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American Board of Certified Haircolorists Tests Brands

by CurlStylist on Monday, October 25, 2010

Epic Battle!

There was much discussion on to how the test on INOA haircolor was to be conducted. It was determined the best way was to compare it with one other haircolor. We elected to go head to head with WELLA Color Charm tube haircolor. We selected this haircolor for two reasons. We wanted a color that was opposite in both the price and ingredients. INOA contains no ammonia, and WELLA has the reputation as being loaded with ammonia (even though it is not true). This was not a comparison such as the 6N comparison, pitting one color aganist all others. It was simply comparing an expensive haircolor against a less expensive one.

The test result was based on several areas of hai color, such as gray coverage, fading, mixing time, application time, smell, condition of the hair after the applications and consistency. This was the first of two tests. The second part of the test, which will appear later, will include INOA in the same test as the other 6Ns, both with the brand peroxide and generic peroxide

There were 2 applications of color. After each application the color was left on for 35 minutes, then shampooed twice and left to dry. The drying time included normal sun exposure. The process was repeated 5 times over a 5-day period. The hair was shampooed a total of 10 times. It was then colored a second time and the entire process repeated.


This was no contest. The first time mixing INOA color was slow and cumbersome. It took 4 minutes and 34 seconds to mix the color. It took both hands to squeeze the ingredents out of the oil and the peroxide bottles because of the thickness of the product. This also made it difficult to measure, even with the measuring device provided. The second time the mixing time was cut in half. Still it was twice as long as the WELLA color, which took 1 minute 15 seconds. The color had to be mixed in a bowl and applied with a brush, unlike the WELLA which can be used with either the brush or bowl.

Winner: WELLA


After comparing the two sides of the mannequin there were mixed reviews as to the coverage of the gray,hair. There appeared to be little or no difference in the gray coverage. After the second application the coverage was much better. This is true of both haircolors.

Winner: TIE


Because of the thickness of the INOA haircolor it took longer to apply. It took 14 minutes to apply the color from scalp to ends on half of the mannequin. Almost three times longer than WELLA color, which took only 6 minutes. The consistency of WELLA tube color makes it easy to mix in an applicator bottle. I fail to see the advantage of having a product so thick it make the application more difficult.

Winner: WELLA


Here again the fading was significant. We found with both colors the hair faded to the same degree. It did not appear that one color faded more off tone than the other. The gray hair had marginal coverage after the first application. After the second application the color was much more through than the first application.

Winner: TIE


Without special instruments, it is difficult to determine which of the two sides of the mannequin was in better condition. We made a point not to use any conditioning product after the shampoo. Both sides became much fuller and both had coarse feel. It became increasingly difficult to comb the hair the more it was exposed to the sun. It is difficult to determine what caused the rough cuticle, probably a combination of the color, shampoo and sun. After the last shampoo we used Oxyfree on the hair which made the combability much better.

Winner: TIE


The smell of INOA color was nondescript, not perfumey, not medicinal, just a nice gentle smell. WELLA color smelled like ammonia.

Winner: INOA


It was no surprise to anyone that WELLA was going to win this battle. The price of INOA was difficult to determine because of the way it is measured and the manner in which it is priced. We mixed four ounces of haircolor and priced it per mixed ounce.
One application (4 ounces) WELLA $1.44. INOA $11.42. The consistency of INOA would make it difficult to complete an application with 4 ounces.

Winner: WELLA


The consistency of the INOA hair color after it was mixed was a beautiful creamy conistency. It was all you could do to keep from eating it. The WELLA color on the other hand was WELLA color, a nice golden consistency, but there was no urge to consume it.

Winner: INOA

The purpose of this experiment was to aid haircolorists in determining whether to switch to another, more costly, haircolor based on the comparisons. The mannequin will be available for inspection at the next Energizing Summit.

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