Split ends stick up where you don’t want them. Frizz takes over when it’s hot and humid outside. Straight hair goes curly when you get caught in the rain …
Unfortunately, we all have a bad hair day here and there.
But when it’s your hair color that isn’t working, well, that’s even worse.
It doesn’t matter whether you have color-treated hair, rock your natural locks, need a little refresh, or want to change your look completely. There’s a hair care product that’s super easy to use that can make your hair color look much improved or different in a matter of minutes:
If you’re ready to freshen up your look, here’s what you need to know about color-depositing conditioners, plus nine of the best products to try.
What is a Color-Depositing Conditioner?
Color-depositing conditioners are hair conditioners with semi-permanent hair color pigments. They’re not like those nourishing conditioners designed to protect color fading—these conditioners temporarily deposit color pigments onto the surface of your strands.
Color-depositing conditioners are tinted and come in a wide variety of colors for use on all natural hair colors, including shades of blonde, red, gray, and brunette hair. They also come in bold fashion colors, such as shades of purple and teal, and they can be used on any hair, treated or not.
Color-depositing conditioners serve two different purposes:
First, they enhance your existing color. Second, they can be used to experiment with a fashion color for a few days.
The Benefits of Color-Depositing Conditioner
Not sure if a color-depositing conditioner is right for you? Here are some of the benefits of adding one to your hair care routine:
Want to try a new look but don’t want to commit to a funky new color? Color-depositing conditioners are semi-permanent, and most wash out after a few shampoos so that you can try out a new hue without a major commitment.
Add Vibrancy or Soften Brassy Tones
If you have dark or medium hair, you can use a color-depositing conditioner to add vibrancy to your existing color. If you have light or blonde hair, you can use one to reduce yellow and brassy tones.
Color-depositing conditioners are moisturizing, so even if you’re not trying to add much color to your hair, the extra boost of hydration can give your hair some added shine. The color pigments also help combat dullness, so your hair can shine that way too!
Can’t get to the salon this week to get your hair dyed by a pro? Color-depositing conditioners are a great way to do at-home touch-ups between salon visits. They can also help you extend the time between visits, so you can get your hair colored less often and save money.
Is Color-Depositing Conditioner Safe for All Hair Types?
Color-depositing conditioners are safe for use on any hair, thick or fine, straight or curly, color-treated or not.
The type of hair doesn’t matter nearly as much as the color of your hair; the darker your hair is, the less effective color-depositors tend to be.
When it comes to effective color-depositing, people with blonde or bleached hair have many more options.
Because tinted conditioners stain your strands with color, the darker the strands are, to begin with, the less effect the stain will have.
Color-depositing conditioners come in a wide range of fashion hues, including pastel colors. These look great on blonde hair but provide almost no contrast on dark hair.
The good news for people with dark hair is that some hair care brands make color-depositing conditioners for brunettes. To enjoy a pale, pastel shade, brunettes have to lighten or bleach their hair first. But if it’s a deep, vibrant color you want, that can be achieved, even on the darkest strands of brown hair.
Some experts recommend avoiding using a color-depositing conditioner if you’ve recently had a Brazilian blowout or a keratin treatment. If you’ve had either, check with your stylist before applying any sort of color at home.
Related: 7 Easy Habits To Care For Your Hair
How to Use Color-Depositing Conditioner
One of the reasons why color-depositing conditioners are so popular is that they’re super easy to use.
Here’s what to do:
First and foremost, read the directions on the package. Some brands and some colors recommend leaving it on for one to two minutes, while others suggest leaving it on for up to ten minutes for the best results. No matter what product you choose, keep in mind that the longer you leave it on, the more intense it will be.
Start by shampooing your hair in the shower. Once your hair is clean, towel dry it to get some of the excess water out. (Some brands recommend applying the conditioner to dry hair for better absorption, so again, read the package instructions).
When applying the conditioner, be sure to do it evenly. If you have thick or long hair, dividing it into sections, or at least into left and right halves of your head makes for easier and more consistent application. Once your hair is coated, leave it on as directed, rinse it out when it’s time, and get ready to enjoy your new hue!
The temporary color can last anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks, depending on the color you apply, the color of your hair, and how often you shampoo. Some color-depositing conditioners include sulfates, which can dry hair if used too frequently. It’s best to use those conditioners only when you need color, and in between applications, maintain your regular conditioning and deep conditioning treatments as you usually do.
Remember that since color-depositing conditioners are designed to stain your hair, they can also stain other things like your hands, your hair towels, and your pillowcases. So it’s wise to apply them with gloves and put a dark pillowcase on your pillow, just in case.
The 9 Best Color-Depositing Conditioners to Try Now
Ready to give a color-depositing conditioner a try? Here are some products that are definitely worth a try:
The Keracolor Color + Clenditioner softens, strengthens, and colors your hair in one easy step. This color-depositing conditioner comes in more than a dozen shades, including natural tones such as silver, honey, and mocha, and fashion colors like blue, hot pink, and emerald. Whether you want to stand out or blend in, the color typically lasts 10 – 15 shampoos.
oVertone Coloring Conditioner is perfect if you’re looking to experiment with a fun fashion color or an intense, vibrant hue. Available in dozens of shades and different levels of intensity (pastel, vibrant and extreme), most colors are formulated for use on light and blonde hair, but there are some colors designed specifically for brunettes.
OVERTONE sells full-sized bottles and two-ounce sample size bottles, which are perfect if you want to test out a few different colors to find the one you like best. And even if you choose a super intense color, don’t worry about drying out your hair—this temporary hair color is extra-hydrating because it’s sulfate-free.
The Biolage Colorbalm Color Depositing Conditioner comes in six natural shades, a clear option to deliver intense shine without color, and a playful shade of lavender for those who want a fun, funky look. If you only buy vegan products, this semi-permanent color conditioner is perfect for you!
Not sure which balm will work well with your current color? Biolage has a complete color chart showing how different conditioners react to different hair shades.
Cruelty-free and vegan, the Kristin Ess Color Depositing Conditioner is an easy-to-use option that can be applied to wet or dry hair. This conditioner is available in a variety of eye-catching shades of pink, blue, green and lavender (among others) and it’s sulfate-free, aka extra-hydrating.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to try out a fun semi-permanent hair color, this is a great option!
If you dye your hair red, you know all too well how fast red hair color fades. To protect and enhance your color between salon visits, try the John Frieda Radiant Red Boosting Conditioner. This color-boosting conditioner doesn’t just amp up your color—it also moisturizes and softens your hair with the added pomegranate extract and vitamin E.
The dphue Gloss+ Semi-Permanent Hair Color and Deep Conditioner doesn’t come in crazy shades of neon yellow, blue or purple. But it does come in a range of natural tones designed to enhance and deepen your existing color rather than change it.
This conditioner comes in colors like auburn, medium blonde, black, and other natural hair color shades. For best results, apply it to damp hair and leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing.
If you’re on a mission to maintain your cool blonde dye job, check out the Redken Color Extend Blondage Purple Conditioner. This conditioner has violet pigments to neutralize brassy tones and keep your hair looking perfectly platinum. Just be careful you don’t leave it on for longer than directed or you could end up a shade of pale purple or light blue.
The CHI Ionic Color Illuminate Conditioner offers excellent color delivery and hydration with the added silk amino acid complex. Available in various natural and fashion colors, including a gorgeous rose gold hue, this color-depositing conditioner can be used as often as you like. Combine and mix different colors to create a one-of-a-kind look.
The ‘N Rage Color-Depositing Shampoo and Conditioner in One is a perfect choice if you want to eliminate a step in the shower. This product delivers intense color and hydration, and it comes in several bold, vibrant shades to help you create a brand new you. In about three minutes, you can have a completely different look.
Does Color-Depositing Conditioner Really Work?
Color-depositing conditioners work! They’re also easy to use and come in dozens of colors to help you achieve any look you want.
Whether you’re trying to save time or money on salon trips or just looking for a way to switch up your hair for a few days, a color-depositing conditioner just might be the game changer you’ve been searching for.
You might also be interested in: 3 Easy And Beautiful Ways To Add Fairy Kei To Your Style
9 Best Color-Depositing Conditioners:
- Keracolor Color + Clenditioner
- oVertone Coloring Conditioner
- Biolage Colorbalm Color Depositing Conditioner
- Kristin Ess Color Depositing Conditioner
- John Frieda Radiant Red Boosting Conditioner
- dphue Gloss+ Semi-Permanent Hair Color and Deep Conditioner
- Redken Color Extend Blondage Purple Conditioner
- CHI Ionic Color Illuminate Conditioner
- ‘N Rage Color-Depositing Shampoo and Conditioner In One