Getting Started | Pre-Lightening | How To Dye | Removing Color | UV Colors | Color Spray
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I use Manic Panic® hair color?
Manic Panic® Hair Color is a 100% vegan, cruelty-free semi-permanent hair color fortified with conditioners that add moisture to hair that has been pre-lightened. These dyes are great because they also act as a filler for pre-lightened hair. There are no harmful chemicals in Manic Panic® Hair Color. Our unique formula is gentle to the hair and contains no animal by-products. Our products are Tested on Celebrities Not Animals! ™
Manic Panic has been leading the hair color rebellion since 1977. For over 40 years, we have worked continuously to make sure our formulas remain the absolute best on the market. We are constantly listening to our customers’ feedback, and are ahead of the trends by starting them ourselves! We are often imitated, but never duplicated… Manic Panic isn’t just a brand, it’s a lifestyle! As Tish and Snooky always say, “We don’t just sell it, we live it!”
2. How exactly do I color my hair with Manic Panic?
Hair should be pre-lightened (bleached) to a pale blonde before coloring. When color is applied to virgin (unprocessed/natural) hair, results will vary (according to hair texture and color). This product should not be used for dyeing eyebrows and eyelashes. If eye contact does occur, rinse immediately with warm water and contact a physician.
We recommend pre-lightening (bleaching) your hair to a level 9, or higher, for a true color tone. Darker/warmer shades work best on hair that can only be lifted to a darker blonde shade. An even level 10 platinum blonde is required for all pastel shades (like our Creamtones®, or any shades you may have “pastel-ized” with our Pastel-izer®) as well as all shades of grey (Alien Grey, Amethyst Ashes, and Blue Steel).
- Wash hair with a deep cleansing/clarifying shampoo. Do not condition.
- Dry hair with a blow dryer to make sure the hair is extremely porous and to remove excess water.
- Apply Manic Panic Hair Color.
- Comb through the hair color to make sure it is evenly applied and thoroughly saturated in your hair. It may become slightly frothy.
- Cover hair with a plastic cap.
- Use a hair dryer to apply heat to your hair for part of the processing time.
This will help to open up the cuticle and allow the Manic Panic hair color to better penetrate the hair strand.
- Leave on for 30-45 minutes.
- Rinse hair color out with cool water.
- Towel and/or blow dry hair. Style as usual.
Maintain color by washing with a sulfate-free color safe shampoo & conditioner, using cool water. The more often you wash, the faster the color will fade out.
Help maintain your color in between regular washes with our dry shampoo Hair Freshener ! You can also mix in leftover hair color into your conditioner for color maintenance.
3. How Much Product Do I Need?
One bleach kit is required for every 4-5 inches of hair, per process. (average thickness)
One container of hair color is required for every 10-12 inches of hair. (average thickness)
More product may be required for thicker/fuller hair. When in doubt, it is better to get more than to run out! Extra hair color may be used for touch ups or to mix with your sulfate free color safe shampoo & conditioner to help maintain color. Extra bleach kits may be saved as long as they are unmixed. Leftover mixed bleach may not be saved and should be properly disposed of immediately after use.
4. Manic Panic® Hair Color and Flash Lightning Kit® instruct me to do a strand test before I begin. What does this mean and why do I have to do it?
A strand test is one of the most important steps before beginning a hair color or lightening process. It ensures you will get the results you are happy with. A strand test is a preliminary test to determine specifics such as processing times, possible results, and allergies. It is especially important in situations where the hair is damaged, over-processed, or the intention is to attempt a dramatic alteration to the color of the hair.
5. Do I have to pre-lighten my hair before coloring?
Applying Manic Panic hair color to pre-lightened hair is the best way to assure that you will achieve the vibrant results that you see on our color swatches. Lightening with our Flash Lightning Kits to a pale blonde (level 9-10) will give the most intense results.
Pre-lightening the hair before coloring is actually the most important step when using Manic Panic hair color, and is why we have listed it at the beginning of all of our instructions. Hair type varies from person to person. Although some people’s natural hair may get a slight tint from some of our colors, we cannot and do not guarantee that the color will work properly unless hair has been pre-lightened. It is the porosity of the hair that determines whether or not natural hair picks up the pigments. The actual color of natural hair alone does not determine whether or not bleaching is necessary. Natural blonde hair may require bleaching to become porous just as any other hair color does.
Manic Panic is a direct pigment hair dye. It does not contain harsh chemicals, and does not change the structure of the hair. Natural hair is smooth, and is not very porous/ absorbent. Bleaching hair not only makes hair light enough for the colors to show up properly, it also opens up the cuticles of the hair strands so that the dye molecules can be absorbed. When our dyes are applied to natural hair, the molecules will slide off very easily when you rinse or wash. Only natural hair that is somewhat porous may hold onto some of the color in our most highly pigmented shades, resulting in a lighter tint of color. If this color “sticks” to your natural hair, it will normally fade a lot faster than it would on lightened hair.
6. Which Manic Panic colors will show up the best on hair that is not pre-lightened? (Click on color for pictures)
For hair that is naturally level 3 or higher, colors that will give the best results are:
Deep Purple Dream, Enchanted Forest, Fuschia Shock, Green Envy, Hot Hot Pink, Infra Red, Purple Haze, Raven, Rock’n’Roll Red, Vampire Red, & Violet Night
For more intense and longer lasting results, try our Amplified Collection. This formula is stronger and lasts 30% longer!
Please note: Results on natural hair will not be as intense and will normally wash out faster. The dyes will show up more like a tint or “glow” of color that can be seen best in bright sunlight.
7. I put blue dye in my hair, but it came out green? WHY???
There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for what has happened:
Our hair dyes are a semi-permanent stain for your hair. They are not opaque, but a somewhat transparent layer of pigment that sticks to the outside of your hair strands. Whatever color your hair is when you dye it will show through the dye. This means, whatever color your hair is when you dye it will affect the outcome of the color.
Basic color theory tells us that yellow + blue = green, right? This is the same for hair and hair dye. If you apply blue pigment on top of yellow blonde hair, the results will be green. It is the same concept as writing on a yellow piece of paper with a blue highlighter - the ink will appear green on the paper. If you take some of that blue hair dye that you have and smear it on a white piece of paper, I assure you, the dye will be blue. It works the exact same way with hair. The whiter the hair, the truer the color tone.
As a visual aid, here are some examples of some of our blue dyes on different levels of blonde:
One of the steps in our instructions is to first dye just one small strip of your hair with the dye before dying your whole head. This is called a test strip. This test will show you what the dye will look like on your hair before you dye your whole head (and end up with unwanted results.) If a blue comes out too green in a test strip, this will tell you that you need to lighten and tone your hair more.
8. I have never used lightener before. Should I have a professional stylist color my hair?
Yes. We always suggest having a professional stylist color your hair for the first time. If your colorist is not familiar with our products, we will be more than happy to educate him or her. If you are not able to visit a professional stylist, you can always call or email Manic Panic, and we will walk you through the process. We also have step by step instruction on our website. Long Island City, NY: 718-937-6055 1-800-95MANIC
9. What are the different results with Manic Panic Hair Color on Bleached vs. Non-Bleached Hair?
If you want your hair to be as bright as the color swatch, YES, you will have to bleach your hair to a pale blonde. Below are examples of Hot Hot Pink. Our Manic Panic Dye Hard on the left bleached her hair until it was a pale yellow and let the dye process for 30 minutes. Our Manic Panic Dye Hard on the right with the unbleached brown hair left the color in for two hours. Both got gorgeous results.
10. How can I know if I am allergic to Manic Panic?
MANIC PANIC® Hair Color is PPD FREE! (although you should always perform a patch test). Here’s how to perform one:
Select a small test area, about the size of a quarter, behind the ear or in the inner fold of the elbow.
- Wash the test area gently with a mild soap and water. Dab dry with a clean towel.
- Cover the clean test area with a thin coat of the specific shade of Manic Panic Hair Color desired.
- Allow the test area to dry. Leave it uncovered and undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Examine the test area carefully. If there are any signs of irritation then under no circumstances should the product be used on the person tested.
- Should you have any further concerns, please consult a licensed dermatologist.
11. Can I use Manic Panic to cover grey hair?
Our darker colors may tint grey hair and eventually fade to a nice pastel. Our lighter colors may add a nice hue of color. Results may vary based on the natural porosity and shade of your hair. We recommend using heat from a blow dryer during the processing time. Grey hair can be very resistant to any hair color. Even though grey hair is light in color, it often needs to be pre-lightened or otherwise processed in order for Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color to work best.
12. Is it dangerous to color my hair during pregnancy?
While Tish did not stop coloring her hair while she was with child, she did, however, refrain from bleaching or using any harsh chemical products. We strongly recommend contacting a licensed obstetrician or doula regarding this matter.
13. What kind of shampoo should I use after I color my hair to help my color last?
Traditional "color safe" shampoos are not recommended unless they specifically state that they are SULFATE FREE. It is also a good idea to avoid shampoos with high levels of sodium chloride or oils. Be sure to use a deep cleansing/clarifying shampoo to wash your hair before you color it (and only before). Never use any conditioner in your hair before coloring.
We recommend washing your hair in cool water when you do need to shampoo it, using dry shampoo like our Hair Freshener® in between regular washes will keep your hair fresh and your color bright! The more often you wash your hair, the faster your color will fade.
14. How long do Manic Panic colors last? Is it the same for all the colors?
The way Manic Panic Hair Color fades varies from person to person, as well as from color to color. Darker colors will last longer than lighter colors.
Classic: Can last up to 6 weeks on a level 8 - 10 blonde hair. Expect more vibrant results on lighter hair. Duration of colors depends upon a variety of factors: condition of hair, depth of color, frequency of washing, use of styling aids or heat tools, exposure to sunlight, salt, chlorinated water, etc.
Creamtones: Can last up to 2 weeks on level 10 blonde hair. Expect more vibrant results on lighter hair. Duration of colors depends upon a variety of factors: the condition of hair, depth of color, frequency of washing, use of styling aids or heat tools, exposure to sunlight, salt, chlorinated water, etc.
Amplified: Can last up to 8 weeks on a level 8 - 10 blonde hair. Expect more vibrant results on lighter hair. Duration of colors depends upon variety of factors: condition of hair, depth of color, frequency of washing, use of styling aids or heat tools, exposure to sunlight, salt, chlorinated water, etc.
15. What is UV or GLOW color?
We have a variety of hair color shades that are UV reactive or Glow Under Black Light. Specialized UV lights such as black lights cause fluorescent substances like some of our hair colors to glow. Think of the psychedelic posters from the 70's! Please note that hair must be lightened to a level 9 or higher for the UV reaction in the dyes to show up and work properly.
The model below wears a mixture of Electric Lizard™, Electric Banana®, and Pretty Flamingo™ hair colors under a black light. (Our Pink Lady™ Glam® Lashes also give great glow!)
16. Do I need to pre-lighten my hair every time before I color my hair?
Yes, but ONLY the new growth! Be careful not to overlap on hair that has already been lightened, this can cause breakage and damage the hair.
17. Where can I find Manic Panic hair color?
You can order it directly from us www.manicpanic.com. You can also visit stores like ULTA, Sally Beauty Supply, Riley Rose, Ricky’s NYC, or Hot Topic. You can also call Manic Panic NYC at 718-937-6055 or 1-800-95 MANIC to locate a shop near you!
18. What is the difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair color?
A semi-permanent direct dye like MANIC PANIC® hair color does not contain any harmful chemicals and relies on natural vegan dyes that mostly sit on top of the hair. Manic Panic partially penetrates hair shaft with smaller color molecules than the permanent hair color. Permanent hair colors contain ammonia and require peroxide to penetrate and bond with the hair shaft. Our product is gentle and does not require a developer.
19. I start school soon. How can I remove Manic Panic Hair Color from of my hair? (…or, what are some things that will cause the hair color to fade faster than I would like?)
Tricks for removing color from the hair:
Hot Oil treatments
- Alcohol-based hair products such as hairspray, gel, or mousse
- Washing hair with shampoos that contain sulfates such as Anti-Dandruff, Clarifying, Deep Cleansing or All Purpose. Traditional color safe shampoos are not recommended for color maintenance with our dyes unless they specifically state that they are sulfate free.
- Exposure to water and sunlight will result in a gradual fading of your MANIC PANIC Hair Color
- Chemicals in the water of a swimming pool or hot tub will fade Manic Panic Hair Color
Fading hair color
- Salt water from the ocean will fade Manic Panic color from your hair
- To help fade color, sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda into your shampoo, gently kneading into your hair, then rinse with warm water.
**Some darker colors may leave behind a slight tint/stain or take more time to fade than some of our lighter colors.
**The removal of hair color and fading results vary from person to person.
***Consult with manufacturers of any outside lightening and color removal products before attempting their use or get the advice of a licensed hair stylist.
Last Resort Soap Cap:
When all else fails, here is a trick that hair stylists use to remove that last bit of unwanted color. It is always best to seek help from a licensed Hair Stylist rather than doing this yourself.
Take these instructions to your stylist and ask him/her to:
Mix in a color bowl:
- 3 tbs Developer
- 2 tbs Lightener/bleach
- 2 tbs clarifying shampoo
- 2 tbs conditioner for dry hair
- Put a pair of coloring gloves on.
- Apply mixture to wet hair stopping about 1 inch away from your roots
- Work quickly and begin kneading the mixture into your hair starting from the ends to your roots
- Work mixture in to hair for 5-10 minutes
- Rinse mixture out with warm water
- Shampoo and deep condition
** Remember to check hair frequently; while a “Soap Cap” is diluted a person’s hair is most fragile when wet and the processing time can vary from person to person. It’s always best to seek out a professional hair stylist for color removal**
20. Is the Manic Panic Virgin Snow a white hair dye?
Our Manic Panic Virgin Snow is a Toner. It is not a white hair dye. A toner works to neutralize unwanted pigments left behind after lightening hair. The pigments in the toner will cancel out unwanted shades that are opposite each other on the color wheel:
Manic Panic Virgin Snow is a light violet toner that helps to neutralize unwanted pale yellow pigments. When applied to hair that has been pre-lightened to the necessary shade (very pale blonde level 9 or 10), the end result will be white hair. Applying heat with a blow dryer during processing time will help your hair absorb the toner better.
21. Can I use Manic Panic Flash lightening kit to bleach my permanent colored black hair?
It is very dangerous to apply Manic Panic Flash lightening kit to hair colored with a permanent black color. Do not attempt to do this without the advice and direction of a professional stylist who can evaluate the condition of your hair. Lightening dyed black hair can be extremely damaging and result in major breakage!
If your hair is dyed black, some darker MANIC PANIC dyes will give a subtle highlight (like Vampire Red for example) and will not damage the hair. On NATURAL black hair, MANIC PANIC Flash lightning Bleach Kit in 40 volume strength is recommended.
22. How can I lighten my hair before applying MANIC PANIC dye?
We offer 3 bleach kits that will lighten your hair: BLUE LIGHTNING 30 VOL, FLASH LIGHTNING 30 VOL, AND FLASH LIGHTNING AMPLIFIED 40 VOL. BLUE LIGHTNING helps remove any unwanted brassiness in the hair, FLASH LIGHTNING AMPLIFIED 40 Vol is our super strength bleach kit, more powerful than the FLASH LIGHTNING 30 vol. All bleach kits will help you lighten your hair according to the instructions in the package.
23. Do I need to use the full contents of the bleach kit?
YES. Our bleach kits are prepared with the perfect ratio of bleach powder and developer to give you consistent results every time.
24. How is bleach applied?
The bleach mixture should be applied to dry, unwashed hair using a hair dye brush like the one provided in our bleach kits. When applying bleach, make sure to spread the mixture evenly and completely saturate all strands using the brush or gloved fingers. Not saturating the hair enough or uneven application can lead to spotty results.
25. How long does bleach stay on for?
The length of processing time depends on the color and condition of your hair, but we don’t recommend leaving bleach on for longer than 50 minutes. While processing, make sure to check your hair every 10 minutes after application to evaluate how much color has lifted. To do so, wipe away some of the bleach in the area you want to check. If your hair is not as light as you’d like, reapply the bleach and continue processing.
26. Do I shampoo my hair when removing the bleach?
YES. Thoroughly shampoo your hair after you are done processing your hair. This may take multiple washings to ensure the bleach is completely removed. If you’re dyeing your hair with MANIC PANIC after bleaching, do not condition, and dry your hair completely before applying color.
27. Why is my hair orange!?
When bleaching dark hair, it may take more than one processing session to lighten your hair to a light yellow. After the first time bleaching, your hair could be orange or darker yellow. We recommend waiting two weeks before lightening your hair again.
28. My cream developer is watery. Did I get a defective bleach kit?
No. The developer and bleach powder get thicker once mixed together. If it’s still thin after mixing, let the mixture sit for a few minutes and it will become thicker.
29. How can I achieve a pastel shade?
In order to achieve any pastel shades (like our Creamtones,) it is absolutely necessary to lighten & tone your hair first to an all-over even level 10 platinum white blonde. This is also true for any shades of Manic Panic that you have “pastel-ized” with our Pastel-izer as well as our grey shades (Alien Grey, Amethyst Ashes, & Blue Steel.) Any residual tones in your hair can (and normally will) affect how well the color shows up in your hair. Please keep in mind too that pastel colors contain less pigment than our normal shades and will fade from your hair faster.
30. Is there a trick to helping my color last longer?
Yes, there is! A Pro trick to making your Manic Panic Hair Color last longer is to rinse your hair with white vinegar immediately after dyeing. This lowers the pH level of the hair dye, closes the cuticle of the hair, and brings hair health back to balance.
- Rinse out Manic Panic Hair Color with cool water until the water runs clear.
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar with water, try a half a cup of each and put in a bowl or cup.
- Pour the vinegar and water mix over the hair.
- Comb through your hair.
- Let sit for a couple minutes.
- Rinse it out with cold water.
31. Help! I accidentally stained my skin! How do I get the dye off?
- Use Manic Panic Dye Away hair color removing wipes! - or -
- Rub Toothpaste on the stain with a toothbrush and watch it disappear.
- Mix equal parts of baking soda and dish soap, rub on the stain with a toothbrush or fingers.
- Rub Dawn Dish Soap on with a sponge.
**Try to stay away from rubbing alcohol because it can dry out your skin, but if you don’t have a choice, just apply a small amount to a cotton ball and dab on. Make sure to apply lotion to skin afterwards!
32. On no! I accidentally got dye on my bathroom surfaces… how do I get it off?
Manic Panic hair colors can stain anything that is porous (just like your hair!) so it is best to cover your work area with plastic bags, plastic wrap, tin foil, newspaper, etc. to ensure you do not get any unwanted staining on your home surfaces. Always rinse your hair under a faucet and away from your face. We do not recommend rinsing your freshly colored hair in the shower, as this can cause the color to splatter and stain your shower walls & tub. Some bathroom surfaces are more porous than others – better to be safe than sorry!
If you do get some hair color on anything, here are a few tricks to get it out:
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers live up to their name! Just rub the area with a dampened one and watch the stain disappear.
- Bleach or bleach-based cleaning sprays
- Rub toothpaste with a rag or old toothbrush in circular motions with a little warm water
- Mix equal parts of baking soda and liquid dish soap into a paste
33. Color Spray Advice:
- Really be sure to thoroughly shake the can before use.
- Holding the cans at an angle (about a 40 degree angle) rather than holding the cans upright will help to ensure a smooth spray of product onto the hair.
- Spray the product from at least 12 inches away and in short bursts, rather than a steady stream for the best results
- Be sure to wash your hair thoroughly before going to bed to avoid staining your linens & fabrics.
- Shampooing hair with a clarifying or dandruff shampoo can help remove any stubborn spray pigment left behind after your initial wash.
- Be sure to properly cover bathroom surfaces (walls, floors, counters, etc.) before use to avoid staining, and wipe up any accidental drips right away as they can be harder to remove once they dry.
Getting Started | Pre-Lightening | How To Dye | Removing Color | UV Colors | Color Spray
Please feel free to reach out to us with any further questions or concerns by emailing us at email@example.com. We are always here to assist you with your hair color journeys!
For general inquiries, please call 718-937-6055.
Available Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm EST
For assistance with online orders and product related questions, please call 347-233-1486.
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