Drugstore Hair Colors Are Not Created Equal

May 21, 2009 by Jennifer Belleau  
Published in Hair

They all do the same thing, but are they all for the same people? I tested many brands to find out.

Garnier 100% Color Ultra-Lift Browns

Totally worth it.  This was the first hair dye I ever used for my own hair, and I was not disappointed.  Here’s what it does: it lifts dark brown hair or black hair up to four levels to a nice golden brown (although it also comes in a cool brown shade, most “cool” shades usually end up golden anyway).  Because it lifts your hair so much, some damage is to be expected, but if you trim your hair afterwards like I did, the results could be good.  My rating? 7-8. Good color, but not the best conditioning power.  Also, warning: don’t use this on color-treated hair.  It won’t lift it.

Garnier 100% Color 

I’ve used this brand of color several times.  I’ve never been disappointed, but I’ve also never been blown away.  The reviews are not-so-good, and if you’ve noticed, drugstores tend to only carry about 5 colors out of the 28 that Garnier 100% Color offers.  There is no spectacular conditioning, but the color is decent.  All and all, I wouldn’t recommend or discourage anyone from using it.  It could go either way.  My rating is a 6.

Garnier Nutrisse Creme Haircolor

A lot of people say this is the best one.  I disagree, but I do think it’s very good.  With all the nourishing avocado oil and other botanicals, it is a less damaging way to dye your hair.  However, I’ve noticed that the color either doesn’t stick, or never shows up in the first place, especially if your hair has been dyed before (see a pattern here?)  I dyed my hair with this for year, usually opting for bright red colors.  They would turn my hair dark reddish brown.  Just be careful about your expectations and you will enjoy it.  I rate it a 7.

Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Nutri-Browns

Much like the Garnier 100% Color Ultra-Lift Browns, this is made to lift dark hair to lighter shades of brown.  However, I’ve used it and I don’t think it works very well.  I used it over dyed dark hair, so perhaps that’s where I went wrong, but not only did it refuse to lift, it lifted my roots and actually darkened the rest of my hair.  Just be careful and only use this on natural hair that hasn’t been dyed (or has been dyed months and months ago).  I rate it a 6.

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4 Responses to “Drugstore Hair Colors Are Not Created Equal”
  1. Livia Says:

    Great work and research here. Thinking of trying Revlon. Never have. THANKS!

  2. nini Says:

    yes i totally agree revlon works great. nice research job.

  3. Anya Says:

    Used to use Loreal Preference- not any longer. I love Revlon Color Silk. I am 30 and have dark brown hair with greys in my hairline/roots. I have tried just about every drugstrore brand out there and Revlon Colorsilk is my new staple. It’s does not have an unpleasant odor, nor did it color my hair black instead of dark brown. My hair feels shiny and healthy and the color is spot on! Very happy with this product.

  4. Apryl Says:

    Excellent recommendation!! I always used to avoid this product since it was so cheap. The color turned out awesome, looked exactly like the picture on the box.


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