Have you ever felt that your hair color is starting to look “washed out”? Like it’s just not as rich, not as “concentrated” as it used to be? We start out in life with so much pigment in our hair, that often times with age, or with processing, highlighting or coloring, we start to notice it just doesn’t look as deep or rich as it used to.
This can be true of blondes too, it’s not just a brunette thing! In fact, there are a lot with blonde highlights that have become too light over time, or too brassy, and these color enhancers work wonders to tone that down and warm things back up too.
One thing is certain. Enhancing your hair color regularly can really have a huge impact on the overall appearance of your hair. It makes it stand out more, and sometimes even makes it look more conditioned, and healthier to boot. Hair that is “saturated” with color after all, is going to reflect the light more and have a nice healthy shimmer to it that washed out color can’t compete with.
Temporary Color Depositing Products Rise in Demand
The good thing is, there are plenty of products out there now that help with a regular-use approach to keeping hair color looking more intense on an ongoing basis. This newer breed of product goes by plenty of names but its objective is the same: Intensify your hair color. Related: How Coconut Oil Combats Protein & Integrity Loss in Hair
Among these are: color enhancers, color depositors, color intensifiers, toners, glossing color treatments, color deepening treatments, color boosters, color glazes, color depositing washes, color depositing masks, color refreshing treatments, color refreshing shampoos and conditioners, color revivers, and color rejuvenation treatments. I’m sure that’s just the short list too, since these types of products are in higher demand as more people take color-care into their own hands after the pandemic.
It’s not only more convenient to do it yourself at home (that’s debatable, it is nice to just leave it to someone else to do the work!), but it certainly impacts your wallet a lot less. On average, getting these types of treatments in a salon environment will cost roughly 5 times more than it does at home.
Especially if you are talking about color refreshing treatments, which really need to be done about once a week for best results due to their fleeting nature. Color depositing treatments generally wash out right away, so they really have to be refreshed weekly in order to make a consistent and lasting impact.
How Do These Hair Color Enhancers Work?
The color enhancers usually work by having an absorbent pigment that penetrates the outer hair follicle to deposit a deeper color into the shaft of each individual hair. Sometimes these pigments need to have a facilitator in order to help them penetrate the cuticle.
Of course, this unfortunately means certain products may have to use chemicals in order to enhance penetration. One of the key things to look for in the product description that will help determine whether it has chemicals that help break open the cuticle in order to deposit the pigment is whether you have to wear gloves or not. Related: How often to wash your hair and why it starts to look bad if you go too long between washes
If the product advertises that you do not need to wear gloves to apply the product, or specifically says that your hands will not get stained, then it likely just contains intense pigments that coat the more outer layer of the hair. There are others that rely more on the actual deepness of the pigment to simply coat the hair for a couple of days until your next wash.
A lot of the henna types of colorants that are out there can temporarily deposit color with minimal chemical intervention. However, henna can be a bit unpredictable with how deep it will make your color. Sometimes the effect is almost TOO much, and can really look harsh if it’s not done right. Related: Why Does My Hair Look Bad Between Washes?
Some Combine Conditioning with Color Depositors
Some of these products are “all in one” types. They may not only help get your hair more deeply hued or more brightly hued depending on whether you are light or dark haired, but also may condition at the same time.
Read the label, many of them do have conditioning agents as well, but may not have de-tanglers in them. So you may still want to apply a conventional conditioner along with or atop the color product as well. You can even apply your conditioner after you’ve rinsed your colorizing agent halfway, this way you get a nice conditioning but you won’t risk over rinsing your color agent.
Timing is Everything
Which brings us to our next point about these popular products. Almost every single one requires a minimum time frame to leave it on your hair. This is because the pigmentation ingredient really needs to time to soak into the individual hairs and make a difference in the tone as desired.
Most carry a minimum of five minutes, and some will go as high as fifteen minutes. The longer you leave these on the better. Color depositors aren’t really like traditional hair dyes (unless you have to use gloves, in that case, follow the directions for timing). Related: How to find the best hairbrush for your hair type
They don’t have all of the harsh additional ingredients that need to break open the cuticle and deposit color that will be permanent or semi-permanent. In others words, it is hard to over-process or over-do it with the timing of these products. They are designed to not be permanent, so they don’t have the same negative effects on the hair that permanent colors can.
Keep in mind most of these products are NOT designed to cover grays. That usually requires a permanent type of color since gray hair must be penetrated in order to absorb colorant, and is much more stubborn that hair that is still pigmented.