It’s no secret that salon visits are an investment, especially if hair dye is involved. And, while we wish it was a one-and-done situation, if you get your hair done in a salon, chances are you go back to that salon at least every six weeks for a touch-up. Even the most permanent hair color requires a refresh, thanks to obvious factors like root growth, as well as aggressors like tap water, sun exposure, and products that can cause the color to fade. So, if you’re looking for something that can keep your hair color looking salon-fresh between visits—without the salon prices—you’re in the right place.
We spoke with top hair color experts to find out how best to keep hair color fresh between salon visits, whether you’re in need of a root touch-up or a root-to-strand dye job. And, as it turns out, the answer is in the formula—the drugstore formula, to be exact. From glosses and glazes to color-depositing sprays and hairstylists’ best-kept shampoo secret, we share eight expert-approved drugstore hair color products that will hold you over until your next salon appointment, ahead.
The best drugstore hair color products to hold you over until your next salon visit
“Head & Shoulders is a little secret by salon professionals to help keep the scalp healthy and hair silky, even if you don’t have scalp issues like dandruff,” says Cody Renegar, a celebrity hairstylist who has worked with Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Madison Watkins.
When hair is dry and dull, color can also appear faded, even if it isn’t. Using a product like Head & Shoulders shampoo, which is safe for color-treated strands and formulated without parabens can with the hair a dose of deep nourishment, which creates a silkier and softer texture that, in turn, makes color look more vibrant and rich.
Paul Mitchell is a haircare brand that dominated salons throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and, according to Renegar, is still trusted amongst colorists and hair professionals—especially as a drugstore formula—since the brand has proven to address many hair care needs and issues and typically boasts a budget-friendly price.
“The Color Protectant Daily Shampoo is good at preserving your hair color and keeping your hair hydrated and smooth,” he explains. This shampoo is specifically formulated for colored hair and is designed to protect strands from sun damage and hair color from fading over time. Its nourishing formula also helps keep the drab, faded appearance of dry stands at bay, which can make for longer-lasting color, too.
Renegar says you can also trust L’Oréal products for drugstore haircare that is the best bang for your buck. He recommends Magic Root Cover-Up because it’s “a handy way to keep whites and grays hidden between services.”
While there are other drugstore root touch-up products you can choose from, this one is the best because it comes in an excellent range of colors making it much easier to match your hair color, is washable so you don’t have to worry about messing up your hair color between salon visits, and is easy to use (it’s essentially tinted hair spray).
A color-depositing hair mask is also an excellent route to take, and Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist at The Right Hairstyles recommends Wella Color Fresh Mask for a drugstore formula that will hold you over between salon visits.
“This is actually a hair mask, so it conditions, softens, and gives shine and color,” she explains, noting that it comes in several different colors and fades after a week or two, making it a good temporary fix. In addition to keeping color fresh, the mask is also excellent for toning a balayage look or highlights and is also recommended as a weekly at-home hair treatment for brass prevention, too.
While the John Frieda Luminous Glaze Shine Hair Gloss only comes in clear and brunette colors, Abdullah swears by it for in between salon visits, since it “does an awesome job at adding 3D quality shine,” which can create the illusion of richer-looking color (especially if your hair tends to go dull and dry).
The best thing about this product is that, despite being a treatment, you can actually use it as part of your haircare routine every time you rinse—whether that be daily or weekly—to ensure you extend the life of your salon-quality strands until your next visit.
The Redken Shades EQ Hair Color Gloss is actually a salon product that you can use at home. “Because it’s a demi permanent, you can actually change your hair color with it, if you’re going darker,” Abdullah explains. “It’s also perfect for toning out unwanted colors,” she adds.
This drugstore color-saving product doesn’t leave behind a line of demarcation, so it’s nothing like box dye or other risky at-home color products. Plus, it lasts about a month, so it’s a great choice for someone who can’t get into the salon for a few weeks and needs a longer-lasting solution.
The IGK Color Depositing Mask is another nourishing formula that Abdullah recommends. “It’s a very hydrating mask and has the largest range of colors with 18 hues from brown to hot pink,” she notes.
This color-depositing product can help hair color stay fresh-looking, especially if your hair is dyed in fun and funky hues like purple, pink, and blue. With that said, this is not intended to cover up grays, so it’s better to use a root touch-up spray (such as the L’Oréal Magic Root Cover-Up) if that is your concern.
The dp Hue Color Boosting Gloss + Deep Conditioning Treatment is a semipermanent gloss with 11 shades of natural colors. “You can easily match your existing color and simply add more pigment with this line,” Abdullah explains, noting that this is another top pick for in between salon visits.
The product is formulated for both natural and color-treated hair and, despite its coloring properties, won’t damage hair so it can be used as often as you wash and condition your hair. On top of that, the deep conditioning treatment provides lots of luscious shine, which can breath life back into strands, especially if you haven’t been to the salon in a while and are overdue.
Drugstore products to avoid
When it comes to color-saving drugstore products, Renegar says there are also a few things to avoid, no matter how tempting they are. This includes box dyes, which can have long-lasting effects on strands and even ruin your hairdresser’s work because, once it’s in, it’s in (I did not listen to this advice and spent three years growing out box dye—trust me, it’s not worth it). “Once hair dye has been applied to our hair, it’s there until it grows out or is cut,” Renegar explains. “It’s almost impossible to restore it to the original color, at least not without a high cost.”
If you must choose a more DIY dye route, Renegar says to stick with glosses or glazes, like the dp Hue Color Boosting Gloss + Deep Conditioning Treatment, Redken Shades EQ Hair Color Gloss, and John Frieda Luminous Glaze Shine Hair Gloss, which Abdullah also encourages over box dye.
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