I started dying my hair my permanent colors about three years ago, using a permanent bubble (foam) hair dye. Previous to that, I used Lush’s hennas – Caca Rouge is my preferred color. Lush’s cacas don’t really give much color; they’re more like highlighters. So I switched to permanent dyes with the advent of the bubble foam colors – they are so EASY to use! I haven’t used non-bubble dies until early this year when I saw the Revlon ColorSilk Permanent Hair Color on sale at 50% off. I bought a couple of boxes, number 46 Medium Golden Chestnut Brown and number 30 Dark Brown (which I haven’t used yet).
This particular Revlon brand advertises itself as ammonia free, contains apple extract, with 3D color that leaves hair in better condition, etc. But you should know better than to believe claims that hair dye is good for hair. ALL permanent colors work the same: they strip the hair of its previous color (the lighter the new color, the more stripping) along with some of the hair’s building block. Basically, it’s like stripping the wall of the previous paint, so that a new color can be slapped on and hang on, true to the advertised color. Sometimes they include some oils in the dye, so that hair will seem more shiny after the process. But this effect is temporary.
So yes, permanent dyes are bad for your hair – they will leave hair dry and brittle compared to its pre-dye condition. The extent of the damage can vary, depending on the concentration of the chemical solutions in the product. Not to worry though, hair are basically dead cells once they sprout outside your scalp. They are dead, and nothing can bring it back to live. What you can do is to regularly use products that make hair shiny and frizz-free (moisturizer, masks, oils etc, including silicone-laden products). It’s a lot of hassle but hair color is so fun that it’s worth the hassle, in my opinion. One thing that you really need to avoid is to have dye on your scalp and make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients. Then, you’re good to go.
Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, Medium Golden Chestnut Brown is a nice color, albeit a bit too dark for my taste. I dye my hair myself at home, and the instructions included is easy to follow. The mixture is not too runny and don’t drip. I focus on the outer layer of my hair, and the contrast with the inner layer (very dark brown natural color) is not that extreme. With the way I use it, one box is plenty for my shoulder-length hair that is thick and curly.
A few hours before dying my hair, I soak my hair and scalp with oil (usually coconut oil). Instead of leaving the oil overnight as some people do, I usually coat my hair with oil in the morning, and dye it in the late afternoon. I think soaking hair in oil helps to avoid direct contact with the scalp and avoid hair entering too far into the hair shaft and thus coloring only the surface of the hair. Whether it works, I have not idea but after 3 years of coloring twice or three times a year, my hair is dry but not particularly brittle, so there must be something in that theory.
The resulting hair color from this Revlon hair dye is relatively close to the advertised color in the box – the dye lightened the hair slightly and made it more brown, plus it completely covered the grey hair starting to sprout along my temples. The color lasted about 4 weeks before starting to slowly fade. The conditioner included with the dye is also pretty nice, it moisturized hair and made it smell nice (a strong floral scent).
Overall, it was not an unpleasant experience. This hair color normally retails for around Rp60,000, but is being sold with a relatively few color variation in Indonesia. My preferred color is apricot or beige which I have not seen being sold by Revlon in this series. These colors are available in other brands, in the bubble dye form, and priced about Rp120,000 – Rp150,000 (I usually buy on sale, so that would be Rp80,000 to 100,000). If there is more color selection, I’d buy the Revlon again, perhaps even this Medium Golden Chestnut Brown color, if I want to go a bit darker than the golden apricot that I am partial to.
Bottom line: recommended, especially for those looking to make a hair color change (darker or lighter) that is not too drastic, and to cover grey hair.