The 12 Best Color-Depositing Shampoos In 2021

Color-depositing shampoos provide an affordable, user-friendly way to switch up (or enhance) your hair color at home. But if you choose the wrong type of shampoo, things can go seriously awry — which is why Bustle reached out to celebrity hair colorist Jeremy Tardo for his professional opinion on the best color-depositing shampoos, and how to use them. First things first: Understand that there are two types of color-depositing shampoos — toning shampoos that work to neutralize certain undertones, and shampoos that temporarily dye your hair or enhance your existing color. “The primary composition of a toning shampoo and a color-depositing shampoo are the same,” Tardo says. “Both are shampoos that contain color pigments. The difference lies in whether those pigments are being used to enhance or negate a specific tone. If using a shampoo with red pigment on red hair that’s faded, you’d be enhancing an existing pigment. If using a shampoo with green pigment on red hair, you’d be neutralizing the red pigment,” he explains. You’ll find both of these options on the list ahead — but first, some more tips from our expert.

Tardo says that “The duration of time that your hair retains the effects a color-depositing shampoo depends on how frequently the hair is washed after the shampoo,” and notes that “You will typically notice the difference achieved by the shampoo for about 5 [to] 10 washes.” He suggests using your color-depositing shampoo once a week “to maintain a consistent level of tonality.”

As for how to use a color-depositing shampoo? According to Tardo, “Wear gloves as some color-depositing shampoos will stain your hands. Begin shampoo application near the scalp. Massage the product into damp hair as you normally would when shampooing. Work from scalp to ends. Saturate your hair thoroughly. You will typically need more product [than] if you were just using a shampoo to cleanse your hair. The longer the shampoo sits in your hair, the more deposit of tone you will achieve. Standard timing is 5 [to] 15 minutes.”

Keep in mind that the types of color-depositing shampoos that temporarily dye your hair a bright, bold color typically work best on hair that’s been pre-lightened or bleached. But, as Tardo notes, “Some color-depositing shampoos are specifically formulated for darker hair. If you have brunette hair that looks too red for your liking, you can opt for a blue or green based color-depositing shampoo that is created to cool off warmth in dark hair. If your dark hair is too [ashy] looking for you, there are shampoos with warm pigment to create a richer tone in your hair as well.”


The Best Color Depositing Shampoo For Vibrant Colors

If you love to experiment with bright, bold colors, Tardo recommends the Celeb Luxury Viral Colorwash color-depositing shampoo. You can use it three different ways: to help maintain your current color; to refresh your existing color that’s fading; or, if you have pre-lightened hair, to give yourself a totally new look (in the latter case, you’ll experience the best results if your hair has already been dyed platinum blonde). Use this shampoo to create dipped strands, vibrant highlights, or, a bold, monochromatic look. The more times you wash your hair with it, the more intense the color will be — and if you use it regularly, your color should never fade. As a bonus, the vegan formula is sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and even moisturizing. Choose from 10 different shades, including pastel blue and pink, bright yellow, and more natural colors like brown and silver.

User review: “I’ve had teal hair for over a year now. I go the hairdressers every 12 weeks to top it up and use this shampoo with every wash. Don’t even bother dying your hair a funky colour if you’re not going to get this shampoo. [It’s] a lifesaver.”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Natural Colors

Four Reasons Color Mask Shampoo doesn’t come in as many bright, bold shades as Celeb Luxury, but it’s still a great option for depositing color and toning your hair at the same time. Most of the colors lean natural — there’s one for redheads, and a few for various shades of brown and blonde — but there’s also an option for pink and rose gold hair. These shampoos also cleanse hair well and enhance shine as they tone and enhance your color. Like the shampoo above, this is cruelty-free, vegan, and sulfate-free as well.

User review: “I have pink hair and it fades SO fast you guys. I hate recoloroing it literally every two weeks for it to look vibrant. I saw a video about this on instagram and it has changed my life. I no longer have to use chemical dye every two weeks, I can just use this in the shower to keep the color vibrant. I’m very happy, I was not expecting such a good result.”


The Best Moisturizing Color-Depositing Shampoo

If you’re trying to spend less than $25, go with Pure Blends Hydrating Color Depositing Shampoo, which is another recommendation of Tardo’s. Aside from its price tag, there’s something else that makes it an especially amazing choice: Its formula, which is rich in moisturizing and hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, keratin, and collagen to help keep your hair smooth and strong. This is free of sulfates, sodium chloride, parabens, and gluten, and is vegan, cruelty-free, and packaged in a recyclable bottle.

User review: “Love this product. My hair fades the moment I color it and this product has kept my color looking better than anything I have tried. It’s not color preserving, its color depositing. It’s like putting a bit of color in your hair every time you use it. The price is expensive but so is having to dye your hair more often if you are not using this!”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Deepening Brown Hair

If you’re not looking to use a color-depositing shampoo to create a rainbow-hued look, but simply want to intensify your existing color, the John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Color Deepening Shampoo is a great choice for brunettes. With just one wash, this shampoo will transform your already-brown hair into a richer, deeper shade. For best results, use it with its matching conditioner.

User review: “I’m trying to go back to my natural color after years of blonde overall color, and this shampoo not only helps the brunette dye stick but it makes the color really dimensional. The color was looking so flat and dull but when I use this shampoo it makes my hair shine and it brings out multiple shades of darker brunette.”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Enhancing Auburn Hair

Similar to the shampoo above, but for auburn hair, CHI Ionic Color Illuminate Shampoo enhances warm red tones to help you maintain your color between salon visits (or if your hair is naturally auburn, this can offer a fun way to amplify your color without actually dyeing it). This shampoo is formulated with the brand’s silk amino complex to help restore moisture, soften split ends, and make your hair shiny, so it’s great for hair that’s on the dry side, or that’s been chemically treated.

User review: “I was a bit hesitant to try this color-depositing shampoo though am so glad I did. […] I have coarse, colored hair that grows quickly and has quite a bit of frizz–and this shampoo actually gave it some shine, which is not that easy to come by with my hair type. I also found that the bit of color is helping mask regrowth of my gray, which is another big advantage. […] I have dark-brown hair with a bit of auburn–and this was ideal for creating more of an auburn look.”


Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Illuminating Copper Hair

And if you’ve got copper hair that could use a refresh, try the Davines Alchemic Shampoo in the shade — you guessed it — copper. This will help illuminate red hair that’s on the more orange or golden-brown side (aka warm-toned reds) while it simultaneously hydrates and boosts shine. You can find the matching conditioner here.

User review: “I’m a natural redhead who’s lost some of the vibrancy with age… until I found this. It brings the natural copper back out! Would recommend to natural redheads!”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo (& Conditioner) For Intensifying Red Hair

A great choice for red hair of all shades, Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo comes with a matching conditioner, and you’ll get the set for just over $30, so it’s a pretty good value considering this comes from a salon-quality brand. Not only does this shampoo promote a more intense shade of red and boost shine, but it also helps protect your hair from damage caused by hot tools and dye. At the same time, the botanical-rich formula helps repair existing damage like breakage and split ends.

User review: “I really loved this shampoo for keeping my bright red hair fresh and bright. It really did deposit red pigment back into my hair as well as keeping it clean and shiny. Red color is so hard to keep, especially a bright rich red. I loved this product so much.”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Toning Black Hair

For reasons unclear, it’s pretty hard to find a color-depositing or toning shampoo for true black hair. But this one, from MATRIX, comes just about as close as you can get. The green-colored shampoo is best-suited for people with dark brown to black hair who are trying to enrich their color and reduce the appearance of warm undertones. It even won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2020.

User review: “This is a bit scary when you see the shampoo color is black, but it truly does the trick! Keeps me from more frequent visits to the hair salon. I would definitely recommend it.”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Toning Blonde Hair

There are a lot of great purple toning shampoos out there, but L’Oreal’s is the cheapest — and it’s sulfate-free. This isn’t a color-depositing shampoo in the dyeing sense, but it does deposit purple pigment onto blonde (or silver, or gray) hair to neutralize any brassy or yellow undertones, so your hair looks cool and icy. You can also buy it in a set that comes with the matching conditioner, for less than $15.

User review: “I am so impressed!!!!! I used this on some brassy extensions and it took the yellow right out. I used it on my own hair and now it’s platinum/white! There is so much product in the bottle so it will last for a long time but I’ll definitely be buying again!”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Toning Brown Hair

If you’re looking to fade warm undertones in your brown hair, pick up a bottle of Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Shampoo. Like its name implies, this blue-hued shampoo helps neutralize any red, orange, or yellow tones that are showing up in your brown, highlighted hair, so while it won’t temporarily dye your hair brown, it will refresh your look.

User review: “This stuff is amazing! My lightened brunette hair was carrot orange after not getting any toner from my hairdresser during SIP. I’ve used this product twice over the last 4 days and my hair looks like I stepped out of the salon.”


The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Maintaining Bright & Pastel Colors

Though Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Color Shampoo is technically intended to be used with the brand’s own dyes, you could totally use this shampoo even if you use a different brand of dye. How does it work? Sold in four shades — blue, purple, peach, and fuchsia — it helps maintain bright and pastel colors so you don’t have to dye your hair as often. Lime Crime’s hair dyes are really great, so if you’re looking for something a bit more permanent, definitely consider trying the brand’s Unicorn Hair dyes.

User review: “Just used this for the first time today. It is amazing. The shampoo added SO much color to my hair. I previously used strawberry jam and this added a lot of pigment to give it a richer color.”


Honorable Mention

Here’s one last color-depositing shampoo to consider. Like the first few shampoos on this list, Infuse My. Colour Quartz Shampoo shows up best on hair that’s been pre-lightened, but if you go with one of the more natural shades (like Ruby, Gold, or Copper), it’ll help intensify your existing color. Sold in seven fun jewel tones (including a cool gray-silver called Graphite), this vegan shampoo is free of sulfates and silicones, and is cruelty-free as well. A great choice for anyone who prefers a compact, square-shaped bottle, which tend to be handy for traveling.

User review: “I was amazed at the results I achieved with this product! My hair is coloured Ruby Red & I used this product to refresh my colour while waiting for my hair dressers to be able to return to business. It’s left my hair so soft, silky & shiny. Will definitely be a repeat purchase for me!”

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