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Best hair dye 2022: Keep coloured hair looking salon fresh at home with the best box dyes

Jade Vincent Caroline Preece
8 Feb 2021

Get vibrant and glossy hair colour with the best hair dye – no hairdresser appointment necessary

Natural-looking and long-lasting hair colour don't have to come from expensive treatments in the hairdresser's chair. Boxed dye has gathered a bad reputation and seems to the uninitiated like a recipe for disaster, but patchy, streaky hair is a thing of the past thanks to some of the fantastic new formulas that promise salon-quality colour. 

Pharmacies now offer at-home solutions to brighten locks that have lost their lustre, or to cover roots and grey hairs. So wave goodbye to your hairdresser and wake up to what can be done at home.

Whatever look you're going for - whether it's blonde, black or even hot pink - we've collected some of the best at-home hair dye kits. Below, read our top tips on choosing the right hair dye to get your desired results, as well as things to look out for.

How to choose the best hair dye for you

Should I still visit a hairdresser every once in a while?

While at-home hair dyes work a treat for covering roots and greys, there are some cases when a trip to a salon is necessary. For example, if you want highlights or wish to transition from a dyed brunette to a blonde, a professional hair stylist will give you the best results. Similarly, if your hair is delicate or prone to damage, like natural afro-textured hair, a professional will tailor the dying process to keep your locks in the best condition.

READ NEXT: Keep your hair in tip-top condition with the best hair serums

Is it hard to transition from a brunette to a blonde at home?

It’s true that brunette to blonde is one of the hardest transitions to make, but it is doable if you follow the right steps. This process works best on hair that has never been dyed before, often called “virgin hair”. The problem with dying hair that’s been dyed in the past is that the blonde colourant may mix with the dark tones that still cling to your hair. This can result in a blorange disaster. We’d always recommend starting with a neutral or ashy tone, as newly dyed hair can look a little bright.

What is the safest way to dye my hair?

It’s important to do a patch test on a small area of skin 24-hours before taking the plunge. This is to make sure you’re not allergic to any ingredients used in the dye. We’d also recommend skipping at-home dye jobs if you have an irritated scalp, a rash on your face, a temporary henna tattoo or if you’ve experienced a reaction from hair dye before. Our top tips? Cover all furniture to avoid any transfer, wear gloves and make sure to avoid contact with eyes. All hair dyes have a different process, so read instructions and guidelines properly to get the best results.

The best hair dye to buy

1. Colour Wow Root Touch Up: Best root touch up

Price: £28.50 | Buy now from Space NK

No hairdressers appointment? No problem. Colour Wow's brush-in dye instantly perks up dull, colourless roots for a vibrant do that looks like it's been freshly dyed. Not to be mistaken for your eyeshadow palette, the at-home kit features a precision mineral powder that's available in seven shades - ranging from platinum to black - and a dual-sided brush that's great for targetting specific hairs. 

Whether you're looking to conceal emerging roots or camouflage grey hairs, the lightweight powder has a surprisingly high colour pay-off that blends seamlessly with your hair for a natural finish. Surprisingly, the blonde and platinum shades are great at lightening darkened roots, too.

What's more, the pigments that Colour Wow uses are fully waterproof and transfer-proof which means it'll stay put between washes and not stain your pillow or clothes. And considering it's made without the waxes and dyes that can damage or weaken our hair, it'll give your locks a well-needed break from harsh chemicals and treatments.

Buy now from Space NK

2. Clairol Nice n’ Easy Root Touch-Up: Best permanent hair dye to cover roots

Price: £6 | Buy now from Boots

Clairol has got you covered with the Nice n’ Easy Root Touch-Up. Guaranteed to extend the time between visits to the salon, Clairol has developed multi-tonal shades similar to those you would find at the hairdressers. That means you’ll enjoy a professional-looking finish without an obvious difference between the lengths of your hair and the touched-up roots.

And, as the name Nice n’ Easy suggests, the hair dye is a doddle to apply: simply mix both tubes in the mixing bowl and apply to your roots with the Expert Control Brush. Just make sure to pay special attention to the roots around the parting, face and temple. Plus, it only takes ten minutes for the colour to set, which is a lot faster than waiting in a salon.

The Nice n’ Easy Root Touch-Up wins bonus points for its easy application, budget price and stunning results. If you’re looking to cover those unwelcome roots quickly, this is the hair dye for you.

Buy now from Boots

3. Bleach London Super Cool Colour: Best for a coloured and bleached look

Price: £6 (150ml) | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Tired of the same look, but not willing to fully commit? Partially responsible for the kaleidoscope hair that’s all over our Instagram feeds, Bleach London is perfect for anyone who gets bored with their style and wants to switch it up. The vibrant colours wash out in two to ten washes and it's super easy to apply, as the mask-textured dye will leave a beautiful pastel-hue in only 30-minutes. 

You can choose between semi-permanent shades such as “Washed Up Mermaid”, “Awkward Peach” and “Violet Skies”. Working best on fair, blonde hair, it’s worth mentioning that the Super Cool Colour hair dye will give a pretty, sheer finish that may not show up on dark hair as well.

Our thoughts? While some have struggled to get a strong colour payoff, the Super Cool Colour range is a fun way to try something new without permanently taking the plunge. It’d be the ultimate accessory for festivals or trips to Ibiza, and we love that Bleach London use only vegan, cruelty-free ingredients.

Buy now from Cult Beauty

4. Garnier Nutrisse Creme Permanent Hair Dye: Best for blonde hair

Price: £5.79 | Buy now from Boots

Because transitioning to blonde hair isn’t as easy as other dye jobs, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the best product. Earning Holly Willoughby's seal of approval, Garnier is onto a winning formula with their Nutrisse range. Offering a wide range of blonde shades, including ashy and honey tones, the Nutrisse hair dye is designed to deliver natural-looking and long-lasting colour.

Garnier Nutrisse’s two-step programme consists of a hair dye and after-treatment conditioner, which is enriched with a blend of avocado, cranberry, shea and olive oils to keep hair looking fresh, nourished and protected.

Some have complained that their hair turned brassy post-dye so, to counteract these unwanted yellow tones, we’d invest in a quality purple shampoo. Simply apply the treatment for a few minutes and rinse, but be careful – it can leave a lilac tint if left on for too long.

If you’re planning to find out if blondes do have more fun, the Nutrisse range is the best hair dye to get you there.

Buy now from Boots

5. Garnier Olia Permanent Hair Colour: Best for grey hair

Price: £7 | Buy now from Superdrug

As we age, our hair tends to get dry, brittle and more prone to breakage – and regular colouring only makes it worse. To cover unwanted grey hairs and keep your hair looking its best, the Garnier Olia Permanent hair dye is the perfect colourant for the job. Ditching ammonia in favour of a 60% oil formulation, the permanent hair dye deeply conditions hair while it colours for a smooth and shiny finish. That means ultimate colour pay-off without a strong, chemical scent.

Promising full grey coverage, the non-drip colourant cream has a velvety texture that clings to hair without irritating the scalp. It can be used to touch up grey roots or dye your entire head, but you may have to purchase two if you have overly long or thick hair.

Combining maximum colour with healthy, soft and silky hair, the Olia range is also a fantastic contender for those wanting to freshen up and revive lacklustre hair colour. It offers a selection of beautiful shades, including rich, chestnut browns, intense reds and buttery blondes.

Buy now from Superdrug

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