The Best Dyes Bright and Crazy Hair Color

Get eye-catching rainbow colors with the top brands

Bright and crazy hair color is a huge trend and many people are having a ton of fun with a variety of rainbow hues. Semi-permanent dyes let your creativity and funky personality shine through the boldest hair you could hope for.

Beyond an all-over color of green, blue, purple, or whatever your preference, there are amazing ways to blend these colors. You can go with dip-dyed ombre ends in a sweet shade of pink or purple that complements your natural color. Or, you can get really daring with a tie-dyed look and use multiple colors to create a rainbow effect.

The biggest problem that stylists run into when using crazy hair color is that they can produce mixed results. These semi-permanent hair colors are known to fade fast, and often times it can be difficult to get the color into the hair in the first place. Pre-lightening and taking the proper aftercare can make a huge difference in the outcome, but bold, crazy hair color really starts with choosing the right product.

Let's look at the top choices in crazy hair color brands and get some tips to ensure that your color is true and long-lasting.

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Tips From the Pros

Lady with colorful hair flying over her face
Paper Boat Creative/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Before you go bold with color, a few pro tips can make your crazy hair color bright and fade-resistant.

  1. Rinse hair color with cool water to seal the cuticle and lock in color. Hot water will cause the cuticle to swell and the color will run out of the hair.
  2. Process color for longer than the recommended processing time.
  3. Make sure your hair is clean and dry before applying the color. If the cuticle is filled with water, the color will not be able to fully saturate the hair.
  4. Skip conditioner when prepping hair. Use shampoo only.
  5. Lock color in with an after-color treatment like Kerastase Reflection Pixelist. This treatment adds shine, seals the cuticle, and makes the color really last.

Special Effects Hair Dye is available in over 20 crazy colors and it is a top choice for rainbow hair devotees. It lasts for three to six weeks, though some users report that it stays in for months, especially if your hair is bleached.

The thick consistency of this vegan-friendly hair color ensures no-drip application, though it can be difficult to apply. This brand definitely benefits from a longer processing time and a bright, pre-lightened base color. It will also condition your hair and the colors can be mixed for custom shades.

Some of the colors in the Special Effects Hair color line glow under a black light. These include Atomic Pink, Nuclear Red, Cherry Bomb, Hi-Octane Orange, Joyride, Cupcake Pink, Bright as F#@$ Yellow, and Napalm Orange.

Manic Panic wins in the nostalgia department and it works. That's the primary reason why this hair color brand has been around for such a long time.

Manic Panic is available in over 40 colors, from subtle to daring. It is a vegan-friendly dye that will not damage your hair. You'll find that it also works best when you process it for longer than the recommended time. 

This brand is a great bet when you're trying to achieve pastel hues on lighter hair. It gives you a really nice translucent, pastel look. It also lasts for more than a couple of shampoos.

The thicker gel formula makes for easy application. If you're going for a multi-color rainbow effect, it's an excellent choice.

Punky Color by Jerome Russell is a favorite among stylists. This color is super long-lasting, sometimes as long as a month or two. It fades nicely as well, gently moving to various shades of the actual color. Like many of these brands, it doesn't wash out all the way on some hair.

This product comes in about 20 fun colors. Turquoise, Rose Red, and Alpine Green are a few of the favorites. One of the best parts, however, is that it smells like grapes, which is a nice change from the chemical odors found in other brands.

When applying Punky Color, things can get messy. Be aware that it may stain fabrics.

Joico is a salon-quality, semi-permanent hair color. The brand is known for its over the top intense colors, including metallics. You can use it straight out of the tube or mix it with other colors to create your own blend.

With Joico, you can enjoy brilliant color for a few weeks. Depending on the shade, it will last for five to 20 shampoos and it fades away beautifully. Additionally, it will condition your hair, leaving it shiny and healthy.

The odor is pleasant and there's very little chance of staining.