Hair Rinse

Washing hair after a color treatment
Photo: Happy Finch/Shutterstock
Q: I would like to know exactly what a hair rinse is. Is it like hair coloring? Also, is it good to cover white hairs? Can a hair rinse be used on permanent colors? Thanks.
A: A hair rinse falls into the classification of temporary hair color. It is a solution of hair color that is formulated to be applied to the hair immediately after shampooing and conditioning, but before styling.
Rinses are designed so that the color coats the hair shaft and rests entirely on the surface of the hair, although darker colors can actually give a longer-lasting stain to porous or damaged hair.
There are a number of variations of color rinses, which are used for different purposes. There are colors that are more opaque and are used to cover gray hair or temporarily give a bold change to the hair’s color. There are also colors that are translucent and only tint the base color of the hair. These are often used to tint hair that has a small percentage of gray, thereby making the white of the gray appear to be a more natural highlight color. Rinses are also used on hair that has been permanently colored in order to “tone-down” the color results from the permanent color service.
You will also find rinses that are meant to enhance the appearance of significantly graying hair. There are formulas meant to brighten and enhance gray so that it appears whiter and combats yellowing and dulling effects. There have also been colors meant for use on gray hair in decades past that were meant more as a fashion accessory than a natural-looking hair color.
Fanci-Full hair rinse There were times when many ladies-of-leisure spent afternoons in the salon having their hair set and styled with color rinses in shades of robin’s egg blue, pale pink, sunlight yellow, and many other pastel hues. Today’s color rinses tend more toward the natural color spectrum for hair and are meant to enhance the natural tone of the hair or to combat brassiness and dullness.
Some women don’t like the idea of temporary colors and color rinses simply because they only last until the next shampoo. This means that time and consideration must be made daily to include the color into the routine (if you shampoo daily). The considerations of such includes that the color WILL stain the skin and nails if exposed to it, so gloves must be worn and dripping must be controlled.
The other option is having your hair styled and maintaining the style for an extended period without washing (or wetting) the hair. Your comfort with these considerations determines whether or not you would be happy using a color rinse.
Even if using the color rinse is NOT something you would want to add to your daily routine, it IS always an option for a special occasion. Having your salon stylist add a touch of color to your hair before the big up-style is performed can add some extra “oomph” to your look. This is true whether you want to cover some gray on the big day or simply add a little vibrancy back into your red hair.
See also:
How to color hair
Why we go gray
Gray and graying hair Q&A
How to remove hair color stains from the skin