As much as I love a trip to the salon, visiting regularly for a color refresh isn't always practical in terms of time and budget. That's why hair-care brands created an in-between solution with color-depositing conditioners, which can be used to preserve your existing dye job or achieve a totally new hair color. No matter which result you're after, this guide breaks down the best color-depositing conditioners to try now.
Using a color-depositing conditioner is a simple and customizable process. If you're trying to preserve your current color, after shampooing your hair, evenly apply the conditioner from root to tip and allow it to sit for one to five minutes before rinsing. Because these products don't contain harsh ingredients like peroxide or ammonia, they're only capable of depositing so much pigment on your hair. That means some conditioners need to be used every time you wash your hair to maintain the desired color, while others last a bit longer and wash out after several shampoos.
Another thing to keep in mind is that certain color-depositing conditioners will only show up on pre-lightened hair tones. Others, on the other hand, can be used to intensify existing shades of brown, red, and blonde — so be sure to do your research and read the instructions thoroughly to achieve your desired results.
To keep your color fresher for longer or totally change your hair up, here are four of the best color-depositing conditioners on the market. Just don't forget to further fight color-fading by using a heat protectant when blow drying or heat styling your hair, and even when spending time out in the sun.
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1. The Overall Best Color-Depositing Conditioner
The CHI Ionic Color Illuminate Conditioner gets top marks on Amazon for creating multiple options to better match your hair color with a formula that also improves your hair's health. Designed to preserve and balance your existing dye job, this conditioner can be used daily or weekly after your shampoo. While it works to deposit color in as little as one minute, if you want a more intense tone, you can let it sit in your hair for up to 20 minutes before thoroughly rinsing it out. To simultaneously care for your hair as it enhances color, CHI included hydrolyzed silk protein, olive fruit oil, and silk amino proteins in the formula to improve shine, restore moisture, and protect against breakage.
- Available colors: 11, including dark chocolate, lavender, and platinum blonde
A reviewer wrote: "Brilliant burst of color!! I love this conditioner for keeping my color bright and fresh between salon visits. Once a week is all you need to look like you just came from the salon. Highly recommend!!"
2. The Best Drugstore Color-Depositing Conditioner
Half the appeal of using a color-depositing conditioner at home is to save money, which is where this drugstore treatment comes in. Designed to be used in conjunction with its matching shampoo every time you wash your hair (whether that's every day or every three days), John Frieda's color-depositing conditioners help seal in color while giving it a boost. Each conditioner also includes different nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, sunflower seed extract, and pomegranate extract to leave hair smooth and shiny as it boosts color. While John Frieda has a range of color-enhancing conditioners for red, brunette, and blonde hair, there are only a handful of options that truly deposit color, so be sure to triple check you've got the right treatment before you hit "Add to Cart."
A reviewer wrote: "John Frieda Radiant Red Red Boosting Shampoo is one of the best products on the market for maintaining the red hair color. It works for all different shades of red by helping the color last longer. It also prevents colored hair from drying out."
3. The Color-Depositing Conditioner With The Most Color Options
If you're of the belief that you can never have too many hair color options, the Keracolor Color + Clenditioner comes in 18 different shades. Whether you choose a more natural red, mocha, or platinum conditioner, or you decide to go for a bolder mint or rose gold, the product works to infuse color into your hair with each application. Instead of a traditional conditioner that goes on post-shampoo, Keracolor designed this to work as an all-in-one conditioning cleanser that cleans and strengthens your hair as it deposits color. You can leave this on anywhere between three to 20 minutes depending on the intensity you're after, and the color will slowly wash out in 10 to 15 shampoos. Expect the most dramatic results if your hair is already a lighter shade — the brand notes that dark blonde or brunette hair tones might require multiple washes. It's also an Amazon reviewer-favorite, with nearly 22,000 five-star reviews.
- Available colors: 18, including light pink, honey, and silver blue
A reviewer wrote: "Super soft and clean but the most important part is how it brought my hair color back to life!!!! I cannot believe it!!!"
4. A High-Gloss Formula You Can Use On Both Dyed & Natural Hair
For high-shine color enhancement that works on both dyed and natural hair, check out the dpHUE's Gloss+ conditioner. The color and glossing treatment coats the outside of your strands to boost softness and manageability, and there's no risk of damaging your hair since the treatment is free of lightening agents like peroxide and ammonia. The line also gives you great customization options: You can combine two pigments for a customized color, but if you're worried about going too dark, you can dilute any color with their sheer formula for a more subtle hue. (You can even use the sheer on its own if you're just in the market for a glossing treatment.) Keep in mind that this formula is only designed to deepen and intensify shades — not lighten hair.
- Available colors: 11, including strawberry, black, and light brown
A reviewer wrote: "I lolololoooove this!! I use it once a week and it makes my hair so health and shiny. Definitely got the brassy color out of my hair [...] It definitely saves me from making trips to the hair salon! That means money saved too."
Also Great: The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo
The best color-depositing shampoo is awarded to Celeb Luxury, which offers an impressively wide variety of color options. Their Gem Lites line features natural shades ranging from light blonde to amber to mahogany brown, while their Viral line (which has earned thousands of five-star reviews) boasts pastels and brights like coral, denim, and magenta. The ammonia- and sulfate-free shampoos offer results in two to three washes, and continual use will help keep color bright. You can also pick up a matching color-depositing shampoo, as well as a bonding shampoo to strengthen dyed hair.
- Available Gem Lites colors: 10, including citrine, ruby, and cognac
- Available Viral colors: 13, including rose gold, yellow, and teal
A reviewer wrote: "I purchased this and used it today for the first time. It definitely gave my hair the kick it needed. I ABSOLUTELY didn’t expect much since it’s a shampoo. Boy was I wrong."
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