The 12 Best Non-Fading Hair Dyes of 2023 for Bright Hair Color

The Manic Panic Classic High Voltage Hair Dye Color is our top pick

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Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

We’re all for naturally sun-kissed blonde and subtly highlighted brunette, for sure. But sometimes you just want to think outside the natural hair color box and mix it up with a rainbow hue or some trendy mermaid locks. Experimenting with bright shades is all the rage; scroll through social media, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. And the nice thing about dipping into a more dramatic dye? The majority of the options out there are semi-permanent, meaning they’ll gradually fade over the course of several weeks/shampoos. In other words, you can easily go bold without having to make any kind of serious color commitment.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our best overall pick is the Manic Panic Classic High Voltage Hair Dye Color, a semi-permanent option available in tons of colors that lasts four to six weeks. Looking for even less of a commitment? The Shrine Drop It Kit comes in easy-to-use drops that let you customize the intensity of your shade and lasts two to 10 washes.

Do keep in mind that the base shade you’re starting with will definitely affect the result; generally speaking, bright tones work best on bleached or blonde hair. If you’re starting with a darker color, you may want to consider lightening it first or seeking out formulas specifically made for brunettes.  If the former, make sure that the bleaching part is done by a trained professional to minimize the likelihood of damaging your hair, advises Kristen Fleming, color director at 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago.

Ready to play? Take these bright hair colors for a test run.

Best Overall

Manic Panic Classic High Voltage Hair Dye Color

4.8
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream.

Amazon

What We Like
  • Glows under black light

  • Gentle formula

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it doesn't last long

When you want to go really bold, this is one of the best—and brightest—formulas available. There are over 40 shades to choose from in every shade you could imagine, including neons that glow under black light. The cruelty-free, vegan color is also gentle on hair, free of ammonia and PPD, and contains plenty of conditioning ingredients.

Price at time of publish: $15

Active Ingredients: Beeswax, flower extract | Type: Semi-permanent | Shades: 66 | Lasts: Up to 6 weeks | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 4 ounces, 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore

L'Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Color

4.8
L’Oréal Colorista Semi-Permanent Color
Courtesy of Ulta
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Gentle formula

  • Includes applicator brush

What We Don't Like
  • May not work well on darker hair

We especially like this drugstore buy for blonde or bleached hair; the five colors show up especially well on a lighter base. It’s ammonia- and peroxide-free to minimize damage, a big win if you do in fact already have bleached hair and will last anywhere from four to eight shampoos. While you can easily apply it all over, it also comes with an included brush that makes it easy to create rainbow-inspired highlights.

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredients: None | Type: Semi-permanent | Shades: 12 | Lasts: Up to 30 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Semi-Permanent

Shrine Drop It Kit

Shrine Drop It Kit
What We Like
  • Customizable finish

  • Can mix and match colors

  • Gentle formula

What We Don't Like
  • May not work well on darker hair

There are lots of things we love about this pick, but the dropper formulation is probably our favorite. How it works: Simply mix in a few drops into a conditioner of your choice; one bottle holds enough for up to 30 applications. There’s a helpful guide on the box to show you how vibrant of color you’ll get based on the number of drops used, so you can tailor your bold hue exactly to your liking. (And since you then work it through your hair just like you would conditioner, the application  process is super easy, too.) Speaking of, there are eight poppy colors to pick from, many of which can be mixed and matched, but all of which wash out in two to 10 washes and are super gentle on your strands.

Price at time of publish: $17

Active Ingredients: Castor oil | Type: Semi-permanent, drops | Shades: 8 | Lasts: Up to 15 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 0.67 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Permanent

Garnier Color Sensation

Garnier Color Sensation

 Courtesy of Walamrt

What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • No-drip formula

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note color doesn't match the box

Pick up this formula if you’re ready for and want to commit to an unexpected color; because it’s a permanent color, it won’t wash out. There are plenty of more natural colors to choose from, as well as a ‘trend’ line featuring eight dramatic shades; think a punchy purple and look-at-me-teal. The easy-to-use, no-drip formula stays put as you apply it, and an included conditioner ensures your new shade has plenty of shine and hair stays strong and healthy.

Price at time of publish: $4

Active Ingredients: Rose oil | Type: Permanent, cream | Shades: 20 | Lasts: N/A | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: N/A | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No


Best Vegan

Brite Instant Color

Brite Instant Color
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Moisturizing

  • Gentle formula

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount; may not cover full head

It makes sense that you may not want to shell out lots of cash for bright hair color, particularly if you’re not sure you’re going to love your vibrant strands (and/or you’re just doing it as a one-off novelty). Enter this very wallet-friendly, semi-permanent color. For less than 10 dollars, you get a creamy, conditioning formula that imparts vibrant tones that last up to 30 washes. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and contains no ammonia or the chemical paraben.

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredients: None | Type: Semi-permanent, cream | Shades: 3 | Lasts: Up to 30 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 3.38 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Metallic

Got2B Metallics

Got2b Metallic Permanent Color

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Has a metallic sheen

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • May not work well on darker hair

To really make a statement, consider not only a bright shade but a bright metallic. The dye, another rare permanent formula, comes in blue, red, and purple colors, all of which have a metallic gleam. (Credit a metallic shine booster in the formula that imparts this unique finish.) Rounding out the line are equally glimmery steel and silver tones.

Price at time of publish: $12

Active Ingredients: None | Type: Permanent, cream | Shades: 13 | Lasts: Up to 3 weeks | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 6.38 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

If your hair past your shoulders, pick up two boxes for the most complete and even application.

Best for Brown Hair

Splat Midnight, No Bleach, Semi-Permanent Hair Color Kit

Splat Midnight Kit

 Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Works well on darker hair

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Can be messy

Per our previous point about bold colors being trickier for brunettes, this formula offers the best solution. Tailor-made for those with brown hair, you don’t need any bleach to achieve any of the five electric shades. Choose from magenta, blue, red, green, and ruby, all of which are surprisingly intense.

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredients: Quinoa extracts, baobab seed oil | Type: Semi-permanent | Shades: 11 | Lasts: Up to 30 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 6 fluid ounces (color), 0.75 fluid ounces (reconstructor) | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No


Best Color Depositing Conditioner

No Fade Fresh Color Depositing Semi-Permanent Hair Conditioner

No Fade Fresh Color Depositing Semi-Permanent Hair Conditioner
What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Easy to application

What We Don't Like
  • May take multiple washes to get desired color

These tinted conditioners are exactly what they sound like—ultra-hydrating conditioners infused with plenty of color. The application also couldn’t be easier. Work it into damp hair for five to 10 minutes, then rinse. (Once you’ve achieved your desired hue, you can then use it for less time to keep the shade true and vibrant.) And per the conditioner part of things, we also appreciate that it touts bond-building technology to maintain the integrity and health of your hair.

Price at time of publish: $15

Active Ingredients: Palm, coconut, sugar | Type: Semi-permanent, conditioner | Shades: 12 | Lasts: Up to 8 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 6.4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes


Best for Light Hair

Lime Crime Anime Hair Color

Lime Crime Anime Unicorn Hair Dye
What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Customizable finish

What We Don't Like
  • May not work well on darker hair

When you want to go bright, but also want options, try this semi-permanent dye. Available in 25 colors, there’s a little something for everyone. Vegan, cruelty-free, and super conditioning, how long you leave on the color will determine the intensity: 30 minutes is standard, but you can leave it on for up to two hours. FYI, results are best the lighter your hair is, though the website does feature a helpful guide that shows what each shade will look like even on darker strands.

Price at time of publish: $17

Active Ingredients: Glycerin | Type: Semi-permanent, cream | Shades: 25 | Lasts: Up to 10 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 6.76 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No


Best Temporary

L'Oreal Paris Colorista 1-Day Washable Temporary Hair Color Spray

L'Oreal Paris Colorista 1-Day Washable Temporary Hair Color Spray

Target

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Great for testing colors

What We Don't Like
  • Messy spray

With just one spritz, you'll get the dye job of your dreams. This temporary dye solution gives every hair shade and type vivid and pigmented hues, if you're looking to test out a color before fully committing. Although it is best for adding highlights and hints of color to the hair, it is super effective and less damaging compared to other dye products.

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredients: None | Type: Temporary, spray | Shades: 7 | Lasts: 1-day | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 2.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Black & Grey Hair

Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Color

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Smells nice

  • Super pigmented

  • Vegan formula

What We Don't Like
  • Stains easily, might be difficult to remove on lighter hair

This hair dye is clean beauty conscious, using only vegan ingredients to deposit beautiful color to your hair (that don't cause damage, too). Regardless if your hair is light or on the darker side, the dye is capable of transferring onto unbleached hair with the same amount of tint. Plus, it is hydrating on the hair because of its lack of harsh chemicals.

Price at time of publish: $19

Active Ingredients: Glycerin | Type: Semi-permanent | Shades: 14 | Lasts: Up to 20 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes


Best for Color-Treated Hair

Punky Colour Semi-Permanent Conditioning Hair Color

Punky Colour Semi-Permanent Conditioning Hair Color

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Gentle on hair

  • Enhances shine

  • Non-drying

What We Don't Like
  • Might stain and bleed

Punky Colour's cream hair dye does wonders on the hair while leaving beautiful, bright hues. No peroxide is inside this product, which helps the pigment to deeply condition and nourish the strands so your hair picks up the color quicker without the damage. The dye also prevents strands from over-drying and leaves the hair silky and frizz-free. What more can you ask for?

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredients: Glycerin | Type: Semi-permanent, cream | Shades: 21 | Lasts: Up to 35 washes | Best for: All hair types and shades | Size: 3.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No


Final Verdict

Bright hair dyes are a fun way to experiment with your look. There are plenty of low-commitment options out there, like our favorite, the Manic Panic Classic High Voltage Hair Dye Color, a semi-permanent option available in tons of colors that lasts four to six weeks. Looking for even less of a commitment? The Shrine Drop It Kit comes in easy-to-use drops that let you customize the intensity of your shade and lasts two to 10 washes.

What to Look for in Bright Hair Dye

How Long It Lasts

This is a crucial piece of the puzzle. If the product is labeled as “temporary” or washout, it’s a one-time-deal situation and will come out with a shampoo or two. For example, the L'Oreal Paris Colorista Temporary Hair Color Spray washes out with just one round of shampoo. Semi- or demi-permanent color (which is what is often found in many color-depositing conditioners, FYI) will fade gradually as you wash your hair, usually lasting anywhere from five to 30 shampoos. And if you really want to commit to your bright shade, opt for permanent options, which need to grow out.

Formulation

Believe it or not, there is an application difference when you use a specific hair dye formulation. You'll often find hair dye in a cream, spray, drop, or liquid formula that all promise the same thing: long-lasting results and powerful color payoff. While they're all effective at transferring pigment to your hair, how the formula distributes the tint (especially if you're a beginner) can have a major effect on your desired results. For example, liquid and drop formulas are thinner compared to creams, helping to disperse the dye all over your hair. Beginners might find these options difficult to use at first (e.g. avoiding splattering the mixture, lining it outside your hairline), and might find it easier to use a spray or cream because they offer more control in where and how much you apply.

Also, look for whether or not a formula required pre-bleaching for the color to show up. The Splat Midnight, No Bleach, Semi-Permanent Hair Color Kit gets our vote for the unique tones specially formulated to show up on brown hair, no pre-bleaching required.

FAQ
  • How long do bright hair dyes last?

    Fleming says bright colors are the fastest to fade: “Most are just deposited on top of the hair and barely penetrate the hair shaft,” she explains. Plus, if you’re coloring pre-lightened hair, it’s likely more porous, which contributes to water pushing the direct dyes out of the hair quickly, she adds.

  • What bright hair dye color is hardest to remove from hair?

    It might be obvious, but red is the most difficult hair color to remove compared to other hues. “Red color molecules are the biggest, which both means it fades the fastest, but also makes it harder to remove from the hair,” says Fleming. If you have lighter hair, you might want to look at other colors before committing to a full redhead moment.

  • Are bright hair dyes damaging to the hair?

    According to Fleming, bright hair colors like pink, purple, blue, and green aren’t damaging in and of themselves. The issue becomes problematic if you have to overly lighten your hair beforehand to achieve that super bright result, which can leave it damaged, she says, again underscoring the importance of only letting pros bleach your hair.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie 

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there.

Meet the Expert

Kristen Fleming is a colorist and the color director at  3rd Coast Salon in Chicago. She has over 15  years of experience working at some of Chicago’s top salons, as well as on models in New York Fashion Week. She specializes in creating beautiful, personalized hair colors.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any bright hair dyes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

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