I’ve been dying my hair for years now with L’Oreal’s Casting Creme Gloss, a semi-permanent no ammonia hair dye. You could say I’m super-loyal. I used the shade Berry Red for ages, favouring its rich, warm and slightly plummy tones, but since the launch of Cherry Red I’ve found myself reaching for this slightly lighter, brighter red for summer. It often surprises me but I get tons of compliments on my hair colour and people are usually surprised in turn to learn that I do it myself at home out of a bottle that costs less than a g&t in London! Here’s my step-by-step for achieving this sassy colour at home…
In comparison to Berry Red, I feel that this newer shade gives an even brighter colour with a super-shiny finish. A creme formula, it promises to blend away grey and give a glossy colour for up to 28 washes. Since my previous review on the Berry Red shade which can be read here I have – to my horror – experienced some * whispering voice * greys (eek!) and I can vouch that if used correctly this gentle hair dye does cover them – phew!
As you can see from this shot I’d neglected my colour-schedule and left things a little longer than recommended (approx 8-weeks) oops, however you can see that though the colour is much paler, that because it’s semi-permanent it fades out so you don’t get really obvious roots which is handy if, like me, life gets in the way of keeping a “recommended” beauty routine – note to self, wash make-up brushes asap!
Unlike many permanent hair dyes, the casting creme gloss range contains no nasty ammonia – which is a somewhat outdated ingredient. The reason ammonia is used in hair colours is to raise the pH of the hair which in turn allows the cuticle to open and the colour to enter the cortex of the hair strand; it also neutralises existing pigments to make way for the new colour.
Unfortunately this also results in moisture and protein loss, and messes the pH of your hair to significantly damaging levels. Not good. Now it’s not all roses with this shade however as though L’Oreal does not add ammonia to their casting creme gloss range, they have instead – along with many other companies – used ethanolamine which is another chemical that acts in a similar way to that of ammonia, however in a slightly less damaging way.
I’m yet to find a completely natural, or less harmful colour without these chemicals that still offer the great colour but please comment below if you’ve had better luck!
The pack comes with everything you need for success dying your own hair at home, and with a little confidence there’s no reason why you can’t do it with no extra help at all – but if it’s your first time it might be an idea to get an extra pair of willing hands involved.
Included you’ll find the colour itself (460 Cherry Red), a bottle of creme developer which is now intake new improved bottle with handy little narrow spout which makes it easier to add colour right into the roots. You also get a bottle of concentrated conditioner which I usually find lasts two applications – and smells deliciously fruity! And finally a pair of gloves of course.
Make sure you’ve got a stain-proof area for the task – I stick to the bathroom but have to be so careful about not accidentally flinging any dye onto my new wallpaper. Many years ago when I was a student in a cramped room I used to dye my hair standing on my bed looking into a compact mirror – red and purple stains on your sheets is not a good look – so stay to wipe clean areas people, you’d be surprised how this stuff sneaks away from you even when you’re so careful!
Right, enough of the science bit! Next step once you’ve got yourself organised is to brush your hair through and then wet it thoroughly – pop it in a towel while you add the colour to the developer bottle and shake it well. Flip the lid and get a few items ready before you don your gloves. I get a cotton swipe out for mopping spills and I also hang a hair band from the tap – might seem odd but this is so I can grab it with my hair-dye-covered gloved hands without getting colour on anything unwanted, to then pin up my hair.
Now you’re ready to get your gloves on! I start by squeezing formula onto my roots starting at the top working from the front backwards in crop style lines until I’ve worked the product in well. Once I’m happy with the front I’ll tip my head over and do the same at the back, almost creating a pony tail. Then I stand over the sink and put the dye in my gloved hands like shampoo and work and scrunch it through to the ends. Make sure you’ve really massaged it in all over like a shampoo to make sure you won’t get any sketchy areas.
I then grab that hair band (feeling smug that I’m not smearing hair dye on my dressing table!) and pin my hair in a top knot being careful not to splatter anything in the process. Now it’s time to use the last of the bottle to make sure you’re hairline is nicely covered – I’ve actually found that I’d rather risk dying my skin a little than having a two-tone hairline so I don’t worry too much about dye around here – but I do clear up a decent edge and always swipe the back of my neck.
The instructions give two options: either you’ve never died your hair or haven’t died it for longer than 3 months, or that you’ve died your hair within 3 months. Option one suggests adding colour all over and leaving for 20 minutes, option two states you should apply colour to your roots only and leave for 15 minutes before then applying to the lengths and leaving for a further 5 minutes. Both methods suggest leaving for an extra 5 minutes if you have lots of grey to cover.
Keep an eye on the time, and then rinse the dye out – this is the most boring part and takes a good 5-10 minutes if done properly (recommend putting Spotify on first – try the electro swing playlist). The water will be running a blood bath for what feels like hours. Keep massaging your scalp and hair until the water runs clean – it’s not good to leave any residue behind. Then squeeze excess water out and add the conditioner. Leave on for around 2 minutes or longer if you can hack it, then rinse and towel dry/ style as normal. Such a beautiful shimmering colour!