Skip to Content
HomeHair Color

4 Ways to Refresh Your Faded Hair Color

When you walk out of the salon, your hair is shiny and vibrant! You never want this fresh new hair color to fade! Unfortunately, the hair color fades even faster than you imagined. Until your next color retouching appointment with the stylist, you are stuck with only a dull, faded remnant of the hair color you once had.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem!

Many people choose to refresh their faded hair color at home in between salon visits to keep their hair vibrant even as the weeks pass by. There are several different ways to refresh faded hair color, so you have plenty of options!

Truth is, hair color starts fading pretty much right after you get it done. Even if you have regular touch-up appointments every couple of months with your stylist, you may find that the color doesn’t stay fresh and vibrant for that long.

In this article, we will discuss the different products you can use to refresh your faded hair color, and how to use them. Here are the products we will be discussing:

  1. Color Depositing Shampoo
  2. Color Depositing Hair Mask/Conditioner
  3. DIY Color Depositing Hair Mask
  4. Liquid Demi-Permanent Hair Color/Toner

The great thing is that all of these products work wonders for adding a bit of color back into your faded hair. You simply have to choose which one, or which combination, use based on your own preferences!

This article will help you pick these different products and how to use them to revamp the faded hair color so that you never have to go a single day with dull, faded hair!

How to Refresh Faded Hair Color

Here are 4 methods to refresh your faded hair color.

Method 1: Refresh Faded Hair Color with a Color Depositing Shampoo

color depositing shampoo
Instagram/nofadefresh

The color-depositing shampoo is basically just what it sounds like: shampoo that deposits color onto the hair. A color-depositing shampoo contains a certain pigment that coats the hair as you wash it. These pigments can include natural tones or even fashion colors.

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of color-depositing shampoo:

Pros:

  • Easy to apply.
  • Can subtly refresh faded color.
  • Does not require a chemical activator.
  • Can be used on a weekly basis.

Cons:

  • Can stain your shower.
  • Usually contains sulfates that dry out the hair.
  • The color rinses away the next time you use a regular shampoo.
  • May not make much of a difference for very faded hair.

How to Choose a Color-Depositing Shampoo

girl choosing right color depositing shampoo

Selecting the right color depositing shampoo is fairly simple. Simply keep in mind the color that you are trying to enhance in your own hair, and select a shampoo with a similar shade.

For instance, if your hair is burgundy-red, and it has faded into more of a coppery-red color, select a shampoo that has purple and red tones in it.

Remember that, while the color on the bottle may look extremely vibrant, it won’t be as vibrant after applying it to your hair. Your hair is not going to turn bright red or purple just from using the shampoo.

How to Use Color Depositing Shampoo to Refresh Faded Color

If you have chosen the right color depositing shampoo, it’s time to use it. Fortunately, one of the great things about color-depositing shampoos is that they are pretty easy to use.

However, depending on the brand and potency of the shampoo, it may stain shower and/or your hands while you are applying it. So it’s best to use gloves and immediately rinse the shampoo off of any surface that it touches.

Also, read the directions for your shampoo before applying it. The directions may specify the minimum amount of time you should leave the shampoo on head. The directions below are a generic guide for using color-depositing shampoo to refresh your faded hair color. 

Using Color-Depositing Shampoo to Refresh Faded Color

Here is a step-by-step guide for using color-depositing shampoo

  1. Put on gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  2. Thoroughly soak your hair with water.
  3. If your hair is dirty or greasy, cleanse hair once with regular shampoo to get rid of the buildup.
  4. Squirt the color depositing shampoo directly on the head and massage it into hair. Make sure to saturate your hair from roots to ends.
  5. Work up a good lather.
  6. Let the shampoo sit on your hair for at least 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
  7. If you want more vibrant results, repeat the above steps to apply the shampoo a second time.
  8. After you have rinsed out all the shampoo with cool water, condition hair. Leave the conditioner on your hair for at least 5 minutes.
  9. Rinse out the conditioner with cool water.
  10. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the hair with a towel that you don’t mind getting stained.

Extra Tips:

  • As stated above, wear gloves when applying color-depositing shampoo, and rinse it out of your shower immediately.
  • Only use a color depositing shampoo once a week at most. These shampoos usually contain sulfates, which can dry and strip your hair.
  • Use a very moisturizing conditioner after applying shampoo. This will help hydrate hair after you have stripped it of its natural oils.

Method 2: Refresh Faded Hair Color with a Color Depositing Hair Mask/Conditioner

color depositing hair conditioner
Color Depositing Hair Conditioner

Color-depositing conditioners and masks are simply conditioners that deposit color onto the hair. A color-depositing conditioner/mask has a certain pigment in it that coats the hair while the conditioner is soaking into your hair. These pigments can include natural tones or fashion colors.

The great thing about color-depositing conditioners or masks is that not only do they refresh your faded hair color, but they also hydrate your hair!

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of color-depositing hair masks/conditioners:

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Can subtly refresh faded color.
  • Does not require a chemical activator.
  • Can be used as often as desired.
  • Usually very moisturizing/strengthening.

Cons:

  • The color will wash away the next time it is shampooed.
  • May not make much of a difference for very faded hair.
  • Can stain your hands and shower.

How to Choose a Color-Depositing Hair Mask/Conditioner

girl choosing right color depositing hair conditioner

Selecting the right color for a color-depositing hair mask or conditioner is very similar to selecting a color-depositing shampoo. Simply select a conditioner/mask that contains the pigment that you are trying to add to the faded hair. 

Color-depositing masks and conditioners can be especially beneficial for refreshing damaged, colored hair. If your hair has been bleached or highlighted, you may be noticing that as color fades, it starts becoming brassy. A violet mask or conditioner will cover the brassy tones while still moisturizing and strengthening your hair.

Just like color-depositing shampoos, color-depositing masks/conditioners come in many tones, so you have many choices!

How to Use a Color-Depositing Hair Mask or Conditioner to Refresh Faded Color

When you have chosen the right hair or mask conditioner to refresh the faded color, it’s time to use it. Hair masks and conditioners are simple to use and can be beneficial not only for hair color but also for the health of your hair.

As stated above, when you use hair mask/conditioner, you will be adding pigment to the hair all while hydrating it at the same time!

Before you apply color-depositing hair mask or conditioner, be sure to read the directions. Usually, they are very simple to use, but it is always a good idea to consult the instructions of a product before applying it.

The instructions will usually tell you the minimum amount of time that the mask or conditioner needs to set on your hair for the best results.

Using Color Depositing Hair Conditioner

Here is a step-by-step guide for using a color-depositing mask/conditioner

  1. Put on gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  2. Thoroughly cleanse your hair. Shampoo your hair more than once to ensure that you have removed all of the buildup from hair. Work up a good lather.
  3. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the hair with your hands.
  4. Apply the hair mask/conditioner onto your hair from roots to ends. Make sure that the hair is fully saturated.
  5. Run a wide-toothed comb or a detangling brush through the hair in order to evenly distribute the mask/conditioner.
  6. Let the mask/conditioner soak into your hair for at least 10 minutes. For more vibrant results, put on a plastic cap and leave the conditioner on for 30 minutes.
  7. Rinse out the mask/conditioner with cool water.
  8. Gently squeeze the excess water out of your hair with a towel that you don’t mind getting stained.

Extra Tips:

  • Wear gloves when applying the color depositing hair mask/conditioner to your hair to avoid staining your hands.
  • Use a color-depositing mask/conditioner at least once a week. Apply it even more than that if you shampoo your hair more than once a week.
  • As stated above, it’s important that you rinse out the hair mask or conditioner with cold water. This will seal the color into the hair and prevent it from immediately rinsing out. 

Method 3: Refresh Faded Hair Color with a DIY Color Depositing Hair Mask

DIY Color Depositing Hair Mask

Are you thinking, “How in the world do I make my own color-depositing hair mask?

It’s actually much simpler. You can create a DIY color mask by mixing two products: A moisturizing hair mask/conditioner and a semi-permanent hair color.

Semi-permanent hair colors are temporary dyes that come in a tube, bottle, or jar. They contain a potent pigment but do not need to be mixed with a developer. They simply coat the hair with pigment. 

If applied by itself, a semi-permanent hair color can actually change the color of your hair temporarily. But, the goal here is not to change your hair color, but to refresh the faded color.

So, by mixing conditioner with a semi-permanent hair color, you are able to tone down the effect of the semi-permanent dye, and simply add a light coat of color to your faded hair.

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of a DIY color-depositing hair mask:

Pros:

  • Can be highly pigmented, or subtly pigmented.
  • Does not require a chemical activator.
  • Use your own conditioning mask and choose the exact semi-permanent color that you want.
  • Moisturizes while adding color.

Cons:

  • You have to use two different products.
  • More supplies are needed in order to mix the two products. 
  • Can be messy and require more cleanup.
  • Can be mixed at the wrong ratio and therefore be too pigmented or too subtle.

How to Choose the Right Products for Your DIY Color-Depositing Hair Mask

Right Products for DIY Color Depositing Hair Mask

To make your DIY color-depositing hair mask, choose two products rather than just one, but this shouldn’t scare you!

After all, you only need a conditioning mask or conditioner and a semi-permanent color, two things that are easy to find and that come in many varieties.

The Mask/Conditioner

Most conditioners/masks will work for your DIY color mask. My suggestion would be to use one that isn’t too oily or excessively thick. The conditioner/mask that you use should be moisturizing without preventing the semi-permanent hair color from reaching the hair.

The Semi-Permanent Color

Semi-permanent hair colors are available in most beauty supply stores and come in a variety of different shades. Choose one that carries the pigment that you are trying to enhance in your hair and keep in mind that when it is mixed with your conditioner, it won’t be as vibrant as it looks on the packaging.

How to Use Your DIY Color Depositing Hair Mask to Refresh Faded Color

When you have chosen the right semi-permanent color and hair mask/conditioner, it is time to start mixing! The best way to mix semi-permanent color and conditioner/mask is to use a color bowl and brush to thoroughly combine them. If this is not possible, you can use a regular bowl and use a fork or spoon to do the mixing.

The ratio at which you mix the color to the conditioner will vary depending on your desired results. If you want a more pigmented, dramatic change, you will need to add more semi-permanent color and less conditioner.

If you only want to subtly enhanced color, try mixing just a little bit of the semi-permanent color with your conditioner. And of course, you can always go half and half for a result that is somewhere in the middle.

Truth is, there is really no exact science to mixing semi-permanent color with the conditioner. You may want to start out with less color and add more the next time if the results are not vibrant enough.

Note: If you want to create a more dramatic change and refresh extremely faded hair color, apply the DIY color depositing hair mask onto dry hair instead of wet hair. Just make sure that your hair is thoroughly clean and dry before applying it.

Here is a step-by-step guide for using a DIY color-depositing hair mask

  1. Put on gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  2. Create a DIY hair mask by mixing your desired amount of semi-permanent color and conditioner. 
  3. Thoroughly cleanse your hair. Shampoo your hair more than once to ensure that you have removed all of the buildup from your hair. Work up a good lather.
  4. If you are applying DIY color depositing mask to dry hair for more dramatic results, make sure that the hair is completely dry before moving on to the next step. If you are applying it to wet hair for subtler results, move on to the next step immediately after rinsing the shampoo from the hair.
  5. Apply the DIY hair mask onto hair from roots to ends. Make sure that your hair is fully saturated.
  6. Run a wide-toothed comb or a detangling brush through your hair in order to evenly distribute the mask.
  7. Put a plastic cap over your hair, and let the DIY mask soak into your hair for at least 15 minutes.
  8. Rinse out the DIY mask with cool water.
  9. Remove the excess water from your hair with a towel.
  10. Enjoy the refreshed hair color!

Extra Tips:

  • Wear gloves when applying the DIY color depositing hair mask to your hair to avoid staining hands, and be sure to rinse it out of the sink/shower immediately.
  • For the first time, mix less semi-permanent color into the conditioner. If the results aren’t as vibrant as desired, add more color to the conditioner the next time. 
  • For a subtle color refresh, leave the DIY mask on for only a few minutes. For a more vibrant color refresh, you can leave the mask on for up to an hour.
  • Rinse out the hair mask/conditioner with cold water. This will seal the color into the hair and prevent it from immediately rinsing out.

Method 4: Refresh Faded Hair Color with a Liquid Demi-Permanent Hair Toner

Liquid Demi-Permanent Hair Toner
Liquid Demi-Permanent Hair Toner, Instagram/WELLA colorcharm

Liquid demi-permanent hair toners are incredibly effective for refreshing faded hair color. A demi-permanent color/toner is one that deposits color underneath the hair cuticle but does not lift any color out of the hair.

Demi-permanent toners are mixed with a developer in order to penetrate the outside layer of the hair and deposit the color. If you want your refreshed hair color to stay vibrant for several weeks (or even upwards of a month), a liquid demi-permanent toner is the best option for you. 

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of using a liquid demi-permanent hair color/toner:

Pros:

  • Very effective for dramatically refreshing faded hair color.
  • Lasts for several weeks, or even upwards of a month.
  • Fairly easy to apply to hair.
  • Comes in different levels of darkness and different tones.

Cons:

  • Requires a developer to activate the color.
  • Requires using proper measurements and precise timing.
  • Will stain your skin and hands if not careful.

How to Choose a Liquid Demi-Permanent Color/Toner

choosing demi permanent toner shade

Choosing the Level

Before you choose the exact tone of the demi-permanent color/toner, you need to choose the level of darkness of the toner. In order to refresh your faded hair color, you will need to pick a toner that is the same level or one level darker than your hair, depending on the desired results.

Below is a depiction of the different levels of hair color, level one being the darkest black, and level ten being the lightest blonde. In each level, there are countless variations of tones. To figure out the level of your own hair, try to look past the exact tone of your hair (copper, ash, violet, gold) and simply evaluate the level of darkness. Match your level with one of the numbers from 1 to 10.

Choosing the Tone

Once you have chosen the correct level of the demi-permanent color you need to apply to the hair, you must pick the correct tone. On the bottles of liquid, demi-permanent colors, you will usually see a number and then a letter combination. The number is the level, and the letter or letter combination is the tone.

In order to pick the right demi-permanent color/toner for your hair, you may need to consult a color book or color swatches. Choose the color that is most similar to your desired result.

Note: In addition to the liquid demi-permanent hair color, you will need to purchase the processing solution or developer that goes with that specific color line.

How to Use a Liquid Demi-Permanent Toner to Refresh Faded Color

After you have chosen the perfect demi-permanent color/toner, it’s time to start mixing!  Because using a demi-permanent toner is a bit more complicated than simply applying a color-depositing shampoo or mask, I have provided a list of supplies you will need.

  • Gloves
  • Apron/Cape
  • Liquid Applicator Bottle
  • Towels
  • Plastic Cap
  • Timer
applying liquid toner to refresh faded hair color

Follow these steps to use your liquid demi-permanent toner:

  1. Put on your cape/apron and gloves.
  2. Pour the color into an applicator bottle, and then pour in the developer. The directions for the color will specify at what ratio you should mix the color and developer. Usually, color applicator bottles will come with measurements on the side, so you don’t have to use a measuring cup.
  3. Thoroughly shake the applicator bottle to mix the color with the developer.
  4. Shampoo hair thoroughly. Shampoo it more than once to remove all the buildup from hair.
  5. Gently squeeze to remove the excess water from the hair.
  6. Flip your hair over a sink, shower, or bathtub.
  7. Squirt the color all over your hair, making sure to saturate the roots.
  8. Rub the toner in from roots to ends, just as you would a shampoo. Make sure your hair is fully saturated with the color. It may even lather.
  9. Comb the toner through the hair with a wide-toothed comb or your fingers.
  10. Cover your hair with a plastic cap to prevent making a mess, and to keep your hair from drying.
  11. For a subtle result, leave the color on for only 5-10 minutes. For a more dramatic result, leave the color in your hair for 20-30 minutes.
  12. After the color has been processed, shampoo your hair with a gentle shampoo and make sure to let the conditioner soak into the hair for a few minutes. Use cool water to shampoo and condition hair.

Extra Tips:

  • If the demi-permanent toner gets on anything (like the counter, sink, or even your face) during your color process, make sure to wipe it off right away to avoid staining.
  • Do a deep conditioning treatment on your hair after you tone it.
  • Consult a color book for the specific color line you will be using in order to choose the right color.
  • Use a liquid demi-permanent toner once a month to keep your hair color vibrant.

In Summary

Fading hair color can be such a disappointment! But, there are so many solutions! Hopefully, this article has helped you to decide which method will work best for refreshing your own faded hair color so that you never have to go another day with dull hair!

Key Things to Know:

  • A color-depositing shampoo can be used as often as once a week to help refresh your faded hair color.
  • There are many color-depositing hair masks/conditioners on the market, and they are very helpful for not only refreshing your color but for hydrating your hair as well.
  • In order to make a DIY hair color mask, mix a semi-permanent hair color with a conditioner/mask.
  • Using a liquid demi-permanent color/toner is very effective in refreshing faded hair color for an extended period of time. Use a demi-permanent toner on your hair once a month if needed.