Review: L’Oréal Excellence HiColor

20 Apr

Summer is approaching and I feel like giving myself a new image.

I asked Moody Orange what I should do with my hair and she suggested I go brown.

…brown? I’ve always wanted red hair. Red RED. …but okay, if you say so.

I’ve dyed my hair before with regular drugstore dyes such as Garnier  Belle Color. Unfortunately those formulas do almost nothing for black hair. When I dyed my hair in the past, the colour would only be visible under bright sunlight.

Garnier  Belle Color
Pro: The colour was subtle and very natural.
Con: The colour was subtle.

Recently I came across reviews of  L’Oréal Excellence HiColor. It boasted being “the first haircolor of its kind specifically developed to lift dark hair in one single step, without brassiness.” AND it was for DARK hair! After reading tons of reviews and watching several YouTube videos, I decided to do for it.

I went to my local Sally Beauty Supply and got the dye and developer. Unlike boxed kits at drugstores, you must buy the developer separately. Developers comes in several flavours: 10, 20, 30 and 40. It even goes up to 50, but generally people recommend to avoid 40 and 50. The higher you go, the stronger the concentration of peroxide. Peroxides have really strong bleaching effects. Too strong and you may damage your skin and hair. I went with a bottle of 30.

Colour Swatchs:

I intended to buy one stick of Soft Auburn dye for my hair. As I was checking out, the cashier said I should get another stick for the length of my hair. I have chest length hair. Since I’ve never used L’Oréal Excellence HiColor before I took her advice. One stick is 1.74 fl. oz.

Unfortunately, they ran out of Soft Aubrun, so the cashier grabbed Light Auburn for me. The Light is significantly redder than the Soft. Good, I wanted more red anyways.

Sally Beauty Supply
HiColor: $8.99 per box.
Salon Care 30 Developer (16 fl. oz.): $4.59

I mix everything in a yogurt container. (Go ahead and laugh, but it works!)
Each tube of dye called for 2.5 fl. oz. of developer (74ml). Since I had two tubes, I used 5 fl. oz. (149ml).

After measuring out the dye, I poured it into the container and squeezed out my two tubes of dye.

The dye comes out of the tube white. As I started mixing it, I could smell the chemicals starting to react. Phew, it’s strong! I could even feel warmth emitting from the container. So wear gloves! Don’t stain or burn yourself with chemicals.


The mixture stays white for a while. For a while I thought I had forgotten a product! Luckily, I was okay. It wasn’t until about 5 minutes in until the mixture started turning pink, purple and then some strange combination of purple-y red.

I divided my hair up into strands and started coating my hair with the goopy dye. I highly recommend you find a friend to help you with this. Or if you have ample amounts of dye you could just dunk it all in your hair and massage away. But I wanted to be safe and make sure I covered everything. Nobody wants patches of undyed and dyed hair.

Covering everything took about 20 minutes. I used a shower cap to cover my hair afterwards to avoid having it dye drip. If you don’t have a disposable shower cap, just use a plastic bag. The instructions called for 30 minutes of waiting. I opted for 60 minutes instead. I really wanted the colour to sink into my black hair.

After the wait, I washed my hair and the dye came out quite easily after a few rinses. I looked in the mirror and I could definitely see the colour show around my roots, but the rest of my hair still looked very dark. Wet hair is darker than dry hair, so I waited it out.

And voilà! Here are the results.

Before   After

(The before picture was taken a few months back. That’s black hair, with a tinge of colour about five inches down from a previous colour.)

The colour is really visible around the roots as you can see from the After picture. The roots of my hair is always lighter and brighter when I attempt to colour my hair. Why?

*shrugs* I’m going to assume that new hair is just more susceptible to colouring. That and more of the dye sits on top of my scalp during the dyeing process. If anyone can provide an answer, that would be lovely.

Personally, I wish the rest of my hair followed suit since the ends are still really dark. The colour is visible but it doesn’t quite pop. It shows quite nicely under good lighting though.

Overall, Excellence HiColor works much better than regular drugstore brands BUT it’s not perfect. If only it could have worked on the rest of my hair as it did on my roots. And I only got this result after doubling the amount of time needed for the dye to sit. I give this experience a 3 out of  5 stars.

Okay, Moody, I went brown as you requested. I hope you like it! Personally I find it a little coppery for my liking. But hey, I tried something new.

Next time, I will go for Intense Red or Deep Auburn Red instead (and maybe a stronger developer?). Also, I didn’t need the second tube of hair dye. Since I have relatively thin hair, one tube would have been more than enough if used sparingly. With the extra dye, I generously applied the dye and gave the rest to my mother. She let the dye sit for 30 minutes and it came out naturally subtle.


4 Responses to “Review: L’Oréal Excellence HiColor”

  1. meow June 15, 2013 at 4:00 AM #

    Hi, I randomly stumbled upon your blog while looking for L’oreal hicolor reviews in soft auburn. 🙂 the root business happens because it’s closer to your scalp – the heat speeds up the process and opens up the hair cuticle so it soaks in the dye more. Try using a blow dryer every ten minutes on your ends. Or if you have previously dyed your hair, it could be because the dye can’t “lift” the old hair dye so it is only dying your virgin hair.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your experience! Soft auburn reviews are so hard to find. I think I will choose something redder and brighter. Cheers. 🙂

  2. Meena October 18, 2013 at 4:08 PM #

    Hey….since the roots are virgin hair the color will be more vibrant than the rest of your hair- which still has dye in it, I guess. This is why they say do the roots last so it won’t be a different color from the rest of the hair- as it will pop! But good review- i’m trying this out this weekend – hope this works! I have black hair too!

  3. Candice December 10, 2013 at 4:55 AM #

    The reason your roots end up lighter/brighter is because of the heat from your head as well as the fact that in your instance the length of your hair was previously colored (you can’t lift color with color). Bleached or “virgin” hair is required in order for the hair color to show up true to the desired color.

  4. Joy March 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM #

    We have the same problem. I dyed my hair with L’Oreal Excellence Cream in mahogany brown and can only see the color on the roots and not the ends. I could only see the color on the ends with light. I dyed my hair only for the first time.

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