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

9. Just for Men Shampoo-In

8. Arctic Fox

7. L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte

6. Clairol Age Defy

5. Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids

4. John Frieda Foam Colour

3. Clairol Perfect 10 Kit

2. Garnier Nutrisse

1. Naturtint Permanent

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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