I used this to lift my light, reddish brown hair... In other words, I'm not really the intended user. I'm very happy with the results, though. My hair lifted quickly and is shockingly even. It even lifted the ends more than the roots (you leave it on longer, but that often means nothing with blonde/hi-lift dyes)! My hair is a soft, caramel-toned dark blonde with light, ashy ends and highlights. My reddish hair means my blonde attempts are usually pure strawberry, so this is maybe a first... Also, it's comforting to see it only turned ashier on the parts it sat longest. The only downside is damage: my blondest parts were also very fragile and a bit frizzy for the first week or two, before I found a deep conditioner that worked for me (Joico Moisture Recovery Lotion, it turned out). This didn't exactly ruin my hair, though, and the color is definitely an improvement (sorry, nature).
Used this today and was happy with it. My natural hair color is slightly darker than medium brown. The last time I colored my hair (in a color called Pure Dark Brown) was 8 weeks ago.
This lightened the virgin hair at the roots VERY fast. Keep that in mind. I'm pretty sure this uses a stronger developer than other hair colors because you need to lift so much color. I left this on my roots for only 10 minutes and they went pretty light. I left it on the previously colored parts of my hair for a total of 40 minutes. It lifted some color but not as much as I wanted.
Even though the directions say you shouldn't use it on hair previously colored something darker than dark brown, I think it's okay for you to use (in fact, a previous reviewer used it on dyed black hair). You may want to do a test swatch to see how much time you need to lift the color if your hair is previously colored. I feel I could have left the color on my previously colored hair for 50 minutes or even an hour to lift as much as I really wanted.
I will also say that it's difficult to try to avoid your roots when putting on hair color by yourself. I don't think I got the hair as saturated with color as I could have because it's tough to keep it away from your roots.
Finally, although this is marketed as a cool color with ash tones, if your hair always goes red when it colors, it will with this too. It definitely brought out the red tones in my hair, although I'm okay with that. It happens all the time. Just don't buy this thinking you can completely neutralize any red tones you may have.
Still -- I am happy with this and would buy it again.
Pros: cleans up VERY easily both off skin and surfaces
Cons: Did not work on my dark hair only worked on my roots and it was slight, I had 3 boxes, too 2 to color all my hair (long hair) still had a little left so I used it also.
Going to leave the next box on longer and will update on results then.
I usually have my hair colored at the salon, but due to time restraints and utter laziness, my jet black roots were out of control. At the salon they usually use a color called golden tobacco blond on my hair. They usually have to lift the black, then apply the color. UL51 was a chance I took with a at home root touch up. It came out awesome!! This didn't make by hair hard or cause an allergic reaction like some dyes I have used at home. The color match is perfect. I mixed the product in a bowl and used a brush to apply to my roots. I left it in for the recommended time and co-washed my hair. Awesome results. The color lifted and blended in well with my original color. I went and bought another box for when I'm feeling lazy.
This home hair coloring system is designed to lighten the darkest hair, without any brassiness and adding shine. The shade guide says that "UL51 is an icy brown shade with ash tones, which will minimize red/orange tones. For optimal color results, use on your natural medium brown to black hair."
For reference I have jet black hair that has been dyed both in salons and at home, for over 16 years. I have not seen my natural color, with the exception of my roots every now and then, for that same period of time. My hair has been as light as a dark blonde shade and also dyed dark black with blue undertones. My hair shade prior to using this was 4" natural black roots (yikes), the remaining an ombre of burgundy to copper. I also swim daily in a highly chlorinated pool.
I purchased this in the USA. The Canadian version is called: Loreal Superior Preference Les Caramels LC51. Boxes are the same with the exception of french added to the Canadian version.
I followed the directions as best as possible, despite being warned NOT to use this on previously colored hair, dyed darker than medium brown...it worked out fine. I mixed the contents of the first box and applied 1" from the root all the way to the tip, starting the hair closest to my neck and working my way up to the crown. I know I'm suppose to do to the opposite, but for some reason the layers down the nape always take longer to develop, and my crown never has problems, thus I worked my way up. That took about 10 minutes to do, in which I waited another 10 minutes before applying to my roots. At the 10 minute mark I applied the remaining bottle, plus another 1/2 bottle to my roots, again starting from the bottom and working my way to my crown. That took 10 minutes to apply and after that I waited another 10 minutes to wash and condition. Total dye time was 40 minutes, though the box said 30 minutes. I dont know about you, but I've never had my jet black hair lighten in under 30 minutes.
Upon washing and conditioning, I rinsed with cool water and squeezed out the excess water with a towel. I could instantly see that my hair had lightened---even the nape area. After blowdrying the results were FANTASTIC. I had a cool toned medium brown hair with some lighter ash brown hi-lights (probably from my previous hair dye). The color was even and my hair was soft and looked healthy and shiny.
My only gripe with this product is that the dye is strong. The chemical smell was lacking but the vapours made my eyes water...I know it has to be strong to be able to lift pigment but dang it, my eyes were watering like I'd cut onions. Also, the gloves included in the box kit need to be longer. They barely covered my wrists, and I am by no means a tall or larger person with larger hands. I'm actually a petite asian, under 5'3" and of normal height/weight. If these gloves dont' work for me, I can't imagine them working for people with longer limbs...
Overall, a great buy and I'm glad I got 3 boxes---gonna need the other for touch ups. I will have to order online, but it is worth it!