How Long Does Manic Panic Last? The Truth About This Hair Dye

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Are you looking for a fun way to jazz up your hair every once in a while? Dyeing it a nice bright color might just be perfect for you.

A woman is getting her hair dyed blue by a hairstylist

After all, having the same hair color day in and day out can get boring, right? 

You may have already thought about experimenting with your hair color but might be worried about how hair dye can damage your hair.

Well, worry not! You can change your hair color often and experiment with different looks without your locks becoming dry and brittle. That’s the power of semi-permanent hair dyes! 

Semi-permanent hair dye can allow you to enjoy a new color for a short while without damaging your hair. This is because these dyes don’t lift the hair’s natural color pigments. Instead, they deposit temporary color onto the hair.

Sound good? They are! Several semi-permanent hair dyes in the market can give you exceptionally vibrant color results. One of them is the conditioner-based dye Manic Panic.

Now the next question you might have is since Manic Panic is a semi-permanent dye, how long does it last?

We take a closer look at the dye and give you the lowdown on its longevity, including a few tips and tricks to help you enjoy your color for as long as possible.

What You Need to Know About Manic Panic

Manic Panic is a popular brand known for its semi-permanent dyes that come in vivid, bright, and unique colors. It is the go-to brand for those looking to try unicorn, galaxy, mermaid, or rainbow hair.

In addition to being the go-to for exciting colors, the tried-and-tested brand is known to have led the hair color revolution, having been around since the 1970s.

Let’s take a closer look at Manic Panic and the pros and cons of using this semi-permanent hair dye.

Pros of Using Manic Panic

Just like other semi-permanent dyes, Manic Panic doesn’t require a developer or hydrogen peroxide to work. It’s a direct dye, meaning you open the tub and apply it to your hair straight away.

For that reason, Manic Panic is a favorite of those who DIY their hair color.

Another thing to love about this product is that it is PPD and ammonia-free. Moreover, Manic Panic is 100% vegan and made from natural ingredients like plant extracts and vegetable dyes.

Since Manic Panic is a semi-permanent dye, it won’t lift your hair cuticles and penetrate your hair shaft. It only coats your strands with color, meaning there’s no change to your hair structure.

Because of that, you don’t need to worry about damaging your hair.

Lastly, Manic Panic products are cruelty-free. So these dyes are not only gentle on your hair, but they are also kind to animals and the environment.

Cons of Using Manic Panic

As previously mentioned, Manic Panic only coats your strands and doesn’t penetrate them. Because of this, the color doesn’t last as long as permanent hair dye.

Since the dye pigments are only deposited on the strands and don’t penetrate the hair cortex, the color will fade every time you wash your hair.

Additionally, Manic Panic’s fantasy colors only work on light blonde hair, preferably level 8 and higher. So if you have dark hair, you must bleach it first to see any real impact.

Another thing to note about this product is that it’s pricey compared to popular boxed dyes and other semi-permanent dyes like L’oreal Paris Colorista, Punky Colour, and Ador

Types of Manic Panic Hair Dyes and Their Longevity

Manic Panic has come a long way from their Classic High Voltage product. They have developed other semi-permanent dyes and even launched temporary dyes and professional semi-permanent dyes.

A woman is getting her hair dyed purple by a hairstylist

So back to the question at hand. How long do Manic Panic dyes last?

There’s no one answer to that because each type of Manic Panic dye has different lasting capabilities. Let’s look at each variant. 

Classic High Voltage

As the name suggests, this one is Manic Panic’s classic or original hair dye.

It’s a semi-permanent hair color in a fortified cream conditioning base. The conditioner adds moisture to your locks and makes them softer after coloring.

Manic Panic Classic High Voltage can last 4 to 6 weeks on pre-lightened or naturally light blonde hair.


Manic Panic designed a more intense formula, the Amplified product line. It has 30% more pigment than the Classic High Voltage color and promises brighter color that stays longer.

How long does this Manic Panic semi-permanent hair color last? The Amplified formula is made to last for eight weeks or longer, depending on how you care for your hair after coloring.

Supernatural Shades

The brand also has a product line with the same formula as the Classic High Voltage but in more natural colors.

These Supernatural Shades are deeper colors that last longer and can work on natural blondes.

Manic Panic Supernatural Shades is your option if you want a natural color for your hair without the harsh effects of boxed permanent dyes.

Like the Classic High Voltage, the color can stay on your hair for up to 6 weeks.


Another color line of the classic cream formula is Creamtones. It features pastel shades, so there’s no more need to use Manic Panic’s Pastel-izer.

However, this dye variant only shows on the lightest blondes, like platinum. And though it claims to last 4 to 6 weeks, the light pastel colors require lots of care to reach the 6-week guarantee.

Professional Gel Hair Color

Manic Panic has also released hair dye for salon use (though you can still use it at home). It’s a gel-based color that has better color depositing capacity.

This dye is formulated to identify and bond with hair fibers. And once bonded, the color molecules mimic the hair fibers, resulting in maximum color longevity.

Because of that technology, the Professional Gel Hair Color can last through 40 washes.

Temporary Hair Dyes

Aside from its semi-permanent dyes, Manic Panic also has two temporary hair dyes:

How long does Manic Panic temporary hair dye last?

The temporary hair dye is, just as the name implies — temporary. It will only last until your next wash. So you’ll have a day of vibrant, fun colors perfect for Halloween or other parties and events.

How to Color Your Hair with Manic Panic Color

Now that you have a basic idea of the different Manic Panic products and their staying power, how do you use them to dye your hair?

It’s easy to dye your hair with Manic Panic hair color. But it’s still important to do it properly to get the best results.

We’ll give you steps on the best way to dye your hair so that you’ll have better color results and prolong the life and vibrancy of your color.

How to Use Manic Panic Dye

  1. Before your coloring session, bleach your hair to at least a level 7. You’ll need to bleach higher if you’re using a pastel color.
  2. Preferably do a patch test to check for any potential allergies.
  3. Wash hair with a clarifying shampoo, and do not use a conditioner.
  4. Blow dry your hair to make it more porous.
  5. Put on your gloves and protect surfaces to avoid staining.
  6. Apply the Manic Panic dye on your dry hair. You may use your hands, but it’s better to use a tint brush for even product distribution.
  7. Comb through your hair to make sure that the dye is evenly applied.
  8. Use a plastic shower cap and cover your hair.
  9. For more intensity, you can apply heat for 5 minutes using a hair dryer.
  10. Leave the product on for a minimum of 30 minutes or more. The longer you leave it in, the more vibrant and long-lasting the color.
  11. Rinse your hair with cold water until the water runs clear. Do not shampoo.

How Long Does Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Last?

So, we’ve gone through the basics of each type of Manic Panic dye and their varying degrees of longevity (4-6 weeks), but how long it actually lasts will also depend on hair types and other factors.

Remember, products have different effects on different hair types, so how one works on a friend may be different from how it works for you.

Let’s look at the other factors that will impact color longevity.

Dye Type

As previously mentioned, each type of Manic Panic has different lasting properties.

The longest-lasting formula is the Professional Gel Color.

Note that the color choices are limited as there are only 11 shades available in this variant. But the good news is they can be intermixed, so you can create a lot of new shades with them!


The color you use can help determine how long Manic Panic lasts.

Darker color dyes tend to last longer. Colors like:

  • Red
  • Black
  • Brown
  • Purple
  • Green

This is because these darker colors contain more pigments. Though they will start to fade on your first wash, removing the color completely will take more washes versus the lighter colors.

Hair Condition

Another factor to consider when it comes to dye longevity is your hair’s condition. The hair’s texture isn’t much of a concern regarding coloring. It’s more about hair health and hair porosity.

Hair porosity measures the hair’s ability to absorb moisture and hold it. This can be determined by genetics, but it can also be altered by how you treat your hair, including heat and chemical processing.

Highly porous hair has lifted cuticles, so there are big gaps for the color pigments to get in quickly. This means it’s easy for the color pigments to take effect. 

However, having high porosity hair also means that the color can exit those big gaps in the hair just as quickly and fade right away.

The best porosity of hair to color is normal or medium porosity. Normal or medium porosity hair is characterized by cuticles that aren’t as wide open as highly porous hair but still have gaps that allow color pigments to enter.

And what about low-porosity hair? Low hair porosity can hold color in for a very long time because the cuticles are flat and smooth. 

But the problem with this is that it’s difficult to color the hair in the first place because there are minimal gaps for the pigments to enter.

Pre-lightened Hair

Another factor affecting how long Manic Panic dye lasts is your hair’s current color.

Because of the nature of semi-permanent hair dye, hair must be pre-lightened for the bright colors to show up fully. Those with dark hair need to bleach their hair to successfully color their locks with Manic Panic and make the color last.

Plus, bleached hair can hold color much longer. Whereas unprocessed, virgin hair doesn’t hold semi-permanent color well.

You may ask, “How long does Manic Panic last on brown hair?” This is a tricky question to answer because many Manic Panic colors, especially the lighter ones like pastels, won’t show up on brown or black locks.

As for the darker Manic Panic colors, they may appear on unbleached darker hair, but the result will be temporary, and these wash out faster.

Hair Care

A woman combing her hair while looking at herself in the mirror

The last factor in Manic Panic color longevity is aftercare and how you treat your colored locks.

How often you wash your hair is a significant factor to consider. If you wash your hair every day using regular shampoos, you will wash out the color before the two weeks are over.

The same goes for when you frequently use heat styling tools.

If you want your color to last longer, focus on color aftercare, including spacing out your shampoos, using color care products, and avoiding too much heat styling.

How to Make Manic Panic Last Longer

Manic Panic dyes are temporary, but with the right tips, you can make that gorgeous temporary color last as long as possible. 

Check out these tips and tricks for keeping your Manic Panic color vibrant and bright for as long as possible.

Leave the Dye In Longer

When you color using Manic Panic, you are instructed to leave the product on your hair for 30 minutes or longer to give the dye time to take effect.

But if you want the color to be brighter and last longer, you should leave it for an hour or two. This will really help the pigment to set and the color to take hold.

And you don’t have to worry because Manic Panic won’t damage the hair like permanent dyes.

Some people are even brave enough to leave the dye overnight. But we wouldn’t recommend that because this may be messy and may also over-condition your hair.

Wash Your Hair Less

The biggest reason for color to fade fast is over-shampooing your hair. So the best way to keep your Manic Panic color looking fresh and bright longer is to wash your locks less.

Shampooing once a week is an excellent way to make the color last. You can use a conditioner without shampoo or dry shampoo in between washes to refresh your tresses.

As an added tip, we suggest you wait 48 hours after coloring before you wash your hair to allow the pigments to settle in completely.

Choose Products That Are Color-safe

The products you use should be the right products for your hair type. So when using Manic Panic color, use color-safe products for your color-treated locks.

This means looking for a good shampoo and conditioner that is sulfate-free. Avoid harsh chemicals and unnecessary additives. 

In addition, you can look for products that contain special ingredients for protecting and extending hair color, like the Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color and Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair.

Use a Deep Conditioner

Healthier hair means longer-lasting color. So deep condition your hair a week before coloring and a week after.

Using a deep conditioner on your tresses will help smoothen the cuticles and keep your color looking fresh.

A good deep conditioner you can try is Coco & Eve Like a Virgin Hair Masque.

Avoid Using Heat Styling Tools

Heat is the enemy of colored hair. You make your hair more porous when you overuse styling tools such as flat irons and curling wands.

Porous hair will lose color faster. So, when possible, refrain from using heat styling tools when doing your hair. 

If you really need to heat style your hair, use a heat-protectant product to help lessen the damage.

Do Not Wash Using Hot Water

Like the heat from styling tools, hot water can also cause the cuticles to lift, allowing the color pigments to wash off easily.

To prevent this, use lukewarm or cold water when you shower. It may not feel as good as a hot shower, but that’s a small price to pay if you want to make your Manic Panic hair dye last longer.

Protect Your Hair From the Sun

Exposing your hair to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can also cause your vibrant colors to fade faster.

This is because UV rays can break down the dye pigments. If you want to extend the life of your Manic Panic color, try to avoid too much sun exposure.

Skip the Pool

Are you thinking of coloring your hair before a big pool party? Don’t do it. It will just be a waste of color.

Why? Because chlorine in swimming pools is also an active ingredient in bleaching powders. Chlorine can bond with the artificial color of your hair and draw the color out, just like bleach.

Avoid swimming or use protective hair oils and shower caps if you have to swim to help protect your hair from chlorine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Wash Out Completely?

Yes. Because Manic Panic is a semi-permanent hair color, it will wash out eventually and completely. How long it takes may vary depending on the factors we’ve discussed.

The Classic High Voltage color will generally wash out in roughly six weeks, while the Creamtones can wash off in as early as two weeks.

Does Manic Panic Hair Dye Damage Hair?

A close up photo of a hairstylist's hands holding the blue hair of a woman at the salon

Manic Panic isn’t damaging to your hair, thanks to its natural ingredients. It also doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can dry out your hair and make it lose its elasticity.

Moreover, Manic Panic only coats your hair strands with color without changing the hair structure. 

How Do You Get Rid of Manic Panic Quickly?

If you can’t wait for the color to fade, you may use a clarifying shampoo to help fade the color faster. 

You can also use a color remover formulated for semi-permanent dyes or a DIY color-removing solution. Check out this video for more details and some ideas:

Conclusion: How Long Does Manic Panic Hair Dye Last?

Manic Panic semi-permanent hair dye is known for its bright and vibrant colors. As its name indicates, it’s not meant to be a permanent hair color solution. Color longevity depends on factors like the type of Manic Panic used, natural hair color and porosity, and after-color care.

If you take good care of your color-treated locks, you can help prolong the life of your Manic Panic hair color. Be sure to follow tips and tricks like washing your hair less, using a sulfate-free shampoo, and avoiding sun exposure.

If you are careful, you can be sure to enjoy Manic Panic’s colors longer and ensure your locks remain bright, vibrant, and luscious. 

What Other Hair Dye Products Can You Try?

Take a Look at Our Lists:


  • Rachelle Velasco

    Rachelle, is a sought-after freelance hair and makeup artist, shines particularly in the world of hair color. From subtle ombres and balayages to vibrant hues and intricate root work, she crafts unique styles tailored to individual preferences. Beyond her artistic talents, Rachelle also holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, showcasing her diverse skill set and dedication to learning.

  • Madeline Hall

    With ten years in hairstyling, Madeline Hall has trained with elite colorists Naomi Knight and Lupe Voss and assisted celebrity stylist Alex Chases. From building a solid clientele at San Francisco's Code Salon to impressing Nashville's finest, Madeline is a force in the industry. Passionate about educating clients and staying updated on trends.

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