Need Advice About OTC Hair Color Products

Updated on November 30, 2009
P.G. asks from Durham, NC
12 answers

Hi all. Ok, I've never colored my own hair before - I've always gone to a salon. I'm asking around to see if anyone has any advice about OTC hair coloring products. I'm looking to save a few $$ and wonder if it is worth it. My hair color is medium blonde (natural). I've done highlights/lowlights in the past, of course, that has grown out:) I'm mainly interested in highlighting products, at least to start off with. I did read a little online that you should use a color that is no more than 2 shades lighter/darker than the natural color. Also, any advice about what brand to use. Thanks in advance.

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answers from Nashville on

Check with the Chamber of Commerce to find groups of stay at
home mothers with preschoolers: MOPS. Or there is another
group of mothers with smaller children, but I can't remember its name. One of those will give both of you a chance to make new friends!!!



answers from Raleigh on

I've been dying my own hair for about 12 years. I have trouble with highlighting though and leave that to the professionals since it never turns out even remotely like I'm hoping for.

As far as all-over dye, it's very easy as long as you stay within a few shades. If you aren't sure, then I suggest trying a semi-permanent dye like Clairol's Natural Instincts. It washes out in approx 28 shampoos (so in roughly a month if you wash your hair daily) and comes with a great conditioner. It's about $8-10 p[er box depending where you buy it.

I've used L'Oreal Feria dye and love the color and the conditioner. It does seem to give more sparkle to hair so that it doesn't seem like the color is as flat. I've used Clairol Herbal Essences which doesn't smell bad like the other dyes, and that's a plus. I've heard that Revlon Colorsilk covers gray well, and it's also very affordable! I like Clairol Hydrience, too. THe important thing to remember regardless of the brand you use is to follow the directions (especially regarding how long to leave it in) and to use the conditioner! You should also do a strand test too since you haven't colored your own hair before and will probably be a bit nervous about the outcome. The strand test will show you what your hair will look like after you dye it.

Going darker is generally easier than going lighter, though you should stay within a few shades unless you want to risk a dramatic change. (I've sported everything from platinum blonde to blood red to light brown and I'm a natural dirty/sandy dark blonde.)



answers from Charlotte on

Go to They have peroxide Free hair color. No damage to hair. Enjoy!


answers from Raleigh on

If you want to do it yourself, only go darker... never lighter. It's pretty easy to do the darker stuff, but highlights can be disasterous and it's worth the money to let a professional do it. Take it from someone with first hand experience. Evidently the bleach products they sell OTC are not as strong as what they have in the salon, therefore you have to leave them on a lot longer. The result is extremely dry and damaged hair. Trust me. The salon is worth the money.



answers from Dallas on

I've been coloring my own for about a year now, and it's super easy! I use the L'oreal and some stores also have the 'highlighting' kits which is using the cap to pull the hair thru to highlight which are easy to use too. Be sure you look at the box to see if it is natural / cool/ or warm to decide which will work best for you.
Good Luck!


answers from Knoxville on

P., No advice about hair coloring but we moved from MO to TN. What part of MO are you from?


answers from Louisville on

never done highlighting i think that would be hard but all over color is easy esp if you have someone with you to make sure you didnt miss anything. i like herbal essence just b/c its not as harsh smelling. hope this helps!


answers from Johnson City on

Funny this came today... I'm getting ready to color my hair this evening :) I use Loreal Excellence Creme... and I have since a friend of mine talked me into it years ago. The conditioner that comes with it is wonderful!

I was paying $25-$30 every six weeks to color my hair at the salon... plus the cost of a hair cut. I now cut my own hair and like it better... and I use the color my friend used on my hair the first time. I use different shades of brown depending on the time of year. You can hold your hair to the pictures on the side of the box to see which shade you want.

I have never tried highlighting... that scares me to be honest because I've seen so many terrible highlighting jobs. That I would not do on my own.



answers from Owensboro on

Clairol. It is about the best hair color on the market. It has been around fr years where as some of the other brands are a lot newer. I have always used Clairol when coloring my hair and I have been dying it myself for close to 19 years now. They have one Clairol hair dye that works on damp hair in just 10 minutes and it works fabulous. It is great at covering gray hair also, as I must say I do have some silver in my hair unless I color it.

I recently dyed my 18 year old daughters hair with a Revlon dye kit and it was such an awful and messy product to work with. The dye became like gel in her hair as it thickened as it hit the air. So i would not recommend using any Revlon Hair Dye kits to anyone.

Stick with Clairol and you will have great results. They have a great choice of colors and their products leave your hair feeling and looking great. Have fun and save time by using Clairol Hair Dye products.

Which ever route you choose to use I wish you great success.




answers from Raleigh on

Welcome to Durham! I live north of C.H., and work in Durham. I am a grandma to 6. Be sure you buy a years membership to the museum of Life and Science, if your little guy can run around. It is such a great place to take children.
I've used hair color products for years and also gone to get it colored. I have a great place I use. She charges $65 for coloring and cut, still high to me. But until I found her, it was $85 in CH. And I substituted in between. And she is right, go way lighter, until you get the feel for it.



answers from Memphis on

I have started to color my own hair for several months now. I only use a solid color no highlight stuff....but I use Clariol. I like turns out just like the hair salon.



answers from Nashville on

I use Revlon color Silk. only 4.00 and covers great, plus the conditioner is awesome!! Good luck and God Bless.

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