My pretties, I have a not-so-frugal confession to make. It’s true. Gather ’round.
Here it is: I spend a lot of money on my hair. I mean a lot. I have an incredible stylist and I love her, and she’s worth every penny. But oh how it wrenches my heart to fork over those pennies! The problem, for me, is twofold: First, that I have very curly hair (and experience has taught me that not everyone knows how to cut curly hair), and second, that I am both going gray at an alarming rate and my hair grows really fast. Someday I shall embrace the gray, but today is not that day, thankyouverymuch.
So what do I do? I wear my hair long and get away with 2-3 salon visits per year. And I spend a lot of time with ugly roots because I simply cannot afford to go drop $150+ every 6-8 weeks, as I probably should. My adventures with home haircoloring mishaps would fill a novel… until now.
[In case you care, the Cliff Notes version of my attempts to color at home before this week:
1) Color that doesn’t cover the gray. At all.
2) Color that covers the gray and washes out a week later.
3) Color that claims to be dark brown—my natural hair color—that turns out inky black. (You wouldn’t think there’d be a noticeable difference between dark brown and black… until you accidentally turn your dark brown hair black, that is.)
4) Color that covers the gray and is a reasonable shade, but that turns my hair to straw.]
I had read several raves about the Frederic Fekkai line of home hair dyes before I decided to take the plunge, myself. It’s been a long time since I dyed my own hair, and at $30/box, this was going to be a pricier experiment than my usual $8 drugstore-aisle foray.
Let me pause right here and say that if you’re currently happy with $8/box hair dye, I am genuinely happy for you. If you have something that works and is cheap, yay! But if home hair dye has never really worked for you, it’s not a comparison between an $8 box and a $30 box—it’s a comparison between a $30 box and visiting your stylist. And I’m making that distinction because that still makes this a frugal choice, in my mind.
Anyway. Money, schmoney. How does it work?
I purchased shade “4N Dark Brown Jennifer,” because that seemed like the closest match to my natural hair color. I am trying not to make any snarky comments about how all the shades also have girl names. (Do I look like a Jennifer…?)
The first thing I noticed about the Fekkai kit is that it comes with a bowl and a brush, unlike drugstore brands that just have you mix and apply with a squirt bottle. Using a bowl and a brush is far superior in terms of control and coverage, and I was amazed at how much I preferred it. (You can, of course, just buy bowls and brushes for your drugstore dye, by the way.) I also think the Fekkai dye mixture was thicker than anything I’d tried before, which also made it easier to apply and less messy.
The second thing I noticed was that it stained my skin in a similar way to what my stylist uses. That is to say that if I didn’t wipe off stray bits as I went along, it really did stain my skin. Now, I don’t want brown smudges all over my face, but dye that stains the skin generally gives good coverage when it comes to coloring gray, so I took this as a good sign. (I’ve used drugstore brands that wipe off easily, and then—surprise—it washes right out of your hair, too.)
I had about two inches of gray to touch up, and followed the directions for root touch-up, which is to cover the roots and let sit for 30 minutes, then comb through the rest of the hair for an additional 5 minutes.
So, how about some results?
Pros: Really love the application with a bowl/brush rather than a squirt bottle. Easy to use and doesn’t need to be left on for an hour. Superior gray coverage. Is actually the color it claims to be. My hair looks as good as if I’d had my stylist do my color, honestly. Not quite as smelly afterward, either (one shampoo took care of any lingering scent).
Cons: More expensive than drugstore color. I was not as impressed with the included post-coloring conditioner as I expected to be; it was just so-so. [But if you got this year’s Allure Box, the included Biolage Organic Oil is a great post-color treatment option, and added that last little bit of shine/softness I was looking for.] Putting color on the back of your own head is tricky and your children will laugh at you.
Bottom line: I will buy this again. And again. I’ll probably still fork over the cash to my stylist once or twice a year, but $30 is (to me) a small price to pay to not have ugly gray roots for months on end. This dye is a great option for anyone who believes they can’t achieve good gray coverage along with color control at home.
I would include a picture, but, um, it pretty much just looks like hair. (“Look, Ma, no gray!”) Just imagine me running through a field of daisies, shaking my lustrous mahogany curls in a carefree manner. Thanks.