Good Housekeeping tested some of the most popular hair dyes to determine which offer the best results for your money. Clairol Natural Instincts ($9) came out on top among store brands for coverage, shine and fade resistance. This ammonia-free formula gently adds color and shine and contains antioxidants that protect hair from damage. Because this dye contains no ammonia and is quite mild, it works best for subtle color changes.
Ever tried going light brown or ash blonde, but ended up with an unattractive brassy orange? This is a common problem for women trying to go up a shade or two, and choosing colors labelled "cool" usually doesn't help that much on its own. A salon product called a "drabber" can take the brassy edge off a hair color, but it's available only in beauty supply stores, can be hard to find, and is an added expense. Clairol has now introduced Natural Instincts Brass Free, a hair color with built-in brass-zappers that neutralize orangey tones to help give you the sophisticated ash tones you've always wanted.
Féria ($9.99) is L'Oréal's top-of-the-line hair dye. This product projects a vibe of luxury and pampering, and most users find it delivers on its promises. Féria contains an ample amount of product in each box. It also smells great and includes a very effective, long-lasting conditioning crème. Depending on the color you use, the shimmer this color provides can come off a bit brassy. Also, if you have a lot of grey, you may have to leave it on a little longer for full coverage.
Unevenness is one drawback of at-home hair coloring. The ends of hair usually differ in texture from the rest of your hair, and dye is absorbed differently by various hair textures, so you can end up with two different colors at once. L'Oréal Superior Preference ($9.49) helps protect the hair shaft during coloring for a more even, natural, salon style result.