Modern hair dying options in the United States are almost infinite: brown, black, blonde, auburn, green, pink, blue, and really any color under the sun. Hair dye is, undoubtedly, one of the most commonly used cosmetic products. Why do we use them?

These products are just made to conceal our greys. A little extra color can go a long way, from improving our self-image, to highlighting other facial features, to giving us a whole new identity. Contrary to popular conventional wisdom, not all hair dyes destroy hair. The below article was made to help address and fears, concerns, or questions you might have about hair dye and the coloring process.

Key Facts

  • Hair dye products are made to infuse certain colors into your hair. There are myriad options out there that differ in color, ingredients, and the duration of the dye.
  • dying your hair isn’t simply useful to mask appearing grey hair. It can help on both a psychological and cosmetic level as well.
  • While it is certainly true that some products damage your hair, not all do. On the contrary, some actually nourish your hair while also coloring it.

Ranking: The best hair dye products on the U.S. market

The below section was made to give you a better of idea of some of the best products on the market. We have curated a list of five of the most popular. Each product is described in detail so that it is simple for you to choose the one that suits you best. We are certain this information will help you get something you will be happy with.

No. 1: Hannah Natural – 100% Pure Henna Power

Hannah Natural’s 100% Pure Henna Powder is exactly that: made from 100 per cent pure henna leaves. This is a completely chemical-free product, so it is a safe alternative for those who find other coloring products irritate their scalp and surrounding skin, and who want something lighter on their hair. Each box comes with two 50 gram packs, gloves for application, a shower cap, and a list of detailed instructions. Is is made in India, where henna is an ancient, and still incredibly popular dye for men and women.

This is a great product for people who want to add some color to their hair, but don’t want anything unnatural (color wise). Never again deal with chemical build up in your hair when you use a henna-based product. For the price, this is a hard product to beat, especially considering you are using something that is much better for your head, and much better for the environment when you wash it down the drain.

No. 2: Pravana – ChromaSilk Vivids

Pravana’s ChromaSilk Vivids provide you with myriad high quality color options that take the dye right to the hair’s cortex for long-lasting, vibrant color. The secret to this formula is the silk amino acids that help drive the color in deep. Additional keratin amino acids fortify your hair to ensure that the color stays in as long as possible. This dye is strong, so make sure to use it carefully and to not get it on anything you don’t want stained.

It tends to last around five to six washes, so this is not going to stay in as long as, say, a professional treatment at a salon would. At just over $10, this is an inexpensive product that is well-liked by both men and women all over the United States. One way to get more life out of this dye is if you use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Depending on any existing colors in your hair, it may combine for a different color when used concurrently.

No. 3: Garnier – Nutrisse Nourishing Hair Color Creme

Garnier is one of the most well-liked and popular hair care lines out there, and their Nutrisse Nourishing Hair Color Creme comes in dozens of different shades to suit any style or preference. Made to give you permanent, rich color, while also including the necessary vitamins and amino acids to keep your hair strong and radiant. It has avocado, olive, and shea oils that your hair will absolutely love.

Garnier gives you a color that is sure to standout and draw compliments. Whether you are looking to change shades just because, or you want something that is going to cover up those grey hairs, Garnier’s 45 shades have got you covered. The non-drip formula goes in easy and spreads evenly throughout your hair for thorough coverage. If you are looking for something that is as close to salon-quality hair coloring as you can get outside of a stylist’s chair, then Garnier is a great option.

No. 4: Clairol – Natural Instincts Crema Keratina Hair Color (semi-permanent)

Clairol is another name that is instantly recognizable to American women when talking about hair care products and specialists. In just twenty minutes you can inject a boost of radiant color into any hair, and the keratin ensures that you are not damaging your luscious locks in the process. The ammonia-free formula, and coconut oil conditioner are tailor made to keep hair as vibrant and happy as possible while dying. Being a semi-permanent coloring product, this dye doesn’t infuse into the hair shaft itself, but coats the strands instead.

Designed to last for up to 28 shampoos, you get incredible salon-style coloring without the commitment. This is an easy coloring package that eliminates the mess and cleanup of many other treatments. The non-drip formula  makes the dying creme simple to evenly massage throughout your hair and rinses of easy. This is a gentler product than many similar products on the market, so give it a try if you have sensitive skin and damaged hair.

No. 5: L’Oreal Paris – Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color

L’Oreal Paris is a brand that requires no introduction, and their Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color is one of the most loved grey coverage hair dyes out there. Whether you have a few, or a lot of gray hairs that need tending to, this product replenishes, conditions, and seals in that color to helps ensure your hair is well protected in between coloring. This treatment comes in permanent, temporary, and semi-permanent variations so there is something out there for everyone.

It comes in 35 different rich, luxurious shades from blonde to black, and the pro-keratin collagen complex nourishes your hair while dying it, so you avoid the dried out look that is associated with cheaper, less reputable dying packages. Apply the pre-color ceramide treatment to avoid color buildup around your ends. If you are looking for a box hair dye set that gives salon-quality treatments a run for their money, Excellence by L’Oreal Paris is a fantastic option beloved by American women.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about hair dye

There are some important buying criteria to have in mind when considering which hair dye to go with. In the following section we have put together some information regarding those criteria and how to go about making an informed purchase. We have also answered some of the common questions American consumers tend to have.

There’s no set time for when you can start dyeing your hair, nor how often you have to do it.
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What is a hair dye product exactly?

Also referred to as hair coloring, hair dyes are made to provide your hair with a range of different colors. There are so many products on offer in terms of ingredients and unique characteristics. Throughout history, natural compounds and ingredients were utilized to dye our hair, but many, if not most modern products contain some synthetic ones as well to make them last longer.

When it comes to dying your hair you can either do it out of the box, or go to a salon. Modern hair dye products on the U.S. market make doing it from home a snap. While the life of any dye will vary, none of them are going to last forever. If you want to have your hair dyed indefinitely, you are going to have to go through the process over and over.

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Did you know that there are different types of hair dye? We identify permanent, semi-permanent, and even temporary dyes depending on the duration of the results.

Why should I use hair dyes?

Most people are interested in hair dye because they like the idea of concealing their greys. Dyes and coloring products allow you to disguise the look of emerging grey hair, while keeping hair looking beautiful and youthful. This, however, isn’t the only reason people like hair dyes. There are a wide range of different dyes on the market, offering solutions to different problems and desires.

Many people want a dye that will make their hair shiner. Good quality products will not only color your hair, but will make your locks more brilliant. Others yet are interested in hair dye products because they want to completely change up their look. A new hair color can give you a whole new identity, and improved self-esteem to go with it. Many products include ingredients designed to improve hair health.

Hair dyes can be used in salons or at home.
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What types of dyes are available out there?

As previously mentioned, there are permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary hair dyes out there. Vegetable and all natural dyes are also available. Dyes can be categorized based on their intended purpose:

  • Permanence
  • Formulation
  • Purpose

In permanent dyes, keep in mind that most contain hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. This is because these chemicals allow you to dramatically alter the pigment of your hair strands. They penetrate deep to do this. Semi-permanent options also have hydrogen peroxide, but no ammonia. They are less aggressive in that they change your natural hair color, without actually changing its structure.

Finally, vegetable and plant-based dyes are made with extracts from these natural sources. They help nourish and fortify your hair, and don’t contain harmful chemicals. Because they don’t have these chemicals, they must be used more frequently in order for them to last.

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Many Americans are going for temporary natural dyes because the chemicals in other out-of-the-box dyes , when washed down the drain, can end up negatively impacting the environment.

Type of hair dye Advantages Disadvantages
Permanent Radical changes, great variety of colors and long-lasting results They require constant touching-up of the root, greater hair damage and more allergic reactions
Semi-permanent Less aggressive with your hair, they cause less allergic reactions and enhance your natural color They don’t allow drastic color changes and the results are less durable
Vegetable or temporary The natural ingredients are less harmful to your hair, and nourish and brighten it. They cause less allergic reactions Short-term results and dry hair after multiple applications

What is hair dye made of?

As previously touched upon, ingredients change from product to product. This is especially the case as you between permanent, temporary, and semi-permanent categories of dye. You are not going to find ammonia in a temporary dye, for instance.

In spite of their differences, there are generally 8 different primary ingredients found in hair dye. These include: the base cream, color precursors, dyestuffs, alkalising agents, caring agents, antioxidants, complexing agents and perfume. Taken together, you have a cream that, when rubbed into and left in your hair, smells nice and dyes your hair.

In the table below, you’ll find out more about the different functions of these eight base components, as well as examples of each.

Component Function Examples of ingredients
Cream base This is the body of the dye. It combines an aqueous and an oily component. Fatty alcohols, emulsifying agents and surfactants
color precursors They penetrate your hair to form large color molecules. Para-toluylenediamenesulphate, resorcinol and meta-aminophenol
Dyestuffs They provide color and reflections. Plants, metals, compounds, synthetics
Alkalising agents they allow the dyestuffs to work their way into your hair. Ammonia
Caring agents They protect the integrity of the hair and keep it healthy. Polymers, silicone derivatives, natural compounds
Antioxidants They promote the preservation of the dye. Sodium sulfite, sodium ditionate, ascorbic acid or vitamin C
Complex agents They prevent undesirable reactions between metal compounds and hydrogen peroxide. Various
Perfume They make the dye smell nice. Various

When should I start dyeing my hair?

While there is no set time or age to start using these products, there are some important things to take note of, which depend on a variety of factors. Experts suggest keeping the below two considerations in mind when debating whether to dye your hair or not.

The first and most important of these is to dye your hair when you feel like it. You don’t have to wait for grey hair to become an issue before making the decision. Besides, some people like their greys, and there are even dyes out there designed to promote the look of grey hair. Other people hate them. If you are dying your hair to cover up greys, do it when you have 50% grey hairs or more.

Dying your hair at home requires some technique, as it is not the easiest of processes.
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Secondly, you should only start dying you hair when you are prepared to take care of your color. Once you start dying, you are going to need to continue for as long as you want a particular color. Time and money is required in order to keep your hair dyed indefinitely.

How often should I dye my hair?

There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding on how often to color your hair. An important one is how fast your hair grows. How damaged your hair is is another. The color you are going for is also important. You should prepare yourself to repeat the process every 3-4 weeks.

With that in mind, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and the cycle is determined by the aforementioned factors. Fast-growing hair needs more touch ups, as does color that is radically different from your natural one. If you have damaged hair, on the other hand, you will want to use hair dye less often.

How are hair dye products used?

As you now know, you can either use hair dye at home, or have it applied by a pro in a salon. The home hair dye market is massive, and most kits provide you with most of what you need to properly dye your hair form the comfort of your own home. Anyone who has been dying their hair for a while, however, will tell all newbies: the process is not as simple as it seems and takes some patience to perfect.

If you are using a hair dye at home, there are some important facets of hair dying to keep in mind. First of these, is picking the right color so you get the results you are after. You also need to make sure your hair is clean and well-groomed before starting to dye. Make sure you have gloves and old clothes on because dyes can permanently stain whatever it touches.

Allergic reactions are the main potential side effect of hair dye.
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If you are unsure of how your skin is going to react, put a touch of it on your wrist before beginning to test for any allergies. If all is well, then you can start on your head. A good idea is to place a line of petroleum jelly along your hairline to avoid dying the surrounding skin. Thoroughly mix the dye components and then evenly spread it throughout your hair. Use the included brush to make sure it saturates root to tip.

After you’ve covered all your hair, massage it in to make sure everything is well covered. You can put a shower cap on while you wait for the dye to take effect. After that period has elapsed, thoroughly rinse your hair with water. Don’t worry if it seems like the water contains a lot of dye, that is normal.

What are the side effects of hair dye products?

While hair dye products are loved by women all over the U.S., they aren’t without downsides. As previously stated, this isn’t something you only have to do once and you’re finished. It requires repetition and maintenance. Tending to your color can become a significant investment, so make sure you can afford it as well.

Conversely, some products contain ingredients that are hard on your hair. Over time, repeated dying can give you dry, damaged hair. Hair dye, and especially permanent ones, also contain ingredients that may provoke allergic reactions in some people.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hair dyes?

They are listed in the table below for you:

Advantages
  • Cover grey hair
  • Rejuvenating effect
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Hair nutrition
  • Makeover
Disadvantages
  • Constant touch-ups
  • Financial investment
  • Damaged hair
  • Potential allergic reactions

Shopping Criteria

There are a number of important criteria to factor in when deciding on a hair dye. The below section has laid these out. Carefully consider them and you will be able to choose the product that best suits your needs. They include:

  • color
  • Duration
  • Quality
  • Allergies
  • Type of hair
  • Packaging

Color

This is obviously the first consideration. There are so many colors available on the U.S. market, so knowing what you want is key. The possibilities are literally endless. Spend some time doing some research to make sure you know how you want to look.

When it comes down to it, American women choose colors for different reasons. It might be to conceal an abundance of grey hairs. Or, it might be because you want to try something new and live life as a person with a completely different hair color to the one you were born with.

Dying your hair can take from one to four hours, depending on the length of the hair.
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Duration

The second criteria is the duration of the dye. Hair dyes are grouped into categories based on how long they last. You need to know this before making a purchase. Knowing what you want in terms of duration is as important as the color it self.

A semi-permanent hair dye is, for instance, a great option if you’re dying your hair for the first time.

When it comes to covering up greys, however, women who have already been doing so and using hair dye for some time will likely prefer something permanent. Know to what end you are dying your hair and you can’t go wrong.

Quality

Quality is another important feature of any cosmetic product you buy, and hair dye is no different. Not all dyes are created equal, and a good quality dye will give you ingredients and results that cheap ones just won’t. Better dyes give you better, shiner color. Good quality dyes tend to use better ingredients that will be less damaging to your hair.

Keep in mind, though, that there are stories of allergic reactions and scalp sensitivity from different hair dyes out there. This is more likely to happen if you use cheap products. You really do have to take into consideration the quality of what you’re buying. This will allow you to get the most out of a product, without compromising your well-being.

Allergies

The most common negative reactions to hair dye are allergic responses and hypersensitivity. While these are not very common, they can be quite unpleasant, sometimes even threatening your health. Don’t ignore this reality when purchasing a hair dye.

You should also make sure you know what you’re buying before making a purchase. Study the ingredient list and know what’s in it. If you have preexisting skin issues, always talk to a doctor, and preferably a dermatologist before putting anything potentially harmful on your skin.

Type of hair

Everyone has different hair with different needs. Always keep in mind the kind of hair you have before purchasing anything. Dry and damaged hair requires different products, than fine and delicate hair.

If you have thin, dull hair, get a hair dye that improves volume and shine. Fine, delicate hair is more susceptible to damage. With that in mind, you should get something that doesn’t have ammonia and does contain amino acids and moisturizers. Always get something that makes the most sense for your specific hair type.

Packaging

Dying your hair is quite an involved process, and there are some thing you are going to need in order to do it right. Therefore, you should always make sure the out-of-the-box dye set you are buying includes the accessories that are necessary for doing it right.

These include things like dye mixing tools, combs, applicators, and spatulas. All of these combined make the dying process easier and more effective. Try and choose a product that comes with these essential hair dying tools.

Summary

In summation, hair dyes come with more features than you may originally have known about. It is no wonder they are an important part of so many peoples’ cosmetic arsenal. If you can’t stand your new greys, for instance, a good quality hair dye will help keep them at bay.

If you are tired of your natural color and want to spice things up, then a hair dye and a completely new color might just change your life. If you are worried about damage, there are quality products out there that will also reestablish lost vitality.

The main thing to remember is that hair dye, by definition, will not irreparably damage your hair. Many new ones are designed to do just the opposite, and contain ingredients that help improve the look and brilliance of hair. Hair dyes are varied and numerous, and there is something out there for everyone.

If you liked our guide on hair dye products and found it helpful, feel free to share this article on your social media or leave us a comment in the section below.

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