At-Home Hair Dyes Reviewed

Canstar Blue’s review of at-home hair dyes has seen Napro Palette, Revlon, Clairol Nice’n Easy, Schwarzkopf, L’Oréal and Garnier rated on hair care, durability, ease of use, product accuracy, colour variety, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Best hair dye 2021

Most Satisfied Customers | Napro Palette

Napro Palette was rated the best at-home hair dye for the 2nd year in a row. It received five-star reviews in the majority of categories including hair care, longevity & durability, product accuracy, value for money, overall satisfaction, and more.

Fact Checked Fact Checked

Hair we go again: Napro Palette rated best hair dye for 2nd year

Whether you want a complete colour overhaul or simply need to touch up your greys, you can now confidently skip the hair salon and DIY at home with packet hair dyes. Pharmacy and supermarket shelves are packed full with all different kinds of hair colouring products, from permanent and semi-permanent solutions to touch-up gels and wash-out products. It’s no wonder half of our survey respondents (57%) have tried multiple brands of hair dye, while more than a quarter (28%) have tried multiple products of the same brand. So, which at-home hair dyes can you trust to deliver glossy results, without leaving your wallet dry?

To find the best ‘root’ to take, we asked more than 650 Aussie consumers for their feedback on the box hair dye(s) they’ve purchased and used in the last six months. Respondents rated brands on their colour variety, product accuracy, longevity & durability, hair care, ease of use, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction. Brands that received at least 30 responses are featured in the results.

So, which brands were rated best and which got hairy reviews? Napro Palette was the highlight in our latest ratings for the second year in a row after brushing up five stars in the majority of categories ─ including overall satisfaction!

Best Hair Dyes

Napro Palette hair dye

Here are the best brands for at-home hair dye in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review:

  1. Napro Palette
  2. Nice’n Easy (Clairol)
  3. Revlon
  4. Schwarzkopf
  5. Garnier
  6. L’Oréal

Napro Palette topped our at-home hair dye review after rating best in the majority of categories including hair care, longevity & durability, product accuracy, packaging design, value for money, and overall satisfaction.

Meanwhile, Nice’n Easy, Revlon and Schwarzkopf landed on four stars overall, and Garnier and L’Oréal followed behind on three stars overall. It’s worth mentioning that Nice’n Easy was the only other brand to receive full marks in any category, rating best for ease of use and variety of colours.

At-Home Hair Dyes

Napro Palette

Napro Palette hair dye review

Looking for a permanent box dye that won’t break your hair or your bank? Napro Palette’s Oil-Care Colour range promises the cashmere protein and pearl extracts in its formula will help moisturise your locks and keep your hair soft to touch while ensuring shine and colour for up to eight weeks. You can usually grab a box of Napro Palette hair dye from most pharmacies and supermarkets for $9.99. Some shades available include Chocolate Brown, Blue Black, Rosewood Violet and Ashy Blonde.

  • Napro Palette rated best with five stars for overall satisfaction as well as for product accuracy, longevity, hair care, value for money and packaging design. It got four stars for ease of use and variety of colours.

Clairol Nice’n Easy

Clairol Nice N Easy hair dye review

If you love having options or struggle with maintaining your roots, Clairol’s wide product range is worth checking out. Its original permanent hair colour range offers 27 shades and features a blend of tones and highlights and is claimed to provide 100% grey coverage. Clairol alternatively has the Natural Instincts collection, which is said to use 80% naturally-derived ingredients and lasts up to 28 washes.

Clairol’s line-up also includes the Nice’n Easy Repair range, which uses REPAIRPLEX to leave your hair stronger and supposedly results in 97% less breakage compared to products without the technology. The brand additionally offers permanent colours for root touch-ups.

  • Clairol Nice’n Easy got an easy win for colour variety and ease of use, achieving five stars in both categories. It got four stars everywhere else, including for product accuracy, longevity, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Revlon

Revlon hair dye review

To help cover up your greys, Revlon’s ColorSilk range has more than 40 shades to try out. Each product is described as ammonia-free and claimed to leave your hair in a better condition compared to before it was coloured, apparently due to the keratin and silk amino acids in the formula. The range is also said to use 3D Color Gel Technology to add definition and natural-looking multi-tonal colour. You can pick up a box of Revlon hair dye from $4.99 in most supermarkets and pharmacies.

  • Revlon achieved a respectable four stars for product accuracy, value for money, colour range and overall satisfaction. It got three stars in the remaining research areas, including longevity, hair care, ease of use and packaging design.

Schwarzkopf

Schwarzkopf hair dye review

If regular brown and blonde seems a little too tame, Schwarzkopf’s Brilliance hair colour range has a few funky colours to spice up the selection ─ including Smouldering Red, Violet Wild Silk and Boho Copper. The brand also has a Nordic Blonde line, which features several types of hair lighteners. These also contain Schwarzkopf’s OMEGAPLEX Anti-Breakage Technology, which is said to result in 80% less breakage. Schwarzkopf additionally has a gradual lightening spray that can ‘lift’ the hair to two levels for soft highlights, a dip-dye effect product and an all-over blonde dye. You can buy Schwarzkopf products from $14.99 in most pharmacies.

  • Schwarzkopf earned four-star reviews in most categories, including product accuracy, value for money and overall satisfaction. It got three stars for longevity and hair care.

Garnier

Garnier hair dye review

Garnier is another leading hair brand offering everything you need to touch up your roots or rock a whole new look, with two permanent hair dye ranges to choose from. The Nutrisse permanent hair colour promises up to eight weeks of colour and anti-dryness and is said to contain avocado, olive, shea and argan oils to keep your locks shiny, smooth and strong. There are 22 shades available, such as Crimson Promise and Natural Light Ash Blonde. Garnier alternatively offers the Olia range, which is claimed to be the first permanent home hair colour that’s powered by oil and not ammonia. It’s also stated to make hair 35% smoother and three times shinier than before the colour has been applied.  Garnier hair colours are available in over 40 shades and cost about $7.45 or upwards from most supermarkets.

  • Garnier earned four stars for ease of use and packaging design, plus three stars across the rest of the board, including for product accuracy, longevity, hair care and value for money.

L’Oréal

L'Oreal hair dye review

L’Oréal is a leading brand for all things cosmetic and hair care. The brand offers a mix of permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes, as well as temporary highlights, sprays and colour shampoo. The Excellence Crème Permanent Hair Colour and Casting Crème Gloss ranges have the widest shade options, with at least 20 colours to choose from in each collection. You can alternatively lighten your overall colour with the soft bleach from L’Oréal’s Colorista Effects Permanent Hair Colour, which the brand describes as an ‘oil-powered’ bleach with zero ammonia. You can pick up a L’Oréal hair dye for about $10 from any supermarket or pharmacy.

  • L’Oréal rounded up the scores on three stars in all research areas, including colour variety, product accuracy, longevity, hair care, ease of use, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.

What’s the difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair dye?

What is the best hair dye?

Semi-permanent (or temporary) hair dye tends to fade faster than permanent hair dye and starts to progressively lose colour with every shampoo, as well as with general exposure to air. But both types of hair dyes can be damaging to your hair, especially if you colour frequently. Although permanent hair colouring can cause more damage because, unlike semi-permanent hair dye, permanent dyes contain bleach and often use stronger chemicals that stay on your hair for longer.

For people who are fairly new to colouring their hair at home, semi-permanent dyes can be applied straight from the applicator and don’t require mixing. Meanwhile, those who want to use permanent hair colour must first mix an oxidizer (such as hydrogen peroxide) and ammonia with the colouring agent beforehand. It’s worth mentioning that there are typically more shade options for permanent hair dye because it includes bleach, which is needed to lift your natural hair colour.

Why does my hair dye only last a week?

Regardless of whether you use permanent or semi-permanent hair dye, several factors can cause hair colour to fade more quickly including:

  • Washing your hair too often
  • Using hot water to wash your hair
  • Using regular shampoo, instead of colour-safe or sulfate-free shampoo
  • Using hair tools (i.e. hairdryers, straighteners)
  • Applying the wrong toner
  • Not preparing your hair before heading to the pool or beach
  • Not applying SPF to your hair and scalp

How often can I box dye my hair?

Hair experts and hairdressers usually suggest waiting at least four to six weeks in between colour treatments. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your hair. While the timeframe can vary depending on factors like hair length and whether you use permanent or semi-permanent hair dye, the general rule of thumb is that less is more.

Which at-home hair dye should I buy?

Ideally, choose a hair colour that suits your skin tone and hair type, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Most box hair dyes come with a colour chart that shows what colour types match your chosen shade. Another important thing to look out for is how long the colour will last. Permanent hair colours typically last the longest (six to eight weeks), while touch-up products will fade after a couple of weeks, and wash-out dyes after a few washes. Again, refer back to the box which should give you details. Here are the hair dye types our survey respondents had most recently purchased:

  • Permanent: 58%
  • Semi-permanent: 24%
  • Wash-out colour: 12%
  • Root touch-up: 3%

Lastly, it may be worth considering a packet of hair dye that uses naturally-derived ingredients (i.e. argan oil, avocado oil etc.) and does not contain ammonia, which can dry and damage your hair.

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.

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Picture credits: Andrew Angelov/ Shutterstock.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a packet hair dye at home in the last six months – in this case, 652 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

Below is the previous winner of Canstar Blue’s hair dye review:

  • 2020: Napro Palette

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