Saturday, 29 March 2014

Clairol Nice 'n' Easy Permanent Colour – 6R (110) Natural Light Auburn (review)

Clairol Nice 'n' Easy – 6R (110) Natural Light Auburn
While I (mostly) enjoy experimenting with bright colours, I've got a date lined up which means my blonde roots have to be disguised with a hair dye that is subtle, natural-looking and foolproof. I want to avoid anything with 'bold', 'extreme' or 'XXL' in the title! Clairol's Nice 'n' Easy has a good reputation – and longevity on its side, it dates back to 1965!

Clairol logo © 2008 Step1mg
An enormous range of suitably natural looking shades are available. For maximum realism, each colourant is made up of a blend of “3 salon tones” to give you “contouring highlights” and “amazing natural looking colour”. If you have greys, 100% coverage is promised and the colour is said to be long-lasting, as it should be bearing in mind it's permanent. I'm using 6R (formally known as 110) Natural Light Auburn; think Bree Van Der Kamp in her toned-down later years on Desperate Housewives, and you won't be far off. It's a lovely, bright colour.

Nice 'n' Easy is more affordable than some rival brands, it retails at around six pounds and is available in most high street shops and on-line. The range has had a minor re-branding recently, with new numbers and letters identifying the same old shades. It's easier to understand; for example the R in this particular dye stands for red. As a general guide, N is for natural, C for cool, RB for reddish-brown, CB is champagne blonde etc. With 56 (!) shades available in the U.K., there's something for everyone! Now Nice 'n' Easy also cater for ageing hair with their new Age Defy collection. I've got a pack so I'll test that in a few weeks!

Inside the box are bottles or tubes of Colourblend Formula, Colour Activating Crème, CC Colourseal Conditioner and some Expert Gloves. First off, there's nothing 'expert' about the gloves – they're cheap and flimsy. Mixing the colourant and developer is easy enough, and the pointed spout makes application easy. It helps that once combined the cream is thick enough not to drip but light enough to spread through your hair. However, I only just – and I mean just! – had enough for my medium-length hair, so if it's longer than shoulder-length you'll need two packs.

Your typical Nice 'n' Easy hair dye kit
The ammonia is really strong; the formula works quickly, though, so after 25 minutes you can rinse it off which is a surprisingly easy task! I've used a few tricky-to-rinse colourants, recently, Nice 'n' Easy was a revelation compared. My hair felt a bit straw-like after rinsing but the CC Colourseal Condtioner is excellent. It's artificial as hell, but so is dying so I won't dwell on it. It's silken, easily spread and leaves hair feeling very soft and smooth. You can buy it separately here in Britain – as I have done – and it's available for different coloured hair, too. Mine naturally came with the red version, but there's brunette and blonde varieties which retail at about a pound for 30 ml. On long hair that doesn't go far...

After my hair had air dried (heat styling is a bit much after all those chemicals!) it felt super soft, looked incredibly glossy and yes, very natural! I'm really happy with the results – the way the light catches the different tones is excellent and is right up there with John Frieda's brilliant home hair dye kit. My only issue is my blonde roots are a slightly lighter shade of red than my darker mid-lengths and ends, but this is to be expected. Hair dye has come on a long way, but it's still not perfect.

I would choose this dye again over everything I've tried so far except John Frieda's version, which is high praise indeed. If you want a genuinely natural looking colourant, Nice 'n' Easy is hard to beat, and the low price and excellent conditioner add to its desirability. There's a foam version of Nice 'n' Easy I'm yet to try; that could very well be even easier to use, but if you prefer traditional creams this one is among the best.

Helpful Clairol...
Clairol provide a full ingredients, warnings and advice leaflet in .pdf format on their website which makes seeing at a glance what's in the products easy and learning about the dangers of hair dyes more detailed than what you find on the box. It's an interesting if somewhat long read; take a look for yourself below:

More affordable than many dyes
Ammonia is chokingly strong
Colour is truly natural, like I was born this way
Only just enough dye for my shoulder-length hair
Realistic tones and highlights add depth to shade
Cream is fiddlier than new foam dyes


Brand: Clairol

Colourant Size: 60 ml
Activator Size: 60 ml
Conditioner Size: 57 ml

Price: £5.99 (£5.99/treatment)

Manufactured: Europe

Colourant Ingredients:


Activator Ingredients:

Conditioner Ingredients:


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