Dyeing your hair at home is no cakewalk, that’s for sure, but choosing the right dye can mean the difference between a glossy, gorgeous new shade and a bathtub stained black. Semi-permanent (also known as temporary) hair color allows for natural color changes without extensive damage or commitment beyond 28 washes. Because they don’t contain bleach or lifting agents, you can’t use semi-permanent dyes to dramatically lighten your hair—your best bet is to stay within the range of your natural hair color by two or three shades. Whether it’s your first time DIYing your hair color or you’re a seasoned at-home dyeing pro, one of these formulas is bound to be the best semi-permanent hair color for you.
Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color ($8.95, soap.com)
For super-gentle color that won’t compromise even fragile hair, Natural Instincts is the way to go. It’s formulated with aloe, vitamin E, and coconut oil, and it’s formulated without ammonia. In 23 liquid shades and eight rich creme colors, there are tons of options to choose from, and it only takes 10 minutes to get the job done. Plus, the included Color Treat conditioner is so good, we wish we could buy it without the box.
L’Oréal Paris Healthy Look Creme Gloss ($8.99, lorealparisusa.com)
The colorants in this dye blend so well, they won’t leave behind any visible roots. If red is your goal, the Red Luscious Collection imparts gorgeous, multi-dimensional red tones on even the darkest hair without bleaching or lifting color.
John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color ($9.99, ulta.com)
If this is your first time coloring your hair at home, a foam dye like this one is a great choice for ease of use—there’s no dripping, it’s a cinch to apply evenly, and there’s just less to worry about. For boosting your color and keeping it looking fresher for longer, incorporate John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss ($9.99, target.com) in between regular colorings.
Read more: Celebrities Who Chose the Wrong Hair Color