Can You Color Hair Extensions?


Image of a female stylist styling her client's hair
Source: Dmytro Dudchenko |

Can You Color Hair Extensions?

Are you wondering if you can color hair extensions? If you’re a hairstylist looking for some answers, it’s a good thing you’re doing your research ahead of time.

The answer to your question isn’t a simple yes or no because it depends on different factors. But don’t worry because we are going to walk you through whether or not you can and should color your client’s extensions! We will also share some must-know tips on how to color extensions using salon developer and professional hair care products.

What Kind of Extensions Can Be Colored?

If your client has ever shopped for extensions before, they probably know that there are tons of different kinds of extensions, but the most popular of the two are human hair extensions and synthetic extensions. Let’s talk about the major differences between the two and whether or not they can be color-treated.


  • Human Hair Extensions – Human hair extensions are made from human hair — plain and simple. Human hair extensions can be treated just like your hair. You can color treat these extensions, use heat on them and style them just like you would your own hair. However, you should tell your clients to always strive to maintain and take care of these extensions and not use excessive heat or color treatment.
  • Synthetic ExtensionsSynthetic extensions are also another popular kind of hairpiece; however, they are made from synthetic ingredients. We do not advise that you use heat or color treat synthetic extensions as this may ruin the extension and cause them not to last.


If you’re wondering what kind of extensions your client has, you can search the product number and brand name or ask your client to look at the original packaging the extensions came in. If they got extensions at your salon, ensure that they are safe for color treatment. It’s important to double-check as using color or heat on synthetic extensions will ruin them completely.

Source: Artem Zakharov |


How to Color Hair Extensions

If you are planning to color your client’s human hair extensions, you will need to follow a few steps. Here is how you can successfully color the extensions.

  • Set Up a Workspace – You will need a large space to color the extensions. Your workplace should be clean and clear of any clutter. Here are some supplies you should have on hand:
    • Foil that is attached to a piece of cardboard that your extensions fit entirely on
    • Color and/or developer
    • Coloring brush
    • A stapler or hair clips
  • Paint Hair Color Onto Foil and Cardboard Workspace – Before you place your extensions onto your foil workspace, you will need to paint color on the foil right under where the hair extensions will lay. Make sure you evenly coat this space.
  • Staple or Clip Extensions to Foil and Cardboard Workspace – At the top of the workspace, place the extensions there and staple the top to the top of the workspace. This will hold your extensions in place as you paint on the hair color.
  • Paint Extensions with the Color – Paint on the hair color from top to bottom. Make sure not to color the top thread of the hair extension just yet. Repeat until all the hair is coated in color.
  • Let Hair Process for 20 Minutes – After you have coated the hair in color, you will need to let the hair process for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Saturate the Hair – After you have let the hair process for 20 minutes, section off one inch at a time and use your fingers to rub in the color on each section. This will ensure that the hair is fully saturated. Let this process for another 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the Hair Using professional shampoo, wash the hair color out. Use a deep conditioner to keep the hair looking soft and healthy.
  • Style as Usual – After hair has dried, you can style this hair as your client usually does.


Portrait of an African American woman laughing with long hair
Source: Kadettmann |

If your client has synthetic extensions and you aren’t able to color them to keep up with their current hairstyle, it may be wise to encourage them to invest in human hair extensions that you can change whenever your client would like to. Tell your client that you can even help install new hair extensions and color them to match their new style. This is a great way to ensure that the integrity of your client’s extensions holds up and that you get a look that appears natural.


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