Emily is 32 and lives in Boston with her funny boyfriend. She is a beauty school dropout who cannot stop cutting her own hair. She can be found obsessing about cheese and her cat at Pretty Crabby or talking about products endlessly at Tallulah Blue. She has not seen her real hair color since 1990.
When I was 15, I started using Sun In. That was all it took for me to become hooked on the cheap and easy hair dye in a box. Ever since I have been buying and trying every kind of dye you can get at CVS, Target, and the like. I have never had my hair dyed professionally. While I can easily justify spending $200 on a new handbag, it is really hard for me to spend that much on my head. I am not sure why this is. Maybe because it doesn’t last the same way a new leather bag does. After six weeks your hair has grown out and faded, but man, that bag is still so pretty.
In the 18 or so years that I have been dying my hair, I have found a few favorite dyes and now I am here to share them with you! You can learn from the times when my hair was so bleached out it was blue (true story) or when the brown decided not to hang around and it all ended up sort of orange and… splotchy. Please, learn from my mistakes. Your hair will thank you.
Garnier Nutrisse Hair Color – Sometimes I stray and use one of the below but I always find myself coming back to Garnier. It’s so easy and it has this Fruit Oil Concentrate capsule which you add to the dye and it all smells really good (mainly because the smell of the oil is covering the smell that most dyes have, ammonia). This is the one I used most recently, a brown which is not brassy or reddish (I try to stay away from red undertones because I am so fair and I can end up looking like an orange). I wish this one came with more conditioner though, it has a little packet so you have about enough for one use.
Cost: Between $6 and $7 Degree of Difficulty: Easy to Medium, three tubes to mix together. But nothing very tricky about it.
Loreal Feria – This dye claims it has “multi faceted shimmering color”! I don’t really know what that means (well, yes, I do. It’s like wearing sequins on your head, am I right?) but the color sure looks nice! I have found this one to last a long time and it also has a nice amount of conditioner which lasts for a few shampoos. I like Feria for when I go blonde in the summer, it is not as flat as some of the other blonds I’ve tried. I think because as well as taking the color out of your hair (bleaching it) it deposits a few different colors back on top – creating the afore mentioned “multi faceted” whosee whatsit.
Cost: About $10 Degree of Difficulty: Easy (Just two tubes to mix together, and then put on your head Voila!)
Loreal Couleur Experte – This is another one I use a fair amount. I also turned my mother on to this and she does it herself at home. This is the one you have seen in commercials and magazines with that freakish looking silver wand. (Seriously, does my hair dye also need to resemble a sex toy? Probably not.) That silver wand is one of the three tools you get to add highlights to your hair. First step is dying your whole head with the main color and then the second step is highlights.
The thing about the highlights is that they give you way too much of the lighter color. You should do what my mom does and mix it all together and then throw AT LEAST half of it away. No one (except perhaps Christina Agulara) needs so many highlights. The second tip I will give you is do the highlights SPARINGLY. Put much less than you think you need on your hair. I would suggest doing four small pieces of hair (evenly spaced along your part, or all towards the front) then rinsing the dye out and if you feel like need more you can do more. Once you do too much, you cannot go back. Better to do less and add more later, the bleach will not go bad. You can even put it in Tupperware and put it in the fridge and go back and do some more tomorrow. At the worst, it will just seem like you spent a day at the beach. My what gorgeous highlights you have!
Cost: $15 – $20 Degree of Difficulty: Medium (Due to the tools, mixing and steps. But you can do it. Really. You can!)
Good luck! Your wallet will thank you and so will your head.