Skip to main content

Natural Instincts Vibrant: A Permanent Alternative to Clairol's Ammonia-Free Color

I have been overdue for a color touch up, having postponed the inevitable a bit so my color timing will align well with an early summer event. I counted back about 8 weeks so I will color again shortly before my sister's college graduation, and that left me with an early April color timeframe. It's early April finally, so I once again colored my hair.

After looking back at the coloring experiments I've done the past year, I was most successful with Clairol Natural Instincts brand hair color in terms of overall evenness, damage prevention, shine, and tone. The ammonia-free hair color shade I tried in 2013 was #28 Dark Brown and since I'd also tried Clairol Nice n' Easy, and another dark brown shade of Natural Instincts (not posted on the blog). I wanted a color result like the #28, but with the staying power of John Freida, so I bought Natural Instincts Vibrant Permanent Hair Color in #4 Dark Dazzel (aka Dark Brown).

While the ammonia-free Natural Instincts is not permanent, it does come in a greater variety of shades and in both liquid and creme formula. As of today, Clairol offers 23 liquid and 8 creme shades, while the Vibrant permanent product features just 13 shades in one formula.

What you get in the box looks the same for both: gloves, developer, color, post-color conditioner, and a color refresh packet. I did not like how my hair felt and looked after using the color refresh last time - which I never got a chance to blog about - so I tossed it in the trash without even considering it.

Like with most home color products, I just mixed the color and developer in the bottle, shook a bit with a gloved finger over the cap, and applied it to my hair from the greyest areas, on the root growth, and working downward toward the ends.

I have very thick hair, but I just had it cut not long ago, so it's about the same length that it was the last time I colored with Natural Instincts. Strangely, I didn't get the same level of coverage as I did with the ammonia-free product. A good bit of the underneath and ends were not covered.

I only had to wait 10 minutes for the color to process, which is absolutely awesome since it stinks terribly (typical for a permanent color), and the result is actually quite good. The areas less covered blend well with the dyed strands, giving the overall look a very natural feel. It doesn't look patchy. It looks multi-dimensional.

The resulting shade is just lovely. It's a Hershey chocolate bar, rich, deep, very warm without being red or brassy. The color is dark without coming close to black, so it looks natural and like my hair could realistically be growing in this color without help from Clairol.

My grey is mostly around my temples and while it's hard to see in the photo below, I have a small cluster of grey on each side, plus sporadic grey strands throughout. From a distance, you'd never know I was going grey, but I notice it when I look in the mirror, so I prefer to color it rather than age "gracefully." I'm only 37, so grey is not my friend.

going grey around the temples

grey is gone after coloring
The post-color picture above is warmer than in real life thanks to my very warm indoor lights, but you can see the grey is covered very well. I looked closely and found just a couple of undyed strands, but am not sure if that is from being unable to cover my hair fully or if the color didn't take. It's so not noticeable though, not even to me unless I'm very close to the mirror.

My hair texture after coloring is soft and smooth, and the look is shiny. The shade is exactly what I wanted, so Natural Instincts is once again a winner.

I've still got to see how long the color lasts, but if I make it 6 weeks before noticeable fading, I may never use another color as long as Clairol makes a permanent version of Natural Instincts. I know I'm saying this now and then later I may be tempted by a new brand at the store, but I'm going to try and stick to this.

If you aren't familiar with the other products I've tried, a few that I've posted about include John Frieda, Olia, Nice n' Easy, and eSalon.


Popular posts from this blog

Switching from Olay Regenerist to L'Oreal RevitaLift

I've been using Olay Regenerist DNA Superstructure UV Cream for years now. I love the SPF 25 (it's now 30) the thick moisturizing quality, and how fresh my skin feels once it's absorbed. It's really thick, so it tends to need more time before I put on foundation, and it does leave my skin a touch lighter than it is in real life. The sunscreen ingredients mean this moisturizer smells just like traditional sun protection, and even a bit like my daughter's diaper cream (ick), but I know it's doing it's job and I've been really happy with it. I intended to buy some more during a trip to Walmart today, but L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion had a $2 off coupon attached, and the base price was less than the Olay product, so I took a chance and bought  the RevitaLift instead. L'Oreal's bottle is prettier with a similar pump mechanism. Like Olay, the product is in an opaque container, which helps keep the contents from being af

Garnier Olia Hair Color Review

BzzAgent sent me a coupon to try Garnier Olia haircolor and I was super excited to try a new color. Anyone who knows me knows that I've been coloring my hair since I was 13 years old. I've tried many shades from bright blue, purple, and fire engine red to pricey complex process salon dye jobs. I've stuck to mostly brown shades for the past couple of years and wanted a change. Most of my adult life, I've used either reddish tint or bolder rusty reds, so it seemed like a fun idea to go back to that for a while. Honestly, it was a little challenging to pick a shade I wanted to try because my experience with box color "light" and "medium" seems different from the example photos on Olia boxes. The brown and red shades look darker than what I would call "light," for example. At Walmart, there were 14 of the 24 Olia shades in stock, which narrowed down my choice. Since I was fearful of trying any light colors in case they were too light for Hair Color Review

It's now May 2014 and since my original review, I've had a chance to fly out to eSalon and see how orders are processed, learn the right way to apply color, and find out the differences between box color and eSalon color.  I learned a lot and have a totally different perspective now and would definitely recommend giving eSalon a try. When you order from eSalon, be sure to upload a current, well-lit photo of your hair and don't hesitate to ask their color experts for advice. The eSalon team are experts. Let them help you find the right shade and apply color correctly. It's a learning process if you're used to box color products. Last August, I tried  eSalon . At the time, I found the color was fine in that it was even and matched what I had seen online for that shade, but it wasn't really what I was going for. eSalon's customer service was helpful, with a colorist calling to explain how their product differs from what I buy in-store and the risks of g