- Revlon Colorsilk ($3) —This stuff is a well-kept secret, so shush. It's the holy grail of ammonia-free permanent colors, and it's disgustingly cheap. It doesn't damage your hair or scalp, and the color lasts. The only downside? It doesn't lift, so if you're trying to go way lighter, you'll get brassy results and quicker fading.
- Clairol Perfect 10 ($11) — For fast, less damaging permanent color that can lighten well, this is my pick. Why? It doesn't tear your hair up as much as some other permanents, and the color on the box is the color that you get.
- Clairol Natural Instincts ($6) —Only want to go up or down a couple levels? This stuff is by far my favorite semipermanent. It doesn't dry my hair out at all, the color results are always even, and it blends really nicely as it fades.
- Fekkai Salon Color ($30) —This color is way pricier than I would normally go for outside the salon. But if you're a dyeing rookie or are trying to maintain your hair's condition while radically changing the color, this is safe bet. It comes with a precolor treatment designed to put your hair in optimal coloring condition.
- L'Oreal Root Rescue ($8) —If you don't want to put more all-over color on and risk damaging your hair, this product is an easy way around it with very reliable results.