Beauty Hair How To Create Your Own Color Depositing Conditioner

How To Create Your Own Color Depositing Conditioner

It's messy but worth it

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The first thing that people will mention to you is how difficult red hair is to maintain. Without getting too scientific, the red dye molecules are the largest, which means that they’re also the first to slip out of your hair. I’ve tried everything from frequent color refreshes to pushing the boundaries of cleanliness between washes, but that can be damaging and gross. Color depositing conditioners have always been an option, but I didn’t really feel like any of them were formulated with the shade of red that I prefer. I’ve also watched many YouTube gurus mention the concept of making your own color depositing conditioner, but none of them shared specifics and I also couldn’t find a blog post that I felt educated me enough to try it myself.

This week I felt adventurous and decided one evening to pick up a tub of Manic Panic on my way to a party to give it a try and you know what? It wasn’t that tough. Here’s what you’ll need:

Color Depositing Conditioner Recipe

DIY color depositing conditioner supplies:

  • a vegetable-based hair dye (most recommend Manic Panic or Special Effects)
  • the deep conditioning treatment of your choice
  • plastic spoon
  • disposable gloves
  • shower mirror (optional, but very helpful)
  • wide tooth comb
  • large clip
    WARNING: Manic Panic (and I assume Special Effects) is incredibly messy and will ruin anything it touches. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

On a paper towel covered workstation, I placed one plastic spoonful of Manic Panic Vampire Red into 1/4 jar of Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask and mixed well. Here’s how I applied the mixture:

  1. Put on the disposable gloves (dish gloves also work well)
  2. Apply the deep conditioner evenly throughout your hair (much like dyeing your hair at home)
  3. Comb through your hair with a wide-tooth comb to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed
  4. Clip your hair up out of the way
  5. Leave on for at least five minutes, longer if possible
  6. Rinse thoroughly
  7. The result was a red haze that looked exactly like Vampire Red looked in the tub.

Essentially, the vegetable dye coats the strands of your hair but doesn’t penetrate the shaft. It’s essentially a temporary hair color, but it is very handy for those of us with difficult to maintain shades since it amps up the color similar to what the color looked like right after it was dyed. Don’t expect this to cover up roots or last after your next washing since this isn’t designed to open the hair cuticle any more than a typical cleansing.

Helpful tips:

  • Make sure that you cover all points of your hair, including your hairline (this is where the shower mirror comes in handy
  • If you get any of the mixture on your skin, you should be able to easily rinse it away, but that also depends on the strength of your mixture
  • Since this is a DIY, you can adjust the ratio of dye to conditioner in your mixture. The more dye, the more easily everything that it touches will be stained, but also the more vibrant your color will be. Increase at your own risk.
  • If you’re feeling especially crafty, try mixing colors to achieve a more customized look


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  1. Not washing your hair does NOT cause damage. OVERWASHING causes damage. I was my hair 1-2 times a month, 3 if it gets dirty. Please dont spread false information. Its also not gross tyvm.

    • Hi Danielle, Thank you for sharing your perspective. My hair is very fine and within most weeks it’s next to impossible for me to stretch my hair to even three days between washes. In addition, because my hair is bleached, it’s important for me to continue adding moisture into my strands and although I add oil and leave in conditioner regularly, my fine hair can’t handle much product. I’ve discussed this issue with many stylists and brand experts, and different hair types react differently. This post was written from my point of view and with my experience. It’s clear that you too are passionate about this topic and if you’ve written any pieces or find any resources relevant to this topic, I’d be happy to take a look.

      • I actually have very fine hair(also pretty long hair) and I agree with Danielle.

        I had move my hair washing to once every two weeks because of how damaging I found frequent washes are for me. But there are many factors that go into what is and isn’t damaging, as well as the perspective of the individual, aka at what point does the oil become too much. Factors like length, texture, thickness, styling techniques, products, weather, ethnicity, how much oil your scalp produces, etc.

        Anyhoo thank-you for the article, it is exactly what I was looking for. I have a bottle of Arctic Fox waiting to be used, will be trying this technique with my next wash!

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