Finding the best hair dye can be an obstacle, and we’re here to help you overcome it. From the best drugstore hair dye to the best salon brand hair dye, we’ve got you covered!
I’ve got a confession – I’m a true hair color junkie. In 2016, I changed my hair’s hue about eight times. From jet black to bright purple, I covered the spectrum! You may wonder how I did this while maintaining my ‘beauty on a budget’ mantra. It’s pretty simple; I skipped the salon and took care of my own hair. Not only can doing your hair at home be a fun experience, it can save you a ton of cash. Let’s review some numbers:
- According to one Angie’s List survey, people pay between $50 to $150 per salon visit (these prices reflect the cost of all-over color and/or highlights).
- An article from Empire Beauty Schools states that most dye jobs should be re-done every four to six weeks.
- If you get your hair dyed at a salon every six weeks, you’ll be paying for this service about nine times per year. That means you may pay $450 to $1,350 per year for all over color or highlights.
When you take a look at these facts, you see that finding the best hair dye for at-home use is ideal. There are hundreds of options to choose from and being overwhelmed is natural. That’s why I’ve dedicated this post to the best hair dye options for all hair types. Read on to find the hair dye that’s right for you – bonus tips included!
Best Drugstore Hair Dyes
Revlon ColorSilk Permanent Color
Revlon ColorSilk Permanent hair color is my absolute favorite box dye, and it beat out hair dyes that cost three or four times as much. Honestly, I even preferred it over a $45 salon color treatment. As you can see on Amazon, I’m not the only one who adores this product. This ammonia-free formula is infused with vitamins and silk proteins, so it leaves your hair in good condition post-dye. The enriched dye and complimentary conditioner also made my hair incredibly shiny after each use. Best of all, you can achieve this excellent results for under $6.50.
Garnier Olia Oil Powered Permanent Hair Color
When I was researching the best drugstore hair dyes, Garnier Olia popped up in dozens of articles and beauty forums. I read a lot about this formula, and I can certainly see why! The formula is ammonia-free and comprised of 60% gentle oils from flowering plants and other sources. It hydrates hair and produces an even, natural sheen after you’re done dyeing it. It also provides 100% coverage for gray hair, so it’s ideal for anyone. There are 26 colors available on Amazon, ranging from Dark Soft Mahogany (brunette hair dye) to Champagne Blonde (light blonde hair dye). You can order a box of this highly-rated dye for about $6.
John Frieda Precision Foam Colour
When this foam hair dye started lining store shelves, it instantly became a hit. John Frieda is well-known for their salon-worthy products that are pretty affordable. This hair dye, beloved by over 900 Amazon users, is no exception. The foam is made a unique non-drip formula that makes precise application a breeze. John Frieda offers a Salon Quality Guarantee with this product, stating “Love it or your next colour is on us!”. Amazon provides 20 shades including Natural Black, Lightest Cool Almond Brown, and Dark Caramel Blonde. This formula starts at about $8 per box.
Clairol Nice ‘n Easy
Clairol Nice ‘n Easy has been a popular drugstore hair dye for several years now. It popped up numerous times during my best hair dye research, so naturally, I had to see what it’s all about. One of the first things I noted is that the color lasts up to eight weeks; most box dyes last about 4-6 weeks. The dye also produces a blend of highlights and lowlights, so your hair looks multidimensional and vibrant. You’ve got 31 different shades to choose from that cover the whole spectrum, and this product averages around $7 per box.
L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Color + Shine System
L’Oreal is one of my all-time favorite brands when it comes to haircare. Their EverPure products and Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm are holy grail products for dyed hair, and this dye itself seems to be in the same category. The accompanying conditioner is also enriched with nourishing Vitamin E and shine serum to leave your hair looking glossy and healthy. This L’Oreal product has more than 900 reviews on Amazon, and they are overwhelmingly positive. You can choose from 59 colors, and each box is about $9.
Best Salon Brand Hair Dyes
Wella Color Charm Liquid Permanent Hair Color
When I started using salon hair dye at home, I tried a few different brands. Wella Color Charm is my favorite; the simplicity, quality, and price simply cannot be beaten. I’ve used it to achieve fiery red locks, platinum blonde hair, and even a silvery-grey hue. It provides vibrant and even coverage. I highly recommend pairing Wella Color Charm dyes and toners with Wella Color Charm Creme Developer. There are 147 colors and toners to choose from on Amazon; there’s Black Cherry, Satin Blonde, and everything in between. The prices range from about $5 to $7 per bottle – a true steal!
Matrix Socolor Blended Collection Permanent Cream Hair Color
Matrix is a brand used in thousands of salons, and it has over 200 amazing ratings from buyers on Amazon. This rich, creamy dye is designed to provide deep, full coverage. The formula contains an Alpha Honey Complex of conditioners that enrich your hair while depositing color. To achieve the best results, I suggest pairing Matrix Socolor Permanent Cream Hair Color with Matrix Socolor Cream Developer. There are over 140 colors available on Amazon, and the price averages between $11 to $12.
Schwarzkopf Essensity Permanent Hair Color
Schwarzkopf is another name that I frequently found during my research. I’d heard of the brand before but didn’t know much about it. After reading a bit, I’m sold on this salon hair dye brand. This dye is made of more than 90% natural ingredients, and the formula is cream and oil based. It’s also very gentle; it contains no ammonia, alcohol, parabens, silicones, or formaldehyde derivatives. It provides up to 100% coverage for gray hair and up to four levels of color lift. For best results, this dye should be used with Schwarzkopf Essensity Activating Lotion. This professional dye ranges from about $5.50 to $11.50 per bottle.
Best Natural Hair Dyes
Hannah Natural 100% Pure Henna Powder
If you want the best natural hair dye, a henna dye is a prime option. Hannah Natural dye has impressive feedback from users, and the product details genuinely caught my eye. The formula is 100% chemical free and made from pure henna leaves. Not only does it dye your hair effectively, it leaves it conditioned and doesn’t damage it. If you’ve never worked with henna dye before, don’t worry! Hannah Natural comes with instructions to make the process as simple as possible. You can order this highly-rated dye from Amazon in multiple shades, and it’s about $6.00 per box.
Tints Of Nature Simply Healthier Hair Colour
Tints Of Nature is a brand that someone recommended I check out when I was exploring the best natural hair dye options. I was pleased to see the nearly perfect feedback on Amazon. This natural and primarily organic dye is free of ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, nonoxynol, and other chemicals commonly found in hair dye. The formula provides gray coverages and produces long-term results. You can choose from 20 different shades on Amazon including Natural Light Brown, Natural Platinum Blonde, and several more. The price averages around $12 to $13 per box.
Best Vivid Hair Dyes
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream
Manic Panic is truly my favorite dye for vivid, semi-permanent colors. I’ve used Rockabilly Blue, Virgin Snow, Purple Haze, and more – and my closet is full of more colors! This dye is all-natural, and the color comes from plant based sources. It’s also vegan-friendly and it’s not tested on animals. Despite being gentle, this dye produces shockingly vivid colors. This product makes my hair super soft; I even sleep in it with a cap on when I want ultra-bright locks. If you have dark hair, I recommend using the highly-rated Manic Panic Flash Lightning Bleach 30 Volume Box Kit first. You don’t need any developer to use Manic Panic dye; simply apply it to dry hair and let it set for at least 30 minutes. Tons of Manic Panic colors are available on Amazon, and they range between about $9.50 and $10.50.
Pravana Chromasilk Vivids Hair Color
Pravana is a brand that I heard about in the beauty forums that I frequent. They’re well-known for their vivid hair dye, and it’s easy to see why. Each color is incredibly bright and bold, from Yellow to Silver to Pink. The product is free of parabens and phthalates, so it may be more gentle than other options. The creamy dye contains silk amino acids and keratin amino acids to nourish your hair. It doesn’t have to be mixed with peroxide developer, so it’s simple to use. If you want a long-lasting bold look, choose from one of their 10 stunning shades. They’re all available on Amazon for about $9 to $12 per bottle.
Arctic Fox 100% Vegan Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye
Arctic Fox hair dye has been on my radar for awhile now; it’s often featured on Reddit’s Fancy Follicles and other hair forums. This cruelty-free vegan hair dye produces incredibly vivid colors that look truly electric. The formula is free of harsh chemicals, so it gets the job done without damaging your ‘do. It also conditions your hair as it dyes it, and this makes it ideal for frequent use. As an added benefit, Arctic Fox donates 15% of all profits to resources for fighting animal cruelty. You can choose from eight bold and beautiful shades for about $11 each.
Splat Rebellious Colors Hair Coloring Complete Kit
Splat is another bold hair dye brand that I’ve seen in Fancy Follicles as well as drugstore shelves. A few friends of mine swear by this dye, too, so I decided to check it out. As the name suggests, this all-in-one box kit contains everything you need to achieve vivid hair color. The dye is ammonia free and aloe vera based, and it’s enhanced with soy proteins. The product even contains a hair lightening kit in case you don’t have pre-lightened locks. From Blue Envy to Lusty Lavender, you have several bright, funky colors to choose from. Each one is available on Amazon, and the price ranges from about $9 to $11 per box.
Best Pastel Hair Dyes
In order to achieve pastel hair, you will need hair that is a Level 11 or 12 on the universal hair color chart. If you don’t have naturally light blonde hair, you can bleach and tone it to achieve this color. Here are my picks for the best pastel hair dyes:
Manic Panic Mixer/Pastel-izer
This is yet another favorite Manic Panic product of mine. This simple, impressive product instantly transforms any Manic Panic hair dye into a light pastel shade. Like other products from this brand, the Pastel-izer is ammonia free, peroxide free, and PPD free. It also conditions hair as you color it. I achieve the best results by mixing about two teaspoons of color with an entire jar of Pastel-lizer. You don’t need a developer or anything else; simply mix, apply, and wait for the pastel hair of your dreams! You can order the Manic Panic Pastel-izer for about $7 on Amazon.
Manic Panic Creamtone Perfect Pastel Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream
Manic Panic strikes again! Their Creamtone line features an array of beautiful pastel colors including Dreamsicle (pastel peach), Blue Angel (pastel blue), and a few others. Simply apply it to your pre-lightened hair and leave it on for as long as you’d like. The natural dye conditions and softens hair as it deposits color. When I use Creamtone, I leave the dye on overnight and wear a plastic shower cap. This gives me pristine pastel results! You can snag yourself your favorite Creamtone hue on Amazon for about $10.50
Bonus: Tips For How To Dye Your Hair At Home
Lastly, I want to offer some tips on how to dye hair at home. While I’m no stylist, I’ve been dyeing my hair at home for over 10 years. There was a lot of trial and error in the early years, so I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you:
- Have a friend or family member give you a hand. Dyeing the hair on the back of your head can be tricky. To get the best results, have someone help you. It’s the best way to ensure you get even color. If you can’t get a helping hand, make sure to use a mirror to thoroughly check the back of your head.
- Take a few simple safety measures. Many hair dyes contain chemicals that irritate skin. I line my scalp, neck, and ears with a thin layer of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. It’s super inexpensive and protects my skin. If you have a sensitive scalp, apply Ion Color Brilliance Sensitive Scalp Protector. When I bleach my hair, this Ion product works like a charm.
- If your hair is long, buy an extra box or bottle of dye. This is something I learned through personal experience. I have very thick hair, and I need two bottles of dye once it passes shoulder length. Buy an extra bottle or box, and just keep your receipt in case you don’t use it. Better safe than sorry!
- Set realistic expectations and avoid drastic changes. Making major changes to your hair at home can be tricky. All-over color is one thing, but ombre and bayalage styles are another ballgame. The same goes for bleaching your hair. I personally believe bleaching can be done at home, but research and taking it slow are mandatory. Be realistic and keep things simple.
- Prep your products and tools ahead of time. Before I dye my hair, I set up my arsenal of tools and products. I find it helpful to make a list of items – a comb, clips, plastic cap, etc. – and then I lay them all out. This eliminates the hectic scenario of scrambling to find items while the dye is atop your head.
- Aftercare is an absolute must. Using the right shampoo, conditioner, and conditioning treatments will keep your color vibrant and your hair healthy. My top picks are the L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Moisture and the One N Only Argan Oil Treatment. For bleached or blonde hair, I also recommend Aphogee Balancing Moisturizer & Two-Step Protein Treatment and Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo and Conditioner.
The Best Hair Dyes in 2017: Achieve An Affordable New ‘Do This Year
As you can see from this post, there are tons of options if you want to dye your hair at home. From blonde hair dye to natural hair dye, there is a formula and shade for every preference. Additionally, there’s a product to suit every budget. You can save can save hundreds of dollars per year when you dye your own hair.
In addition to this post, I’ve written some others for our readers with dyed locks. Check out “Best Shampoos for Color Treated Hair – Dye Hards Unite!” and “Best Conditioner for Color Treated Hair – Soothe Your Strands” for excellent product recommendations. As always, the products are always affordable, high-quality, and have stellar ratings. ‘Beauty on a budget’ is always possible! You can also check out another site’s guide to the best hair dyes for men, dudes need sweet ‘dos too!
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