Pros: No roots, gentle to hair, subltly enhances hair color
Cons: Gray coverage with this shade wasn't as good as with a darker shade
I have been coloring my hair for a number of years. I have tried different colorants, and most recently I have been using L'oreal Excellence Creme as my permanent color. I have normally tried to keep my color close to my natural color and just cover my gray hairs. I have been considering going lighter with my hair color, but first I wanted to get my hair back to its own natural state before changing to another color. I chose to use Clairol Natural Instincts while any permanent color worked its way out of my hair.
Natural Instincts is a semi-permanent color. This means the color will fade in approximately 28 shampoos. Natural Instincts has no ammonia, contains antioxidants and vitamins C and E and claims to cover gray naturally. Unlike permanent colors, Clairol Natural Instincts will not make your hair lighter. So if you have dark hair and you want to go blonde, this product will not do that for you. In that case you need a permanent color. But if you want to brighten and enhance your hair while keeping it close to the natural color, a semi-permanent could be a good choice.
The coloring process is as similar a procedure as other color products I have used. Your hair should be free from styling products, but you should not have washed your hair immediately prior to coloring. It is suggested to wait a day after washing your hair. However, hair must be damp when applying the color. Preparing the color is simply mixing the colorant with the color activator. You can then apply the color to your hair. You should leave Natural Instincts on your hair ten minutes, but for hard to cover gray hairs, the color can be left on up to a total of twenty minutes. When done, apply some warm water to your hair and work it into a lather. Next apply the included conditioning treatment and leave on for up to three minutes. The conditioner should then be used once a week, lasting six weeks.
My experience with Clairol Natural Instincts
The last two times I colored I used Light Ash Brown, which was a bit too dark for me. This time I decided to choose a shade couple shades lighter so that it would better match my natural color. This time I used Coastal Dune (Dark Neutral Blonde). Coastal Dune turned out to be a good color for me. Surprisingly, it matched my own color very well. The color toned down the reddish tones in my hair that had been getting harsh due to the summer sun. I need to keep the color on my hair closer to twenty minutes in order to cover my gray hairs.
When choosing your color, don't focus on the hair color of the model on the front of the box. Be sure to look at the pictures on the side of the box as well. The picture on the box has a model with very blonde hair, and my hair is more of a dark blonde/light brown. However one of the sample pictures on the side of the box that shows "If your hair looks like this"... was very close to my shade. Do not to go by only the picture on the front of the box - it can be deceiving. Clairol also suggests that if you do not know which shade to use, you should get a shade that is lighter than your current shade.
The color preparation process is simple, as is application. The applicator has a pointed tip which works OK for me, but I prefer the applicator comb that comes with L'Oreal Excellence Crème. For some reason I always drip a little color on myself or the floor when I use Natural Instincts.
A terrific quality of this product is that there is no harsh chemical smell. In fact, I barely notice an odor at all.
The follow up conditioner is just OK for my hair. It leaves my hair feeling soft but I normally need a heavy conditioner to keep my coarse hair under control, and unfortunately the provided conditioner is not heavy enough for my needs. Also, there is never enough conditioner to last me the suggested six weeks.
The gray coverage was pretty good when I used the Light Ash Brown. This time when using Coastal Dune I found my grays were not covered as well, but there was still enough coverage to make a difference.
Natural Instincts is supposed to last approximately 28 shampoos. I normally only wash my hair every other day, so my color lasts anywhere from six weeks to two months. I find the grays hairs start to show up sooner than that though. I like the way it fades out and there are no roots.
For my need of growing out my permanent color, Clairol Natural Instincts has worked well. I like that there are no roots to worry about and the lack of ammonia means the color is gentle on my hair. If the word "permanent" scares you or if you are looking for a subtle change and enhancement of your hair color, I recommend Clairol Natural Instincts.