The 10 Best Hair Dyes

Updated March 02, 2018 by Sheila O'Neill

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We spent 37 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. We're "dye-ing" to see how you look once you've applied one of these hair colors (groan). But seriously, our selection of home-use products includes a range of hues in both natural shades, like blonde and brown, and bright, fun options, like pink and purple. Whatever look you're going for, you don't need an expensive salon visit to achieve it. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hair dye on Amazon.

10. Vidal Sassoon Pro Series

Vidal Sassoon Pro Series comes in intense shades that can give you the chic, fashion-forward look you want, without having to go to the salon and pay an arm and a leg. Each color is a perfect blend of high-impact pigments, resulting in anything from blonde to black.
  • takes only one application
  • works on extremely dark hair
  • long locks require more than one box
Brand Vidal Sassoon
Model NA
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Just for Men Shampoo-In

Just for Men Shampoo-In is a natural-looking option that targets grays to help give you a more youthful appearance. Its non-drip formula takes only five minutes to work and is designed for use in the shower, so there's no need to interrupt your routine too much.
  • lasts until the gray grows back in
  • contains protein vitamin e and aloe
  • may stain your scalp and forehead
Brand Just for Men
Model 4935
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox is semi-permanent, made entirely from vegan ingredients, and 100% cruelty-free. It's a good choice for those who want to go with a punk rock look, as it come in options like aquamarine, phantom green, and purple rain.
  • made in the usa
  • gentle enough for frequent use
  • brightness of results may vary
Brand Arctic Fox
Model AF-AQUAMARINE #1
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte

L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte uses a two-step process that takes about 30 minutes to apply and lasts for four to six weeks. It comes with a special fingertip device that allows you to create highlights quickly and with precision.
  • 13 shades named after desserts
  • illuminating powder included
  • difficult to use by yourself
Brand L'Oreal Paris
Model CX
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Clairol Age Defy

Clairol Age Defy was specifically designed for those who need to cover their grays in order to look a bit younger. It provides a youthful sheen that appears natural to the eye and the touch, and is available in a wide variety of unassuming shades.
  • comes with conditioning therapy
  • softens coarse locks
  • produces a strong scent when applied
Brand Clairol
Model NA
Weight 0.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids

For bold hues, look no further than Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids. It comes in ten exciting colors that are sure to impress. Stand out with a bright shade or mix with conditioner to achieve a lighter pastel that's a bit less of a shock to the system.
  • paraben- and ammonia-free
  • not tested on animals
  • lasts 5 weeks and fades gradually
Brand Pravana
Model 7501438381288
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. John Frieda Foam Colour

Choose from 28 shades with John Frieda Foam Colour, which consists of a no-drip lather instead of the messy liquids of its competitors. This makes it easier to spread the dye deep into your roots and other hard-to-reach places.
  • doesn't dry out during application
  • sealant included for lasting results
  • easy to apply by yourself
Brand John Frieda PFC
Model 717226162060
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Clairol Perfect 10 Kit

For rich color and a glossy finish, use the Clairol Perfect 10 Kit. Application is an easy, 10-minute process that anybody can do at home, even if they have no experience. Plus, it's extremely affordable and available in a wide variety of hues.
  • lasts up to 60 days
  • provides 100 percent grey coverage
  • includes conditioning creme
Brand Clairol
Model 10381519022071
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Garnier Nutrisse

Garnier Nutrisse is infused with avocado, olive, and shea oils that are meant to provide a smooth, silky finish. It comes with a fruit oil concentrate that sinks deep into hair fibers, making them better nourished and conditioned.
  • cream base doesn't drip
  • gentler than most competitors
  • costs under ten dollars
Brand Garnier
Model U-HC-1976
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Naturtint Permanent

Naturtint Permanent uses 100% organic ingredients to give you a natural, new look. It will leave your tresses soft, shiny, and healthy, and it doesn't have much of a chemical smell, which should make application all the more pleasant.
  • environmentally friendly
  • cruelty-free and vegan
  • results look impressively authentic
Brand Naturtint
Model 82216
Weight 8.5 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

History Of Hair Dyes

People have been dying hair for nearly as long as we have been a human race. Many archeologists believe that early man may have used plants, insects, and other minerals to paint their hair and bodies. This was most likely done to better camouflage themselves while hunting. There is even recorded evidence of the Egyptians using henna to cover grey hairs as far back as 1500 BCE.

In addition to creating a disguise, there are numerous other reasons people have dyed their hair throughout history. Some cultures have used hair dyes in an attempt to appear fiercer to enemies, others as a means to attract a mate, or appear younger.

There has also been cultural and class significance attributed to specific hair colors throughout history. Depending on the era, particular hair colors have positive and negative connotations. For example, in the 1st century BCE the Guals dyed their hair red as a mark of class. Later on in the Dark Ages, red hair was associated with witchcraft. The arrival of Queen Elizabeth I hailed a change in the perception of redheads once again as her natural auburn hair become a reflection of her royal status and was soon imitated.

In 300 BCE, when hair dying was first introduced to Roman society, hair color was directly related to social status. Poor women dyed their hair black, those of the middle-class blonde, and noble women chose hues of red and auburn. There was even a time when it was decreed by law, that prostitutes must have blonde hair. In the Renaissance era, women favored blonde and golden hair because of its angelic connotations.

Various chemicals and plant elements have been used for hair dying throughout the centuries. Most early hair dyes were obtained from plants and insects, such as Lawsonia inermis, also known as henna, turmeric, and black walnut. Romans used a combination of earth worms, ashes, and black walnut to color hair grey. The first synthetic hair dye was created by the founder of L'Oréal, Eugène Schueller, in 1907. Forty years later in 1947, the first home hair coloring product was released by a German cosmetics firm.

What To Know Before Dying Your Hair

It is important to have realistic expectations for dying your hair. You should also understand your hair type and color prior to the dying process. It is impossible to go from dark brunette to natural, healthy looking blonde hair in one step. On the other hand, it is much easier for a light-haired blonde to attain dark brunette hair in just one or two dying sessions.

For best results, drastic hair color changes should not be achieved in just one attempt. Think of it as a gradual process: when the color change is subtle, perhaps just a few shades off from your natural hair color, you'll avoid a drastic unnatural look. Unless of course, drastic is the end result you're achieving, then all the power to you. Also consider trying on a wig before you pick your color. This will allow you to determine if the new shade is right for you before making a commitment.

Understanding your hair type will make the hair dye process easier. If you have sensitive skin, foam formulas are best because there is less chance of them dripping down and causing irritation. For women with thick, curly hair, using a gel formula is best. It will be easier to evenly distribute throughout, resulting in a more natural looking finish.

Tips For A Great Hair Dye

When picking a hair dye color, it is best to go with a choice that is one to two shades lighter than the color you desire. More than not, hair dyes tend to appear darker than advertised, depending on your natural hair color that is. Also keep in mind your hair length. Realizing your dye supply is dwindling and you've only covered half of your scalp would not be the end of the world, only extremely inconvenient and slightly embarrassing.

Ideally you should also skip shampooing your hair the day before the dye job. This allows your scalp to build up some excess oils which will help protect the skin from chemicals in the dye. It also makes it easier to section off areas of your hair to work with.

Once you are ready to start dying, do a patch test on a small section of your hair that can be cut out if it goes wrong. This will help you determine if the color will come out as you expect it or if it appears too many shades off for your liking. It also gives you a chance to test your scalp for any adverse reactions to the skin dye.

When you apply the dye to your entire head of hair, always start at the roots. They need the most color and the most processing time for the dye to set. Once you have incorporated it into the roots, comb it out through the rest of the hair to distribute it evenly.


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Last updated on March 02, 2018 by Sheila O'Neill

Sheila is a writer, cosplayer, and juggler who lives in Southern California. She loves sitting down with a hot cup of tea and coming up with new ideas. In her spare time, Sheila enjoys drawing, listening to podcasts, and describing herself in the third person.


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