Thirty years ago, only a select group of people would even dream of going out in public with hair dyed royal blue or bright green. These days, It’s common for anyone from teens to grandparents to flaunt some fantasy color. Of course, if you are just dipping your toe into fantasy colors for the first time, you might want to try something temporary, but you want it to last when you know what you want. So which unnatural hair color will last the longest?
When you want a permanent change, the best longest-lasting vivid hair color is Pravana Vivids. This professional product creates rich permanent color which lasts for 2-4 months, though it will fade a little over a long time.
If you want to change your color frequently, or you want to do it yourself, some great options for long-lasting unnatural hair colors are Punky Color, Arctic Fox, Manic Panic, and oVertone. Each of these brands offers simple-to-apply, vivid color that lasts 2-6 weeks with proper care and maintenance.
With all hair colors, the color you choose, how you care for your hair after coloring it, and the health of your hair will impact how long the color lasts. Check out descriptions of these color options and tips for keeping your color looking great for as long as possible.
- Longest Lasting Unnatural Hair Colors
- Caring for Unnatural Hair Color
- Got Gray?
- Final Thoughts on Unnatural Hair Colors
- Related Questions
Longest Lasting Unnatural Hair Colors
This permanent hair color is marketed to professional salons and colorists. However, it is easy to use because there is no mixing required. It’s a gel color that you apply straight out of the tube. This is an excellent feature if you want to combine multiple colors in your hair because Pravana doesn’t run together.
Pravana has over 20 brilliant colors to choose from, which will last 2-4 months, depending on the color. Darker colors like blues and purples stay longer, while the pastel colors fade more quickly. Applying Pravana to pre-lightened hair will produce more consistent, vivid colors.
While these colors will fade eventually, they are permanent colors and do not wash out completely. Also, be aware that trying to bleach Pravana out will likely embed the color more deeply into the cuticle. Should you change your mind after using a dark color, you may have to color over it. Going lighter is more difficult with these colors.
Pravana hair dyes are free from parabens, phthalates, MEA, and DEA. In addition, they do not use animals in testing their products.
2. Punky Color
If you want a commitment, but a semi-permanent one, try Punky Color’s semi-permanent hair color. This easy-to-use product comes in over 20 colors and lasts for 20-30 washes.
As with any hair color, you will get a more vibrant color if you apply it over bleached hair. Punky Color offers a White Out kit and a Color Off kit for preparing your hair for vibrant color. If you don’t want to bleach it first, that is no problem. Applying Punky Color over your natural hair color will add rich highlights without a complete color change.
Punky Color is a cream hair color you can apply with a brush or with gloved hands. Simply apply it to the parts of your hair that you want to color and wait 15-30 minutes before washing.
Punky Color is a conditioning hair color that improves your hair’s texture as it colors. It is completely vegan and free from PPDs, parabens, ammonia, and GMOs. In addition, it is cruelty-free and made in the USA.
3. Manic Panic
Manic Panic is a staple in the vibrant hair color world. They have been producing fantasy colors for 40 years. Manic Panic is available in over 40 demi- and semi-permanent colors and lasts from 3 – 4 weeks, depending on your hair care routine.
Manic Panic is an easy-to-use gel hair color. The manufacturer recommends using their bleaching kits to lighten hair before applying color. This will ensure that you get the color you were expecting as well as a vibrant hue. When you apply the color, there is no need to mix it. Simply apply it to clean dry hair directly from the container.
You can use a brush to apply it just where your want it, or use gloved hands and apply it throughout your hair for all-over color. Leave it on for approximately 30 minutes and wash the dye out.
You can rest assured that Manic Panic is vegan and cruelty-free. Furthermore, it is gluten-free, so if that is a concern for you, you need this hair color. Manic Panic is also paraben, ammonia, resorcinol, PPD, phthalate-free, and made in the USA.
4. Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox Hair color is another semi-permanent, easy-to-use at-home option for vibrant, unnatural hair colors. With 22 colors to chose from, they are bound to have just what you are looking for. These hair dyes last for 2-4 weeks.
Arctic Fox recommends lightning your hair to the appropriate level before coloring in order to get the results you want. Then, applying the hair color is easy.
Because Arctic Fox is a little runny, you should pour it into a bowl, then brush it onto clean, dry, conditioner-free hair and cover it with plastic. Let it sit for 30+ minutes and rinse thoroughly. There’s no need to mix this hair color; it is ready to use directly out of the bottle.
This hair color company prides itself on its commitment to vegan and cruelty-free products. They are made in California. Additionally, they donate 15% of their profits to charities that prevent animal cruelty. So you can have beautiful hair and contribute to positive charities at the same time!
5. oVertone Coloring Conditioner
oVertone is a newcomer to the unnatural hair color industry, but they are a strong contender. This product is a color depositing conditioner rather than a dye. It comes in 42 colors that range from pastel to intense and includes some designed specifically for brown hair that is not bleached.
oVertone is easy to apply. Put on a pair of gloves and use your fingers to apply it to dry hair. Then, let it sit for 15-3o minutes, then wash it in hot water for the most vibrant color. For a medium shade, just use it in the shower as a conditioner. Put it in your hair, finish your shower and rinse it out.
Because this is semi=permanent hair color, it needs to be reapplied. oVertone offers a daily coloring conditioner for each color set to use with your regular hair care routine. And you can touch up the color with the color depositing conditioner when the color starts to fade, in one-two weeks without the daily use conditioner.
oVertone does not contain harsh chemicals. They are a certified vegan and cruelty-free company. Their formulas are based on plant oils, including coconut, linseed, jojoba, and primrose oil. The products are wheat-free, but some contain oat products which may be cross-contaminated with gluten products. This conditioner also smells like rosemary and spearmint!
Caring for Unnatural Hair Color
Regardless of the brand of hair color you choose, you can take steps to make your color last longer.
1. Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Use sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfate-free shampoos keep your hair shiny and healthy by preserving its natural moisture. Sulfates are also likely to strip out the color from your hair. So do not use shampoos with sulfates to improve the health of your hair and to maintain your color.
2. Wash Your Hair Less Often
Don’t wash your hair every day. Spread out those washes to every other day or every three days. This will preserve the color longer.
3. Go Easy on Nourishing Hair Masks
These make your hair feel amazing, and it may be tempting to use them frequently, especially if you had to bleach your hair a few times to lighten it enough for pastel pink. However, using these in excess will damage the color.
4. Keep Heat Products to a Minimum
Curling irons and straightening tools dry out your hair. Using them to excess will allow the heat to damage the pigments in the strands of your hair. Use these only when you really need that special look and keep your color vibrant longer.
5. Summer Fun Protection for Vibrant Hair Colors
Because it is summer, your temptation to reach for these vibrant, unnatural colors may be higher. But having fun in the sun can damage both your hair and the color you have worked to achieve. You might avoid saltwater or chlorine in swimming pools will maintain the color longer.
But if you want to swim, apply UV protection to your hair first to help protect it from the sun. Also, you can coat your hair with coconut oil to keep the chlorine or salt water from penetrating the strands and damaging the dye. Be sure to rinse your hair after swimming.
6. Follow Manufacturer Recommendations
Finally, most of the companies that create these amazing colors also make conditioners that are designed to help maintain the intensity of the color. Many are color depositing conditioners and will keep your color vibrant longer if you continue to use them as directed by the manufacturer.
If you have gray hair, coloring it a vibrant funky color may be more of a challenge, but can definitely be gorgeous. After your hair turns gray or silver, it has a different porosity and will take on color differently than it used to. Also, no two people’s gray hair reacts the same way.
When you decide to add some vibrancy to your natural sparkle, you should do a test strand to see how well the color holds and how long it lasts. Just as with any other color of hair, you can bleach gray to open the cuticle, but you should have a professional do that for you so you don’t damage your shining silvery locks.
If you do bleach the gray, you are likely to be able to hold truly vibrant colors or even pastels well in your hair.
Final Thoughts on Unnatural Hair Colors
There are many great options for vibrant hair colors on the market. And there are some that don’t work quite as well. Often it depends on the condition of your hair when you start out. If you have doubts, consult with a professional colorist.
Deeper colors like dark blue and purple tend to last the longest, with the dark reds coming in second for lingering power. Remember that all these vivid colors fade, but the manufacturers designed them to fade within their color spectrum. So your red shouldn’t fade to orange, just a lighter red.
Remember that you can choose from permanent colors like Pravana and ION, or semi-permanent colors like Punky Color, Manic Panic, and Arctic Fox. If you want a color that will fade completely, so you can change it, or so you can meet school dress codes later, try oVertone color depositing conditioner. Other companies like L’Oreal even offer temporary colors that last one or two washings, like make-up for your hair.
Take care of your hair and color afterward for long-lasting results. Use the manufacturer’s recommended shampoo and conditioner, many of which continue to deposit color as you use them. Protect your hair from heat and summertime stresses. Enjoy the ride.
- What is the best bleaching solution for your hair?
- How can I color over my fantasy hair color for work?
- What natural hair color dyes last the longest?
- Which temporary hair color is the best?
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a work-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. I have been blogging for the last 5 years. I worked for other mom blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking.