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7 Products I Recommend for Healthy Dyed Hair on a College Budget

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

I’ve been experimenting with my hair for a while now, starting with a bold move from dark brown to blonde. It was a fun DIY journey with friends helping out, but maintaining the blonde became time-consuming and costly. So, I switched back to brown and added red tones, which surprisingly looked great and didn’t damage my hair like bleaching did. Here are affordable products you can use for this type of hair transformation, suitable for any hair type and available at your local grocery store!


In true Tallahassee supermarket fashion, your favorite dye may be out of stock when you get there. Although I love the Schwarzkopf Color Ultime dye, I’ve found two others that produce the same results for my favorite color and offer a wide range of shades: Garnier Nutrisse and L’Oréal Feria. These usually come with a tiny bottle of on-brand conditioner (the higher quality one is Garnier), which I use a bit of. Still, I recommend following up with a quarter-sized squeeze of argan oil conditioner. You can adjust the amount of argan oil conditioner depending on the length, type, and thickness of your hair.

The sides of these box dyes have a color reference to predict the result based on hair color (starting at medium blonde and ending at dark brown). Even application is key. The picture shows the results on 3B hair.

Splat semi-permanent dye (Midnight ruby)

Semi-permanent dyes are an awesome way to touch up between permanent dye sessions, and they’re much kinder to your hair (and the animals!) since they don’t contain ammonia and peroxide. These dyes lose a bit of hue with every wash but will last from about 10 to 20 washes depending on hair type. As a rule of thumb, straight and thin hair will usually wash out faster.

Madison Reed Color Therapy (Rubino)

These hair masks run on the pricier side at $22 apiece, but trust me when I say they’re worth the money. Coupled with the semi-permanent treatments (which I tend to skip every other month to save money), these can help extend the time spent between permanent dye sessions even more.

I use about a quarter-sized amount every other wash, starting at the middle and running it through the ends of my hair. I usually do this a few weeks after applying either permanent or semi-permanent dye. With this routine, I can go about two months before I need to dye my hair again. My experience only applies to those with 1A to 2A hair though. The frequency of use and amounts should be increased based on thickness and curl shape.

Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment

I give this conditioner half of the credit for nursing my hair back to health after my blonde era. With how affordable it is at $5 a bottle, I can’t believe it’s real. The reason it works so well is because it’s a heat protectant, general damage eraser, and scalp nourisher with the Vitamin E and fatty acids it provides.

Mielle Rosemary Mint leave-in conditioner

This is the other miracle worker I wanted to mention. There’s a study out there that says rosemary oil can help stimulate hair follicles to grow! This one is better for scalp treatments (starting with small amounts for straight and thin hair and increasing as needed for those with curls and thicker hair), but it’s also great for split ends.

Shea Moisture Hydrate & Repair Leave-In

This brand and its products are an absolute godsend for all hair types. I like to mix this one with the rosemary oil leave-in to get the maximum effects. I find that this leave-in is a bit better at moisturizing my hair while the rosemary is better at restoration.

These products have been vital to keeping my color bright and my hair healthy on a budget, and I encourage everyone reading to incorporate them into their routine. It’s amazing what they can do, and you don’t even need to be dyeing your hair to benefit from them!

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Elena currently studies psychology and biology at Florida State University. In her free time, she loves to dance, write, draw, and try all kinds of foods.