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Scrolling past images of celebrities' flaxen, amber, and raven locks with perfectly painted balayage or face-framing highlights is a study in artistry. But sadly for those of us with fewer decimals on our paychecks, a color appointment that runs a few hundred dollars a session isn't always feasible. That's where less expensive options come in.
Sure, we've all had a store-bought hair color incident when we were younger that maybe rendered us a brassy shade of orange (the memories!), but today's options are more user-friendly than the unreliable formulas we'd sneak into our moms' bathrooms. To find out which at-home hair color yields the best results, we scoured reviews from some of the most beloved brands.
Keep scrolling for the best at-home hair color to try now.
Best Overall: Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Intense Caring Color
One of the biggest gripes with hair color whether in-salon or at-home is the nauseating smell that comes with it—but not this formula. It smells great and is formulated with keratin complex to keep your strands feeling healthier and looking shinier than before you treated it. Reviewers especially love that there's no pungent odor or stinging when using this product.
Best Budget: L'Oréal Superior Preference Permanent Hair Color
Since 1973, L'Oréal has been using a fade-defying color system for a long-lasting dye that won't rinse away with each shampoo. The translucent gel formula delivers shine and dimension to encourage the natural shimmer you'd find in virgin strands. One reviewer found that the dye left her hair shiny and didn't fade after just a few washes.
Read more reviews and shop for the best temporary hair dyes available for purchase.
Best Fast-Acting: Clairol Perfect 10 Nice'n Easy Hair Color
Perfect for those with tight schedules (or just the impatient type), Clairol's aptly-named Perfect 10 takes just 10 minutes to achieve long-lasting, shiny color. The advanced color crème allows for fast penetration into the hair fibers working selectively with the pigments inside the hair shaft, meaning there's less surface damage. One reviewer with stubborn grays and over-processed hair found the coverage to be excellent even still.
Best Drugstore: Garnier Olia Oil Permanent Hair Color
Achieving vibrant color without ammonia is completely doable. Case in point: This oil-based formula uses natural flower oils to achieve bright, dimensional color by propelling pigments deep into the hair—no harsh chemicals necessary.
Take a peek at some of the other best drugstore hair dyes you can buy.
Runner-Up, Best Drugstore: Revlon Luxurious Colorsilk Buttercream Hair Color
Another ammonia-free product, this triple butter complex includes mango, shea, and coconut butter to deeply hydrate hair while imparting beautiful, durable color. Reviewers love the two for one benefit of gray coverage plus moisture.
Take a look at our best shampoos for colored hair roundup.
Best for Highlights: Clairol Nice'n Easy Original Permanent Hair Color
Clairol's proprietary Color Care permanent crème conditions within each step for full, reliable coverage—no grays left behind. We love that it comes with three salon tones in one simple step, meaning you can achieve highlights and lowlights throughout your strands for up to eight weeks.
Take a look at our selection of the best purple shampoos that fight brassiness.
Best Shade Match: Madison Reed Radiant Hair Color Kit
Choosing your perfect shade has never been so easy. Just text "hi" to 34757, then upload a well-lit selfie so you can get instantly shade-matched. This nourishing blend of keratin and argan oil is also 6-free (no ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, PPD, phthalates, and gluten). Color safely and accurately.
Best Light Brown: Vidal Sassoon Salonist Hair Color in Light Neutral Brown
Inspired by salon techniques, this two-step color treats roots and lengths separately to ensure the base color is being properly addressed. This dye in particular—called Light Neutral Brown—offers 100% gray coverage, eight weeks of color, and includes a brush, bowl, and serum as part of the kit. One reviewer mentioned that her hairdresser was stunned by how beautiful her color turned out after using this product.