To figure out what's best to use, we evaluated and tested eight of the most popular hair dyes found in drugstores in Japan and e-commerce sites. We tested them based on: three criteria:
Our favorite was Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color; check out why below!
Based on our in-house testing, we ranked a couple of the best Japanese hair dyes you can find 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. Also, note that some prices are converted from the original Japanese ones for your viewing convenience.
|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 variation||20 total, including British Ash, New York Ash, and California Beige|
|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 variation||7 total, including Berry Ash, Airy Ash, and Sugar Ash|
|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 variation||15 total, including Girly Ash, Natural Ash, and Ice Greige|
Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color
Freshlight Foam Type
Palty Foam Hair Color
Our Top Choice - Get Subtle, Salon-Quality Ash Without Leaving the House
Best for Getting a Lovely, Clear, and Ashy Finish
Best for Neutralizing Red Tones and Still Achieving Color
|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）|
|Color variation||20 total, including British Ash, New York Ash, and California Beige||7 total, including Berry Ash, Airy Ash, and Sugar Ash||15 total, including Girly Ash, Natural Ash, and Ice Greige|
While our top three picks were great overall, here are a few more choices that may appeal more to those with certain tints they'd like to achieve and who are looking for more subtle effects.
|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 variation||10 total, including Cat Greige, Elephant Grey, and Rabbit Beige|
|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 variation||10 total, including Marshmallow Ash and Candy Ash|
Classic Milk Tea
|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 variation||5 total, including Café Chiffon and Classic Milk Tea|
|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 variation||13 total, including Natural Greige and Sweet Ash|
|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 variation||16 total, including Misty Ash, Ash Chocolat, and Classic Ash|
<Hair & Makeup Artist, Hair Therapist Miyuki Okishima>
Miyuki Okishima is a hair therapist as well as a hair and makeup artist. After working as the vice manager at a Tokyo salon, she began working freelance with magazines, theater, and bridal clients. She also works as a hair advisor for magazines, Internet programs, and manufacturers.
Ms. Okishima also pays house calls to the elderly and those with disabilities and creates medical wigs on a volunteer basis.
After picking up the nine popular hair dyes from e-commerce sites like Yahoo, Amazon, and from drugstores, we tested each for each of the following things:
Then we gave them a score from 0.5 to 5 and ranked them.
Please note that the products listed in the ranking were independently scored after our editorial staff tested them. In addition, we do not guarantee you will see the exact results we did. Please read the product descriptions carefully before choosing.
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, and healthy hair; therefore, on this particular test, products that resulted in the least friction were rated the highest.
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 device, our lowest-ranking product produced a resistance score six times that of our highest-ranking product.
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.
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.
Here are the five things you should look out for when picking out Japanese hair dye. To help give the best advice, we asked Ms. Miyuki Okishima to provide some of her big pointers for choosing a great hair dye.
Using a foam-type hair color is like using a regular shampoo to dye your hair. So it's very easy to color your hair by yourself.
However, if you compare it to a cream-type product, it can be more difficult to figure out where you applied the product and where you've missed spreading it into. Make sure to be aware that you need to apply as much as you can all over to get a great finish.
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.
Since lotion-type is runnier than cream-type dyes, they're also easier to blend and smooth into the hair. However, because of this, it can drip into the eyes, so just be careful and don’t apply it while bathing.
If you want the color to come out strong or you have experience in self-dyeing, then we recommend getting a cream dye.
If you really want a good dye job, then cream-type dye sticks best to your hair. However, if you're not used to using this type of dye, then it's extremely easy to miss spots. I don't recommend it for beginners. It would be better to get someone's help if you want to try out a cream dye!
So take a good 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.
When choosing a dye, try to first think of what color you want your hair to be. If you still can't decide on a product after that, then check your face and eye color to see what color would match best with your skin tone and eyes.
If you're worried about dyeing your hair badly, then I suggest going for a darker hair color, closer to your current color so that any mistakes won't stand out. To start with, try dyeing your hair one tone darker than the color you want your hair to become just in case.
There are likely many people who are a little hesitant about dyeing their hair because of the possible damage it can do. However, there are dyes that come with treatment and hair care items that can help minimize any negative effects that come with self-dyeing hair.
There are many types of treatments and hair care items included in different kinds of products and each can have a different effect on the hair, so it can be hard to decide what hair dye to get based on any single ingredient.
Hair aftercare is extremely important after dyeing your hair. Once you've damaged your hair even a bit, it's very hard to return your hair to its original state. Do your best to protect your hair from further damage by using serums and treatments.
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.
Hair dyes contain 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 should avoid dyeing your hair.
We also purchased and tried out the most popular boxes of Japanese bleach online, so check out the article below if you know you'll be needing to lighten your hair first!
If you're looking for a more specific hair color dye, such as a pink or black, then we've still got you covered! Take a look at the links below to find more amazing options for hair dyes that actually work to give you the color of your dreams.
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 color to your hair, 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
Date of ranking: March 20, 2019
As mentioned before, taking care of your hair after the dyeing process is extremely important. If you are looking for a unique product that calms, invigorates, and treats your damaged locks, then look no further! This Intense Repair Shampoo by Sauce Beauty comes highly recommended by beauty blogger Andrea Toma.
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