About.com beauty expert Julyne Derrick recommends that do-it-yourself colorists choose a semipermanent hair color, especially if you are new to coloring your own hair. That's because these gentle hair colors wash out, which is good if you don't like the shade.
Semipermanent hair color works by coating the outside (cuticle) layers of hair with color. It also has some ability to penetrate the cuticle and spread into the cortex underneath. Most temporary hair color gradually fades away over the course of approximately six to 12 shampoos. Using a harsher shampoo will cause them to fade faster. The other bonus is that these hair colors don't cause as much damage as permanent hair color, and they create shinier-looking hair. Editors at Shape magazine say this is because the ingredients these products use fill in any damaged spots in the hair's cuticle layer.
Temporary hair color is harder to find in stores. In fact, we didn't find many reviews for it. Beauty expert Paula Begoun says consumers today tend to want more dramatic changes than a semipermanent hair color can provide. She says they can "make your hair only a little brighter or darker" but they aren't designed to lighten hair.
Clairol Natural Instincts Loving Care (*Est. $5) is one of the few semipermanent hair-color product lines available. It comes in 13 shades and users at MakeupAlley.com, for the most part, say they love that it is gentle -- even on damaged hair. (More than 30 reviewers give it an overall score of 3.8 out of 5 stars.) A handful of users at TotalBeauty.com are not as enthusiastic, however. They give it less than 5 stars out of a possible 10 and caution that it does not cover gray well. Loving Care completely washes out of hair in six to 12 shampoos. Dark & Lovely Reviving Colors by SoftSheen Carson (*Est. $5) is another semipermanent hair-color product line that is marketed to African-American women and is available in five shades. We didn't find any professional reviews of this hair color, however, and only a couple of user reviews.
Glazes often contain slightly less dye than semipermanent colors and sometimes no dye at all. They can be used to give natural and color-treated hair a boost of color and shine. Experts at Allure and InStyle magazines praise John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze (*Est. $9), for giving incredible results with very little effort. The glaze has won beauty awards from both magazines. It comes in "brilliant brunette" for all shades of brown as well as "clear shine," which can be used on any hair color (it doesn't contain any dye). The manufacturer says that it revives hair that has grown lackluster and dull.
Editors of TotalBeauty.com, however, say that although Luminous Color Glaze gives incredible shine, it smells horrible and may not be good for those with fine hair. That's because the glaze contains silicones, which may weigh down fine hair. Consumers at TotalBeauty.com, where overall ratings are average but vary by shade, tend to agree. Although many praise the product for giving them a boost in shine, several say it left their hair feeling heavy and greasy. The manufacturer recommends using the product every time you shampoo, but experts advise using it less often, at least to start.