Learning to dye your natural hair is both trying and rewarding. But, then, once you learn how to dye, it makes sense why regular salon visits are expensive; the process takes science, quality products, and skill to succeed. When you want to color your own hair, you first need the best at-home hair color to transform your look.

What Is an At-Home Hair Dye?

It is also called a box dye and is an affordable hair color you can apply at home without professional help. You can find the hair color affordably, and it also comes with easy-to-follow application instructions. Before buying any hair color, experts recommend paying attention to the ingredients, your hair condition, and your intended color.

Many at-home hair dyes can cause damage to your hair, especially when it's damaged or when it is thinning. If you are not sure of your hair health, your safest bet is to get a hair color kit to touch up your gray hair. When you get a hair dye that also requires bleaching, the best thing is to seek professional help for the best outcomes.

Once you establish it's safe to dye your hair at home, we have done most work for you in finding the best hair color for you. Read on to find which, among eight drugstore hair dyes, suits your hair texture and intended results. Additionally, we will also share some tips for changing your hair color at home.

Which is the best at home hair color?

1. Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color Permanent Hair Color with Keratin

Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color, Permanent Hair Dye with Keratin, 100% Gray Coverage, Ammonia Free,...
  • PERMANENT AT-HOME HAIR DYE: Convenient hair color kit for at-home use...
  • KERATIN ENRICHED HAIR COLOR: Nourishing, ammonia-free hair color formula is...
  • 100% GRAY COVERAGE: Revlon’s 3D Color Gel Technology delivers rich,...
  • EASY TO USE HAIR COLOR KIT: Changing your look or covering greys is simple...
  • 41 NATURAL LOOKING SHADES: With shades of black, brown, blonde, red, and...

As you look for the best at-home hair color, you also want a product that will not damage your hair. As such, you need moisturizing ingredients such as those in this Revlon permanent hair color. The Colorsilk Beautiful Color hair dye contains keratin and silk amino acids that guarantee hydration and shine.

While the hair color comes at an affordable price, it is also ammonia-free and comes in 41 different shades. According to thousands of satisfied users, it is your best hair color for gray hair. It is easy to apply and comes with a cream developer.


  • Very affordable
  • Easy to apply
  • Enriched with keratin and silk amino acid for hydration and shine
  • Excellent satisfactory reviews
  • 41 black, crown, red, and blonde shades to choose from
  • 3D Color Gel Technology for 100% gray hair coverage


  • Contains P-Phenylenediamine or PPD, thus can cause allergies to some people
  • Contains parabens

2. L'Oreal Paris Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color,

L'Oreal Paris Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color, 4 Dark Brown, 100 percent Gray Coverage Hair...
  • Gray Coverage Hair Color With Triple Protection: No hair color cares more...
  • Excellence In Hair Protection: Our weekly conditioning treatment with...
  • L'Oreal Permanent Hair Color: L'Oreal Paris Hair Color comes in multiple...
  • Long Lasting Hair Color: Get beautiful color from root-to-tip with L'Oréal...
  • L'Oreal Paris Innovation: We are a total beauty care company that combines...

If you have stubborn gray hairs and need a permanent hair color creme, you can look to L'Oreal Paris' Excellence Creme collection for a solution. This hair color conditions your hair with the best ingredients of many at-home hair colors.

Coming in 19 different rich tones, this hair color favors dark hair. The formula has collagen, which helps prevent hair damage and it is also easy to apply at home. In addition, the hair color is very affordable and is from a reputable brand.


  • Different dark tones to choose from
  • Easy to mix and apply
  • It has collagen for a hair conditioning treatment
  • Offers great gray coverage
  • Affordable
  • From a reputable brand


  • Not ideal for people with PPD allergies

3. Garnier Olia Oil Powered Permanent Hair Color

Garnier Olia Ammonia Free Permanent Hair Color, 100% Gray Coverage (Packaging May Vary), 4.0 Dark...
  • Oil Powered Permanent Hair Dye: Olia is an ammonia free hair color kit for...
  • Ammonia Free Hair Color: Olia transforms coloring your hair into a new...
  • Garnier Hair Color: For hair nourishing, easy to use permanent hair dye,...
  • Olia Hair Dye: Olia offers 34 shades to meet your color needs; From our...
  • Inspired By Nature: Garnier carries an array of products for your hair and...

If there is something you worry about when treating your natural hair, it is losing shine and hydration. Now, this worry should not stop you from dying your hair for a whole new look as this Garnier hair color is formulated to color and maintain the shine for up to eight weeks.

The powerful, yet soft non-drip cream, is formulated with natural seed and flower oils such as sunflower and hydrogenated castor oil, so it remains soft even on bleached hair. In addition, it has no ammonia, which not only ensures you get a new natural color, but your hair will also remain healthy and shiny. It is an affordable kit that comes with 34 oil-based hair color shades and at an affordable price.


  • Easy to apply
  • Affordable
  • Oil-based and ammonia-free
  • Suitable for bleached natural hair
  • Available in 34 shades


  • Contains hydrogen peroxide, which could bleach hair

4. Dark and Lovely Fade Resist Rich Conditioning Hair Color

SoftSheen-Carson Dark and Lovely Fade Resist Rich Conditioning Hair Color, Permanent Hair Color, Up...
  • Nourishing Color: Designed to help protect relaxed and natural hair while...
  • Shiny and Silky: This permanent non-drip hair color with up to 100 percent...
  • Vibrant and Conditioning Hair Color: We make an array of hair color...
  • Unique Looks: We help people of color celebrate Unique Looks and styles...
  • Softsheen-Carson: For over 110 years we have provided beauty to all...

If you need the best gray coverage, this Dark and Lovely Fade Resist Hair color will serve you up to eight weeks. It is a conditioning at-home hair dye formulated with three fruit oils, including avocado, olive, and shea. As such, you will get a new natural color with a shiny and silky look.

This best at-home dye comes in 18 shades that favor people of African descent. The dye is also affordable and easy to apply at home.


  • Affordable
  • Contains fruit oils for moisturization
  • Easy to apply
  • From a reputable brand
  • Available in 18 shades


  • Only ideal for people of color

5. John Frieda Precision Foam Color

John Frieda Precision Foam Color, Dark Natural Brown 4N, Full-coverage Hair Color Kit, with Thick...
  • FULL COVERAGE HAIR COLOR -This non-drip foam spreads easily into roots and...
  • PRECISION FOAM COLOR AT HOME - Precision foam color allows you to achieve...
  • EASY TO USE HAIR COLOR - This foam spreads quickly and easily, flawlessly...
  • LONG LASTING HAIR COLOR - Included in the package is our nourishing,...
  • NOURISHING POST-COLOR CONDITIONER - John Frieda Precision Foam Color...

If you need easy-to-apply hair color, this John Frieda Precision Foam Color option is foamy, making it easy to lather onto sectioned hair. In addition, you can let it sit for 30 minutes for a deep natural-looking color. While coming in 12 different shades to choose from, the hair color kit also has gloves and a developer.

In addition to the color and developer, the purchase also comes with an after-color conditioner that maintains healthy hair and seals in the intended color so it can last longer. However, it also contains ammonia and parabens.


  • Easy to apply
  • The foamy, non-drip texture is easy to work with
  • Available in 12 shades
  • Comes with gloves and an after-color conditioner
  • Excellent online reviews


  • Contains ammonia and parabens

6. Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Clairol Natural Instincts Demi-Permanent Hair Dye, 6R Light Auburn Hair Color, Pack of 1
  • Lasts 28 washes and blends away grays.
  • Available in 37 shades of blonde, brown, black, and red
  • Yes, coconut and Aloe Vera. No ammonia or added Parabens.
  • Conditioning creme formula is gentle on all hair types and textures.

Do you want a new look for a function or a few days? If so, you need the best semi-permanent color to rock, such as this option from Clairol. One of the most affordable semi-permanent formulas, it features 37 different shades formulated without ammonia and parabens. Additionally, the color is most gentle on your hair with ingredients such as aloe and coconut oil.

Unlike other hair colors that last just a few washes, this product, which is easy to apply, will last up to 28 washes as the color wears off naturally. The non-drip formula also comes with a gentle conditioner that will keep your hair stands healthy.


  • Affordable
  • The best semi-permanent color to use at home
  • It is a non-drip cream
  • Great for textured hair
  • No ammonia or parabens
  • Enriched with coconut oil and aloe
  • Comes with a gentle conditioner


  • May not provide 100% coverage on gray roots

7. Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Permanent Hair Color Cream

Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Permanent Hair Color Cream, 3.0 Espresso
  • INTENSE CARING COLOR: Your hair is healthy looking and strong in...
  • EVEN COLOR FROM ROOT TO TIP: The protective Pre-Color Serum conditions the...
  • UP TO 80% LESS HAIR BREAKAGE: Enhanced K·Bond-Plex repairs inner hair...
  • 100% GRAY COVERAGE: Gray coverage with long lasting color fidelity giving...
  • If your hair is longer than shoulder length, we recommend using 2 boxes of...

When coloring your dry hair, this Schwarzkopf permanent hair dye is ideal for maintaining healthy strands. As you know, it is easy to damage brittle hair with box dyes, which is why this product contains a keratin complex to maintain health and keep your hair shiny.

Additionally, the kit comes with a pre-color serum designed to condition and soften your hair before coloring. It is your best at-home dye for 100% gray coverage that lasts many washes. The package is relatively affordable, and you can choose from different shades to suit your skin tone.


  • Ideal for brittle hair
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Features a keratin complex for conditioning
  • Comes with a pre-color serum to treat your hair before dyeing
  • Minimum smell


  • Has parabens

8. Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch Up Spray

Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch Up Spray, Dark Brown Cover up Gray, 2 Ounce
  • Water- Proof Until You Shampoo it
  • Covers Grey Hair
  • Great for in between salon visits
  • Made in the USA

When you don't want to commit to fully coloring your hair, a touch-up spray that conceals grey roots is your best solution. This Rita Hazan root concealer works in minutes and is also easy to apply. To use, you hold the spray bottle a few inches away and spray your greys. The new color holds until you shampoo your hair. Also, the color will not transfer to clothes and pillows.


  • Easy to apply
  • Works in minutes
  • Lasts until the next shampoo wash
  • Does not transfer to clothes and pillows
  • Available in different shades
  • Ammonia, peroxide, and alcohol-free
  • Water-resistant


  • Quite costly

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best At-Home Hair Color

While applying hair dye at home is a skill, it only pays off when you have the best product. So, consider these factors before you buy any box dye.

a) Type of formula

For the best hair colors, you can find three types of formulas, namely, demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and permanent hair dyes. Demi and semi-permanent dyes do not last very long after the appliance. Also, the formulations do not have ammonia which is tough on hair.

A permanent hair dye lasts longer, but it also is a hair lightening kit with ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. While these two ingredients help color your hair quickly, they can also leave you with damaged hair.

b) Application

You need an easy-to-apply at-home hair dye. Therefore, consider the consistency and how long you need to wait before cleaning it. You can find a cream, gel, or foam formulation that is easy to apply. However, these formulations also need to be drip-free lest you end up dyeing towels and clothes.

In addition, most at-home hair colors dye your hair within 30 minutes, and the color should stick for weeks before you need to repeat the process. However, when you have stubborn grays, you can wait a while longer depending on your hair type so you can avoid ending up with yellow tones.

c) Conditioning ingredients

Whether you are applying a demi, semi-permanent, or permanent color, you need to guarantee that your hair strands will remain healthy and shiny. Therefore, look for the best hair dye with gentle conditioning ingredients such as keratin and hydrating oils.

Additionally, it is best to avoid hair dyes that contain ammonia, alcohol, and peroxide, as these ingredients can dry your scalp and strands.

d) Complete kit

It would help if you had all the tools for an easy appliance, including the color, developer, latex-free gloves, bottle, and bowl. These are tools that will ensure you don't dye your bathroom sink or hands and fingers. However, if your best hair color does not have gloves and bowls, ensure you buy these before you start applying the color.

e) Right shade

The last thing you need is to pick a look and then end up buying a hair dye kit with a darker or lighter shade. In addition to what color you want, you also need to buy according to your skin tone. For instance, choose warm tones such as auburn browns and golden blondes if you have pink, red, yellow or olive skin tone.

In addition, you need to stick close to your natural hair color. According to experts, you can choose two shades lighter or darker, so the new look also compliments your skin tone.

How to Apply the Best At-Home Hair Color

When you have your hair dye, the last step is to apply it successfully at home. For this, you need your color and color brush.

Before applying, you should avoid washing your hair for two days so natural skin oils can protect your scalp against the dye elements. In addition, you need to perform a patch test before applying it to your whole head. For this, section some hairs and apply the dye 48 hours before, and ensure you do not clean it. Then, if no irritation occurs, you can proceed to apply to other hair sections. When you are ready to proceed, follow these steps.

  1. Have all the tools ready, including the developer, color, hairbrush, gloves, bottle, towel, and bowl. It is also vital to have a moisturizer to protect your skin and prevent stains. Apply it evenly along your hairline for best results.
  2. Brush your hair and read all instructions before applying.
  3. With your gloves on, mix the kit components, including the color and developer, in one bottle and mix well.
  4. Apply the mixture from the root or to different hair sections as you wish. If you need to color grays, you should start from the roots and then color the lengths. Make sure all strands are covered in the mixture, then hold your hair up for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse the dye off with clear water, then dry with a towel. Avoid shampooing immediately as this will have the dye bleeding off.
  6. Once the water runs clear, apply your hair conditioner and then rinse your hair. When done, style your hair as desired.

Image source: unsplash.com

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