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Top Hair Color Brands: Ratings & Reviews

by Antonio Gonzales on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by sheckys.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

For clients, hair color is a big part of their monthly investment. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked to get rid of unwanted grays and brighten the dullest of days for my clients. While doing so, I have used many professional

hair color

Color is a big part of a client’s hair budget.

permanent hair color brands, and while I’ve really liked most and still use several to this day, I have watched these companies do their best to improve their products and produce hair color that is noticeably shinier and healthier and that last longer on the hair.

The following is my honest experience and opinions on the differences between these color lines, including what to expect and what sets them apart. Each is rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for fading (1 being great resistance to fading and 10 being the worst resistance to fading).


An Italian permanent hair color, this was one of the first hair colors I used when I started my coloring career. Framesi comes in many shades and boasts some beautiful reds. Over the years, Framesi has improved their color line by adding lovely cool tones and an opaque color with rich, long-lasting browns and some great gray coverage. Because of its intense coverage, when working on the client with a few grays that is maybe looking for a softer, more translucent color, this probably is not my first choice. Unlike some other products, Framesi has not had the huge financial and advertising backing others may have enjoyed, however, it’s a color line that has been consistent for the past 20 years. Fade Rating: 1


This is another favorite with an opaque finish. Sometimes I prefer this to Framesi, since it’s not as opaque. Their “N” series is not as ashy as other brands and it leaves the hair feeling like, well, hair! Goldwell confidently can boast great high lift tints that lift “on tone.” It also has a demi-permanent color line that complements most of their permanent colors. Not many permanent hair color brands have a demi-permanent color line that I love. I “like” Goldwell. Fade Rating: 2

Majirel by L’Oreal

This product is a great translucent permanent color that gives great coverage and shine. Their brunettes are gorgeous! The gold series for low-lighting holds well, but needs a little extra kick of red for warmth. For the blonde who dislikes “warm low-lights,” this is perfect!! I love their copper reds, but they are lacking a broader spectrum of reds. Fade Rating: 1

Richesse by L’Oreal

L’Oreal also provides a demi-permanent line called “Richesse,” which I like very much. It’s an easy to use line that I will continue to use. Fade Rating: 3


Koleston Perfect is a color I have been using since it became available in the U.S. In fact, over the last 15 years, I am responsible for introducing it to many salons I have worked in. It’s a translucent color perfect for clients who want permanent color without the feeling of intense coverage and pigment. This is a warm brand of color and you will need to pay attention to controlling the warmth for the clients who are ash lovers. Wella colors are great for low-lighting; they leave the hair very shiny. The reds are lovely and I love, love, love their bleaches. Wella also provides an endless demi-permanent color line (Color Touch) supporting its permanent colors.

hair color

Gotta have the reds!

Recently, they created a line that adds a translucent tone to compete with Cellophanes, called Colorshines by Sebastian. Only problem? It does have a little peroxide, whereas Cellophanes has none. Fade Rating: 4


This is another product I’ve been using since it was launched in the U.S. more than 10 years ago. From its milk proteins and gentle approach, it offers a color with healthy hair in mind. Its consistency when mixing is a little annoying and so is the packaging, but it delivers! I know stylists who swear by it. Fade Rating: 4

Miss Clairol

Let’s bring in the big guys from the “old school!” Talk about a color that covers grey well… always! Some may think it’s for dated hairstylists, but you will be surprised to know that many top salons in New York use this product because of its ability to cover well. However, most salons accompany this product with demi-permanent colors from other lines. Disadvantages? It is liquid and has a strong smell. Fade Rating: 2 (You go, Miss Clairol!)

Well there you have it, guys and dolls, my input on hair color brands to help you get started if you’re new, or just looking for some hair coloring tips. Of course, if you ask another hairstylist, they will have a totally different opinion on my choices, but the most important thing is that we all love color!

One Comment for “Top Hair Color Brands: Ratings & Reviews”
  1. by jstiern

    On May 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Where are the rest of the brands of color? I personally like Pravana, it has a beautiful shine and with it’s 1 1/2 developer to 1 part color it is more economical to use.

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