Color to dye for

Aleks(andra) is an editor in Chicago. When she’s not writing, attending sporting events with her husband, testing recipes, or watching teen-centered dramas, you can find her in the salon haircare aisles of Ulta and Sephora. She’ll be reviewing higher-end products for Hair Thursday.

A few weeks ago my husband looked deep into my eyes and said:

“You’ve got some long gray hairs in the front.”

Harumph. I haven’t even hit the big 3-0, yet I’ve been finding the odd gray hair since college. Lately they’re not so odd, and they tend to be clustered right in my part and side-swept bangs.

For about as long as I’ve had grays, I’ve been experimenting with home hair dye with decent results (notwithstanding the time my cousin give me “chunky” highlights in the late 90s). As long as I stay within a couple shades of my natural color, a rich, medium brown, I could add shine and depth and mostly cover up those stray grays – while saving on professional coloring.

But, with the grays multiplying, I was considering getting my stylist involved. Enter Frederick Fekkai, maker of the beloved Glossing Crème. The celebrity stylist introduced Fekkai Salon Color, an at-home dye that promised salon results. I ordered Natalie – Medium Golden Brown (5W) – and blocked out a Sunday afternoon. Let me break it down for you:

Instructions: Clear and include helpful advice about using a clarifying shampoo once a week prior to coloring and putting conditioner or lotion around your hairline to keep dye from staining your skin.

Application: The method sets this dye apart. Instead of a squirt bottle that you shake and squeeze over your hair, you get a bowl and brush to mix the color, a pre-treatment, and an excellent post-coloring treatment conditioner. You paint the color on like a stylist would, and the mixture is thick, almost pudding-like, so it doesn’t drip. The processing time is 35 minutes, so keep a magazine handy.

Color: The color was lustrous and natural. It’s a little redder than my natural color, but my hair tends to “pull red” (stylist term) when I use warm and some neutral hair colors, but looks too flat with cool colors.* The gray coverage was excellent – better than any home dye I’ve tried. (Tip look for the number and letter on your hair dye box to see what category it falls into: W=warm, C=cool, and N= neutral and 2=dark and 8=light.)

Value: At $30 a box, Fekkai Color is nearly three times as much as regular home dyes, but a bargain compared to salon coloring, which runs $76-96 for single process at my salon.

Final verdict: For the easier-to-control application process and lovely results, I think it’s worth it. If you’re not happy with your at-home hair dye, but not ready to shell out for the pros, give it a whirl. (Or, should I say whoorl?)

  1. Martha

    April 14, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Does it work the same way if your just squeeze all the colour out of the bottle into a bowl and buy your own brush?

  2. Lyndsay

    April 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I noticed on the the link you provided that he only has N, W & R colors – no cool. Interesting.