How to keep red hair vibrant without damaging it: Manic Panic in your conditioner!


I did a previous write-up on keeping your red hair from fading before, but even that was leaving my hair a dull carrot red. Not the look I wanted!



After new method:


Mega difference, right? So how do I keep it this vibrant?

The secret is…..Manic Panic!

But I don’t use it the way you might be thinking. I don’t want to go through the trouble of dying my hair all the time to keep the color. Since manic panic is semi-permanent, it will mostly wash out by the end of the week. So to keep the color in my hair, I actually pour the manic panic into my conditioner and wash my hair with it once a week. I use regular shampoo and conditioner for the rest of the week [only washing my hair every other day] and at the end of the week I’ll get in the shower, shampoo my hair, then put the manic panic conditioner right in my wet hair. I’ll put my hair up in a clip, and wash my body, face, shave, whatever for 10 minutes, then wash it out. Sometimes I feel like I need a little more color in my hair so I’ll actually put it in my hair, step out of the shower for thirty minutes [usually tying a grocery bag around my head or I’ll use a shower cap if I have one] and let it go to work. The best part about this? Manic panic doesn’t damage hair, and the conditioner leaves it super soft.

A couple of warnings:

It’s messy. you will have tons of color run-off when washing. It will get on your towels. It will get on your shower curtain. It can stain plastics. So really think about where you are putting it on before doing this. I just do it in my shower and try not to get the dye on the walls or curtain liner. I advise you to buy a designated red towel before venturing into dying your hair red, just to avoid ruining all other towels. A plastic shower curtain liner is also a good thing.

It stains skin. I have to wear gloves every time I do this and it somehow always ruins my manicure. Luckily it’s fairly easy to scrub off skin with soap and a washcloth, but then you have a stained washcloth. Soooo….

You pretty much have to do it once a week. Manic panic doesn’t stay in hair long enough for this to be monthly but neither does red permanent dye. This has been the easiest and cheapest way for me to maintain my hair. Red is SUPER difficult to keep up with due to the large color molecules running faster.

Manic Panic won’t dye dark roots. So if you have them, buy the Loreal HiColor and some developer to use once a month on your roots.


I’ve been doing this for about 3 weeks now and it has really been working to keep my hair bright. I personally use Manic Panic in Vampire Red. A tub costs about $14.

As for how to mix it, I used a full bottle [12 oz, I think] of John Frieda conditioner and a full tub of manic panic. This is kind of a heavily colored ratio, but it works well in my hair. You can start by adding less and add more as you work to find a good ratio. A very important tip: Mix outside. If the conditioner you are using doesn’t have a wide enough mouth to pour back into it, try using an empty bottle from something else. Just make sure it has a pump lid, a squirt lid, or any narrow dispenser. Putting it in a jar is a bad idea; Slippery hand and an open jar of hair dye is bad, bad news.

This also doesn’t only apply to red hair! Colors like blue, green, orange, and even pastels can benefit from this. Rather than subject your hair to a bleach-and dye once a month only to have a half month of nice color, try this as a safer method : )


4 responses to “How to keep red hair vibrant without damaging it: Manic Panic in your conditioner!

  1. Great idea! There’s actually a shampoo and conditioner called Riveting Reds by Quantum that is specially made for us colored red heads. It has red color in the shampoo and conditioner. You leave it in your hair for 3-5 minutes (I leave it in there for 10 lol) and it helps keep your red hair vibrant. It works pretty good, too! Makes red last longer, about 6 weeks. By then you need your roots done anyway so it’s perfect timing. It’s a little messy like your method because it has red color in it so it can stain towels and the plastic liner of the shower. Other than that it’s a pretty good product. Your idea is awesome! I’m gonna try it :)


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