How Do Color-Depositing Hair Products Work?

No matter the shade of your strands, color-depositing hair products come with a very big promise: To help keep your color truer, for longer. And that’s a pretty appealing goal for anyone who is on a six-week hair color cycle for the next appointment with their stylist. But, before you ditch the salon, here’s what you should know about these very specialized products.

How they work:
Color-depositing shampoos and conditioners deposit color pigments onto the surface of the hair—and many come with the added bonus of helping your color become more vibrant, shiny and fresh. “They do not replace permanent color, and they are only temporary, as they wash out with one or two shampoos,” explains celebrity colorist Marie Ferro. “The purpose of these products is just to enhance the color in the hair or surface color correction.” 

What to look for:
Ferro’s favorite: Goldwell Colorance Soft Color Foam ($13), which can be used at home. “It has transparency and beautiful natural shades to enhance and color-correct,” she says, but warns that some color shampoos and conditioners have unflattering color tones that can actually be counterproductive to the look you are trying to achieve. “You want to look for natural shades that enhance your skin tone.”

What else to know:
Even though it’s not permanent, these products do contain pigment, and can (like any at-home color) stain clothing and towels. Some also involve some “sitting” time where you leave the product on before you rinse.