There are a few types of temporary hair coloring that vary in terms of the way that they are applied and the length of time that it takes to wash them completely out of the hair. The types of temporary coloring that last the shortest amount of time are applied by via spray, paste, or gel. These coloring products simply coat the hair follicles in a colored substance that can usually be rinsed completely out of the hair with just one shampoo. Instead of saturating the hair with color as with semi-permanent hair coloring products, these products are completely superficial in terms of the way in which they change the color of the hair.
This kind of very temporary hair color is usually used for an occasion or a costume. In fact, many stores and companies that supply shoppers with costumes and costume accessories also carry lines of colored hair spray that include a dozen or more colors. Green hair spray, for example, may be used for a person who is dressing up as a sea monster. White hair coloring might be used on a person who is dressing up as a ghost. Sometimes this spray version of temporary color is also used for fashion purposes and may be used as a part of an outfit.
Unlike permanent hair color, temporary hair color does not use a chemical reaction to strip color from the hair, or permanently stain or tint the hair. Temporary hair color can also include products like demi-permanent hair coloring, semi-permanent hair coloring, and hair glazes. These products are all hair coloring products that change the color of the hair for a specific period of time but are intended to eventually rinse away so that the natural hair color will return. Each product is slightly different, but it is common for the product label to indicate approximately how many shampoos are required to completely remove the color from the hair.
Some people prefer to use temporary color instead of permanent hair coloring because it causes less damage to the hair. Because permanent hair color uses a chemical reaction that permanently changes the color — and, in some cases, the texture — of the hair, it usually damages the hair as well. Temporary hair coloring, on the other hand, is much less likely to damage the hair. However, the results of permanent hair color are often more vibrant and consistent.