My experiments with Instagram-sold beauty products have been almost entirely disastrous. Once in a while, adverts for some miraculous face mask, magic hair tool or unfeasibly easy-to-apply false lashes chase me so aggressively around my feed that I end up reaching for my debit card in the name of professional research. Invariably, when the product arrives many weeks later, it is at best underwhelming, at worst bin-worthy tat.
Consequently, my hopes for Shrine temporary hair colourant were low, but when my own hairdresser asked what I thought of them, I felt it my job to have an answer, and bought several bottles.
It was, though, genuine devotion that made me place another order this week. The British brand’s unique selling point is its easy, “lo-plastic” hair dye concept. Instead of mixing bottles, disposable gloves, brushes and other wasteful paraphernalia, Shrine Drop It consists of a tiny glass dropper bottle containing what is essentially food colouring for hair. You fill the little reusable silicone bowl (included in the starter pack, £12.99) with any conditioner: for this column, I tried a £1 generic supermarket conditioner, a £30 designer equivalent and lots in between, which all worked equally well. Then you add the desired number of drops and mix. One or two drops is subtle, the instructions say, while four to six is extreme.
You then apply the conditioner mix to shampooed hair, from root to tip, and after 10 minutes, rinse out as normal. On bleached, highlighted or grey hair, the effects are the most even and noticeable of any temporary toning product I’ve tried (and I’ve tested more than 50 this year). And because Shrine is mixed into your favourite conditioner, your hair isn’t left feeling straw-like.
The effect is temporary, with the colour fading over around four washes (your mileage may vary). I rotate between Shrine’s White (my favourite), Silver and Ash varieties, but those with a more daring disposition will enjoy the Peach, Rose, Lilac or Aqua.
Shrine is not without the usual limitations of temporary and semi-permanent colourant: friends with brown, black and red hair reported little significant change to their natural colour. But as someone with lightened locks who is wholly reliant on wash-out toners to eliminate yellow tones and switch up my hair colour, I am amazed to report that Shrine is some of the best cash I’ve ever spent.