Well, maybe not completely firsthand. I’m not that devoted to researching my articles. But I had some hair I wasn’t using anymore, having just cut myself some bangs after a long hiatus. It would be a perfect test subject; I could even divide it and test two different colors.
The brand I chose was Elegant Effects, which seems to be associated with the Dollarama chain — I’ve never heard of it anywhere else. The store also carries big name brands, like Garnier and Revlon, but they’ve already been reviewed multiple times. Also, they cost three dollars a box.
The colors I chose were black, a shade darker than my own dark brown, and dark red — sorry, “auburn brown” — a shade lighter. At home, I ended up using only the auburn brown. (I asked someone if he’d like to test one of them for me and he accepted my not-so-serious offer, claiming the black. I may have some news for you later on his life as an ex-blond.)
Like most home hair dyes, Elegant Effects has to be mixed just before use, by shaking the color cream together with the activator. The quantity is a little smaller than in most home dye kits, which may be the secret of the low price. Anyway, there was plenty for my small sample of hair.
I made sure to harvest some grey hairs to test the box’s claim of “complete grey coverage”. The directions didn’t say whether the hair should be wet or dry, but I thought it should at least be clean, so I washed it and let it dry. Then I put on the plastic gloves provided and got started.
The color and activator mixed fairly well. It was easy to squeeze the color onto my small hair sample and work it in. The cream was thick and not drippy. It would be simple to use on another person and not so bad on yourself either.
After leaving the dye on for 40 minutes, the maximum time suggested, I rinsed the hair. It didn’t take much for the water to run clear, which worried me a little. However, when the hair dried, the color was definitely there. The grey was now a vivid red and the rest had a slight red tinge. All in all, it had worked about as well as any regular priced hair dye I’d used.
Online reviews of Elegant Effects warn that you may have to use more than one box each time (though that means you can experiment with mixing colors) and that some people have bad reactions to the darker colors. However, this is all to be expected.
Overall, it seems to be a good two dollars’ worth.