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The 22 Best Temporary Hair Colors for Commitment-Phobes

Highlights, pastel washes, root touch-ups, and all-over color made simple.

Street Style : Day Four- Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018
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You miss your colorist. You miss going to the salon. And dishing on Love Island. And waffling over the shade of honey or ginger or burnt caramel—or violet!—with which you’ll paint your highlights or dip-dye your tips. You even miss the pungent smell of the chemicals and the slight stinging sensation on your scalp. Us too. But while none of the excellent hair pros we’ve consulted are suggesting you attempt a complete DIY color transformation at home, most of them are encouraging a little play and noncommittal experimentation. Enter: Temporary and semi-permanent hair colors. They're now available in an endless array of formats—from powders to sprays to gels and conditioning masks—to infuse your strands with soft, glossy color. And they promise to eventually shampoo out (some quicker than others). So read up for your match, and don’t forget to DM a pic to your colorist. They miss you, too.

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For One-Step Color
Semi-Permanent Hair Color
SEPHORA COLLECTION sephora.com
$12.00

This temporary dye, which can last through 10 shampoos, is perfect for those weeks where you want to go a little crazy without damaging your hair. Let it sink in for 30 to 45 minutes, and be amazed with the color payoff. This one-step dye is calling your name!

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For a Natural Tint
Unicorn Hair Tint Semi-Permanent Hair Color
LIME CRIME nordstrom.com
$16.00

By "natural tint," we mean both natural-looking and naturally formulated. This 100 percent vegan formula (which comes in eight additional hues) leaves lighter hair shades with a soft, copper-colored tint and darker hair shades with a subtle auburn wash that fades after a few weeks.

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For a Conditioning Color Treatment
Color Depositing Mask
Moroccanoil Sephora.com
$28.00

It's a mask! It's hair color! It's both. And it comes in seven temporary shades from soft Rose Gold for blondes to rich Bordeaux for brunettes.  What's more, these affordable single-use packets mean you can experiment with a few different shades before committing to a full-size bottle.

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For a Party
Temporary Hair Color Chalk
Nuonove amazon.com
$20.99

A brush-on hair chalk that goes on like a mascara, ideal for rinse-out streaks in a range of tones. 

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For Curly Gals
Color Blast Temporary Hair Color
ORS target.com
$8.99

Work this beeswax-based pomade into your coils, spirals and curls and get a new look with none of the mess (or the commitment). 

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For An All-Over Wash of Color
Classic High Voltage Semi Permanent Hair Color
MANIC PANIC amazon.com
$9.99

You can’t write about hair dyes and not include the most famous of famous brands: Manic Panic. This vegan formula is thick and creamy, making it super easy to spread throughout your hair. And the insanely bright colors will leave darker hair with a subtle, navy tint, while on white or blonde hair the dye will result in a rainbow-worthy shade.

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For Gentle Gray Coverage
Temporary Color Gel
Christophe Robin Sephora.com
$24.50

Set aside 20 to 40 minutes to let this easy-to-use gel color work its magic and you'll come out the other end with shiny, even color and softer-than-ever strands, thanks to this gentle treatment from Parisian colorist Christophe Robin. Infused with inula flower for shine and oat flakes to protect the skin and scalp, the gel formula (available in four shades) covers grey, is free of peroxide and ammonia, and lasts five to seven shampoos.

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For Easy Application
Instant Color, Pastel Purple
BRITE target.com
$7.99

An unmessy semi-permanent wash that works best on hair that's already color-treated, and rinses out in ten to 15 washes. If you have dark hair, do consider prepping your strands first with a lightener if you're after a more intense result.

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For Serious Color
Semi-Permanent Conditioning Hair Color
Punky Colour ulta.com
$9.99

While the color isn't permanent, per se, it is worth reading instructions and wearing gloves because it does mean business, delivering a serious color punch depending on how you prep your hair and how long you leave it on. Also: The customer service team is excellent and responsive, so feel free to reach out with detailed, specific questions and expect helpful feedback.

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For Streaks That Wash Out
Playful Temporary Hair Chalk
Got 2b ulta.com
$7.99

Add fun streaks in minutes that wash out at the end of the day with this range of non-messy, non-permanent chalk. (Why don't more people use hair chalk, btw?)

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Best Smelling
Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Good Dye Young sephora.com
$18.00

Available in nine shades—from hot pink to indigo and pumpkin—this vegan, cream-based semi-permanent dye seems to deliver the best results on hair that's already color treated but wants a change or lift. Users rave over the pleasant smell (a huge upgrade from most toxic-olfactory experiences). This is a perfect way to accent tips or add streaks. 

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For Blondes
Bond Sustainer Temporary Hair Care
Uberliss target.com
$14.99

Here are the pros: You can either apply with a brush, or with your hands, rather than covering your bathroom in plastic, Dexter-style. Here are the cons: The product really works best on blonde hair of all tones. If you like the color this tinted conditioner dyes your hair, simply keep using it weekly to keep it going.  Otherwise, the unfussy hues will rinse out naturally after about eight washes.

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For Ribbon Color
Temporary Color Styling Gel
Curlsmith ulta.com
$19.99

Add ribbons of color to curly hair by scrunching in this tinted styling gel. Each of the five shades is particularly flattering on dark strands, which are usually reticent to hold color.

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For Week-Long Color
Curl Color, Bold Gold
As I Am target.com
$7.99

Most temporary formulas rinse out immediately, or stick around a tad longer than you might like. What's cool about this—which has to be applied to damp hair, with gloves—is that it lasts through a single wash, meaning you could likely stretch it a week. 

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The Magic Drops
Mixtape Hair Color Drops
Amika sephora.com
$25.00

While these won't drastically change the color of your hair, they  can enhance the dye you already have going. Available in three colors—violet for blondes, teal for brunettes, or gold for adding warm to any hue—the idea is that you mix a few drops into any oil-based product you already use (most people opt for conditioner or a leave-in mask). The before and after pics on Sephora's website don't lie—the results are a richer, fuller color after just one wash, which is especially useful when we're all stretching time between visits to the colorist.  

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For Vivid Color
Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye
Arctic Fox Walmart.com
$26.03

This one isn't for the timid, but if you're eager to dye your hair a vivid, eye-catching shade that'll disappear in just a month or two, Arctic Fox is for you. Bonus: It's vegan and cruelty-free, and promises to nourish your hair while it colors it.

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For a Gentle Upgrade
Color Depositing Conditioner
Kristin Ess target.com
$14.00

A gentle, pigmented conditioner that can be applied to wet or dry hair for a subtle wash of new color, or a refresh of dull tones. 

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For Colored Hair
Color Depositing Conditioner
Keracolor amazon.com
$22.00

A tinted conditioning cleanser? Sign us up. Ideal for maintaining vibrancy on already-colored hair, it's gentle enough to brush on as frequently as you see fit. 

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For Rave-Ready Hair
Poser Paste Temporary Hair Makeup
Good Dye Young sephora.com
$18.00

This striking paste delivers bold color to your strands without the time commitment. Perfect for parties, brunch, or just getting weird on Zoom calls, this dye gives you a bold new look until you decide to wash it out. 

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For a Quick Color Hit
Colorista Spray 1-Day Hair Color
L'Oréal Paris lorealparisusa.com
$9.99

If you're looking to tip-toe into bold color, this is your best bet. A blast of the concentrated pigment spray, as allover highlights or focused on the ends, lets you flirt with cobalt blue with zero commitment. Like makeup, we recommend you simply wash it out at the end of the day. 

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For Bright Highlights
ColorMe by Giuliano Temporary Hair Color
ColorMe amazon.com
$9.95

These dyes are also super temporary—as in, they’ll wash out with your shampoo. But with shades ranging from copper, to red, to yellow, to violet, they’re the perfect little tool to give you subtle highlights on face-framing layers. Paint them over a small section of hair (they even show up on inky black and brunette strands), let dry for 15 minutes, and then live your life.

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For Wash-and-Go Color
Purple for Brown Hair Coloring Conditioner
oVertone overtone.co
$446.00

This one's not technically a temporary hair dye, but a coloring conditioner that injects a bold new shade into your hair with every wash. You just wash your hair as usual, leave the conditioner in for 10-15 minutes, and bingo. If you don't like your new color, just stop using the conditioner; if you love it, keep going.

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