bottle of Phantom Green Arctic Fox hair dye and a tub of Pillarbox Red Manic Panic hair dye sitting in a Christmas tree

Battle of the Dyes: Manic Panic Vs Arctic Fox

As I have revealed in previous posts about my love of hair dye, I have always been a Manic Panic addict. I don’t know that it was ever any elaborate reason – of the higher quality semi and demi-permanent dyes, it is the one that is readily available here in small town, Southern Ontario. Recently, however, I ordered Arctic Fox to give it a try and I wanted to share my honest comparison of the two for anyone that may be interested. Let’s take a look at a Manic Panic vs Arctic Fox comparison! 

**Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products/services that I love, and feel are valuable to my community. Thank you! For more information, please visit my Disclaimer page.**

It started with the need for a festive hair colour with Christmas around the corner. Sure, the silver was fun, don’t get me wrong – but I was growing tired and wanted something new. I had been considering going emerald green for a while, but the stores that carry Manic Panic here have a somewhat limited selection of colours, and no one stocked Enchanted Forest, Venus Envy or Green Envy.

I began looking at ordering the Manic Panic colours online but due to the whole shipping consideration (more on that to follow), I also took a peek at Arctic Fox, ordering Phantom Green.

Here is a break down of my thoughts on a number of different aspects:

Availability & Shipping

The first consideration obviously if you are looking to dye your hair – where am I going to get the dye? As I mentioned previously, Manic Panic is a brand that is readily available in this area, with a very small selection at most Walmart stores and a larger array of colours at Shoppers Drug Mart. They definitely don’t have everything, but up until this time, there was always a colour that fit what I was looking for.

Arctic Fox, however, isn’t a brand I have ever seen on the shelves in this area. I only know about its existence due to the number of alternative style groups I belong to on Facebook where the topic of dye is discussed regularly.

Shipping turns the tables completely on the availability discussion. Where Manic Panic dominates local availability, its safe to say the company isn’t interested in making money through online sales in the Canadian market. The shipping costs on a single pot of Manic Panic through their website was more than the cost of my Arctic Fox order including the product, taxes and shipping costs combined! I swung over to check out costs for each on Amazon and ultimately Arctic Fox was the smarter choice cost wise hands down.

I have never ordered Manic Panic, so I can’t speak on shipping times/packaging, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with how quick my Arctic Fox dye arrived here. It was packaged safely avoiding any issues with leakage or destroyed packaging.

Product Size & Cost

There is some variation depending on where you are purchasing your dye, however looking just at their website for a clear comparison. Pricing on the websites are listed in USD.

Manic Panic 4 Fl oz: $13.99

Manic Panic Amplified 4 Fl oz: $17.99

Arctic Fox 4 Fl oz: $7.99

Arctic Fox 8 Fl oz: $13.99

Due to the length of my hair, if I am doing a complete dye job it generally takes me more than one pot of Manic Panic. With Arctic Fox, I can get twice the dye for the same price, which I feel like is a no-brainer so long as the dye performs comparably, right?

hair-dye, Arctic Fox, Manic Panic, hair-dye addict, dye


Manic Panic Amplified and Arctic Fox dyes both come in a squeeze bottle. Personally, I prefer this option as I found it easier to handle. While some may argue that the pot that the regular Manic Panic colour is easier because you don’t need to use a separate dish if you don’t want to, but I personally prefer to have one. This is 100% a matter of personal preference, so if you find the Manic Panic pot to be ideal then I totally get that!

Colour Selection

If you are looking for a large selection of colours, I have to give this one to Manic Panic. They have 44 different shades in their classic formula, 5 shades in their Creamtones and 24 shades in their Amplified formula. Arctic Fox has 19 shades plus their diluter, which is considerably less, however, the shades that they do have are quite varied. You can also mix colours as needed to create the desired hair colour.

Personally, the limited shades don’t bother me as I had already ventured into the mixing my own hair colour stage with the Manic Panic dyes that I was using. I’m sure if I had a specific colour in mind I would likely go with whichever brand makes it, but overall this isn’t a huge concern for me at this stage.

The Dye

Both the brands are vegan, semi-permanent hair dyes. They were pretty much the same consistency, so there is no real frontrunner there. One thing that I did notice right away was that the Arctic Fox hair dye smelled AMAZING in comparison. While that’s not a make it, or break it point for me by any means, it definitely is worth consideration if you’re going to spend a good deal of time breathing this stuff in!

I applied the Arctic Fox in the same way I regularly do my Manic Panic dyes, leaving it on with a shower cap so that it had time to really do its job. When it came time to rinse my hair this is where I notice the next different. I found that A LOT less colour rinsed out of the Arctic Fox, allowing it to run clear a lot sooner in the process. The final dye job was incredibly vibrant, providing a great overall coverage.

Now, I’ve personally never had an issue with coverage with Manic Panic, but I have never been battling dying with darker hair. I have read that the Arctic Fox brand is much better in those cases, so something to consider for those that may have naturally brown or black hair. This may provide you with some better options with less damage.

hair-dye, Arctic Fox, Manic Panic, hair-dye addict, dye

Supporting a Good Cause

I wouldn’t allow this to impact my decision if it really was about deciding between using an amazing product as opposed to one I view as inferior, but with the two being so comparable I believe that this is worth mention. Arctic Fox donates 15% of their proceeds to prevent animal abuse including the following organizations:

Honestly, if I’m getting a good product AND I can make a difference with a cause I believe in, I’m sold without hesitation!

**Update: It was brought to my attention that the Manic Panic website advises that they donate 15% of their annual profits. The organizations that they donate to can be seen HERE

I suppose now we’re at the final test – How long is this dye going to last? The colour looks great, I’m LOVING the green. Personally, from everything mentioned above, I think I may just be changing hair dyes. From what I have seen thus far there is very little dye running, which indicates it’s going to last – so as long as it doesn’t suddenly all wash out a week from now then I see a winner.

Arctic Fox is better value for the product you get, it smells amazing, and it supports a good cause. 10/10!

ETA: Coming back to this post, I wanted to add in my experiences with the final question – longevity.

I understand that hair dye is a very individual experience, with different people responding differently to different dye formulations. Keep that in mind when reading my final remarks here… For me, the Manic Panic provided a nice bold colour at first, but very quickly faded away as if it were never there. The Arctic Fox dye lasted much longer, with a beautiful fade that kept it looking nice even when it wasn’t as vibrant. If I wasn’t already recommending AF, I would be after that! 

Do you dye your hair? If so, what brand do you use?

75 thoughts on “Battle of the Dyes: Manic Panic Vs Arctic Fox”

  1. So I personally have used manic panic and it stayed really well, but my friends recently bought Arctic Fox and honestly, it smells so good and show so up so well on dark hair. My friends have used both brands and they prefer Arctic Fox. If I ever decide to dye my hair a crazy color again, I will definitely be trying out Arctic Fox!

    1. I was a die-hard Manic Panic fan for YEARS but now having tried Arctic Fox I am totally converted (unless, like I say, it all washes out in a week lol)

    1. Manic isnt a bad term in creative circles.
      But Im guessing this was referencing more the emotion of desperately wanting to have your hair the way u want it. People will do crazy things in a panic just to get the it all exactly right.
      When u dye outside of the normal spectrum, the struggle is real.

  2. I haven’t used either as I’m in the UK and I don’t generally dye it myself anymore. I like the idea that Arctic Fox donates money and it seems to be cheaper and has more in it!

    1. I agree, I LOVE that Arctic Fox gives back – makes you feel like you can do a little good while still feeding into a hair dye addiction haha

    1. That’s the fun of semi-permanent and demi-permanent dyes – they wash out! Although I have read that Manic Panic stains less so if you do ever decide to take that step you may want to take that point into consideration

    1. I’m not sure if they are available in stores over there but I know both brands ship internationally, and Manic Panic is available on Blue Banana

    1. After this experience I definitely recommend giving Arctic Fox a try – the smell while dying alone is worth it hahaha I mean who doesn’t want to ENJOY the process of dying their hair????

    1. I started small – streaks, the bottom layer of hair, etc – just to see how I felt about it. I mean the first streak if I didn’t like it, it would wash out and the experience was behind me lol

  3. Oh that’s so great that Arctic Fox donate to a good cause! That would definitely make me lean towards that one x

  4. This is so interesting, I’ve never heard of Arctic Fox before! I always use La Riche Directions on my hair but I’m not sure they sell internationally (I’m from the UK); they’re vegan & cruelty free, even their bleach kits, and they last MUCH longer than Manic Panic for me 🙂

    Kirsty x

    1. Yes, all 3 products are available internationally. I have a pot of Directions in a blue here but waiting until I want to try blue again to give that one a try. Arctic Fox is US based but they do ship internationally.

  5. I dye my hair but a non-exciting colour so that it looks ‘naturally blonde’ lol. I don’t think my new job would allow me to have brightly coloured hair though I’ve always liked the thought of going candy-floss pink.

    Love Amber | x

    1. When I was working in an office where I couldn’t do all over fun hair I would often do the bottom layer so that when my hair was down it was hidden but I could put it up in fun ways to show off the colours underneath.

  6. I think if I had to choose one it would also be Arctic Fox- I feel like it’s a better product and I LOVE that they’re supporting charity, I didn’t know they did that either so thanks for sharing 🙂

    M x

  7. OMG Britt you have green hair?! I’m so jealous! I love dying my hair red and might try one of these dyes out because I’m struggling to find a good quality vegan brand since ging vegan. Great post, loved it!
    Eva xx

    1. Both dyes worked great for me, I have tried the red in Manic Panic and had a great result but I would be intrigued to try Arctic Fox now!

  8. Sophie - Trafotoz

    Never dyed my hair before but I love your hair so much, it really suits you. LOVE the fact Arctic Fox donates 15% of their proceeds to protect animals against abuse – well worth buying their products. One of the reasons I will pay a bit extra for places like LUSH – they always donate to good causes through the purchases of their products x

  9. I loved reading this, especially as I am thinking of dyeing my hair in the New Year, I haven’t dyed it for a long time!! I love the silver/grey look!!

    1. I am so addicted to dying my hair hahaha – the one time I did silver/grey for awhile it was actually a Manic Panic blue that happened to fade out that way so it was entirely unintentional but I loved it

  10. I seem to be the only person who can’t stand the scent of Arctic Fox ???? I do like using Arctic Fox, especially because of the availability and value, like you said, but the scent definitely keeps be from using it more often. (I usually use it in a pinch). I love Manic Panic and how many shades they have, but it usually bleeds a lot for me.
    I definitely prefer goodDYEyoung because of the natural scent, thicker consistency, and holy cow, it stays in *forever*.

    1. I’ve never tried goodDYEyoung but I might have to, always up for new products! I also find that the Manic Panic bleeds quite a bit. So far the Arctic Fox is definitely holding up better!

    1. I’m glad it was helpful! I was SO impressed with the Arctic Fox dyes! Also, Sally’s is starting to carry it now if you live somewhere with it nearby.

    2. Hello. I recently started dying my hair with Manic Panic “Mermaid,” which is teal. I actually wanted turquoise, but they were, and still are out of turquoise at my local store.

      I heard of Arctic Fox via my neighbor whose hair was turquoise.

      What kind if smell does it have? I’m very sensitive to odors.

  11. I’ve never tried either of these hair dyes before but I like the sound of them both, specially Arctic Fox xx

  12. What a great review! Ive never been brave enough to dye my own hair by myself but the range of colours sound lovely! Love that they donate some profit to prevent animal abuse!

    1. The great thing about these dyes is that they are semi-permanent, so if you decided to give it a try and didn’t like it, they will wash out and fade in time, nothing permanent!

  13. Ginnipher Spencer

    Thanks for this review. I have been a fan of manic panic since mid 90s but I’m def going to give AF A try now

  14. Thanks for this post! Manic panic was recommended by a hair stylist for our kids hair when we dyed over the summer, but we actually ended up going with arctic fox instead because of the value. I have been considering trying manic panic this time around, but wasn’t sure if it was worth it. Think I’ll stick with the fox! We loved that the whole house smelled like koolaid!

  15. Artic Fox looks amazing. Currently, I use Splat in the blue colors but have been looking at Artic Fox colors and would love to try it.

    Great tips


    1. I really recommend it! Plus the formulation of Arctic Fox would be WAY easier on your hair – Splat is kinda harsh on your hair, especially with repeated use.

  16. Hey Britt, you never updated with which lasts longer or how long they stay. Do either wash out fairly quickly? Or do they tend to stick around for awhile?

    1. Oh no, we had a site meltdown a little while back and reverted to a saved back up – looks like the update didn’t carry over and I totally missed it!
      Hair dye is a very individual thing, so you’re going to find that everyone has their own experiences. What works well in my hair may not work as well in your own and visa versa. For me, the Manic Panic was a beautiful bright colour at first but faded VERY fast. Arctic Fox held the vibrant colour longer, faded slightly, and then has kept this beautiful fade for a couple of months now (my most recent dye). I have been using Arctic Fox since the time of this article.

  17. I personally loved Manic Panic. I managed to get a lot of it off eBay at the time when I was using it. I used the pink, and then later an electric blue. Sadly my mad hair days are over as the blue dye and bleach really did a number on my hair back then, and I wasn’t entirely sure how to care for it properly.

    1. Manic Panic has a great variety of colours, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long in my hair.

  18. Elizabeth Moheno

    Already tried Crazy Color, Manic Panic, and Artic Fox, also here in México we have a “cheaper” option called “Ion Colors”. But definitely I LOVE Artic Fox. At least for me, it last longer, and even it the “last days” of the dye the color looks so good and cute.

    Totally recommend it!!

  19. I have used so many different hair dye brand for bright colors, and Arctic Fox is 100 percent my favorite. It smells amazing and the color holds up so well.

  20. I used to be obsessed with Manic Panic when I kept my hair pink red and purple. When I decided to go blue about 6 months ago I decided to try Artic Fox. I was BLOWN AWAY by it!! First thing I noticed was the smell and consistency which both were really nice. The product also seemed to stretch really far. I kept the blue shades in (Poseidon & Aquamarine) in for SIX MONTHS with only one touch up along the way. I was shocked by the amount of time it stayed exactly the same color and. arely had any fade out at all!! I was trying to wait until it faded quite a bit before going green but it actually NEVER FADED!! I am definitely not complaining!! So as of this moment right now I have in AF Phantom Green and I am going to sleep with it in (always do) and see first thing in the morning how the green turned out over top of the Turquoise color I had before. Artic Fox blows Manic Panic out of the water in my opinion in EVERY CATEGORY! I am definitely a huge fan of both and would use MP if that was the only thing available BUT if I have the option of using AF instead, you better believe that’s what I am going to reach for every single time!!

    1. Arctic Fox is definitely my favourite of the two as well – I am blown away by how well it sticks around in my hair!
      That being said, everyone’s hair is different, so I know that there are others that experience the exact opposite. It’s all about discovering what works best for you individually!

  21. Um. I almost feel like i. selling out. Straying from my roots. BUT. Arctic Fox 100% ill post a pic tomorrow of my true violet under raven black and bangs purple.

  22. The fact that Manic Panic page just used the peta hashtag brought me here. I couldn’t find info on whether or not they donate to that shady bunch, thank you for the link. Feeling mentally sick that some portion of hundreds ive sunk into this brand over the years mightve gone to that abusive bunch.. heh, that seals that deal… no more. Only reason I stuck with them for so long is because ive found the perfect dye combination of red that works perfectly, and also thats the only dye around here besides Arctic Fox now (im also southern Ontario). Frankly im too old to jump around brands and dyes but gonna make an effort now.

    Ive used Arctic Fox before as well, smells amazing is right! Feels better on the hair as well (thought of course that tends to vary from individual to individual). The size alone is worth it over MP, 4oz tub is 17 canadian dollars now, which is absolutely ridiculous unless you have a boy cut.

    I have to add that as far as their ‘Amplified’ line goes – i saw No difference between that and the regular whenever Id used it in the past, and back then they were the same price, as they should be since there is no actual difference.

    1. Now that we can access Arctic Fox so easily at the Sally’s Beauty stores, it’s an easy choice for me!

  23. Thank you for posting this! Made it so much easier for me to choose between the hair dyes. I dyed the tips of my hair MP rockabilly blue a few years ago, but since then haven’t dyed it at all. Now doing my whole head purple! I’m always glad to hear how good a product is before I buy it 🙂

  24. Suuuppeerrr late to the party but for me Arctic Fox is always too faint and the Phantom Green never took hold in my hair sadly. I have very light blonde hair naturally almost a golden white platinum type of shade so I’ve never needed to bleach it prior to coloring. Everything from the permanent brands to Manic Panic and now long dead 90s brands of semi dyes always worked in various shades. It surprised me that most Arctic Fox colors wouldn’t stay in even after letting the dye sit for hours under a cap as they suggest. Their deepest purple, Purple Rain also came out far too light almost a pink lilac shade and that was after redoing it a second time and letting it sit even longer. I’ve only heard of a few others having this issue and they had dark hair thst was bleached incorrectly. I’m thinking possibly the bottles of dye they sent me were old stock and therefore no longer viable. At least I hope that’s the case because the Phantom Green looks so pretty on other girls. I’ve also found their black shade, Transylvania, comes out an off blue inky grey instead of black for me which is really strange considering how light my hair is.

    1. Unfortunately, it could just be that the formulation of Arctic Fox doesn’t work for your hair. Every person is different and we can’t really predict it. For example, some people have hair that can hold onto Manic Panic for weeks while it washes right out of the hair of others while rinsing out the dye. Some dye lovers swear by Directions hair dye, but my only experience, it washed right out on the first wash. It’s all a matter of trial and error.

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