making it harder to remove.

How Do I Use Flash Lightning® Bleach Kits?

Use our bleach formulas on dry, unwashed hair. Apply the mixture evenly in sections with a tint brush or gloved fingers to avoid patchy results. You also don’t want the bleach to dry on your hair since the color won’t lift when the solution dries out.

Check the results every 10 minutes to see how the color is lifting. Wipe the strand with a damp paper towel and apply more solution if needed. When you’re happy with the results, wash out the bleach with a clarifying shampoo to completely remove the product. Do NOT leave the solution on for more than 40 minutes to avoid drying and breakage. If you feel any burning or discomfort, wash out the bleach with shampoo immediately. Be sure to avoid getting the solution in your eyes or on your face.

If you need a bleaching guide, we’ve got you covered. Watch a tutorial by Mykey O’Halloran for a quick walk-through!

When Should I Not Bleach My Hair?

We recommend skipping the bleach when:

  • You already have color in your hair
  • Your hair is already damaged or has excess breakage
  • You’re using box dye (especially black box dye)
  • You’re allergic to bleach
  • You have scalp cuts, scrapes, or abrasions
  • Your hair is wet
  • Your hair is newly bleached

Which Colors Work Best On Dark, Unbleached Hair?

Don’t feel like bleaching your hair? You do you! We have a bunch of colors for dark hair. Check out our Classic High Voltage collection or Amplified formulas for intense, long-lasting tints. Got commitment issues? Try one of our Temporary options!

I’ve Never Bleached My Hair Before, Should I Have a Professional Stylist Do It?

There’s no shame in asking for help! If you’re unsure about what bleach products to use or don’t know how to lighten your own hair, you can always have a professional stylist bleach it and apply your color by yourself later. If you are not able to visit a professional stylist, you can always email customerservice@manicpanic.com and we will walk you through the process.

Why Is My Cream Developer Watery?

The developer and bleach powder should get thicker after mixing. If the developer is still thin after mixing, let the mixture stand for a few minutes and it should thicken. If it doesn’t thicken up and you’re sure you’ve mixed it correctly, toss it and contact customer service at customerservice@manicpanic.com!

Why Is My Hair Orange After Bleaching?

You can’t rush perfection! Dark hair may require several bleaching sessions since the color will only lift to orange or yellow. Wait at least two weeks before bleaching again to let your hair breathe and recover. During your second bleaching session, you may not have to leave the solution for as long. Check your hair frequently and wash it out as soon as you reach the level you want.

How Do I Remove Manic Panic Colors From My Hair?

To prep your hair for your next Manic Panic color, you can either let your current color fade naturally or use a clarifying shampoo to wash it out. You can also use specially formulated color removers for semi-permanent hair color. But whatever you do, do NOT bleach your hair again! That will only cuticle your current color deeper into your hair cuticle, making it harder to remove.

How Do I Care For Manic Panic® Wigs?

Our officially licensed collection of synthetic or human hair wigs and extensions are heat-stylable and hand-washable with warm water. They should be washed after about 30 wears (or less if you’re around heavy smoke or perfume). Gently brush them after each wear from bottom to top with detangling spray to remove knots. Store it by wrapping it up in a hair net and placing it in its original box, or display it on a wig head. However you store it, just keep it away from fire!

How Do I Style Manic Panic® Wigs and Extensions?

Wigs can be cut, trimmed, and styled any way you like with hair scissors and sprays. They can also be curled or straightened with heat-styling tools and blow dryers. Do NOT exceed temperatures of 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius)!

How Do I Wash Manic Panic Wigs?

Soak your wig in lukewarm water and synthetic wig shampoo for about 5 minutes. Gently dip it down and rinse it under running water. Use a small brush (like a toothbrush) to remove makeup stains from the cap line. Add two cap-fulls of synthetic wig conditioner to cool water, immerse the wig in the solution, and gently work it through the wig with your fingers to return the hair to its original styling pattern. Rinse the conditioner solution out in lukewarm water and pat out excess water with a towel. Leave it to air dry on a wig stand. Do NOT comb the wig or blow dry it while it’s wet. Wait for it to dry and gently comb out any knots or tangles.

Can I Use Dry Shampoo On Wigs and Extensions?

Dry shampoo is such a lifesaver! But since wigs and extensions don’t produce oils on their own, we don’t recommend using them to make your wigs look fresh and clean. Instead, follow our washing instructions listed above.

Why Did My Blue Hair Dye Turn Out Green?

Your base color is SUPER important since it affects the appearance of tones. If you apply blue pigment on top of a yellow-toned blonde, the results can veer toward a more teal or green hue. The whiter the hair, the truer the color tone. Before you dye your hair blue, watch a tutorial by Mykey O’Halloran on how to avoid green tints!

Does Manic Panic Cover Gray Hair?

This one’s for our silver foxes! While gray hairs appear light, they may not be porous enough to absorb the pigments in our color. Start with a strand test to see how the color looks. Some of our more pigmented shades may add a touch or glow of color. If you can still see grays peeking through, you may need to pre-lighten your hair.

Can I Color My Hair While Pregnant?

Tish (of our namesake) still used Manic Panic hair colors throughout her pregnancy since they’re free of harsh chemicals. Still, we don’t recommend using bleaches or spray-on products. You’ll also want to consult your physician beforehand. Start with a patch/strand test to make sure you don’t develop any new allergies while waiting for your mini #dyehard to arrive.

What Are UV Colors and What Do They Do?

UV lights (like black lights) cause fluorescent substances (like some of our most pigmented hair colors) to glow! Check out our collection of UV-reactive hair colors.

Pro tip: To achieve glowing effects, hair must be lightened to level 9+ blonde. Also, if you mix a non-UV dye with a UV one, it will dilute the glow.

How Do Toner Shades Work?

Toning shades like Virgin Snow™ and Silver Stiletto™ neutralize unwanted tones (like yellows and oranges) on freshly-lightened hair to make your color appear truer to shade. You can use them to keep blue shades from appearing green, or use them by themselves for icy white and platinum hair!

I Accidentally Stained My Skin, What Do I Do?

There are plenty of ways to remove color stains from your skin. You can rub some dish soap on the spot with a sponge and warm water as soon as the dye makes contact. Or you can use some of our Dye Away® hair color removing wipes. Try to stay away from rubbing alcohol since it dries out your skin — but if it can’t be avoided, then dab a small amount on a cotton ball and rub away. Just use some lotion on the area afterward.

If you want to avoid stains on your neck and hairline while dyeing, apply a little coconut oil or petroleum jelly to the area. Keep some paper towels to a dark towel that you don’t mind staining handy to clean up dye drips and splatters.

How Do I Get Dye Stains Off Bathroom Surfaces?

Manic Panic hair can stain surfaces like tile floors and showers. Cover surfaces you don’t want to stain with newspaper, tin foil, or towels. If you stain your tub or any surfaces when rinsing out your hair, spray the area with a bleach-based cleaner as quickly as possible and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing.

How Can I Tell If My Hair Color Has Gone Bad?

When stored properly in a cool, dry place, Manic Panic hair dyes last for about 1-2 years (perfect for color touch-ups). But if the hair color consistency looks or smells “off” in any way, do NOT use it on your hair. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but it may be time to toss it out and buy a new jar. To keep your hair color fresh for longer, avoid cross-contaminating it with combs or other outside bacteria.

How Do I Use Amplified™ Temporary Hair Color Sprays?

Our temporary color sprays give you vivid color in minutes! You can use them for streaks, touch-ups, or all-over color. Shake the can really well and spray it on at a 40-degree angle. Spray it at least 12 inches away from your hair in short bursts for the best results. Be sure to cover any surfaces you don’t want to stain before spraying and remove the hair color with prepare to dye to avoid scuffing bed linens or fabrics. The aerosol cans are flammable, so keep them away from heat!

Is Manic Panic Sold In Stores?

Stop in our Long Island City Office to say hi. You can still find our iconic vegan and cruelty-free hair dyes at ULTA, Sally Beauty Supply, and Hot Topic. Hit up our Store Locator page to find Manic Panic on a shelf near you!

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