I've never been shy about admitting that I color my hair. Mostly because I like the variety. Summer time is for lighter hair, closer to my natural light brown and winter is for darker hair - at least for me. More often than not I tend to get my hair color from a box and not a salon. It's a rather easy process, so why not save myself $85 bucks. The last time I went to a salon for color, that's what it cost me - which includes tip and a trim. Anyway, it's nearly winter and so it was time to go dark.
I normally buy L'ORÉAL Excellence hair color. It doesn't leave my hair feeling like straw after, the smell isn't that bad and the conditioner they include is to die for! This time I decided to try highlights and saw the box of L'ORÉAL PARIS Couleur Experte Express a two-in-one multi-tonal color system. (Say that three times fast!) I found a color that was a little darker than my own, but changed my mind about using the really dark brown. The color I chose was a nice full brown with golden highlights. I checked the hair color swatches on the side of the box to make sure that my desired result was shown. (You know...the If your hair is this color, your result will be this color swatch). Everything was good to go. I finished my shopping and headed home.
Opening the box and taking out the contents you will find two clear plastic trays that are connected & covered by heavy paper stock which is perforated.The directions were stuck to the top with a rubber cement type of adhesive. I read through the directions and didn't find anything that sounded difficult, so off I went to dye my hair.
First, you do your all over color. Clearly indicated by the ONE on the top of the clear box. Contents included gloves - in a tiny zip lock type baggie, Gel Creme color base tube and color developer in a bottle. Squeeze contents of the tube into the bottle, re-cover the bottle, shake until well blended. Easy. Remove the cover and replace with applicator cap. Oh - don't forget to put on the gloves!
Here I go. I'm a pro here and it doesn't take me long to thoroughly cover my strands of light brown locks with the Gel color. This is the first time that I have ever had hair color drip from the bottle. Hmmm... And I've never had to remove so much from my ears and face before. The Gel seems to be more runny than the usual L'ORÉAL product I use.
I wait the recommended time before rinsing and conditioning - this "first step" box does not contain conditioner. Directions suggest you use your favorite hair conditioner and leave in for at least two minutes. Next step is to blow dry your hair in to your usual style. Ok - done.
Now dive in to clear plastic box number TWO. This is where you'll find all the needed goodies to highlight your hair. I found, huge tweezers with pads on the inside, a large bristle brush (similar to a very large mascara brush) with a pointed end, a spatula, an Illuminating Powder Packette, another set of gloves (Yay! I was thrilled I didn't have to re-use the other gloves), and Illuminating Creme Developer bottle. Directions were easy - use the two welled clear plastic box to mix the powder and developer together. Mix with the spatula until smooth and creamy. Simple.
You now have two application options. Option A uses the Easy-Glide Highlighter tool (tweezers) and Option B uses the Wand (bristle brush). I tried using Option A, but the tweezers just didn't apply enough of the cream to the strands that I sectioned out. Then I tried Option B. That was a little better, but not much. In the end, I took my gloved finger and dipped it in the well to pick up the solution and using my finger and thumb, slid it across the selected strands. That was much easier and faster than either of the tools provided. (I would recommend, however, that you find a friend to do this for you. It's very difficult keeping unwanted strands from getting stuck to the tool or your fingers.) I decided to do only 4 highlights on each side. After I finished applying the solution I waited 20 minutes. The suggested time was 15 mins to 25 mins.
Almost done. Last steps are to rinse, with cloves on, and condition your hair. I did that. Then I dryed my hair and styled....and stared into the mirror. The highlights did not come out. One small strand is very, very faint. Barely visable. The others you cannot see if even you squint or pull out a magnifying glass. My overall hair color is much, MUCH darker than the box suggested it would be. So much so that I was left wondering if some nerd didn't swap the color from another box for fun. I would say my new hair color is more of a super dark roasted chestnut. It almost looks black. It's supposed to be a medium ash brown. Um - there is no medium anything. It's a very deep dark brown. It's a pretty color, luckily, but not what I expected at all.
The next time I'm feeling froggy about highlights, I'll go to the salon. And no, I will not buy the L'ORÉAL of PARIS Couleur Experte Express two-in-one multi-tonal color system again.
Update On Dec 07, 2009: It's been 5 weeks since I used this product and the color is still going strong. Although it turned out much darker than I expected, I have had several compliments saying the color suits me and makes my hazel eyes seem more stunning. Hope this color comes without the highlights. Compliments like that cannot be ignored! (O: