I've been using this product for years now to cover grey, and recently tried L'Oreal Healthy Look to change things up a bit. Although I really liked the color of the Healthy Look, Chestnut Brown, I did not like the other aspects of the hair color- mess applying, mess on pillows after, mess in bathroom and it dried my hair out.
So I am back to Natural Instincts hair color. Today I used the Navajo Bronze or light Carmel brown with good results.
Here is what I have learned over the years of using NI-
1. The color is always darker than what you may expect, so like other reviewers make sure to select the shade one up or lighter than you may think, you will be sorry if you do not. I am 50 now and dark hair color on me is aging and very unflattering. I have noticed this with many women of a certain age so go a bit lighter.
2. For good grey coverage leave the product on your hair much longer that the reccomended 10-20 minutes. It will not damage coarse resistant grey hair. At least it hasnt mine...
3. This is what I do to ensure good grey coverage. Wet hair, and then apply vaseline around hairline and ears, back of neck, this prevents stains from getting on skin. Dont get vaseline on stubborn temple hairs though. (Occasionally, I have also shampooed hair once and then applied the color, as it opens the hair and allows the color to penetrate.) towel dry hair and apply a deep conditioner to the ends of hair and everywhere but the roots and the grey you are attempting to cover. Work hair color into temples and roots and apply generously. Leave in for 30-40 minutes. Dont worry it will not damage the grey, but be careful to not get the product into the rest of the hair especially if it has had any other processes done to it.
After 30-40 minutes apply the rest of the color to the hair over the conditioner and let it stay for 10-12 minutes, a bit longer it you are changing shades. Rinse out really well to avoid blogs of dye on towels and pillow cases.
4. Always have 2 boxes of hair color available to use in case you run out. I have thick, shoulder length hair and often need 2 boxes.
I have tried these colors- Hot Cocoa, OK kinda dark, light amber shimmer, very natural, and nice but sometimes not quite dark enough, Pecan, did not like at all, toasted almond, nice.
These are all mostly lighter brown shades and I have medium dark brownish red hair. See, you must go up in shade by at least one. You can also mix shades, I have done so and its worked well.
I do love this product because it fades well and naturally, covers my grey well but only because I leave it in for so long and its fun to change it up a bit.
Hope this long review helps someone out there and they can skip all the experiementing and learning I had to go through ( a few years worth)
EDIT: a month later I mixed Suede a nice neutral LIGHT brown with Amber Shimmer and it was almost perfect. This mixture gave me a Medium to dark brown with some variations in tone to add dimmension. Next month I am going to mix Suede with the Navajo Bronze to see. I love the Suede. first time I tried it and it seems a good base to balance out those reddish, gold tones in the other haircolors I like but are just a tad too much red or gold!!! Yeahhhh!!!
Natural Instincts is a DEMI permanent hair color, not a SEMI. It penetrates the hair shaft slightly, not just coating it as a semi would. To those who think demis can't lighten hair....thats wrong. It can. It won't lighten it much, but it can and does in many cases. It does have peroxide in it, and a small amount of peroxide can lighten hair slightly.
That said, I wanted a neutral light brown that covered my stubborn grey hair and mostly washed out eventually and didn't fry my hair. I went with the MENS line of Natural Instincts color in medium brown and light brown mixed together. After calling the company I found out the mens line is all neutral colors as men generally do not want red or gold tones in their hair. Its also gentler than the womens line (which they make this way so men can dye facial hair with this too.) I have sensitive skin and scalp and this formula didn't burn or sting me at all. The woman on the help line said women CAN use this line, its just neutral colors with a gentler formula.
I ended up with hair that was much darker than I expected it to be, but very neutral...no red or gold jumping out at me. I admit I was nervous at first...it was dark, but after about a week of it fading a little (see profile pic.) I found I was liking it very much and got several compliments on the color and how it looked on me. My original color shined through here and there, leaving me with a multi tonal effect which was very realistic and not "dyed looking." My greys that even pro colors wouldn't cover were totally colored, and my hair looked very healthy. My length came out slightly darker than the top due to previous colorings, but that was my own fault for not spraying on a neutral protein filler on the length first- something I will change next time.
A month later my greys are now all showing again, my hair still looks healthy and shiney and the color has faded naturally, leaving me with close to the color I started with. Given more time I think it will be completely washed out. I was afraid it was dark enough that it might turn permanent color on me, but it hasn't. No lines of demarcation, no brass, and no permanent committment, exactly what I wanted.
Next time I will go lighter when mixing the medium brown with the light- as others have stated, these run DARK. But overall Im very happy with the color I got and the look I ended up with, even though it was darker than I hoped for, it turned out lovely. No noticeable damage to my ends either.
For $6 a box ($12 total as I mixed colors) I got covered greys with zero damage, versus the last Redken permanent coloring I had and added lowlights from the salon, where my hair came out brassy, still showed all my white hairs and was very damaged...for $90...I am VERY pleased with the Natural Instincts!
I use #16 Spiced Tea/Light Auburn and the color comes out exactly as I want it to. I find the condition of my hair is so much better than some other makes.
At the moment there is a recall on a bunch of colors because they put the new "Refresher" package in the wrong boxes, so I haven't been able to use it and used another make which didn't come out good at all.
BUT, everybody, I found that using the "Refresher" after two weeks (which would be a great idea for reds as they fade much faster) does not work and leaves a sticky residue. So when it's on the shelves again in Canada I'll use it but nix the Refresher.
I just dyed my dark blonde hair with Natural Instincts in medium brown (hazelnut). I know it's not recommended to use such a dark shade on blonde, but what can I say...I do what I want:) I left the color on for 8 minutes, which is 2 minutes less than the recommended time but according to past reviews it tends to dye too dark anyway. I was actually really impressed by the fact that I only needed ONE box to cover all of my somewhat long and very thick hair. I don't think that's ever happened before! After rinsing the color out, my hair is the exact color on the box and evenly colored throughout. It'll be interesting to see how fast it fades and what it looks like in a few weeks, but for now I'm loving the results. Plus, my hair is silky smooth and doesn't feel damaged at all. Good stuff! UPDATE: I took off one lippie because it faded to a light reddish brown within 3 weeks. I know this color fades but it didn't stay true to color at all.
This product has now saved my life 4 times. I am a hardcore hair dyer. By that I mean my hair has been every color of the rainbow from blue to blonde. Often changing it more than once a month.
I just used the 'new formula' (which after all the bad reviews, I was terrified to do) but so glad I did. I used Suede (light brown #13) after a botched ombre dye job, and it managed to cover almost everything. Turned a nice brown with very subtle red highlights. THE ONLY reason there is red is probably because I had bright red hair prior to the failed ombre.
I had to take one lippy off because one bottle would not cover my medium to short hair and I only used half of the other.
I was terrified it was going to turn out really dark so I washed it off after only 8 mins so there are still some parts in the back that could use some more dye. But that is purely my fault.
I will not be using the refresher based on the reviews but other than that, seems to me this is the same ol' natural instincts.
Read my previous reviews (old formula):
The champagne on ice color toned my yellow brassy bleached blonde hair to a wicked ashy blonde. NOTE: before the first wash it was greenish but that was to be expected using ash on super porus hair- after the first wash total awesomeness
Clove? I think was the color- again toned the brassy brown to a nice natural brown. Even covered purple- red parts- starting to fade now after 10 washes.
Conditioner tunred my damanged hair soft and shiny.
FYI: i've read that if you have a bad experience with one brand another will probably work better for you. Not sure how much science is behind that idea but every time i've tried to use L'oreal preference its been horrible where Garnier and Clariol have always worked well
I have used Natural instincts for years, I color my hair once per month and it always covered my greys nicely, i would follow the directions and leave it on for 5 extra minutes and always had lovely results.....until they changed the package and obviously the formula. My greys are shining through after 2.5 wks and that 2 wk orange crap refresher is a waste of time and DOES stain your scalp like others have mentioned. Great job Clairol now i am on the hunt for another hair dye that actually does what it claim,s come on most women color their hair to cover greys, get a clue and provide what your consumers want!
The color turned out OK, but it was runny and it dried my hair out terribly! I am sticking with Garnier Nutrisse!
That was then:
This is a great product for the reluctant hair-dyer.
I use it to freshen up my natural medium brown hair. Sometimes I use a shade with a little red- Navajo Bronze, then another golden shade, then a neutral shade - but all pretty close to my color.
Hides those few grays - looks natural. If I get lazy and forget to color for a couple of months or a year - there are no visible roots - it just washes out gradually.
I clip coupons from the paper -then look to see what drugstore or big box store has it on sale that week. Can usually get it for $3-5 per box.
Recommended for hippy folks who think if they want to cover their grays they'll be stuck with upkeep --- or for anyone who is afraid of hair dye.
Not good for major color changes - keep it close to what you've already got.
This is NOW:
I just purchased a couple of boxes on sale - of the new formula - that I have not yet tried - but after reading the reviews here and elsewhere I'm going to return them!
This WAS a great product - and even very highly rated by Consumer Reports last year. You have to wonder:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Hoping some Clairol bigwigs troll this site - you've lost bigtime on this move.
I don't like having clown-hair - I'm way over that phase of my life.... wondering if I should consider (oh shudder) going natural - with those still-yet concealed wiry greys.
Still happy with the yet cheaper - COLORSILK. And that stuff is pretty cheap - stinkier than Natural Instincts - but no clownish, freakish stuff.
Clairol! Take notes from Coca-Cola, Netflix --- don't piss off your loyal and adoring customers!
I love this stuff! After a recent run-in with Sun-In, my normally very dark strawberry blonde hair was bleached an extremely light shade of strawberry blonde that looked orange next to my ghostly pale skin. At first, I tried Dark Neutral Blonde, which turned my hair a little bit darker than it used to be but took out pretty much all of the red in my hair. It washed out in about a week, so I did what I've always wanted to do- go brunette. Unlike the blonde shade, the browns do come out a lot darker. My friend uses medium brown on her dark blonde hair and it comes out to almost black, but it suits her. I used light brown and it came out as a VERY dark brown. It looks really edgy and makes my skin look nice, but I decided I prefer myself blonde. If you have highlights (whether natural or not) they still will show through the dye- it doesn't bleach, but only deposits pigment. Because this is semi-permenant, it tends to last about a week or so if you wash every day. It also really helps to make sure you don't wash your hair for a full day before coloring- it helps the pigment adhere to your hair shaft. Also, this stuff runs pretty cheap. I bought it at HEB for 5 bucks, and at the drugstore it's 7. So go ahead and buy 5 different boxes to try. It smelly really nice and it doesn't stain my skin. Make sure to have a fine toothed comb at hand to help distribute the product and a timer (I use my mobile) to make sure you leave the dye in for the right time. I usually leave it in 12 minutes (2 more than directed). It also helps to use the conditioning mask afterwards. Both products make my hair SO SHINY! Go ahead and try it. If you are thinking about coloring your hair permanently, try this first so that you can make sure that you will like the permanent dye before you take the dive and dye.
My natural haircolor is med/dark brown with about 30% gray - maybe a bit more now. I'm "root intolerant" so I color my hair more often than I should. I do not use permanent hair colors because I have had problems in the past with the 1/5" of hair closest to my scalp turning bright orange! This has happened several times with different brands (over-the-counter brands and salon brands).
The other reviewers are correct that the shade pictured on the box is much lighter than what you'll end up in real life. I believe this is due to the fact that this product doesn't lighten your own color so new color (dye) is deposited over existing color (your own).
Most people will find their hair feels "dry" or "rough" immediately after coloring. The hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients open the hair cuticle so it can receive the color. The conditioning process seals the cuticle. People with extra delicate or damaged hair may find that they need a deeper conditioning.
I've used almost every one of the brown shades at different points, most recently Suede. I just switched to Brass Free Brunette formula, though because I find it covers my gray better. I wash my hair daily and find that the overall color fades in about 3 weeks. It fades much faster on my grays (about 2 weeks). I'm pretty hard on my hair (daily use of a flat iron, daily shampooing), but I don't feel that this product has damaged my hair.