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Commitment can be scary. I'm not just talking about the personal relationship kind of commitment. I'm also talking about the beauty kind. I'm the type of person who prides herself on a willingness to test new products, routines, and looks. Overhauling my skincare routine with anti-pollution products? I'll try it. Trying something that's colloquially referred to as a bird-poop facial? Sure, why not? I go through different hairstyling, makeup, and skincare products like it's my job. Well, it actually kind of is my job, but nonetheless.
The only thing my brazen lack of trepidation doesn't extend to is my hair color. For the majority of my 20-something years of life, I've kept it mostly the same bronde color that I was born with. Seriously, up until a couple of years ago, I was a self-confessed hair-dye virgin. Call it fear of change or a fear of high-maintenance dye jobs, but I've never really been one to experiment with my hair—unless, of course, I've had ample time and opportunity to think about it. That's where temporary hair dye comes in. They allow for a test-drive of sorts. It's perfect for hair commitment-phobes like me, or anyone who's gearing up for an epic Halloween costume.
So without further ado, keep scrolling to see the best semi-permanent and temporary wash-out hair dyes.
Due to increased demand for online shopping, items in this article may be out of stock. Updates to this article will be made frequently with products we recommend.
Best Overall: Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Full Coverage Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Lime Crime's highly anticipated Unicorn Hair semi-permanent dye was a major hit with its loyal following. Unlike other vivid hues, this formula contains absolutely zero bleach, which means it doesn't strip hair dry or ruin its base color. Despite the cruelty-free and vegan formula, it stays put for a few washes at a time (depending on how often you wash your hair). How it does this, I have no idea.
Best Drugstore: L'Oréal Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color
The brand promises rich color that sticks around for four to 10 shampoos. While that number sounds somewhat arbitrary and vague, we suggest using this only if you wish to keep color in your hair for a couple of weeks minimum. Choose from over 50 luminous shades catered for bleached hair, blondes (shop those hues, here), brunettes, and reds.
Read reviews of the best drugstore hair dyes on the market.
Best Gel: Manic Panic Dye-Hard Styling Gel in Purple Haze
Manic Panic is a classic when it comes to hair color, especially those that are shockingly bright. Although it's best known for its classic semi-permanent color, it offers another category of temporary hair dye in the form of these tinted gels. They're first and foremost hair gel, which means they provide hold and structure to strands. Unlike other hair gels, though, they're also tinted for a dye-like effect that washes out with shampoo. These are perfect for Halloween, no?
Check out our roundup of the best hair gels available for purchase.
Best Mask: Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care Nutritive Mask With Temporary Coloring
This color-enhancing mask from Christophe Robin adds warm and glossy copper undertones to all existing hair colors. It even improves the natural state of hair with almond butter and buriti oil.
Take a look at our roundup of the best hair masks you can buy.
Best Chalk: Splat Instant Color Hair Chalk
Hair chalk, like this one from Splat, is the easiest and fastest way to "dye" your hair, if only as long as you can go without washing your hair (or staining your pillowcase).
Best for Dark Hair: Softsheen-Carson Dark & Lovely SoftSheen Go Intense Color Spray
Dark-haired people know the struggle. Temporary hair dye promises a lot, but only a rare few actually deliver the color and texture you desire. This one does, working immediately for instant, vibrant color that'll turn heads. Choose from seven different shades and expect the color to last up to one shampoo.
Best Bold: Garnier Intense Wash-Out Color Styler
The color of this budget-friendly dye is intense, so light-haired people beware. Some reviewers suggest leaving it to dark-haired people, noting that it left permanent color on white and platinum hair. With that being said, if you have dark hair and you find temporary color rarely shows up, give this a go. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Best Sheer: Biotera Sheer Illuminator Tinted Moisture Treatment
If it's not so much an allover bold color transformation you desire, try this tinted moisture treatment from Biotera. It adds a colorful sheen to any existing color, while also hydrating each strand of hair. Consider it as you would a hair gloss, albeit temporary.