Page: 2 of 8
In this report

The best permanent hair dyes offer long-lasting, vibrant colors

The vast majority of hair-color products at the drugstore are permanent colorants. They all work the same way with similar ingredients; all contain ammonia and peroxide, which open up the hair follicle so it can be colored. Choosing the right product is mostly a matter of color selection and ease of use.

L'Oréal Paris Superior Preference (Est. $9) is an old favorite among many users at TotalBeauty.com and Walmart.com. Many say they have been using the formula for years and are still happy with the natural-looking results. Superior Preference comes with a classic squeeze tube applicator that most say is easy to use. The tube has an extended tip, which makes it easy to reach roots, according to editors at Allure magazine. It comes in 51 shades, which reviewers say are vibrant, glossy and last for weeks -- up to eight -- without fading.

Users have mixed opinions about how well the formula covers gray, but that may be due to the specific color choice and/or how long the dye was left on the hair. It's important to note that the formula has an ammonia base, which allows for more dramatic color change, but it can have a strong odor.

If you prefer a less obnoxious scent from an ammonia-free hair color, Revlon ColorSilk (Est. $3.50) is a great alternative. The formula relies on lauramide MEA to change hair color rather than ammonia. Technically, that makes the formula demi-permanent (even though manufacturers call it "permanent") according to cosmetic chemists at TheBeautyBrains.com. The formula still changes hair color permanently, but it isn't capable of the dramatic changes that ammonia-based formulas like Superior Preference afford. Still, Revlon ColorSilk remains popular with beauty magazines and users alike.

Testers at Good Housekeeping praise ColorSilk for its ability to immediately cover gray hair and for producing long-lasting, fade-resistant color. Editors say the color was especially vibrant in the blonde and brunette shades. Users at MakeupAlley.com agree, giving the formula an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars based on more than 650 reviews. That said, L'Oréal Paris Superior Preference is our Best Reviewed pick because it's chosen more often in professional tests and is able to make more dramatic changes to hair color. 

All permanent hair colors use a process that involves bleaching or lifting the current color and then adding the color that you want, all of which can dry and damage your hair. For this reason, experts suggest conditioning your hair after every shampoo and doing a deep condition once a week.

image
L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference Hair Color, 6.5G Lightest Golden Brown
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $8.99 $5.42   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
Revlon ColorSilk Beautiful Color 30 Dark Brown
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $12.27 $0.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Hair Color Runners Up:

Revlon ColorSilk Est. $3.50

5 picks including: Good Housekeeping, Redbook…

Clairol Nice 'n Easy Est. $7

4 picks by top review sites.

Clairol Nice 'n Easy Perfect 10 Est. $12

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Good Housekeeping…

ColorMark TouchBack Est. $30

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Redbook…

L'Oreal Paris Root Rescue Est. $7

2 picks including: Good Housekeeping, MakeupAlley.com…

image
Revlon ColorSilk Beautiful Color 30 Dark Brown
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $12.27 $0.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
Clairol Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up 003 Black 1 Kit
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $11.29 $2.33   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
L'Oreal Paris Feria Hair Color, M32 Violet Soft Black/Midnight Star
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $8.99 $7.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
Clairol Nice 'n Easy Perfect 10
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $11.99   
Average Customer Review:  
image
Touch Back by Colormark Temporary Hair Color Marker Medium Brown
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $35.00 $16.77   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
L'Oreal Paris Root Rescue Hair Color, 6.5 Light Golden Brown
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $5.99 $0.48   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
L'Oreal Paris Couleur Experte Express Hair Color, 6.4 Light Golden Copper Brown/Ginger Twist
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $44.60 $13.79   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Back to top