* Prices may differ from that shown
I have blonde hair, although unfortunately it's from a dye kit and not natural! I always do a DIY job on it rather than the hairdressers - since I spent over £100 on highlights that had roots showing before I left the salon!
I usually choose Clairol's nice and easy kit in ultra light blonde (no 87) as my hair is a mousey dull colour naturally and this is the only one that tends to give me a mid blonde colour, the others dye it blonde but a darker colour that's still fairly dull. When I saw this Extreme Nice and Easy hair dye kit in Boots in Arctic Blonde (01), I thought what the heck and decided to give it a try because I hoped it would be able to give me a lighter blonde than before, judging it on the colours given on the box comparing current coloured hair to what it should look like once the kit has been applied. It costs £5.97 normally, although I did manage to pick a second box a couple of weeks ago in Tesco that had been reduced to £1.97. It's available in selected colours as well - there's 6 other shades, all of which are classed as 'extreme' - flame red, ruby red, cherry red, vivid violet, expresso brown and deep violet. The arctic blonde one states that it can even make dark hair blonde.
What's in the box?
In the box there's one pair of application gloves, a 25g sachet of lightening powder, a 75ml bottle of lightening lotion to mix the powder into and a tube of ColourSeal conditioning gloss for use afterwards. There's also a large sheet of step by step directions to follow.
This is where I have a my first problem with this product. The sachet of colour is in powder form, rather than a liquid like I've been used to. The directions state that the sachet has to be tipped into the bottle of lotion. Much easier said than done! The hole to tip it through is only around 3cm wide. It's virtually impossible to tip the sachet in without losing some - firstly because there's no nick in the sachet to help open it so the rip where it's opened causes an uneven edge to pour it from and then secondly it's awkward to hold the sachet at the correct angle with the opening to the bottle being so small. It's a very messy job! Once the sachet is finally emptied (with lots not making it to the bottle), the bottle needs to be shaken to mix it in to give a paste. As with all other colourants, there is a strand test to complete before the full application which is a bit of a pain to do, but after seeing a lady on TV years ago who had a severe allergic reaction to a home dye kit when she'd used others for years with no issues, I always feel it's a must just to be on the safe side.
Here's the next big problem. The paste that is produced is impossible to dispense from the bottle. There's a plastic tab on the bottle that is pulled off once it's been mixed together. The paste should squeeze gently from the bottle and out of the small applicator onto your hand (wearing the gloves provided!). This doesn't happen very easily. At first, the paste comes out at a slow pace but does squeeze out, but after around the 6th of 7th squeeze it's just stuck inside the bottle. In the end, I had to take the screw top off the bottle and tip it from the bottle directly onto my palm, but even then I had to give it a really good shake to get it out! It feels gritty when applying and you can clearly see particles from the powder - at first I thought perhaps I hadn't shook it for quite long enough (no definite time is given) but I definitely made sure that I shook it for longer than was needed the second time I used it and the particles were still visible after leaving for 3 minutes as instructed afterwards while it settles. The instructions said it should give a 'smooth' consistency - mine both times were nowhere near that.
Once the product is on my palm, it's fairly easy to apply - similar to other dye colourants in that I sectioned my hair and applied to all the areas needed, trying to get a nice even coverage though I always tend to apply a lot more underneath and to the roots as these are the darkest areas. I used it as a full colour to dye my hair and as a result use up a full bottle but it can also be used to colour roots alone (obviously the whole bottle wouldn't be used then). My hair is very thick and of long length (just past my shoulders) and one bottle covers it amply.
The wait time is entirely dependant on what it's been used for - roots or a full head of hair. There's three tables to refer to, the table for full heads of hair as I used it for said up to 20 minutes depending on the degree of lightening - 20 minutes was for 5 levels of lightening. I always tend to wait the maximum length of time, although with this particular blonde shade I think waiting 15 minutes would have probably been enough for me personally (4 levels of lightening). It all depends on the current colour I think and how light you want it to be.
After the waiting time, it's a case of rinsing the mixture away. I found this one hard to get out of my hair. I usually find they all need lathering up lots and my hair rinsed for a while, but this was particularly hard due to the gritty bits in the mixture. It took me a good 5 minutes to get rid of it all before it was ready to squeeze on the conditioner. The conditioner itself is good - my hair was lovely and soft afterwards and there's enough in the tube for at least 6 or 7 applications on subsequent washes.
The end result colour wise is good - the shade turned out very blonde on my hair after waiting the 20 minutes before rinsing off. I think if blonde shades take to your hair well or your hair has natural shades of blonde in anyway, the colour would look very extreme (I suppose as the name implies!) but for me it gave a nice bright blonde without looking glaringly obvious that it was from a bottle. You don't need sunglasses to look at it on my hair! It also doesn't look brassy and lasts the 8 weeks that the box states, although I did find my roots needed topping up before then at around 6 weeks (that's just the rate at which my hair grows though)
As I mentioned before, I've purchased a second box of the colourant but this was only due to it being on offer at a very low price - I personally wouldn't buy it again at full price because I find it's far too messy to prepare, hard to wash out and just a bit of a pain to use compared to other colour kits out there - including Clairol's normal nice and easy kits. That's taking account that it gives good colouring results, I don't think it's worth the hassle when I can get a perfectly good albeit slightly darker shade of blonde from a normal kit that is easier to use. I rate the kit 2 stars due to it's messiness and being hard to rinse from my hair.
Thanks for reading :o)