I’ve had gray hair since I was 17 years old. Over the years it’s gotten progressively more noticeable to the point that I started having to dye my roots on a regular basis when I was twenty-six. I know this because I’ve kept a diary of the progression of gray until I had so many that I wasn’t able to count them all anymore. At 31 years old, I even have one gray eyebrow hair because life is that unfair sometimes.
My go-to hair dye for several years has been Clairol’s Nice n Easy Root Touch Up mainly because it’s cheap and blends nicely with my actual hair color. Last February, I decided to start an experiment and buy different brands of hair dye each month until I found one that I thought was the best. The two main criteria I wanted in a hair dye consisted of my hair not feeling dried out and a color that lasted for at least four weeks. While the results below are totally subjective and were not conducted in any sort of controlled environment and there are about a million confounding variables, my Master’s degree is partially in Research so I think you can trust me, at least a little bit:
1. February 22, 2012: Clairol’s Nice n Easy Root Touch Up. I started the experiment off with my go-to brand. The application brush that comes with the packet makes the color easy to apply. I usually leave the color on for at least 20 minutes since I have some pretty stubborn grays. This brand does not come with any fancy conditioner to “soften” your hair from the harsh effects of the dye, so I typically use a heavy conditioner on my ends after I wash it out.
2. March 19th, 2012: Loreal Healthy Look Creme Gloss Hair Color. (Hair Color #1 lasted for almost a month. Pretty good results, at least for me.) The Loreal hair color is ammonia free. Big plus. It also comes with fancy conditioner. Except the fancy conditioner leaves my hair feeling sort of heavy so I only use it once. The color blends nicely, but my roots start to show after two weeks.
3. In order to combat the fact that my roots are starting to show, I try Aveda’s Black Malva Color Conditioner. The conditioner works but it leaves my hair a little darker than I like it. However, I think this is my fault for leaving the conditioner in too long– about 20 minutes when the bottle says to leave it in for 2 – 5 minutes.
4. April 9, 2012: I can’t remember what I used this date. I just wrote down Loreal. However, it’s worth pointing out that Hair Color #2 lasted roughly three weeks even with the added help of the Aveda conditioner.
5. May 4, 2012: Loreal Root Rescue. Their website says this color uses a low ammonia formula. The applicator is neat, but I still prefer the Clairol brush. This is my least favorite hair dye. Some of the gray in my bangs just turn a blondish color instead of my normal dark brown. After about a week, I start to see gray again and my hair feels dried out. Not good.
6. June, 2012. I lose about a month of my life to wedding planning. I don’t remember anything that happens this month, except that I start two summer classes and wear lots of headbands to cover my roots.
7. June 28, 2012. I have my roots professionally dyed at a salon in downtown St. Petersburg in order to look my best for the wedding. Honestly, the results look exactly the same to me as when I do it myself, and three weeks later my roots are showing again.
8. July 27, 2012. Clairol Nice N Easy New Non-Permanent Hair Color. After wearing headbands for a week in an effort to make the results of Hair Color #7 last, I finally broke down and used this new Clairol brand. It’s much too early to say whether this color lasts or not, but I can tell you that it is my absolute favorite so far of all the brands I’ve tried. The color blends perfectly and the fancy conditioner that comes with the packet is awesome. Also, no ammonia. I really hope the color lasts so that I can make this my new brand. (In all fairness, I also started using a new shampoo which I think has contributed to how soft and nice my hair currently feels and looks.)
So, that is the end of the great hair color experiment of 2012. I hope you find some of these results helpful. Sorry for the lack of pictures but, honestly, my hair looks about the same every time I dye it no matter what color I used. FYI: I used “dark brown” color for all the hair colors described above.