Temporary Hair Tattoos Turn Your Strands Into A Canvas

Here’s how they work.

Remember how fun it was to play around with temporary tattoos as a kid? All you needed was a pile of stick-on tats, a little water, and boom, your arm was decorated with roses and stars. On TikTok, fake tats are having a moment again, but this time hairstylists are using temporary tattoos on hair — and it’s equally amazing.

Applying temporary tattoos to your hair is one of the easiest ways to change up your look, especially when you don’t want to commit to something more major like a dye job or a haircut, says Brandie Devillier, a platform educator at the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute and certified color educator at Elevate Hair. She says the idea took off when Cardi B posted her tatted strands on Instagram, and now it seems like everyone’s doing it. The topic has already racked up over 2.7 billion views on TikTok, where creators are showing off all the many ways you can tattoo your hair.

“It's so popular because it's eye-catching and a quick alternative to something that's longer lasting,” Devillier tells Bustle. “It’s fun and can really show off someone's personality.” Devillier predicts that hair tats will be a big hit at festivals, concerts, and even sporting events, since they allow you to rep your team or glam it up for a night out. Read on for everything you need to know about temporary hair tattoos.

How To Apply Temporary Hair Tattoos

While temporary tattoos stand out most on lighter hues and highlights, Devillier says they can work on all hair types. The only real trick is to straighten your hair, or a portion of your hair, before you apply. “The tattoo needs a flat surface to adhere to,” she says.

To set the stage for your faux tat, spritz on a heat protectant spray, dry your hair, and then use a flat iron to make your strands as smooth as possible. Once your tresses are stick-straight, use hairspray to keep everything in place.

To apply the tattoo, follow the instructions that come with it, the same way you would when applying it to your skin. Usually, that means placing the tattoo face-down and wetting the back so that the ink transfers. Some creators on TikTok use a sponge to really soak the tattoo. Once you’ve placed the tattoo and wet it, allow the area to fully dry, then spray over it again with hairspray to seal the design.

How Long Do Temporary Hair Tattoos Last?

A temporary tattoo will stay in your hair until your next shampoo, says Devillier. To get rid of it, simply wash as you normally would and the ink will rinse away. This is great if you aren’t a fan of the way it looks, but it’s equally great if you’re in the mood to apply more tattoos. “That’s what makes this trend even more fun,” she says. “You can change it up all the time.”

Temporary Tattoo Design Ideas

Folks on TikTok are applying hair tats featuring everything from dragons, butterflies, and stars, just to name a few design ideas, but the options are truly endless when it comes to creating unique looks. Temporary tattoos have had a major upgrade over the years, so there are countless styles to choose from.

While temporary tats look extra great when your hair is down, you can also apply them to the side of your head when your hair is half-up, to a portion of straightened hair, or to hair extensions so that you can use them again and again. With fake tattoos, the stakes are low, so let yourself experiment.


Brandie Devillier, platform educator at the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute, certified color educator at Elevate Hair