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The 17 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 a Natural Tint
Unicorn Hair Tint Semi-Permanent Hair Color
LIME CRIME nordstrom.com

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

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 Bold Color
Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye
Arctic Fox Walmart.com

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 One-Step Color
Semi-Permanent Hair Color

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 Gentle Gray Coverage
Temporary Color Gel
Christophe Robin Sephora.com

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

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 Countering Brassiness
Color Care Whipped Glaze
Living Proof Sephora.com

If, like your mood, your hair color needs a boost, this subtly tinted lavender foam—in Light and Dark options—deposits just the right amount of natural dye to counteract fading and brassiness between color sessions. Simply comb through clean, towel-dried hair every other shampoo, and style as you normally would. The whipped texture makes for easy and even distribution. Just remember to wash your hands when you're done.  

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For a Pastel Wash
Pastel Purple Shampoo
Brite ulta.com

Calling all blondes: This purple formula was specifically made with you in mind. Developed with just the tiniest bit of pigment, this temporary wash give hair a pastel haze of color that seamlessly fades after a week. Use the purple shampoo and conditioner for a lilac hue. 

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For a Barely-There Tint
Sheer Illuminator Shiny Tinted Moisture Treatment
Biotera amazon.com

Usually, darker hair colors are relegated to, well, even darker temporary tints in shades of brown and black, since there's not much you can do to lighten hair without bleach. But this bleach-free, conditioner-and-dye hybrid manages to leave brunette hair with a soft, subtle tint, in either copper or red. Just slather it throughout your damp hair, leave it on for three minutes, then rinse out. Color will fade in about a week.

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For Brightening Brunettes
Color Extend Brownlights Blue Toning Conditioner
Redken redken.com

This one's also for darker hair types: Redken's new Brownlights shampoo and conditioner deposits a subtle blue hue to up the vibrancy for any shade of brown. How so? The blue (which stains so wear gloves) works for brunettes the way lavender does for blondes—by counteracting red and orange undertones to ensure your color stays cool and bright.   

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

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 Camouflaging Grey Spots
Root Concealer Touch-Up Spray
Rita Hazan sephora.com

With its targeted spray dispenser and weightless, transfer-proof formula, celebrity colorist Rita Hazan's root touch-up (available in five shades) delivers on its promise of masterfully concealing root growth, greys and all. An ingenious hack to try: Spritz it along your hairline or in sparse areas to fake the appearance of fuller, thicker hair. 

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For Hiding Root Growth
Root Blur Color Blending Concealer
John Frieda amazon.com

For those who prefer the control and precision of a brush-and-powder root cover-up, we are getting behind this formula. Each one of the five shade palettes comes with two hue variations to allow you to customize your perfect match. And like spray-on varieties, this also handily fills in sparse, patchy spots to help fake the look of thicker hair. Plus, it's purse and carry-on friendly. 

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

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

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 Classic, Semi-Permanent Color
Natural Instincts Hair Color
Clairol ulta.com

Sure, purple and pink hair is fun, but maybe you want a new color you could've been born with. These ammonia-free dyes (which come in 36 shades) are often lauded for being the best of the drugstore bunch. Not only does the color last through 28 shampoos and won’t show signs of fading for at least four weeks, but the dye is also infused with aloe and coconut oil to moisturize hair resulting in minimal damage.

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

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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