Manic Panic 101


Everything you need to know about the Manic Panic® brand

Why should I use Manic Panic® Hair Colour?

Manic Panic® Hair Colour is a herbal-based, vegan, semi-permanent dye fortified with conditioners that add moisture and act as a filler to hair that has been pre-lightened. There are no harmful chemicals in Manic Panic® Hair Colour. The unique formula is gentle to the hair, and contains no animal by-products or PPD.

Manic Panic® products are tested on Celebrities NOT animals!™


Manic Panic®  Hair Colour instructs 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 colour or lightening process. It ensures you will get results you are happy with. It’s a preliminary test to determine specifics such as processing times, possible results. Even though our product is chemical and PPD free it is also important to test for any possible 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 colour of the hair.

MANIC PANIC® Hair Colour is PPD FREE! However we always recommend doing an allergy test before using any new product.

Here’s how to perform a Patch Test:
1. Select a small test area, about the size of a quarter, behind the ear or in the inner fold of the elbow.
2. Wash the test area gently with a mild soap and water. Dab dry with a clean towel.
3. Cover the clean test area with a thin coat of the specific shade of Manic Panic® Hair Color desired.
4. Allow the test area to dry. Leave it uncovered and undisturbed for 24 hours.
5. 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.


What is PPD?

During the 1860s PPD (Para-Phenylenediamine) was discovered as a synthetic ingredient for hair dye and at the time this was an amazing development for this cosmetic, but as we have realized over the years, PPD is actually harmful to hair. The effects of PPD can sometimes be quite severe, which is why people are urged not to use it. PPD-free hair dye is much safer because of its natural ingredients. With Manic Panic® offering all their eccentric shades as a PPD-free formula you can still get all of the crazy colours you want with the added bonus of not damaging your hair!


What is the difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair colour?

A semi-permanent like MANIC PANIC® hair colour 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 colour molecules than the permanent hair colour. Permanent hair colours contain ammonia and require peroxide to penetrate and bond with the hair shaft. Our product is gentle and does not require a mixer.


Do I have to pre-lighten my hair before colouring?

Applying Manic Panic® dye to pre-lightened hair is the best way to assure that you will achieve the vibrant results that you see on our colour swatches. Lightening to a pale/platinum blonde (level 9 or 10) will give the most intense results for most colours. This light base has to be achieved especially when using the lighter pastel colours. Also note that any yellow tones in the hair will alter the final result of most colours.

Pre-lightening the hair before colouring is actually the most important step when using Manic Panic® hair colour. Hair type varies from person to person. Although some people’s natural hair may get a slight tint from some of our colours, we cannot and do not guarantee that the colour 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 colour 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 colour 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 colours 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 colour in our most highly pigmented shades, resulting in a lighter tint of colour. If this colour “sticks” to your natural hair, it will normally fade a lot faster than it would on lightened hair.

HOWEVER, for reds and purples we recommend applying the colours to hair that still has pale copper yellow tones to the hair (Level 8 upwards), for best results!


What are the different results with Manic Panic® Dye on Bleached vs. Non-Bleached Hair?

If you want your hair to be as bright as the colour swatch, yes you will have to bleach. Some of the darker, more highly pigments Manic Panic® colours may cover lighter coloured, or more porous hair. The result is however not guaranteed, and will not be as vibrant as the result on pre-lightened hair.


Which Manic Panic® colours will show up the best on hair that is not pre-lightened?

For hair that is naturally Level 3 -8, darker colours will give a highlight of colour.
Do be aware that the result cannot be guaranteed and will depend on how porous the natural hair colour is. Youthful hair tends to be more porous, as well as hair that has been treated with salts.

Colours we recommend to try on hair that is NOT pre-lightened:

  • AfterMidnight Blue
  • Shocking Blue
  • Green Envy
  • Enchanted Forest
  • Infra Red
  • Vampire Red
  • Purple Haze
  • Hot Hot Pink

For more intense and longer-lasting results, be sure to try the AMPLIFIED collection! This formula is stronger and lasts 30% longer.


I have never used lightener before, should I have a professional stylist colour my hair?

We always suggest consulting a professional, if you have never used a pre-lightener before. You can also ask your professional stylist to colour your hair with your Manic Panic® colour for the first time. If your stylist is not familiar with our product we will be more than happy to supply them with the necessary information.


Do I need to pre-lighten my hair every time before I dye my hair?

ONLY the new growth at the roots that has never been lifted before! Be careful not to overlap on hair that has already been lightened, this can cause breakage and damage the hair. Manic Panic colours will take fantastically over the previously bleached, faded colour, without having to re-bleach the hair. If you hair did not lift enough with the original pre-lightening, due to stubborn permanent colour, please consult a professional before bleaching the same hair for a second time.


Can I mix Manic Hair® Colours?

YES YES YES! All Manic Panic® colour may be combined together to create your very own custom colours. Use Manic Panic® Pastelizer as a mixer to lighten any colour to a pastel shade, or mix two bold colours to create something totally unique. There is no limit to how many colours can be combined or the ratio of colour to colour!


Can I use Manic Panic® Hair Colour to cover grey hair?

Our darker colours will cover the grey and eventually fade to a nice pastel. Our lighter colours will add a nice hue of colour. We recommend leaving the colour on for at least an hour or two! The longer it is on the hair strand the more it will soak in. Grey hair can be very resistant for any hair colour to absorb.
Applying heat works well to open up the resistant cuticle layers on grey hair. Even though grey hair is light in colour, it generally needs to be pre-lightened or otherwise processed in order for Manic Panic® Hair Colour to work best


Is it dangerous to dye my hair during pregnancy?

Manic Panic® Hair colour is safe to use during pregnancy, however using any chemical product such as bleach or permanent hair colour is a big no-no! As a matter of fact, Manic Panic®’s very own Tish did not stop colouring her hair while she was with child. She did refrain from bleaching or using any harsh chemical products. We always recommend you consult your doctor.


How long do Manic Panic® colours last? Is it the same for all the colours?

The way Manic Panic Hair Colour fades varies from person to person and from colour to colour. Darker colours will last longer than lighter colours. If hair is well taken care of it usually last from 4-6 weeks. The first application after pre-lightening tends to fade a bit faster, but once colour is reapplied, the colour in the hair will start to build, and you will find your colour lasting longer.


What is UV colour?

The Manic Panic® has a variety of hair colour 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 colours to glow.  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 colours under a black light.


Is the Manic Panic® Virgin Snow a hair dye?

Our Manic Panic® Virgin Snow is a toner not a colour. A toner works to remove unwanted pigments left behind after lightening hair.

The tones in the toner will cancel out unwanted pigments that are opposite the colour wheel. Manic Panic® Virgin Snow is a violet toner that neutralizes the unwanted yellow pigment. The end result will be white hair. We recommend leaving Manic Pani® Virgin Snow on for several hours.

The longer it is on your hair the more it will neutralize the opposite colour. Unlike your regular salon toners, Manic Panic® Virgin Snow contains no chemicals, so will not cause discomfort to your sensitive scalp after bleaching.

Applying heat, with a blow dryer, will also make it work faster. If you don’t have the time then we suggest doing it twice!

Virgin Snow may also be used  to neutralise your base colour before applying your desired Manic Panic® colour.


How does Manic Panic® Blue Steel achieve silver/grey hair?

Manic Panic® Blue Steel is a very light-hued dove grey colour with blue undertones, which when applied as a toner on to light-level platinum blond hair, will achieve the desired silver/grey colour.

Due to the very light pigment of the colour, it is not advisable to apply Blue Steel onto hair that is darker than a Level 10 platinum blond, still has a lot of yellow pigment, or is unbleached.

To a achieve a more neutral base colour before applying Blue Steel, we recommend first toning out any remaining yellow pigment with an application of Virgin Snow.

If you hair is currently a medium to dark brown or black, we recommend you consult a professional with regards to the bleaching of your hair, before applying Virgin Snow or Blue Steel.