Review: Dollar Store Hair Dye

I regularly dye my hair, and have ever since my mother first gave me permission to do so over 15 years ago.  I’m naturally a dark brunette, but with a lot of natural red highlights.  I have been every colour under the sun, but I’ve always felt most like myself with red hair.  So while shopping in the dollar store the other day, I noticed they had hair dye.

Now I’m not against it, so I thought “what the hell”, and grabbed 3 boxes.  At $2 a box, it’s still cheaper than 1 box of my normal dye.

Here is a recent photo of me to show how dark my colour was:


The quantities are very small.  If you have any length of hair, you will need more than one box.  I have thick hair that hangs to my shoulder blades.  I used 3 and it was perfect.  If I had used 2, it wouldn’t have been quite enough.

The colour gel and the developing cream don’t mix very well.  At times, I was worried I was putting straight developer on my hair.

It burns.  I’m sure you’re not surprised, but I have a normally itchy scalp that sometimes leads to raw spots, so I always have a tiny bit of burning when I dye my hair.  But this was an all over burn, that was fairly intense.  I thought it it lasted longer than 5 minutes, I’d have to rinse it all out.  Luckily, it went away fairly quickly.

It has to stay on for 30-40 minutes, which is much longer than the typical 20-25 for better brands.

It smells incredibly strong, there is no attempt by the manufacturer to mask the smell.  You might want to crack a window.

The conditioner packets are small and it’s not very good.  I managed with all 3 packets, and it did me fine, but it’s nothing like the awesome conditioner that comes with better dyes (the kind I wish they’d bottle), so you might want to use your own.

And last, (and this is just me being nit-picky), the kits come with those crappy gloves that are like two thin sheets of plastic fused together in a hand shape.  As a regular dyer, I had a good pair of rubber gloves on hand that I used instead.

Pros:  (Yup, there are some)

It didn’t stain my skin.

The cost is good.

And the colour is great!!

Yes, that’s right.  The colour turned out fantastic.

The Result:

I would never have been able to get colour this light and bright without first bleaching my hair.  I’ve attempted this numerous times, and it’s always a weekend long venture.  First, I have to bleach my hair, then wait a full day with a wash in between.  Then I’m able to apply the red on top, and even then it still usually turns out rather coppery/orange.  This picture was also taken indoors, away from the window, so the colour will only be even more vibrant when out in the sun.

All in all, I can’t say that I will never use this hair dye again.  I’m really happy with how the colour turned out, and I would be willing to use it again.  Mind you, I still have to see how fast it fades, but for $6, even if it fades in 3 washes I couldn’t complain.  I just feel like the end result outweighs all the negatives.  (That is, unless I start to lose my hair in clumps or grow a third arm).

As far as I noticed, there were only 3 shades available, blonde, brunette and red.  So I’d say if you enjoy a vibrant red, you should give it a try!

Lastly, just because I am wearing my favourite comfy t-shirt, I leave you with this:

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