• Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2020 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2020 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2020 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2020 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2020 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes in 2020 - Tried and True! (Kao Liese, Palty, and More)

Let’s get this straight–there’s no such thing as a “best” hair dye. Strictly speaking. Just like there’s no such thing as a “best” concealer or “best” mattress or “best” jacket because it all comes down to you. What kind of skin do you have? What kind of sleeping posture? Do you get cold easily?

This time around, we ordered the 10 most popular hair dyes found in Japanese drugstores and on Japan’s e-commerce sites and compared the following:

1. How vivid the color was
2. How gentle on hair the dye was
3. How long the color lasted

However, we want you to keep in mind that the Japanese hair dyes we introduce were formulated with Japanese (naturally black, bleached Asian) hair in mind and are most effective on hair of a similar quality. If you’ve hair like that, great–you’ll probably find that it works better than your average box of CVS/Walgreens stuff, especially Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color (our number one pick). If not, though, results may be a bit unexpected.
  • Last updated: 06-23-2020
  • 30,102 views
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes

Now to introduce the 10 best Japanese hair dyes available online. Keep in mind our overall scores are not a simple averaging out of each product’s test results; some tests were given more weight than others, which is reflected in our rankings.
※As for our pictures, the top half depicts a hair sample after bleaching but before dyeing; the bottom half depicts the hair sample after dyeing.
1

KaoLiese Prettia Bubble Hair Color

British Ash

$8.40

Japanese花王 リーゼプリティア泡カラー ブリティッシュアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation6 total, including British Ash, New York Ash, and California Beige
TypeFoam
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness5.0
Gentleness4.0
Longevity3.0
Overall score5.0
2
Japaneseヘンケルジャパン フレッシュライト 泡タイプカラー ベリーアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation7 total, including Berry Ash, Airy Ash, and Sugar Ash
TypeFoam
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness4.0
Gentleness3.0
Longevity3.0
Overall score4.0
3
Japaneseダリヤ パルティ 泡のヘアカラー ガーリーアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation15 total, including Girly Ash, Natural Ash, and Ice Greige
TypeFoam
Treatment included?No
Vividness4.0
Gentleness4.0
Longevity2.0
Overall score4.0
4

Dariyaannadonna every Hair Color

Cat Greige

$13.74

Japaneseダリヤ アンナドンナ エブリ ヘアカラー キャットグレージュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation10 total, including Cat Greige, Elephant Grey, and Rabbit Beige
TypeLotion
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness3.0
Gentleness5.0
Longevity3.0
Overall score3.0
5

DariyaPalty Foam Pack Hair Color

Marshmallow Ash

$6.99

Japaneseダリヤ パルティ 泡パックヘアカラー マシュマロアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation10 total, including Marshmallow Ash and Candy Ash
TypeFoam
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness3.0
Gentleness1.0
Longevity1.0
Overall score3.0
6

hoyuBeauteen Makeup Color

Mint Ash

$5.00

Japaneseホーユー ビューティーン メイクアップカラー ミントアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation12 total, including Mint Ash, Purple Ash, and Blue Violet
TypeFoamy Lotion
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness2.0
Gentleness3.0
Longevity4.0
Overall score2.0
7

mandom corp.LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color

Classic Milk Tea

$4.70

Japaneseマンダム ルシードエル ミルクジャムヘアカラー クラシックミルクティ(医薬部外品)
Color variation5 total, including Café Chiffon and Classic Milk Tea
TypeLotion
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness1.0
Gentleness3.0
Longevity5.0
Overall score2.0
8

hoyuBeautylabo Milky Hair Color

Natural Greige

$18.00

Japaneseホーユー ビューティーラボ ミルキィヘアカラー ナチュラルグレージュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation13 total, including Natural Greige and Sweet Ash
TypeLotion
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness1.0
Gentleness3.0
Longevity2.0
Overall score2.0
9
Japaneseホーユー ビューティラボ ホイップヘアカラー ミスティアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation16 total, including Misty Ash, Ash Chocolat, and Classic Ash
TypeFoam
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness1.0
Gentleness2.0
Longevity4.0
Overall score1.0
10
Japaneseヘンケルジャパン フレッシュライト ミルキーヘアカラー ミントアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation12 total, including Mint Ash, Mirror Ash, and Clear Ash
TypeLotion
Treatment included?Yes
Vividness1.0
Gentleness3.0
Longevity2.0
Overall score1.0

Compare the Best Japanese Hair Dyes

Image
1
Kao Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color 1

Kao

2
Henkel Japan Freshlight Foam Type 1

Henkel Japan

3
Dariya Palty Foam Hair Color 1

Dariya

4
Dariya annadonna every Hair Color 1

Dariya

5
Dariya Palty Foam Pack Hair Color 1

Dariya

6
hoyu Beauteen Makeup Color 1

hoyu

7
mandom corp. LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color 1

mandom corp.

8
hoyu Beautylabo Milky Hair Color 1

hoyu

9
hoyu Beautylabo Whip Hair Color 1

hoyu

10
Henkel Japan Freshlight Milky Type 1

Henkel Japan

Name

Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color

Freshlight Foam Type

Palty Foam Hair Color

annadonna every Hair Color

Palty Foam Pack Hair Color

Beauteen Makeup Color

LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color

Beautylabo Milky Hair Color

Beautylabo Whip Hair Color

Freshlight Milky Type

FeaturesGet Subtle, Salon-Quality A...Resulted in Lovely Finish T...Neutralizes Red Tones to De...Doesn’t Stray Far from the ...Produces a Color Similar to...Is a Bit Cloudy and Ashy, b...This Wasn’t Ash, and it Was...Produces a Color Almost Ind...Comes Out to a Simple Brigh...Not Feeling the Ash, or the...
Price$8.40$6.73$8.01$13.74$6.99$5.00$4.70$18.00$7.30$7.04
Japanese花王 リーゼプリティア泡カラー ブリティッシュアッシュ(医薬部外品)ヘンケルジャパン フレッシュライト 泡タイプカラー ベリーアッシュ(医薬部外品)ダリヤ パルティ 泡のヘアカラー ガーリーアッシュ(医薬部外品)ダリヤ アンナドンナ エブリ ヘアカラー キャットグレージュ(医薬部外品)ダリヤ パルティ 泡パックヘアカラー マシュマロアッシュ(医薬部外品)ホーユー ビューティーン メイクアップカラー ミントアッシュ(医薬部外品)マンダム ルシードエル ミルクジャムヘアカラー クラシックミルクティ(医薬部外品)ホーユー ビューティーラボ ミルキィヘアカラー ナチュラルグレージュ(医薬部外品)ホーユー ビューティラボ ホイップヘアカラー ミスティアッシュ(医薬部外品)ヘンケルジャパン フレッシュライト ミルキーヘアカラー ミントアッシュ(医薬部外品)
Color variation6 total, including British Ash, New York Ash, and California Beige7 total, including Berry Ash, Airy Ash, and Sugar Ash15 total, including Girly Ash, Natural Ash, and Ice Greige10 total, including Cat Greige, Elephant Grey, and Rabbit Beige10 total, including Marshmallow Ash and Candy Ash12 total, including Mint Ash, Purple Ash, and Blue Violet5 total, including Café Chiffon and Classic Milk Tea13 total, including Natural Greige and Sweet Ash16 total, including Misty Ash, Ash Chocolat, and Classic Ash12 total, including Mint Ash, Mirror Ash, and Clear Ash
TypeFoamFoamFoamLotionFoamFoamy LotionLotionLotionFoamLotion
Treatment included?YesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Vividness5.04.04.03.03.02.01.01.01.01.0
Gentleness4.03.04.05.01.03.03.03.02.03.0
Longevity3.03.02.03.01.04.05.02.04.02.0
Overall score5.04.04.03.03.02.02.02.01.01.0
Link

How We Tested the Hair Dyes

We tested each hair dye for each of the following things:

Test ①: How Vivid the Color was
Test ②: How Gentle on Hair it was
Test ③: How Long the Color Lasted

Test ①: How Vivid the Color Was

Test ①: How Vivid the Color Was
The first thing we tested for was color. We gathered variations of the popular “ash” color (pretty much an ash brown), and looked for products that best expressed its multi-dimensional feel and subtle shifts between green and brown and grey.
We followed the directions on the package and bleached several samples of black hair to a bright brown. We then compared the results that we got with the images on the package and gave the products that lived up to expectations the highest scores.

If You Want “Ashy” Hair, You’ll Like the Look of Bluish Dyes

The three products that delivered what the box promised contained high amounts of toluene-2,5 diamine, a dye with a cool, ashy tone, as well as 2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol Hydrochloride, which adds a blue cast to colors.
On the other hand, products that didn’t live up to expectations contained warmer colors–we saw a lot of p-Phenylenediamine, a dye that adds a red tint to hair, or p-Aminophenol, which imparts an orange shade. When going for cool tones–such as ash brown, which is more grey than red–try avoiding these dyes as much as possible.

Test ②: How Gentle on Hair the Dye was

Test ②: How Gentle on Hair the Dye was

Next, we tested how damaging the dyes were. We attached a fine-tooth comb to a device that calculated pressure; we then combed through all of the dyed hair samples, measuring resistance and friction.

We determined that a low resistance score meant smooth, hydrated hair meant healthy hair; therefore, on this particular test, products that resulted in the least friction were rated the highest.

If You Want Gentler Dye, Look for a Formula That Contains Jojoba Oil

If You Want Gentler Dye, Look for a Formula That Contains Jojoba Oil
We actually couldn’t feel much of a difference when we ran our fingers through the hair samples, but when we measured them with our handy dandy device, our lowest-ranking product produced a resistance score six times that of our highest-ranking product.
When we read the ingredients list, we found that two of the three products we found to be least damaging contained jojoba oil.
For those that aren’t already familiar with this magic ingredient, jojoba is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant. It’s said to hydrate and protect both skin and hair. It’s a good ingredient to look for in hair dyes and treatments if you’re hoping to minimize any damage.

Test ③: How Long the Color Lasted

Test ③: How Long the Color Lasted

Finally, we tested for longevity. After dyeing the hair samples, we shampooed and dried each one seven times to see how the color would change with each successive washing. 


We then compared the color of the samples after the washings to their color before; the products that showed the least change were rated the highest.

Longevity Depended Less on Ingredients and More on What Dyes were Used

Longevity Depended Less on Ingredients and More on What Dyes were Used
A lot of the products we tested this time contained ingredients meant to preserve color, whether they be amino acids like theanine and taurine or silk protein. However, they still fell short when it came to maintaining the subtlety of a cool color like ash brown.

However, dyes that came out to a warm, reddish color stuck around for longer. Because cool colors tend to fade easily, we recommend using only mild shampoos (like amino acid shampoo) and investing in a treatment meant for cool, color-treated hair.

How to Choose Japanese Hair Dye – Buying Guide

Here are the five things you should look out for when picking out Japanese hair dye.

Know the Different Forms of Japanese Hair Dye

Broadly speaking, Japanese hair dye comes either as a foam, lotion, or cream. Here are the advantages of disadvantages of each.

Foam, the Easiest to Use: Beginner and Butterfingers Friendly

Foam, the Easiest to Use: Beginner and Butterfingers Friendly
If you don’t want to put too much time or energy into dyeing your hair or if you’re worried you won’t do a good job of it, then go foam. You apply foam dye as you would a shampoo, so it’s intuitive, even for first-timers. There’s no need to section out your hair as you would with any other type of dye, and you don’t have to worry about getting a color brush.
However, it tends not to come out as vivid as, say, cream dye, so it’s important that you get even coats of foam throughout your hair. Also, the “flatter” a foam dye is, the harder it is to make it adhere to and color your hair, so make sure you whip it up good before application.

Lotion, Applies in Uniform Coats: Effective on Long, Thick Hair

Lotion, Applies in Uniform Coats: Effective on Long, Thick Hair
If you’re worried about streaky color or if you have a lot of hair, try lotion dye. Lotion’s thinner in texture than cream. It spreads well, so it’s easier to achieve even coats, and there’s less chance of you running out of product or finding sections of hair left undyed

If it comes in a bottle with a comb-shaped nozzle, all the better. You just rake the applicator through your locks, which makes it easier to color long or voluminous hair. Just know that lotion gets runny! It can drip into eyes, so just be careful and don’t apply in the bath.

Cream, the Most Vivid: For a Professional Finish

Cream, the Most Vivid: For a Professional Finish
If you want the color to come out strong or you’ve confidence in your self-dyeing skills, then get cream dye.
Because cream dye is denser than lotion, it adheres more closely to hair, transferring more color. It also doesn’t bleed as much, making it easy target specific areas (so you can do things like go over sections where color takes longer to develop first).
On the other hand, it’s also easy to miss spots. To ensure you get one uniform layer of color, you have to section out your hair. We recommend parting your hair into six or seven sections and dyeing each one by one. If you’re unsure of your skills, consider getting a friend or family member to help out.

Think About Color and Shade

Think About Color and Shade
Any dye’s going to be available in a number of colors, and bigger lines can offer around 20 different shades. In Japan, ash, pink, and beige are all the rage now, but even if the color’s the same in name, it can look different depending on the brand.
So take a good hard look at the samples on the packaging, and think about which color, tone, and shade appeals most to you. 

And this almost goes without saying, but your original hair color’s going to greatly affect the end product. Most dyes will give you a number of before-and-afters, so make sure you’re looking at the before that’s closest to your current hair color.

Look for Included Treatments and Hair Care Products

Look for Included Treatments and Hair Care Products
If anything, the real battle comes after you’ve dyed your hair. You want to keep color from fading, for one, and you want to minimize all the damage you’ve just done to your hair by coloring it.
Some dyes include ingredients meant to treat hair as it’s being colored. Proteins like hydrolyzed keratin are often used to repair damaged hair shafts, and oils–jojoba being a popular variety–are used to add shine and moisture. Scan the ingredients list to determine what repairing ingredients, if any, are included and what their effects are.
Unfortunately, just because of how hair is structured, even if a dye’s jam-packed with healthy ingredients, it’s not going to offset all damage done to your hair. In addition to researching what ingredients are in the dye itself, try looking for products that include a hair serum or treatment as well.

Research How Long Color will Last

Research How Long Color will Last
Generally speaking, do-it-yourself hair dye will color your hair for about a month. However, some products don’t even last that long. Certain colors stick around for longer than others, and the state your hair is in (how moisturized, how healthy) also plays in role in the performance of your hair dye.
To find long-lasting products, it’s important to read reviews, but remember to take them with a grain of salt. Maintenance is also important, and a good shampoo or treatment formulated for colored hair can work wonders.

Don’t Forget to Check How Much Product You’re Getting

Don’t Forget to Check How Much Product You’re Getting
Finally, look at how much product you’re getting. It should say on the box, but one package of dye is typically only enough to treat medium to semi-long hair

If you don’t apply enough product, you may end up with faint or uneven coloring. Therefore, those with particularly long or thick hair should consider getting an extra box or two.

Don’t Skip the Patch Test

Don’t Skip the Patch Test

In Japan, hair dye is classified as a drug, as it contains ingredients that can cause adverse and allergic reactions in the human body. These reactions include but are not limited to itchiness, skin irritation, and rashes. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms as a result of hair coloring in the past, then you shouldn’t be self-dyeing now or in the future.

Actually read the instructions and any warning labels before usage. Take all necessary precautions, including conducting a patch test 48 hours before dyeing your hair. Most dyes come with instructions on how to perform a patch test, but it usually just involves applying a small amount of product onto your arm and letting it dry.
Most permanent and semi-permanent dyes contain diamine, a coloring agent, as well as hydrogen peroxide, both of which can cause allergic reactions. Even if you haven’t experienced any symptoms up until now, it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future–allergies can be developed or triggered under different circumstances.
So before every hair dyeing session, make sure you carry out a patch test and are completely fine at the 48 hour mark.

Will These Dyes Work on my Naturally Black Hair?

Will These Dyes Work on my Naturally Black Hair?
Hair dyes do contain hair lightening agents, which work to remove some of the melanin from your hair and replace them with new pigments. But, generally speaking, if you treat hair while it’s still dark, it won’t turn out like whatever you see on the box. Most of those models are wearing the color you’d get if you were to treat bleached hair.
However, most packages of hair dye will give you three before-and-after images, one for light-colored hair, one for slightly darker colored hair, and one for dark colored hair, so you can get an idea of how a color will turn out on you. If you figure that you want to go for the lighter color (and you’re a brunette), then you’ll have to bleach your hair beforehand.
We also purchased and tried out the most popular boxes of Japanese bleach online today. Check out the article below!

Summary

We rounded up members of our editing department, purchased the 10 top-selling Japanese hair dyes, and tested them all.
We were pleasantly surprised by how even at-home kits could produce some nuanced, stellar colors. A lot of these products also contained restorative ingredients and treatments, which does a lot for peace of mind.
So next time you’re looking to add some new color to your life (and it doesn’t have to be ash brown), keep this guide in the back of your mind, check out some of the brands above, and settle for nothing less than your ideal.

Author: Kano Ichiyama/Translation: Jasmine Li/Photos: Yuuki Inagaki, Koichi Miura

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