We try it: Foam hair dye

Anyone who’s ever dyed her hair at home can attest to what a rotten mess it can be: splotchy color, splotchy sinks, gag-inducing smells. So the whole foam hair dye craze, which nearly every hair color manufacturer is doing right now, seems like some kind of solution. The ads all say the light foamy color is easier to apply and covers more evenly. Are they right?

To find out, I took myself and my godawful roots and got a box of L’Oreal Paris foam color in “darkest natural brown.” I read the instructions twice, and even watched the video that my iPhone picked up from the little square scanner thing on the instructions. I covered the bathroom floor with an old bed sheet, covered the counter with another sheet, put on the gloves and got to work.

First impression: Wow, plopping foam on your head is a helluva lot easier than squeezing out color from a bottle. I’ve been dying my hair for about a year now, and I’ve always hated sectioning out my hair and hoping that I’m reaching the roots with the gel color. It’s hard to tell what spots I’ve colored and what ones are still dry – especially when I’m wearing gloves. The instructions tell you to focus on the top and front sections of your hair first, and then work down and back from there.

I wasn’t so fond of waiting 30 minutes for the color to set, and I wasn’t sure what the instructions meant by “occasionally massaging” the hair. So I gave it two or three good rubs during the waiting time, foaming up the dye again, and hoped for the best.

First thought when I saw the results: Um wow, this isn’t “darkest natural brown” so much as it is BLACK. Okay. Fine. I know browns tend to lighten up the first week, so I tried not to panic. I noted how I didn’t have splotchy little circles on my forehead or my neck, which was nice. My boyfriend liked that my hair didn’t smell like a nail salon full of dead bodies this time. And when I washed my hair again the next day, I noticed that my white towel wasn’t full of leftover dye, which means it actually rinsed out well the first time. Surprising.

Overall, I highly recommend it. I don’t plan on going back to squeeze-the-bottle gel dye again. This color was easier to apply and dispersed better throughout my hair. It also didn’t leave my hair smelling like a chemical bath for three days. I did notice a couple of spots in the middle and back of my hair that I missed, but other than that, the color is even and shiny. And after 5 days, it’s lightened up a bit, so now it’s more like the brown that was on the box.

–By Tara Cavanaugh

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