Review: John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Colour

Along with the new year, came a revision of my beauty budget—which greatly reduced the amount of times I can pop in and see my colorist for the next few months. (Insert sad face here.) In the meantime, I have to make do with what I’ve got—without screwing up the hard work of my dear Andi at Byu-ti Hair Therapy in Santa Monica. How she has managed to safely strip the flat jet black hair dye I’ve been using for YEARS out of my hair, I have no idea. But I imagine it didn’t come without some blood, sweat, and tears—so I have to make sure I don’t wind up there, ever again!

Last week, I was in desperate need of a root touch-up, and I also felt like my hair was getting a little too light. I needed to find a way to retouch and change the tones in my hair at the same time, as I dreamt of a lovely chocolate brown. I needed to do it in a hurry, however. I had somewhere I needed to be, but there was no way I was going with the amount of grey that had reared its ugly head! I quickly scanned the color aisle at my CVS, noting all of the usual suspects that I’ve had hair color fumbles with, and those that are tried & true. I can usually count on Clairol’s Natural Instincts, but I figured this would also be a great opportunity to review something new. So I grabbed the new Precision Foam Colour from John Frieda in 5B (warm chocolate brown), and off I went!

The concept behind Precision Foam Colour is pretty much a dead ringer for all of the other foam hair colors on the market, which I’ve had pretty decent luck with. I know others haven’t, but I felt pretty confident about the performance. This brand included everything the other brands I’ve tried had—a “foamer” bottle containing developer, a bottle of the color itself, gloves, and a deep conditioning treatment. I followed the instructions; applying the color to the foamer bottle, and then giving the bottle a few “tilts” instead of shaking. The actual foam doesn’t happen in the bottle, it’s a result of when the color is squeezed through the applicator as it’s aerated. You might be tempted to shake it in the bottle, hoping to see foam—but you won’t want to do that. Otherwise, the product won’t dispense properly.

I found John Frieda’s foamer bottle easier to squeeze than some of the other brands I’ve tried, and I also found that it dispensed a true foam as promised. But let’s back up for a minute…here’s an older hair color photo that was the most accurate I could find for my “before”. Silly me forgot to take a photo before getting started, I really was in a hurry!


I applied the color as directed, and then set a timer for 30 minutes. I rinsed and conditioned, and wah-lah! Here’s my result:

after with flash

after with natural light

My first thought was WHOA! There’s a lot of violet in this base, it pulled pretty far in that direction on all of the lightest spots of my hair—which was inevitable considering the base tones of the color. I knew it would fade in a few shampoos, so I wasn’t overly concerned, and I was right. Within a few washes, it settled down considerably and did take on a medium brown chocolate shade as I had hoped. The only problem is that now, a week later—the color that I applied at my roots to cover my greys has lightened up a little more than I like. It’s almost like it didn’t grab on the grey completely, and now those greys are popping out again. It did a great job however, at only slightly lifting my natural base color. Otherwise, the color has remained pretty even throughout the rest of the hair strand.

I really like the color overall, but had I known better (the box said 100% grey coverage), I would have chosen a shade from the line that had a more neutral base with the hopes the grey coverage would have been better. As a matter of fact, I just purchased shade 5N for round two, hoping that my second go-around with John Frieda will be even better; yet still deliver a medium brown shade with the same level. This time, I’ll apply the color at the roots for 20 minutes, then I’ll cover the rest of my hair with the color for only 10 minutes. That way, the pre-existing color won’t turn out to be too dark.

Word to the wise…

Before starting, make sure you prep your work area! I receive complaints on almost every hair color review that I do that the color ruined everything in their bathroom. Well, guess what? It will happen with every color you use! Hair color continues to develop on surfaces (especially if they’re porous), even after you wipe off what you can see. You’ll think you wiped it all off, and then minutes later—you still have a dark stain on your bathroom counter, etc. It’s just a rule of color thing, not the formula itself. I always prep my area with old towels, and they go right in the washer so they’re ready for next time. Also, try putting petroleum jelly or another color barrier cream around your hair line. Hair color also continues to develop on the skin, even if you think you’ve completely removed it.

Bottom Line: I think this is one of the better foam hair colors I’ve used at home, and I’m even going to use it again in a different undertone to see if it will cover my grey a little better. I wouldn’t recommend going with 5B if you’re more than 25% grey, because it might fade out a little violet. It would have scored higher had it truly offered 100% grey coverage.

Price & Availability: I paid $13.49 for this at CVS/Pharmacy, but you’ll find it at other mass retailers nationwide

  • Kylee

    I got a coupon in the mail to try this for free. So I did and I bought the black and just used it tonight. I bought a 2nd box as I ALWAYS have to use more than 1 box because I have a ton of hair. I was super excited to realize the one box of this covered ALL of my hair from root to tip!! This never happens!! Although I am kind of a moron cuz I dropped some on the floor then stepped in it with bare feet after doing a poor job of wiping it up! The bottom of my foot is now black! LOL oops!

  • Tracey Hunt

    They Grey coverage is crap, within 2 weeks my grays were there for everyone to see…..I find that with all foam type dyes. Going to have to stick with the normal liquid dyes :-(

  • Lesley Goldberg

    I am now done with this product. I’ve been using this product happily since it first was introduced. I use medium chocolate brown and get good gray coverage but I’ve always left it on for the maximum time. In the last few months, though, since they reformulated it, the foam dissolves as soon as I put it on (it used to stay thick and foamy for the whole 30 minutes) and drips horribly. A shower cap doesn’t even hold it in. Although it is easy to apply and the color is good, I am going to try another brand.