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Will color depositing conditioner wash out?

Color depositing conditioners have become increasingly popular for temporarily coloring hair or enhancing existing hair color between salon visits. These conditioners deposit pigment onto the hair strands to add vibrant color. But a common question is whether the color will wash out of the hair over time.

What is Color Depositing Conditioner?

Color depositing conditioner, also known as color depositing mask, is a hair care product that deposits temporary color onto the hair. The conditioner contains color pigments that coat the outside of the hair strands. This adds a layer of color while conditioning the hair.

Color depositing conditioners come in a wide range of vivid colors like reds, blues, purples, and more. Brands will also offer conditioners to enhance natural hair tones, such as adding warmth to brown hair or removing brassiness from blonde hair.

These conditioners are different than permanent hair dye because they do not penetrate into the hair shaft or alter the natural pigment. The color is temporary and washes out over time.

How Long Does Color Depositing Conditioner Last?

There is no definite answer for how long color depositing conditioner will last, as results can vary based on several factors:

  • Hair color and texture – Conditioner clings best to lighter and more porous hair.
  • Frequency of use – More frequent use leads to longer lasting color.
  • Exposure to sun, heat styling – This can cause faster fading.
  • Use of clarifying shampoos – These strip color more than regular shampoos.
  • Water temperature and exposure – Hot water and swimming can hasten color loss.

On average, the color from a depositing conditioner lasts for 4-8 shampoos. Some users may see the color fade significantly after just 1-2 washes. Others report the color sticking around for up to 2 weeks when used consistently over time.

Does Color Depositing Conditioner Completely Wash Out?

In most cases, yes, the color from a depositing conditioner will completely wash out of the hair eventually. It cannot permanently stain or alter the natural hair pigment. However, some residual artificial color may linger even after washing.

Here are some factors that influence whether the color washes out fully:

  • Hair porosity – More porous hair will absorb and hold onto color, while color washes out faster from less porous hair.
  • Coarseness of hair texture – Coarse and curly hair types hold onto color longer than fine, straight hair.
  • Density of hair – Thick, dense hair holds onto color better than fine, thin hair.
  • Frequency of use – Consistently re-applying the conditioner leads to longer lasting color.
  • Shampooing habits – Frequent shampooing will help remove the buildup of color.

To help remove unwanted color buildup, you can try clarifying shampoos, vitamin C treatments, anti-dandruff shampoos, baking soda washes, dish soap washes, or hair dye removers. But this may take multiple treatments over time.

Tips for Using Color Deposit Conditioners

Here are some tips to get the best results from color depositing conditioner and keep the color lasting as long as possible:

  • Apply to clean, unconditioned hair – Conditioner will have the most impact on hair that has been freshly shampooed without additional products.
  • Evenly coat hair strands – Ensure all sections of hair are saturated for uniform coverage.
  • Leave on for 5+ minutes – Give the color time to adhere and oxidize fully.
  • Rinse with cool water – Hot water can cause faster fading of color.
  • Avoid clarifying shampoos – Stick to sulfate-free shampoos to retain color.
  • Limit washing frequency – Try to wash hair less often to keep the color vibrant.
  • Use a coloring conditioner weekly – For upkeep of color intensity.
  • Protect hair from sun – Sun exposure can cause faster fading of color.

Benefits of Color Depositing Conditioners

Here are some of the benefits that make color depositing conditioners a popular hair color option:

  • Adds temporary color without permanent change
  • More gentle than permanent dye – Less damage to hair
  • Easy to apply at home – No need for a salon visit
  • Lower commitment than permanent color
  • Fun way to experiment with different hair colors
  • Great for color maintenance between permanent treatments
  • Conditions hair while depositing color
  • More cost effective than re-coloring at a salon

Risks and Considerations

While color depositing conditioners offer many benefits, there are some risks and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Can cause staining of skin, clothes, countertops
  • Results are temporary and wash out quickly
  • Color may turn out differently than expected
  • Can be drying if overused frequently
  • Higher risk of uneven color application at home vs at a salon
  • Can have unexpected results if used on chemically treated or damaged hair


What is the difference between color depositing shampoo and conditioner?

Color depositing shampoos also contain color pigments to deposit temporary color onto the hair. The main difference is shampoos cleanse the hair while depositing color, while conditioners only add color and conditioning without cleansing the strands.

Does color depositing conditioner damage hair?

Most color depositing conditioners are generally gentler on hair than permanent dye since they coat the outside of the hair rather than changing the internal structure. However, overuse can cause some dryness or damage over time. Using a good conditioning regimen helps counteract this.

Can you leave color depositing conditioner in overnight?

It’s not recommended to leave the conditioner in for more than the suggested processing time, which is usually 5-30 minutes. Leaving it in too long can lead to overprocessing and an uneven color result. Overnight application also increases risks of staining.

Can you use color depositing conditioner after bleaching your hair?

It’s best to wait 2-3 weeks after bleaching before using a color depositing conditioner. Bleached hair is very porous so the color molecules may over-deposit leading to a darker result than intended. Always strand test first.

The Bottom Line

Color depositing conditioners offer a fun and temporary way to change up your hair color without permanent commitment. While the color generally washes out eventually, results can vary based on your hair type and regimen. When used properly, color depositing conditioners can enhance your locks until your next salon visit.