The 10 Best Hair Dyes

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This wiki has been updated 38 times since it was first published in March of 2015. We think you'll love the way you look once you've applied one of these hair dyes. Our selection of home-use products includes a range of tints in both natural shades, like blond 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. These make it easy to create the desired aesthetic at your bathroom sink. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Naturtint Permanent

2. Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids

3. Clairol Age Defy

Editor's Notes

November 26, 2020:

We removed the Clairol Nice'N Easy Crème and replaced it with the Revlon Colorsilk. It also offers shades of red that were offered by Clairol, though Revlon offers even more tones, all at an incredibly affordable price. The Clairol claims to cause fewer allergic reactions compared to some other models, which is why we included the Lime Crime Unicorn. It’s a semi-permanent option for those not willing to commit to having a bold hair color, and is PETA verified vegan and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free. It does not contain sulfates, ammonia, bleach, or peroxide, leaving it with a gentle smell. We also chose to remove the Vidal Sassoon Pro since it doesn’t offer a wide variety of color options compared to Revlon. Some colors may not show up well on dark hair, so you might need to use a bleach kit to achieve the look you're after.

We decided to leave the Naturtint Permanent at the top since it contains a wide variety of ingredients that may leave your hair feeling healthy and smooth after dying it, such as meadowfoam seed oil, sunflower extract, and pea extracts. Although it may appear to be a product of the early 2000s, we felt it was important to leave the L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte. People in this day and age are still interested in getting specific highlights, such as balayage, frosted, or ribbon highlights. These types of highlights may be difficult to achieve on your own at home, so it may be wise to ask your roommate or your significant other to help apply the dye.

Some people claim to have allergic reactions to certain dyes, so read the list of ingredients in the model you chose to prevent any discomfort. Apply the dye in a well-ventilated area to help prevent the fumes from entering your lungs.

May 01, 2019:

One of the biggest concerns with coloring one's hair at home is that you'll miss a spot, or somehow do it wrong, leaving your house looking like a striped tiger. That's why we looked for hair dye kits that help prevent these mishaps. John Frieda Foam Colour comes out of the bottle as a foam which, unlike more liquidy varieties, is very easy to spread thoroughly over your locks and cover every strand with. L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte lets you create those salon-quality highlights with its included finger comb, allowing you to perfectly place that brighter tint exactly where you want it for a sun-kissed look. If covering up grays is your main concern, we have a couple of options for you. Clairol Age Defy and Just for Men Shampoo-In are both especially good at covering up those stubborn, unsightly strands that reveal your age. As for those just hoping to swap from one natural color to a new one for a re-defined look, Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing is a great option, as it's available in some of the most popular ordinary colors, and it takes very well to most previous shades. Clairol Nice'N Easy Crème is another great choice, and is particularly favored amongst those going for a strawberry blonde or red color. As for people who love dye because it can create colors that nature simply can't, there's Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent and Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids.

Special Honors

r/HairDye If you have a question about hair dye or are interested in finding some inspiration for your next look, consider searching through this subreddit. It contains a lot of useful information from how to bleach your hair to how to remove a certain dye in a pinch.

4. Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent

5. Revlon Colorsilk

6. John Frieda Foam Colour

7. Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing

8. Lime Crime Unicorn

9. L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte

10. Just for Men Shampoo-In

History Of Hair Dyes

People have been dying hair for nearly as long as we have been a human race.

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 B.C.E.

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 B.C.E. 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 B.C.E., 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.

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.

Max Karpecki
Last updated by Max Karpecki

Max is a writer from sunny San Diego, where she grew up performing in plays and improv shows. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a bachelors in Theater Arts and continues to specialize in different forms of comedy in Los Angeles. Apart from the liberal arts sector of her life, Max enjoys building and troubleshooting computers. However, she has found a way to mix her passions together by streaming video games online, which has led to her meeting new friends from all around the world. Her expertise ranges from categories such as rock climbing, sewing, pets, skin care, computers, and board games.

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