I am trapped in a vicious hair color cycle! It’s the nature of the beast that I try out all types of at-home hair color for the site, but I find that I receive the best result with Clairol’s Natural Instincts–it’s just always a drama! Really, using almost all of them is a drama and I am guaranteed to make a mess. The notion of just cutting open a packet of hair color and smooshing it into my roots is quite appealing, so enter Umberto Beverly Hills U Color Italian Demi Color…
Let it be known: I would love to have a gorgeous multi-tonal hair color job, but it’s really just not practical for me. I have (more like, used to have) black hair naturally, but the greys are coming in fast and furious these days. Due to the intense contrast of light and dark, I have to retouch those roots more frequently than I’d like. It can be quite costly doing it at home alone twice a month, so I already know that even if I went to the salon, had a color-correction job done to slightly lighten all of this black hair color I’ve got in it, then had some highlights thrown in–it would look fabulous for an entire two weeks. After that, I wouldn’t be able to afford to maintain it correctly, so I just don’t bother! Instead, I grit my teeth the second I see the silvery strands pop up and dread the inevitable retouch that I have to talk myself into for a few days. I’ve been hanging on to this box of U Color since my last re-touch just WAITING for the day to put it to the test and that day finally came!
What’s really unique about U Color is that you’re supposed to allow the package itself to do all the work for you. One sachet actually consists of three individual packages that when folded correctly, allows the color, developer, and equalizer to meet when applied by squeezing all three packets at once. You don’t want to perforate the three packets, you’ll want to keep them all together, fold, and then snip the top.
If you fold all three packets according to the directions (this is key!), when you snip the top–all the notches will line up and act as a single notch. I hope that makes sense!
That’s easy enough, right? The sachet distributed a very pleasant smelling clear gel that I allowed to develop for 25 minutes after a light “smoosh”, resulting in a super shiny black (I used 1.0 Natural Black). Rinse, shampoo, condition, and wah-lah! My greys vanished. I loved the concept behind U Color, it was pretty quick and painless and it worked! It’s an ammonia-free formula so it’s less-damaging and I truly appreciated that it didn’t smell bad at all. But the one caveat would be the lack of precision. If you want to make sure you only apply it to roots, you’ll probably need to use a brush and bowl which can be purchased inexpensively at a beauty supply. The kit comes with a set of two sachets for two complete applications (which makes it totally economical but longer hair might need both), a pair of latex gloves, and a small precision brush which I used around my hairline. My hair wasn’t overly dry after shampooing, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to use an additional deep conditioner after applying U Color.
It’s really hard for me to speak on shade accuracy–since I’m almost always the darkest of colors offered from brands, but of all the comments I’ve read regarding accuracy, the common theme is that U Color turned out a little darker than desired. Both Ulta.com and PlanetBeauty.com carry a pretty diverse range of shades that retail for around $12. Keep in mind, you won’t get a lot of lift with a demi-color (and hair color can’t lift hair color), so if you’re trying to get substantially lighter this won’t be the product for you. If you’re looking to enhance your current color’s tone, match it, or perhaps go a little darker, this might be a good choice.