Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm Back! And Brunette

HEY LOVELIES! I am now done with exams and on uni holidays, yay :) More time to blog and stress-free until the final week of July. I finished my final exam yesterday afternoon and I was going to blog last night but I felt really exhausted, so after a much-needed sleep-in I am now feeling refreshed and energised hehe. So how is everyone? I hope you're all well - please update me on any news about yourselves, good or bad! And by the way, thank you everyone who wished me good luck for my examinations ♥

I'm going to be doing a short review on a hair dye that I used last month. It's been exactly one month since I dyed my hair so I am able to talk about the effects that the dye has had on my hair ever since. The dye that I used was called L'Oreal Superior Preference UL 4 (Ultra-Lightening Golden Brown) and I bought two bottles of this for my long hair.

I don't normally use L'Oreal hair dyes, I've used two different ones in the past and they didn't work that well for me. Normally I would use Clairol Nice 'n' Easy since that has worked really well for me and has never faded, which means that it is 100% permanent (even though it says up to 36 weeks or something). But this time I decided to try something new which was suggested by Cindy aka Bad Barbie :] I was actually looking for the shade UL 61 Ultra Light Ash Brown but I couldn't find that at any of the shops that I went to.

You may have read in the pictures above that the dye is specially for dark hair, showing a 'before' shade. It's actually really rare to come across hair dyes that are 'ultra lightening' for dark hair so I was impressed that L'Oreal had come up with this. I've seen so many dyes that have said on the box 'this shade is not suitable for dark hair' which has made my heart sink a little :( Reading that made me feel like having dark hair is a disadvantage

For anyone who has dark hair and would like to lighten their hair, there is a solution for dying your hair without having to use bleach...


This dye pretty much ticks all of the boxes for me. I wanted a dye that wouldn't give me red/orange tones... and to my surprise, the information on the back of the box tells me that the golden tones minimise any yellow or orange effect. Yellow and orange being minimised sounds good enough to me - *tick*

I wanted a dye that would be suitable for my dark hair so that I know that it would 'work'. In the past I have used dyes that have not shown up on my hair at all! They were such a waste of money, and I won't name which brand/s I used that failed on me. I can hardly remember which brand/s they were but even so, they're not worth mentioning because bad publicity is still good publicity.

At the back of the box it says:

'For the best result, apply this shade on light brown to black hair'

Tick again. It even shows that the shade is not recommended for light blonde to blonde hair, and I used to think that all dyes would work well with blonde hair.

I think one box was around AU$13.99, and that was a sale price at Priceline. Normally for one box it's around AU$18. I bought two boxes for the sale price.

Hair before using the dye
Most of my hair was black and I had some brown highlights. Because of my subtle regrowth and uneven highlighting (I did them myself), I wanted my hair to go back to just one shade. I wanted caramel/chocolate brown - nothing lighter, nothing darker. My hair strands are quite thin which makes hair dying easier for me as they absorb colour really well. On my head though, I have lots of hair consisting of minimal layers which makes my hair thick overall. My hair is naturally straight and the length of my hair is just past my chest (to the top of my stomach). I'd say that my hair is generally smooth and quite soft.

My hair colour before I got it dyed

My hair dying procedure
I won't go through each instruction step by step; instead I'll give a brief overview of what I did. I mixed the colourant gel and developer cream together in a bowl so that I could mix them together thoroughly. The instructions say to pour the colourant gel into the developer cream applicator bottle and to shake but I prefer mixing like whisking x) I was going to use two colourant bottles but instead I used one and a half... same with the developer cream. My reason for this = I wanted to keep some dye to do touch-ups for regrowth. Yeah I know I could easily go out and buy another bottle of dye but I thought I'd save money this way!

I got my mum to dye my hair because it would have been hard for me to even distribute the dye at the back of my head. And my arms would have gotten really tired from having my arms up for so long. I was going to do it myself but my mum insisted that she would do it for me so yeah, hehe.

She used a regular painting brush to apply the dye and she started from the bottom layer of my hair at the back and then made her way to the very top of my hair. After my whole hair was covered with dye, she put a plastic bag over my head just to keep all of my hair intact. I left the dye in my hair for around 40 minutes and rinsed it out with warm water and used the conditioner that came with the dye.

Afterwards I blow-dried my hair and I could see in the bathroom mirror that my hair was much lighter than my previous dark hair! I was actually amazed at how well it worked and also how light my hair was :O I had never had my hair this light before and it was much lighter than I had expected.

Both in indoor/natural lighting

My mum did a good job with covering my roots evenly, I'm happy with the top part of my hair. 

Flash lighting makes it look slightly darker
(I'm not sleeping by the way, just laying down lol)

I swear, different lighting makes my dyed hair look different! You will be surprised how LIGHT my hair looks in yellow/fluorescent lighting.......... this was the night of when I dyed my hair...

Such a light brown, like a really really dark blonde?
My hair isn't this light in natural lighting though, I am glad!

So yes, in extreme lighting like when the sun is out, I think my hair looks close to being light brown, omg! I dyed my hair on the weekend, and when I had uni after the weekend... I felt rather self-conscious about my hair looking so much lighter. Of course, people could tell straight away that I had dyed my hair (even though they still asked me haha).

Here's my own hair swatch of the colour that can be used at the back of a box hehe:

Messy strands but oh well!
I reckon it looks heaps like the swatch on the box :D

1 month later
Firstly I want to say that this hair dye did wonders for my hair. There weren't any damaging effects at all, in fact the complete opposite occurred. My hair seemed healthier after using the dye, like shinier and 'brought to life'. That could have been the result of the super awesome conditioner but even so, this dye didn't damage my hair or strip away my hair's moisture. Luckily no hair dyes have damaged my hair before *phew* and I hope it stays that way.

I haven't been using the conditioner that came with the dye because my current shampoo is a 2-in-1 (shampoo and conditioner). I haven't used any hair products on my hair like gels/waxes/creams/sprays so I can't comment on whether there are any hair products that may have an affect on my dyed hair. I always towel-dry my hair so I also can't comment on the effect of heat etc.

So what can I comment on? I can comment on the scent of the dye and its 'anti-fade' system that this dye claims to have. I was surprised that the dye didn't wreak of strong chemicals - instead it had a more fruity scent that was pleasant for my nose. I could still smell the ammonia however, it didn't seem like my lungs were being filled with poisonous substances every time I breathed in - it was pretty amazing. I think they should have mentioned this on the box because this would probably be good news for those who strongly detest heavy odours in dyes. I for one, see this as a positive.

The dye claims to have a 'patented anti-fade system of up to 6 weeks of colour shine'. I lied, I can't exactly comment on this in detail because it hasn't been 6 weeks yet! I'll just assume that in two weeks time, the dye will still be in my hair.... unless it happens to disappear off the face of the earth after the 6 weeks are up, lol (highly unlikely). It's been 4 weeks and my hair colour hasn't faded, my hair still has its shine and it hasn't become dull. I could update you guys if anything does happen to my hair and its colour. For now, I'm not worried at all :)

Current hair
I've never fully experienced hair regrowth until now *cries* I knew it was going to happen, I was expecting it but argh, it's pretty annoying! One month has passed and there's a bit over half a centimeter of regrowth on my roots :( It will become more and worse overtime BUT I am very glad that I saved half a bottle of dye to touch up my roots ^_^ I might touch up my roots next month and if anyone wants to see pictures of that then let me know.

So now I know that my hair grows half a centimeter every month. That's not too bad I suppose.

This was taken yesterday. Sorry my parting is a bit of a mess :S

One side of my hair
Ahh my hair became all static-like because I was trying to push down the random strands sticking out :/

Now to my favourite part, the pros and the cons:

- Perfect for dark hair
- Ultra lightening
- No damaging effects, instead did the opposite
- Minimises yellow or orange tones in hair
- Has an 'anti-fade' system
- Comes with a large size of conditioner (54 mL)
- Dye has a bearable fruit-like scent
- Smooth texture of the dye can be easy to work with
- Permanent and has grey coverage
- Colour swatches on the box are accurate
- Can be purchased in-store, very convenient
- Staining of the dye on skin is not a huge problem, can be removed okay
- Did not have an allergic reaction
- Could dye hair again with the result shade to achieve lighter hair (golden brown to blonde)

- Not one of the cheapest home hair dyes (middle range)
- One bottle not enough for long hair (i.e. past the shoulders)
- Limited shades in the Ultra Lightening range
- Red tones present in dyed hair under flash photography
- Texture of the dye a little thick, can be difficult to spread

Personal cons
Overall my hair is on shade but the dye is much more concentrated at the top of my hair than the bottom half. Maybe it was the way that my mum applied the dye and having a plastic bag over my head could have allowed the dye to be more saturated up the top, since all of my hair was sitting in that area. I do still see some black near the bottom of my hair so maybe the thickness of the dye prevented the colour to be spread evenly.

I am happy with this dye and I had a really pleasant experience with it. I wasn't aiming to achieve golden brown hair which means that I'm not over the moon with my current hair colour, but that's alright. It's just a tad too light for my liking however that hasn't influenced my thoughts on this brand of dye at all. I would have liked to have tried UL 61 for an ash brown which may have been my ideal hair colour.

Absolutely, I recommend this hair dye for people with dark hair because it worked very well for me. Maybe a bit too well but at least it's not a waste of money, right? :) Who knew that lightening your hair without bleach could be so easy.

Since this wasn't my ideal shade, I probably wouldn't repurchase this unless I can find a slightly darker shade. I am still on the hunt for the perfect dark brown dye! Also, I really want to try those foam dyes that are now on the shelves of department stores. I've spotted Clairol and L'Oreal with new foam dyes. Asian-brand dyes like Palty, Liese, Prettia etc. are foam dyes and I've heard great things about them (it must be because they are specially made for dark hair).

Does anyone know a hair dye that can achieve a natural dark brown? Here's my colour hairspiration...

MissA's Suzy and T-ara's Jiyeon
(K-pop idols)
I've totally been loving these girls' hair colours. Jiyeon has had her brown hair for a while and I love how natural it looks on her - no tinges of red/orange. At times she has black hair too, haha. Suzy has had three different hair colours in one year - she had brown earlier this year, then dyed it blonde and now she's back to having black hair! She pulls off these hair colours so well, I'll show you:
I'd love to achieve this colour

I know I could get my hairdresser to dye my hair but I'll still persist with home dyes, just because it's way more affordable. Jiyeon's hair colour = my ideal hair colour

 How natural does it look, seriously

Pretty bright lighting but it's still a nice dark brown!

And I just felt like adding in a picture of those two together. They're cute as haha

Suzy with brown hair (left), Jiyeon with black hair (right)
Did you know that these two are younger than me :O Not by much though

On the subject of hair, I got a usamimi headband from a magazine a couple of months ago. If you don't know what it is, it looks like this:

The most common way of wearing this headband is as bunny ears. I decided to create my own shape for the headband which turned out to be a... bird o_o I didn't intend on making a bird on my head xD Here it is:

I can't remember how I did this so please don't ask me how x[ I randomly made it!

That's about it for my veryyyyyy lengthy blog post! It's to make up for my absence in the last couple of weeks. Thanks for reading by the way. Now it's time for me to announce the winner of my giveaway from two weeks ago:
Congratulations Yi-Lin!
It seems that makeup vs. skincare was 50-50 but I noticed that many of you believe that you need to have good skin for makeup to look good - I totally agree =]

I have another giveaway for you guys and again it's related to this post :D  

I am going to be giving away....

Black Synthetic Clip-On Side Bangs
 Credits to eBay

I forgot to take a picture of it so I used the one from eBay. I purchased this from eBay a while ago and now that my hair is brown, it won't suit my hair colour anymore!! Also, I reckon I'll always be having side bangs anyway because I have a big forehead :3 Which means that this won't be much use to me so I'm giving it away to whoever wants it! The winner will be announced in the next blog post. I won't say when so get your entry in fast :P

If there are more than one entries then I will randomly pick a winner out of a hat. So to enter, all you've got to do is leave a comment with your name, email address and your answer to the questjen... 

What is your ideal hair colour?
Now that you know my ideal hair colour, I want to know what yours is :)

I Promise that I'll blog again soon, yay to no more weekly blog posts now that I am on break!


  1. nice hair color

    i like reddish auburn brown

  2. Ohh nice hair color dear ^^
    Your mom indeed did a great job!
    Also thanks for reviewing the product, my ideal haircolor would be darkbrown and with it hits the sunshine it must have this lightcopper glow ^___^
    Suzy is so cute!


  3. I love the new color!! I find that my mom's hair also becomes healthier after she dyes her hair! o___o and people always say that dying your hair is bad... now I really want to dye my hair! ):

  4. Really good review Jen :) The colour looks great. Hope your exams went well and i love giveaways im hosting one atm for my blogs 1 yr anniversary :)

  5. great detailed review. i love how you add in kpop inspirations! but i agree suzy and jiyeon's hair colour is really nice!

  6. Welcome back, Jen :) You were deeply missed! Glad you're finals are over, haha, enjoy your social life now. I like your hair colour, your hair looks super healthy! My ideal hair colour would be strawberry blonde, hehe

  7. i wanted to get this shade but they don't sell it in the uk anymore ._.

    ahh jiyeon's hair looks so pretty!

  8. aaaah I've been wanting to dye my hair too! But I couldn't find a right choco-brunette shade for myself >.< I've never ever dyed my hair before. my hair is totally a virgin.

  9. Welcome back! Glad your exams went well~ enjoy your time off in life and in the blogging world!

    Love your new hair color!!!! SO PRETTY! :D

  10. cant see the all the photos but i bet they look good on you :)

    as for the question, uhm ive always wanted to be kinda different so my dream hair color would be red or something with blue and purple highlights. or maybe something like avril lavigne haha but then again black will always be beautiful and simple and could just match any look =)

    punkme15 at gmail dot com

  11. Welcome back! And thanks for the very thorough review Jen. I think I might give this dye a try in the future - it's very rare for box dyes to lighten dark hair without bleach. Your results came out really nice! I dyed mine last week myself, and the color looks different too depending on the lighting =.= I'm trying to make mine a rich dark brown shade :)

  12. Your new hair colour is so nice!
    My ideal hair colour would be a dark brown with red tints.
    But for some reason I really like blue/purple tinted hair XD too much anime!


  13. Yay i'm so glad you're back! I love reading your blog posts haha. On a more related note ... your hair colour is gorgeous! I think you really suit it (: Personally i've never died my hair before but after reading this post its even more tempting haha.

  14. nice hair colour!! ^^
    i wanna try these dyes, but i feel like i would be "betraying" my hair stylist LOL! =="

    i really wanna get a nice brown the one tsubasa has atm, but my hair always ends up going light because of having blonde hair before T-T and the fact that my hair is super damage that it doesnt absorb colour as great >>"

  15. Welcome back Jen! Naw, I missed your posts! And you look gorgeous with brown! I'm meaning to dye my hair but I'm afraid I wouldn't suit it :( Hope you're doing well ♥!

  16. love the hair colour :D I swear hair dyes dont work on me, I bought a dark blonde hair dye to go brunette and literally nothing happened :/
    ahh suzy is so cute :)

  17. wb~
    i like strawberry red :)

    xoxo elle
    ps: im not entering coz i dont think the black hair clip will suit my current not black hair..i love ur new hair colour!

  18. i love this hair color!! i have something similar, but im not liking it on me!! i think i want to try a shade like yours!!

  19. I love that haircolor on you. You were so good with your review. I've used this dye in the past before I went to beauty school for hair and I didn't like it at all but I'm glad it worked for you.

  20. For the dark brown hair thatt.looks blond in light, loreal excellence dark ash brown.

  21. My ideal hair colour is Jiyeon's as well, when my hair has gone back to its natural, healthy self, I might go to hairdressers to get my hair done so that it'll be the same colour as Jiyeon.

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