The secret to vibrant hair is color-depositing shampoo

Janell Hickman
·5 min read
Janell Hickman Hair Color
Janell Hickman Hair Color

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Janell Hickman is In The Know’s beauty contributor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.

I’ve literally had every hair color under the sun: ice blond, rose, violet, navy — the list goes on. No matter my color of choice, my saving grace has always been a color-depositing shampoo. It’s the hair-color secret weapon that helps maintain my bold shade even after stepping out of the salon.

Intrigued? I caught up with three top celebrity colorists — Rita Hazan, Matt Rez and Stephanie Brown (my own colorist!) — to share some expert tips on how to make these at-home color saviors work for you.

Shampoo or conditioner?

According to Hazan, who works with Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Jessica Simpson, favors color-depositing shampoos for reviving color. “Shampoos seem to have more pigment and can deliver better results,” she says. “Conditioner can sometimes have too much slip and don’t deposit very much color.”

Personally, Hazan is a fan of Fanola for in-salon use, but credits her True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss as “the perfect at-home alternative — plus you don’t have to have fear about messing up your color.”

But those with drier or thicker hair types may want to lean into using a conditioner instead. “I always prefer a conditioner. It’s easier to distribute throughout the hair with a wet brush,” explains Brown, who has dyed my hair multiple times.

She adds, “I also love anything that will keep my hair moisturized… it’s easier to leave in your hair for a few minutes instead of shampoo because the suds won’t get into your eyes.”

Wait, is a colordepositing shampoo different than hair dye?

The short answer is yes. While color-depositing shampoos can keep your color looking fresh between salon visits, they won’t always buy you more time. Sadly, they can’t 100 percent compete with professional salon treatments.

“Color-depositing shampoos are not activated with a developer, and shampoos will fade out quicker than semi dyes,” explains Rez, who favors Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo (for blondes) and Redken Brownlights (for brunettes). “They’re less of a commitment, which is a pro if you don’t want to be committed to regular maintenance, but [they] also have less of a depositing power.”

“When it comes to regrowth, they can’t do much but keep what’s already been colored free of unwanted tones and feed more wanted tones,” adds Rez.

The bottom line: Color-depositing shampoos won’t change your color, but can help enhance it, like a tonal correction.

Cool, how do I use them?

I have definitely been guilty of not refreshing my hair color as often as I should, which is why color-depositing products are an essential for my routine.

“Vibrant colors are hard to get out: red, bright blues, purple. They will all stay and fade, which is pretty if it’s red — not so much when it’s blue,” explains Brown.

Before using, definitely read the directions first. While all brands are different, the sweet spot usually is leaving the product on for 3 to 5 minutes max. Here’s another hack: Mix your color-depositing shampoo with regular shampoo to minimize more intense hues. Just make sure to never use a clarifying shampoo on dyed hair, as it can strip the color!

Now, some favorites:

Shop: Muvo Ultra Rose Shampoo, $28.90

Credit: Muvo

Credit: Muvo

If you’ve been dying to give your hair a dusty rose tint or if you want to keep your pink hair vibrant, this color-depositing shampoo could be your new BFF.

Shop: Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo, $57

Credit: Aveda

Credit: Aveda

This cult-favorite shampoo is designed to give a brighter, more silver-looking radiance to gray hair. But you can use this product even if you’re not going gray, as the shampoo works to remove the brassiness from all hair colors, too.

Shop: Playa Purple Brightening Shampoo, $28

Credit: Playa

Credit: Playa

A personal favorite of mine, the Playa brightening shampoo is ideal for those with lighter hair colors. It delivers a light, non-stripping cleanse to your scalp that will leave your hair looking brighter. Plus, it smells amazing.

Shop: Amika Bust Your Brass, $20

Credit: Amika

Credit: Amika

Want to turn your yellow-ish looking hair into a cooler, softer tone like when you first stepped out of the salon? This brass-removing shampoo will make blondes, grays and silver a lil’ bit of an oomph.

Shop: Together Beauty Black Bird Shampoo, $26

Got dark brown or black hair? This charcoal-based shampoo contains black rice, quinoa and mongongo seed oil, which means it’ll leave you with shiny, evenly-toned hair.

Shop: Overtone Extremely Blue Duo, $47

Credit: Overtone
Credit: Overtone

These semi-permanent conditioners by Overtone add fun colors like blue, green, purple and red to your hair without the harsh chemicals or damage. A bonus? With ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and avocado oil, you’ll get a boost of moisture, too.

Shop: Keracolor Color + Clenditioner, $22

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Want lots of color options? Great. Keracolor offers about 18 different color depositing shades, so it’ll have what you need — whether you’re looking for a new hue or to keep up your vibrant highlights.

If you enjoyed this story, check out Janell Hickman’s article about the truth behind makeup wipes.

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