I've used Clairol's Natural Instincts Hair Color for quite a while. It USED TO BE the perfect product. However, the company decided to change the formula and now it does not cover the gray as well nor last as long as it did before the formula change. I can only get about 1-1/2 to 2 weeks out of a color before it has faded and the grays are showing through. I assume this is why they have now included the ColorFresh Revitalizer which is to be used at two weeks to perk up the color. However, this revitalizer is nothing more that a small packet of a jelly-like substance that will add some color to your hair but it wasn't the same color as the medium brown that was the color I used. The revitalizer was very red/orange toned which gave my brown hair an auburn shade and the gray an orange color. (Therefore, I do not use the revitalizer packet ever and just recolor at three weeks with this product.) The actual hair color application is easy but a little runny. The conditioner is good and makes my hair very soft and manageable. What you see on the color swatch on the back of the box is what color your hair will be when finished. (Mine was the exact medium brown pictured on the box.) However, because the color product does not last long at all, it is no longer my go-to semi-permanent hair color and I would only buy it if I can't find something else.
I just bought and used 23R, med auburn.
First let me say that I dye my hair every 2-3 months usually, but after switching my (permanent) color recently to a different one, I'm not satisfied and it's faded a lot after only 3 weeks. So, instead of re-dying permanent and damaging my hair too much, I opted for the demi-permanent.
I wanted to go red... and this gave me red. My natural is medium brown, and right now it's almost (darkish) fire engine red. Though I didn't want it to be this red, I know it will tone down in a few washes and it's exactly what the color on the box shows... so I knew what I was getting myself into. (Someone else said their hair was bright red, "unlike the box" but the box shows bright red.)
It was super easy and quick to apply since it was creme... I'm a fan of quick. I'm not sure why people are complaining about the damage. It's demi-permanent so definitely not as damaging as permanent, but as with any chemical process, it's going to damage it a tiny bit. My hair feels okay. I'm a big fan of deep conditioning and taking good care of my hair so maybe that's why.
All in all, I like it. And even if I didn't, it'll fade soon since it's not permanent.
I've always been a fan of this product, it's the only box dye I'll use, I stay away from permanent box dyes because they contain lighteners and I already lighten my hair, don't want to double process it. I use the semi for a toner in a variety of blonde shades, depending on what tone I want to go for. It doesn't take much time, not too drippy when applying, and it is an absolute MIRACLE product because it leaves my hair so SOFT! I could not believe that my hair comes out in BETTER condition when I use it. I'm sure it's not actually in better condition, but it sure feels like it, they must pack 100 different conditioners into this stuff. Fading depends on the color, when I used to do brown it would stay in my hair forever, but the blondes fade very nicely over a few months for me.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This is a saying that Clairol should have taken to heart. Natural Instincts was working just fine before they decided to "improve" the formula. Now it's not quite as good as it used to be. This new formula doesn't seem to color as well as the original, and I have more grays that didn't take color. The color wasn't too far off from the box: I have dark brown hair and selected a medium brown to warm it up--which it did. My hair did emerge feeling better than it did pre-coloring, and the conditioner is awesome. The color lasts a month, which is about what I'd expect from a demipermanent dye. Usually by 28 days, I'm itching to redye it anyway.
The Color Refresher is a joke: it reminds me of those color-depositing shampoos that were in vogue several years ago. Too red (even though my color was a golden brown), too garish, and stains far too much...I'd rather have an extra bottle of the conditioner.
So overall, a mixed bag. I'd probably keep buying it again because it's a brand that I know, plus there aren't many other demipermanent options out there.
Two things to remember: colors in demipermanent dye tend to come out darker than pictured, so if you are at all uncertain about which shade to get, chose something slightly lighter than you'd usually get. Also, demipermanent dye can't lighten hair--it can only cover gray and change hair tone (yes, it could darken it, if you prefer flat haircolor that is nearly impossible to get to fade out). You have to stay within two shades of your hair color for the best results; otherwise, get a box of permanent dye.
I mixed #12 Toasted Almond, Light Golden Brown and #14 Tweed, Light Cool Brown half and half and successfully neutralized brassy golden toned highlights in my hair, while achieving a rich Dark Brown allover color that is luminous and quite soft and silky.
I started with Medium Warm Brown hair (not exactly my natural color, but not dyed - I had used Color Oops back in the winter to remove a bad dark dye job with great success, but the ammonia in the dye had lifted my color to the warm brown). I also had brassy gold highlights that had been professionally done in an Aveda salon in late May. The highlights were nicely done, and evenly placed all throughout my hair, but the tone was not good for my cool coloring. Not really the salon's fault, I got what I asked for.
Money is tight, so I decided I wanted to improve my hair color on my own. I did NOT want to use permanent dye again. I had never considered demi-permanent dye before, but it seemed like just what I needed to correct my brassy color.
I read a very thoughtfully written review on MUA from a girl with dark Asian hair that had blonde highlights - she had used a two step process to dye over her hair and cover brass. What she did was first process with Golden toned brown to turn her highlights reddish. She waited a month and then followed with an Ash toned dye to cancel the red and achieve a rich brown allover color with subtle highlights. What stuck out to me was that she mentioned that had she not used the Golden toned brown first, her highlights would have turned green when the Ash was applied. She really seemed to know what she was talking about.
It seemed counter-intuitive to put MORE Golden dye into my hair when that was what I wanted to cover, but since she had achieved results like what I wanted, I decided to give it a shot (the fact I was using demi-permanent dye made the decision easier). But I did not want to wait two months to get the final result! I figured the key factor was getting both tones in the hair shaft to eliminate the unwanted gold/brass, so I thought "Why not just put both in at the same time?"
I checked Clairol's website and in their FAQs, they state it is perfectly fine to mix colors so long as you keep it in the same brand/formulation and don't mix very drastically different levels (like white blonde with black).
After reading reviews how girls with color-treated hair all seemed to get unexpectedly dark results when using demi-permanent dye, I decided to use Light browns for my mix, with the assumption I would get Dark brown results. I just eyeballed it when I poured half of each bottle of dye into the developer (saving the rest), and shook the developer up to mix. The initial mix looked orange-y, but the developed liquid was brown.
Mixture was runny, but didn't hinder application too much. Smell was fine, nice even. Halfway through, I was worried there wouldn't be enough for my shoulder-length fine hair, and getting the last few squirts out was tricky. But I knew I had a whole another kit to mix if needed, so I didn't hold back, and still the one application was in fact enough.
I started my stopwatch and opened a beer.
I turned my shower on at the 8 minute mark and got in at exactly 9 minutes (instructions say leave in for 10 minutes after applying). I thought it rinsed out reasonably quickly; it wasn't the forever-and-ever rinsing process that some other reviewers had (maybe only the darker dyes take forever and ever.) It *did* splash all over the shower walls, but rinsed clean.
Conditioner smelled good and slipped right into the hair, de-tangling quickly. I left it in while I shaved my legs.
After rinsing the conditioner out, my hair felt very nice. I squeezed out the extra water, ran a wide tooth comb through and allowed my hair to air dry.
Next day: My hair is soft and bouncy and has luminous shine that just looks healthy. The resulting color is a rich dark chocolate brown on my base, and my formerly golden, brassy highlights look like milk chocolate ripples. I won't mind if it lightens over the next few days/weeks, and I'm sure it will. The color is dark, and is not what one would typically expect from hair dye labeled "Light Brown" and left in for only 10 minutes, so be warned and pick your color wisely. I like myself with dark brown hair though, it's a natural with my cool fair complexion. My hair color is rich and has nice dimension, possibly from using the mix of two tones, but perhaps just because it's good hair color.
I will update this review if there are any drastic or unexpected changes over the next few weeks (too-rapid fadeout or return of brass) but I have to say, I'm really satisfied with the results I've gotten and will likely use Natural Instincts again.
I used the original formula for years and it was great. It left my hair shiny and undamaged. The color always washed out. I loved it and planned to be a lifelong user. I always used it on the roots only, then mixed a very small amount of color with water and left it on the length of my hair for about 3-5 minutes, just to blend everything. I used it for eight years, maybe four or five times a year, and loved it.
Then I noticed that the color kept getting darker and darker, even though I was still only putting it on the roots and only using it about every three months. The colors seemed weird.It never looked good. Oh, and then, this will really get a girl's attention MY HAIR STARTED FALLING OUT!!!!!!! I looked at the package, and what I thought was a color change in the box design turns out to be a whole new formula. It is NO LONGER WASHOUT COLOR.
I would no longer recommend this product. I will no longer buy Clairol. I don't know what the hell made them change their formula, but this went from being a miracle product to being a white trash looking hair dye that actually thinned my hair and left a flat, weirdly fake looking, lifeless color. DO NOT BUY THE NEW FORMULA.
[Egyptian Plum Color] this color is beautiful. A little darker on my dark brown hair than I expected, but I loved it. It looked black with purple tones without sunlight. When I go outside, it shines a gorgeous red. Not a damaging formula. This is only my first week in [washing it every other day] and it still looks great. It is not as deep and dark as it used to be, but I keep getting compliments. Very lovely formula especially for a new hair dyer like me!
Clairol really did change the formula after they repackaged this hair dye and lets just say its NOT a good change. The color is darker and no longer vibrant ( I used to use sahara the lightest blonde shade) and comes out really brassy (like orange brassy!). Its HORRIBLE. I have switched to L'oreal healthy look (white chocolate shade) and its A MILLION times better and the color comes out almost 100% of what is expected from it. Sorry clairol but this was a FAIL and its too bad because I loved this color and used it for years.
I used to use this a long time ago I used to like it. I don't know it's not the same as it used to be. I used ash brown I think medium ash color was so so it's fading and it seems like its turning a little bit red. I have used nutmeg a long time ago and coffee cream when it first came out. I may use the coffee cream one in the future but right now I won't be buying it I don't like how it's changed. I did not use the color refresh.
I used Clairol Natural Instincts in Pecan last week and am very pleased with the result, it's exactly what I wanted: minimal damage and nothing drastic! I finally grew out my natural colour a couple of years ago but wanted to spice up my few greys (lol) and try something different for a change. The overall result is very natural and no one even noticed that I dyed my hair! Like I said, I wasn't going for drastic... I just wanted to enhance what I already had and was only comfortable using a demi permanent dye. I NOT walking down the road of permanent dyes again anytime soon so this allowed me to have fun without the damage and commitment!!!