I used this mainly to touch up my roots and tone down the rest of my hair which had become brassy from highlights. I applied to my roots and left it on for 20 mins then wet the rest of my hair and ran the remainder of the dye thru my hair for 5 mins (I have very thick and very long hair). I was very happy with the results. I've used a lot of at home dyes and this was definitely one of my more successful outcomes. My highlights are still there but no brassiness at all. Plus, I can be very messy sometimes with dying my own hair and this one left absolutely no mess. I will definitely use this again. Very happy with the results!
I grabbed the 'golden brown' shade HAVANA based on the photo of the model on the box [new March 2012 design], as I wanted to keep my hair colour light, so it'd be easy to re-colour over it later.
The model on the box has honey soft hair with a lovely golden overtone, that all together looks more blonde then brown. What the packaging's picture doesn't show is the mahogany highlights my chosen colour has in it. This is strange because - as I discovered at home - the mahogany tones in HAVANA are much stronger then the gold tones in real life, so my hair had a red tinge for around two weeks. Plus, without the vividness of the golden overtone showing through, the brown base tone to HAVANA looked a little bit darker too.
I've been dying my hair for over half of my life, so I'm aware that the picture on the box is rarely accurate, but on this occasion I relied on what it showed me. What if someone else was harried, stressed, or was dying their hair for the first time? They'd probably pick a shade based on the picture on the box too, so L'Oreal should stop putting photo-shopped pictures on their products. It's dishonest and just leads to disappointment.
But, although this wasn't the shade I wanted or expected, after a week or two it grew on me and I came to like it. Which is why I was dismayed when it came time to touch up my roots; the dye covers my roots, but they are still noticeably darker then the rest of my hair.
Of course, if my hair were naturally dark I'd expect this, but it isn't. My natural hair colour is ash [not quite light enough to be truly blonde, but still too light and colourless to be classed as brown], so I don't understand why a brown dye covers it so much darker then the brassy blonde that was on the rest of my hair.
At first I thought the uneven results were my own fault and I hadn't applied it properly the first time around. So, within two weeks of first dying my hair, I recoloured my whole head again, to try to even the shade out. So now this is possibly my own fault, but the base shade is even less like I wanted AND - as a third box of HAVANA revealed - the roots still cover a differing shade to the rest of my head.
Two boxes of colour stripper, two boxes of bleach, three boxes of HAVANA and two months later, I'm left with a shade that I don't want, or even like. I now just feel stupid for trusting the picture on the packaging and wish that I'd trusted my gut instinct.
I want to clarify that I do love the new and improved Recital Preference formula; it doesn't have a harsh smell, it doesn't stain or irritate skin, it covers my gray streaks perfectly, it is fade resistant and has a long lasting shine.
The last shade my hair had been was red, meaning that I only had a colour protecting shampoo/conditioner for red hair, so ever since I used Recital Preference I've been using the dregs of old shampoos and conditioners I had laying around. Plus; for the last few weeks I've been washing my hair with Vosene and hasn't been using a conditioner, in a attempt to cause the dye to fade, but the hue hasn't noticeably faded. It's still silky smooth too.
Observation; I mainly used to use Schwarzkopf XXL dyes, and found that you get more product with them. Right now my hair is shoulder length [my trainee hairdresser sister thought it'd be funny to chop 12 inches off my hair] and I used one bottle to colour my whole head, but it took a lot of messaging to cover all of my hair with the mixed formula.
Considering the time and money I'd spent stripping and bleaching my hair before using HAVANA, I was disappointed in the results - even though the resulting colour grew on me and the formula is top notch. I was left with the options of spending more money and time re-stripping the dye from my hair, or just giving up and buying a darker dye to go over HAVANA. I decided not to waste more money [and possible damage to my hair], so will spend the summer months with dark brown hair.
The packaging is the main source of my disappointment, as it is basically used to lie to customers. The main picture bore no resemblance to the finished result, and the little swatch pictures on the side of the box promised to colour the natural colour of my roots the same colour as the ends of my hair, which it failed to do. Maybe I just picked up a iffy tube of colour? Hmmm, based on L'Oreal's history of over photo-shopping their ads I doubt it.
As the formula has proven to be shade resistant and left my hair soft, I'm prepared to try again with a Recital Preference hair dye. In fact I've bought the dark brown shade Paris 4.01. I'm not sure what colour hair I'll up with though - I suspect I may end up with Morticia hair. To be continued...