It happens to everyone — a couple of weeks go by, and you notice your once-vibrant hair color is fading. While you could schedule a visit to your local salon for a touch-up, if you’re looking for an easy and cost-effective way to keep your color fresh between visits, consider one of the best color-depositing conditioners. Never heard of a color-depositing conditioner? Don’t worry! We’re here to break it down for you.
What is a color-depositing conditioner?
Whether it’s due to heat styling, sun damage, or simply time passing, all hair fades and requires some maintenance. This where a color-depositing conditioner can become your saving grace. Color-depositing conditioners are basically conditioners that contain a small amount of pigment, used to either preserve and amplify color-treated hair or neutralize unwanted brassy tones (typically found in blonde and naturally gray hair). Used either once a week or in place of your regular conditioner, a color depositing conditioner added to your routine will make you look like you stepped out of the salon after every wash.
Can you make your own color-depositing conditioner?
If a color-depositing conditioner is simply a white conditioner mixed with semi-permanent hair dye, can’t you just make your own color-depositing conditioner? Well, it’s not that simple. While it may seem like a tempting and cost-effective DIY, you will regret whipping up your own mixture in the long run. Semi-permanent hair dyes, while safe to use on hair, contain drying alcohols and acids that can mess up the blend of emollient ingredients found in conditioners. By making your own color-depositing conditioner, what you’ll end up with, at best, is a conditioner that adds a small amount of pigment to the hair but barely hydrates it. At worst, you can end up creating a chemically unbalanced mixture that actually damages hair, leaving it frizzy and drier the more you use it.
Best Color Depositing Conditioners
To get the best results, use a conditioner specifically formulated to add color to the hair — their ingredients are designed to work together. Not sure where to start looking? Keep scrolling for the eight best color-depositing conditioners, guaranteed to keep your hair color dark, vibrant, and fade-free.
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Best Color Depositing Conditioner dpHue
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Black Hair
Is your black hair starting to look a little lackluster? If so, reach for a conditioner with a cool, deep-brown tint like dpHue's Color Boosting GLOSS+ Deep Conditioning Treatment in Black/Brown. Whether it's with touch-ups or during the initial dyeing process, going with a stark, jet black color can end up looking harsh. With just a slight brown undertone, this conditioner will give you that beautiful raven mane you desire, along with some beautiful dimension for a look you'll love for a long time.
Where to buy: $35, Sephora
best color depositing conditioner for brunette hair
Best Drugstore Color-Depositing Conditioner for Brunette Hair
For the longest time, color-depositing conditioners have been found solely in salons and high-end beauty suppliers — but not anymore. Hair-care expert John Frieda has taken his iconic "Brilliant Brunette" drugstore series and amped it up a notch with his Visibly Deeper Colour Deepening Conditioner. Designed to enrich the dark tones of natural and color-treated brunette hair, this conditioner deepens hair color for brunette hair like none other. And at drugstore prices, what's not to love?
Where to buy: $8.50 (Originally $11.99), Amazon
Best Color Depositing Conditioner Aveda
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Brown Hair
Looking for a quick way to give your brunette hair a boost? Well, the experts at Aveda have created an organic conditioner that might be exactly what you're searching for. Made with organically-grown clove to enhance warm tones and organically-grown coffee to intensify brown shades, this conditioner leaves the scalp purified and the hair soft, with rich color 365 days of the year.
Where to buy: $24, Nordstrom
best color depositing conditioner for chocolate hair
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Chocolate Hair
For deeper brunettes who want to add warmth to their hair color without a trip to the salon, One n' Only's Chocolate Argan Oil Color Conditioner is the only way to go. Formulated with argan oil to help nourish, condition, and smooth hair, this conditioner delivers incredible shine while transforming your color into an autumnal hue you'll love all season long. Best of all, it'll only take five minutes of your time.
Where to buy: $32.95, Amazon
Best Color Depositing Conditioner Joico
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Golden Brown Hair
For the golden brown among us, there's one conditioner that tops the rest, and that's Joico's Color Infuse Conditioner. Made to protect color, this conditioner intensifies depth and adds shine while highlighting the lightest parts of your hair, leaving you positively glowing. The best part? The pigmentation is real, so it not only keeps your color fresher, longer, it will also last you a very long time.
Where to buy: $9.79 (Originally $16), Amazon
Best Color Depositing Conditioner Chi Ionic
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Red Hair
If there's one hair color that needs be actively maintained with a color depositing conditioner, it's any (and every) shade of red. Because the red hair molecule is larger than other molecules, red dye can't fully penetrate the hair shaft, meaning color can begin fading as soon as the first wash post-salon visit. To ensure your red hair stays vibrant, reach for a conditioner, like this one from the CHI Ionic Illuminate series in the shade Mahagony Red, to keep your burgundy tresses looking as luxurious as when you stepped out of the salon.
Where to buy: $16.98, Amazon
Best Color Depositing Conditioner Davines
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Auburn Hair
Continuing with the red hues, auburn hair is easier to maintain thanks to its brown undertones, but it still needs help. The next time you head out to buy a conditioner, there's one brand you should start with – Davines. Davines Alchemist color-depositing conditioner in Tobacco is specially formulated to evenly distribute the warm, red notes you associated with auburn hair at the base, while infusing cool, brown tones to give you rich, multi-dimensional color at the drop of a hat. With this conditioner in hand, you'll be giving Julianne Moore a run for her money in no time.
Where to buy: $31, Amazon
Best Color Depositing Conditioner Christophe Robin
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Copper Hair
One of the most beautiful shades of red, copper might also be the hardest shade to upkeep. But with Christophe Robin's Shade Variation Care Nutritive Mask in Chic Copper, it's so much easier. Safe for both bottled and natural gingers looking to boost those gorgeous God-given locks, this deep-conditioning mask revitalizes color, adding rich, warm hues blended with almond butter and buriti oil for adding hydration.
Where to buy: $53, Sephora
Best Color Depositing Conditioner oVertone
Best Lavender Purple Color-Depositing Conditioner for Pastel Hair
Have you ever wanted to experiment with a fashionable, unconventional pastel hair color but have been too afraid of the commitment required? Luckily, the visionaries at oVertone have the perfect solution for you. Available in every shade of the rainbow (as well as rose gold and silver), oVertone's conditioners and masks are designed to give you the pastel hair color of your dreams without taking a trip to the hairdresser. Infused with a rich blend of emollients for intense hydration, oVertone is simply an expert at creating showstopping conditioners.
NOTE: Pastel variations will only appear on blonde hair and blonde highlights, so while you may be unable to get a full head of pastel-colored hair on darker bases, you can infuse a fun streak or two of lavender for a beautiful (and low-commitment) look!
Where to buy: $18, oVertone
best bold color depositing conditioner
Best Bold Color-Depositing Conditioner
Is lavender a little too muted and pastel for you? Looking for a fun, bright color to shake up your locks? Then it's time to pick up a bottle of Celeb Luxury's Viral Colorditioner. This vivid semi-temporary color is perfect for anyone who wants to liven up their hair or maintain an already bold look. Available in 10 vivid fashion colors, from magenta and coral to emerald and turquoise, this shampoo also comes equipped with their proprietary BondFix complex to rebuild bonds deep in the hair fiber. The end result? Stronger hair after your first use.
NOTE: Like its pastel oVertone counterparts, these colors work best on hair that is blonde or has blonde highlights. Also, these bright colors are highly pigmented, meaning less is more when it comes to application.
Where to buy: $40, Amazon
Best Color Depositing Conditioner Dry Bar
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Blonde Hair
While the other conditioners on this list explicitly add pigment to your hair, the Blonde Ale Brightening Conditioner from DryBar takes a different approach when it comes to maintaining light, luscious locks. Whether it's your whole head or highlights, having blonde hair is tricky. Achieving a blonde shade typically doesn't come with dye but with bleach and toner, so instead of worrying about the color running down the drain with each wash, you're faced with a different problem: brassiness. Brassiness can occur for various reasons, but primarily occurs once the toner in your hair wears off. To keep your blonde hair from turning an unflattering shade of orange-y yellow, Blonde Ale conditions and tones hair with violet pigments to counteract those warm shades, ensuring your hair remains the right shade of blonde, each time.
NOTE: Brightening shampoos like this one and others made to tone lighter hair colors can also remove brassiness from grey hair, so if you're going au naturale, this is also one of the best color-depositing conditioners for grey hair.
Where to buy: $27, Sephora
best color depositing conditioner for platinum hair
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Ash Blonde Hair
Looking for an easy way to keep your ash blonde hair looking its best? One of the hardest colors to maintain, it's easy for this muted shade of blonde hair to fade and become yellow after time. To keep your ashy hair looking as fresh as when you left the salon, pick up Shu Uemura's Color Lustre in Cool Blonde. Designed to counteract any warm or yellow tones that may appear after time and countless washes, this conditioner is a must-have for anyone loving their ashy locks.
Where to buy: $58, Shu Uemura
best color depositing conditioner for grey hair
Best Color-Depositing Conditioner for Grey Hair
Ideal for women with dry, gray hair, Keracolor's Color + Clenditioner is a cleansing conditioner that will revive and revitalize your gray hair in no time. Non-lathering and gentle on the hair, this conditioner instantly infuses color into the hair with each wash, so you'll get the most vibrant gray of your life. Best of all, it was aerated with a keratin base to strengthen hair with each use, so not only will your hair look better, it'll be healthier too.
Where to buy: $22, Amazon
best color depositing conditioning hair mask
Best Color-Depositing Conditioning Hair Mask
As we've mentioned above, blonde hair is one of the hardest hair colors to maintain. Between the constant bleaching and any additional damage from heat, blonde hair takes a beating. So if you're looking for something that'll help maintain your favorite shade of blonde while also giving it the deep-conditioning treatment it needs, you'll love Orlando Pita's Ampli-Tint Color Depositing Hair Mask. With blonde and brunette ($30, Orlando Pita) varieties available, this mask enhances the tone of blonde hair, adding warmth and dimension with each application. And most importantly, this mask nourishes the hair for a finished result that is healthy, nourished, and brilliant.
Where to buy: $39.67, Amazon