Like most other hairstylists out there have, I have dabbled in my fair share of vivid colors, including pink, purple, blue, and even neon green. Out of all the bright colors I did on myself, neon green was surprisingly my favorite.
Although, I think some of my friends and clients would disagree. After playing with all of these vivid colors, I pretty much had down how to find the best neon green hair dye when I came around to wanting neon green hair.
Even though I had played with vivid colors before, I had never done anything as bright as my neon green hair. All of my other vivid colors were more pastel. Why did I randomly choose neon green?
I have no idea. I do know that I do not regret it and I still love showing people photos of the days when I did crazy things with my hair.
Bottom Line Up Front
You can achieve neon green hair in a few different ways, but I’ve always found the best method is to apply a neon green direct dye over pre-lightened hair and maintain it with a tinted conditioner. My personal favorite neon green direct dye is Pravana Vivids Neon green, and I like to follow it up with the Viral conditioner in green at least once a week.
Things to Consider for Neon Green Hair
Getting to a neon green color is not as simple as slapping on a neon green hair dye all over and going on with your life as normal. There are a few things that you will have to do to get to neon green and things you will have to do to keep it looking nice. Below are a few things that I think are important to know before venturing into the neon green hair world.
Your Hair Must Be Pre-Lightened
In order to get the brightest neon green hair possible, you must start with a blank canvas, meaning you must bleach your hair first. Think of it this way: if you take a neon green marker and start drawing on tan or brown paper, that neon green marker will look more like pea green on the paper.
Therefore, you must start your neon green hair dye with hair that has been lightened to a light yellow blonde or lighter.
The lighter your hair is, the brighter your neon green will be. There are a few different ways that you can mix your bleach depending on how many levels lighter you need to be, your hair’s health, and your hair history.
To get an idea of how you should bleach your hair to get to a light yellow blonde, read my other article, “How Many Times Can You Bleach Your Hair.”
Neon Green Hair Dye is Not Permanent
Unfortunately, nobody makes neon green hair dye in permanent color. This is because the color molecules to make vivid colors, like neon green, are too large to penetrate the hair’s cuticle, making a hair color permanent.
Neon green hair dyes are typically direct dyes, meaning they sit on top of or inside the cuticle and fade over time. When I had neon green hair, it lasted about five weeks before it started fading to an unpleasant color.
You can do certain things to prolong your neon green hair color, such as washing your hair with cold water and using a heat protectant. I will discuss how to maintain your neon green hair dye later in this post.
If you do not maintain your neon green hair correctly, it can last as little as two weeks before it starts fading to an unpleasant color.
It Can be Difficult to Remove Entirely
Although neon green does fade faster than regular hair dyes, getting your hair back to a standard color can be challenging. Neon green has an undertone of yellow and yellow on top of bleached hair latches on. The only way to truly get rid of that undertone of yellow-green color is to cover it with another vivid color or go a darker color.
When I got rid of my neon green hair color, I returned to blonde from it, but there were still hints of the color in certain lighting. You can see this in the picture below if you look for it.
I got rid of most of the green by doing a quick bleach bath with a twenty-volume developer and toning my hair with a pink toner. Pink or red toners are the only thing that can remove neon green hair enough to where it is barely noticeable.
Types of Neon Green Hair Dye
Even though there aren’t any permanent options for neon green hair dye, there are quite a few semi-permanent and temporary hair dye options to choose from. Listed here are a few different types of neon green hair dyes that you can use. Each one has its own benefits and disadvantages.
Direct Dyes are the most common form of vivid color hair dye and are sometimes called semi-permanent. These come in a color tube similar to permanent hair colors but are not mixed with a developer like regular dyes. Direct dyes are similar to traditional color molecules, except they are much larger, creating vibrant, unnatural colors.
Unlike permanent and demi-permanent colors, direct dyes must be manually massaged into the cuticle of the hair instead of a developer working the color into the cuticle.
This type of neon green hair dye will last the longest out of all the dye options, and you can expect to get four to six weeks before fading starts out of a direct dye with proper maintenance.
Tinted conditioners work very similarly to direct dyes, except they are made into a conditioner. Since it is a direct dye mixed into a conditioner, these will not create a vibrant color immediately. I typically like to use these to maintain my hair color that was made with a direct dye. However, you can also use them to build up to a vibrant color over time.
You can apply tinted conditioners exactly how you would use your regular conditioner. These usually only stay on for ten minutes and work as a conditioning mask as they sit.
I have seen people thoroughly coat their hair in a tinted conditioner and leave it on for thirty minutes to get brighter results, but they don’t typically last as long as a direct dye.
Spray-In Hair Color
Spray-in hair color is a super quick way to get a temporary neon green without having to lighten your hair first. I usually only use spray-in colors for holidays or costumes because they will only last until your next wash, and they don’t make your hair feel too great.
They can also transfer onto nearly anything they touch, so I don’t recommend sleeping with this on your hair because it will be in your sheets.
Hair Coloring Wax
Hair coloring wax has been around for quite some time but has been making waves more recently, especially for people with pixie cuts and people with kinky, curly hair. You can use hair coloring wax the same way you would use styling wax.
The difference is that this wax will change the color of your hair into vibrant colors without using any bleach.
The trick to creating super bright, vibrant colors, like neon green, with hair coloring wax, is to put it on in layers. The more layers you apply, the brighter the color will be. Although this is a great temporary alternative, it should not be used on everyone.
Unless you have a super short haircut or super curly hair, hair wax will weigh your hair down and make it feel tacky. People with straight or fine hair that is longer than their chin should not use this.
The Best Neon Green Hair Dyes
Now that you have a basic idea of what goes into having neon green hair and the different ways you can get there, here are the best neon green hair dyes. I’ve personally used over half of these brands and can honestly say that each one has its own little thing that I love about them.
Best Overall: Pravana Vivids Neon Green
- What I would call a true neon green color
- Good longevity
- Smells good
- Glows in the dark
- It has to be massaged in extremely well for even coverage
Pravana Vivids Neon Green is the color I used to get my neon green hair, and it is my favorite neon green color out of all the other direct dyes. It is bright but not too yellow like some other neon green hair dyes.
Whenever I did my hair with this color, I colored my roots slightly darker with the Pravana Vivid Green, and I feel that this made the neon pop even more.
Usually, I don’t get very good longevity with Pravana Vivids, getting only about three weeks out of them before they fade into a dull, ugly color. However, I had this specific color for five weeks, and I don’t think it faded one bit.
I would have kept it longer to really test out how long it could go, but I had my cousin’s wedding coming up, and I didn’t think she would like me showing up with hair so bright it could blind the family.
The one thing that I’ve learned about Pravana Vivids after years of using them is they have to be massaged into the hair extremely thoroughly to get even coverage. If you don’t get even coverage with Pravana Vivids, it’s most likely because you did not mush it in good enough.
The best way I’ve found to massage in Pravana Vivids is to lay the hair on one palm, saturate the hair in color, and sandwich your other hand over it while rubbing it like you’re trying to warm up your hands.
Best for Brightness: Pulp Riot Area 51
- More of yellow neon green, making it look brighter
- Covers really well
- Glows in the dark
- It fades quicker than other direct dyes
Everyone’s hair takes differently to vivids, and anytime I had a client that was super resistant to the bright colors, I would always head to the store for some Pulp Riot. This stuff does an amazing job of covering the most resistant hair and even hair that isn’t pre-lightened quite enough.
I usually find myself needing to resort to Pulp Riot on people whose hair didn’t lift quite to a light yellow blonde or those with thick, coarse hair.
Pulp Riot’s Area 51 neon green has more yellow undertones to it than other neon green dyes, and this makes it look extremely bright and more like slime green or alien green. It also looks much brighter under black light than other neon green dyes that glow in the dark.
Personally, I’m not too fond of the yellow undertones in neon green, but if you’re looking for the brightest neon green you can find, this is it.
Although Pulp Riot colors are very bright and take to the hair extremely well, they bleed and fade faster than other colors. You can expect to have your water from rinsing your hair be a shade of yellow for at least three washes after application, and you have to be careful with your sheets.
Most Pulp Riot colors don’t fade into beautiful, pastel tones as other direct dyes do, so you may want touch-ups more often with this one.
Best for Longevity: Manic Panic in Electric Lizard
- Lasts an extremely long time
- Vegan and Cruelty-free
- Glows in the dark
- Extremely vibrant color
- It can be extremely difficult to remove
Manic Panic is the original brand for vivid colors, being around since the 70s, and they are still a staple in the vivid color world today. I don’t think I’ve found any vivid color that can outlast Manic Panic and stay as bright for as long as it does.
I’ve had people come into my salon with beautiful shades of pink, blue, or purple that they colored with Manic Panic up to three months prior.
If you want to commit to neon green hair for the long haul, Manic Panic is the way to go. The colors are almost blinding when they are first put on, and you can hardly tell when it’s started fading because it happens so gradually.
I also like the shade that this specific color comes out with, as long as you get your hair to a light yellow blonde.
Be warned. Manic Panic is extremely difficult to remove. Even though I love the colors that people come into my salon with after using Manic Panic, I do not wish anyone the agony it causes when someone wants it removed.
After ten years of doing hair, I have never seen anyone successfully remove Manic Panic and get them back to a blonde color. The only way to get rid of Manic Panic is to cover it with another vivid or darker color.
Best Spray-In: Punky in Jaguar Green
- Temporary color
- You don’t have to pre-lighten your hair
- Covers even darker hair
- Will stain anything it touches
If you want something to last for a single event, spray-in neon green by Punky is a great way to go. You have to be extremely careful with spray-in hair colors because many of them can stain your hair and make it impossible to remove.
Removing the stain with a bleach bath can drive the color into your hair even more, and you simply have to wait for the color to grow out.
The Punky spray-in color does not stain your hair like other spray-ins. It still goes on extremely vibrant, even on hair as dark as black, but it’s more of a chalky consistency, so it sits on the outside of your hair.
The color is easily removed with regular shampoo and warm water when you are ready to have your regular hair color back.
Even though this spray-in will not stain your hair, it will stain nearly anything your head touches. I would definitely not fall asleep with this stuff in your hair on sheets or on a couch you love. I’m not sure why it does this since it comes out of hair so well, but it’s something to be mindful of when using this spray-in.
Best Tinted Conditioner: Viral Colorditioner in Green
- Has a Bond-builder for bleached hair
- Buildable color
- extremely bright for a tinted conditioner
- Can make a difference in as little as two minutes
- Isn’t super moisturizing for a conditioner
Most of the time, when I’m coloring people’s hair with vivid colors, I’ll make them a tinted conditioner with the direct dye that I used on their hair mixed in with a mask. However, I don’t always have that option, and when that time comes, I recommend Viral Colorditioner.
I had one client use this on their pink hair for months, and when she came back in, the pink looked just as fresh as it did when I colored it originally.
Although tinted conditioners are usually intended to maintain vibrant colors, this one is so vibrant that it may be able to actually color your pre-lightened hair. I recommend leaving it on for twenty minutes instead of two to five minutes if you plan on doing this.
You can also gradually make your hair brighter and brighter by using it with every wash.
Viral Colorditioner has a bond builder to help with any damage you may have gotten during the bleaching process. This means it will go into your hair and restore any protein bonds that were broken down, but it doesn’t mean that this conditioner is moisturizing.
I would not use this conditioner every time because it can be a bit drying over time. You could also follow this up with your regular conditioner for moisture.
Best Hair Coloring Wax: Hair Paint Wax in Green
- Temporary color
- It can also be used to style hair
- It doesn’t feel like it’s sitting on top of the hair
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Not for long, straight hair
Hair coloring wax has been around for a long time but has only recently started becoming popular amongst the average person. Hair Paint Wax is the same exact thing as regular styling wax, except it has a very strong color inside it.
The color does not stain the hair and washes out after only one wash, so you can change colors every time you wash your hair.
You also need not pre-lighten your hair with Hair Paint Wax because the color is buildable. The more wax you layer on your hair, the brighter the color will be. If you are looking for a true neon color, you may want your hair to be lighter than a dark brown for this hair coloring wax to get to that specific color, but the green will definitely appear on even black hair.
Hair coloring wax is just as heavy and stiff as regular styling wax, so it is not for those with long straight hair. I would only use a hair coloring wax on those with kinky curly hair or a short pixie cut that you can style into an edgy spiky look.
Hair Paint Wax does an excellent job of soaking into the hair rather than sitting on top of it, but I would still be cautious about getting the color on your sheets while sleeping.
How to Dye Your Hair Neon Green
If you do decide to go the semi-permanent route with dyeing your hair neon green, there are a few differences from a normal all-over color. I go over exactly how I colored my hair neon green in the steps below.
Pre-Lighten Your Hair
You can not get neon green hair without bleaching it first unless you are one of those unicorns that naturally have level nine blonde hair. You can go to my other article, “How Many Times Can You Bleach Your Hair,” to get a general idea of how to bleach your own hair.
If you want more of a dimensional look with your neon green hair, try a heavy highlight instead of bleaching your hair all over.
In order for the neon green color to be as bright as possible, your hair must be lightened to at least level nine (light yellow blonde). You can lighten it lighter than this, but anything darker will make your neon green look muddy.
Once you have lightened your hair, shampoo it without conditioning and blow dry it until it is completely dry.
Apply Neon Green Hair Dye
When applying vivid colors, you must thoroughly massage it into the hair. They don’t use a developer, which is usually the ingredient that pushes the color into the cuticle, so massaging the color is a mechanical way to do this. I like to do this in sections no larger than half an inch thick to ensure every strand is adequately saturated.
Once every section is thoroughly saturated in color (more than you would normally saturate with color), you can let the color process for twenty to thirty minutes. Some people think that leaving it on longer will make it brighter or more even, but that is not the case.
If it is not bright enough or even, it is because you did not massage the color well enough.
Rinse, But Do Not Shampoo
When rinsing out neon green, you want to rinse with cool water until the water runs clear. Colder water can close your cuticle and seal in color. Do not shampoo your hair after rinsing out the neon green color because it can take some of those color molecules with it.
I recommend using a color-safe conditioner to really lock in that cuticle and doing another quick cold rinse.
Maintain Your Neon Green Hair
Even though neon green tends to last longer than other vivid colors, it will still fade eventually, so maintaining the color is an important step. When I had neon green hair, I cut back on shampooing, used cold water, and always used a heat protectant when blow-drying or styling my hair.
You can also use a tinted conditioner once a week, like the one mentioned above, to maintain your neon green hair.
Answer: Neon green hair dye is not permanent, so it will only last four to six weeks before fading, depending on how well you maintain it. The more you wash your hair and the warmer the water you’re washing it with, the faster it will fade.
If you are shampooing with cool water, using a neon green tinted conditioner, and using a heat protectant for styling, the color will last longer.
Answer: As long as you have lifted your hair to a yellow blonde, you do not need to tone your hair before applying the neon green color. If anything, the yellow undertones will actually make your neon green look even brighter.
This is because neon green naturally has yellow undertones in it already. The yellow undertones make neon green so bright, so the more yellow undertones, the brighter the color will be.
Answer: You should bleach your hair to a level nine or ten before dying it neon green. Anything darker than this could dull the neon green color into a more subdued green. Level nine will look like a yellow blonde, whereas level ten will look like a pale yellow.
Answer: You will first need powder bleach and a developer to pre-lighten your hair. Once your hair is pre-lightened and dried, you can then apply a neon green direct dye. The direct dye does not need a developer but must be thoroughly massaged into the hair.
Once that has sat for thirty minutes, you can rinse with cool water and condition. You should not shampoo out the direct dye.
Answer: If you are trying to get rid of neon green hair, you should first try a bleach bath on it to remove as much color as possible. The neon green will most likely not be fully removed from the bleach bath because it is difficult to get rid of.
You can cancel out any green left in your hair with a pink or red toner. If the remaining color is yellow-green, go with a pink toner. Use a red toner if the remaining color is primarily green still.
Should You Try Neon Green Hair Dye?
Neon green hair is certainly not for everyone, and I would not recommend it being the first vivid color you ever try. However, if you love to mess around with your color already and have tried out a few vivid colors, neon green is a fun color that can give you that edge and uniqueness you crave. It was most definitely one of my favorite vivid colors that I had ever done, especially the Pravan Vivids Neon Green. Beware, your mother will most likely not like it.
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