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Review of Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in Cool Brown (Lightening for Darker Hair)

I am a wife, mother, and early educator who enjoys writing about products that I've tested and reviewed here for your benefit.

You don't need to go to a salon to achieve salon-quality hair color.

You don't need to go to a salon to achieve salon-quality hair color.

Going From Black Hair To Cool Brown

Recently, I came across a new product by Garnier Nutrisse. This new hair color, made especially for darker hair, lightens your hair without the brassiness. I've wanted to lighten my hair for a while now but hesitated because my natural black hair is very thick and hard to lighten without looking orange.

I've tried products in the past that ended up looking horrible. So, after two weeks of thinking about Garnier's new product, I finally took a leap of faith and purchased Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in cool brown (B1) for just under six dollars. There is a lighter brown color available, golden brown cafe (B3), but I wasn't ready to go that light.

Before Picture WITHOUT Flash: Natural black

Before Picture WITHOUT Flash: Natural black

Before Applying The Product

My dark hair had not been colored for over two years so I was confident my hair would react well to the product. For the most part, recently dyed hair will not absorb color well, especially if the hair color is dark. Hair color products usually recommend waiting a few weeks before coloring your hair again, but I've found that with my thick hair I have to wait months before my hair is ready to be dyed again.

My biggest concern was ending up with orange hair that looked brassy in the light. I've lightened my hair before and it looked great inside my house, but once I stepped out into the sunlight my hair looked like a big pumpkin. I did not want that to happen again. So, after reading a few good reviews, I decided to give Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Lightening Color a shot. According to their website, "Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Lightening Browns is supposed to make dark hair up to four shades lighter without the brassiness and is exclusively designed to transform darker hair with visibly reflective, intense tones while providing triple nourishment of avocado, olive & shea for richer, shinier, silkier hair." It sounded good, but would the product deliver these amazing results?

Things To Consider:

  • Carefully read the instructions before applying the product.
  • You may want to do a skin allergy test 48 hours before applying the product.
  • Everyone has different hair. What works for me may not work for others the same way.
  • Get old towels ready in case it gets messy.
  • Remove your nice bath mats and towels from the bathroom.
  • Cover your sink area and floor with old towels in case the hair mixture falls. It can stain.

The Application

Garnier recommends applying the hair mixture to dry, unwashed hair. I recommend not using any hair products on the day of application—it may not react well with the product.

I followed the instructions and combined the ingredients to make the lightening mixture. I put on the gloves provided in the kit and began to shake the bottle away from my face. After shaking the bottle for a few minutes, I noticed the mixture looked white and thick. Garnier mentions in the directions that the mixture may turn a darker color during application, but this is not indicative of the color results. I then applied the mixture only to my hair lengths and ends, making sure to save some of the mixture for my roots.

The mixture is left on hair lengths and ends for exactly 20 minutes. Later, after the 20 minutes is completed, you finish the process by applying the rest of the mixture to the roots and wait an additional 10 minutes. The total length of time for the lightening process is 30 minutes.

Things To Consider:

  • Kit includes only gloves for application
  • The mixture is creamy, not a foam
  • Be mindful to saturate the hair
  • Make sure mixture is evenly applied
  • Use a mirror to check the hair in back

During the first 20 minutes, I did not notice any color change to my hair lengths and ends, but during the last 10 minutes, after applying the mixture to my roots, I began to notice a slight color change, especially at the top of my head.

Follow the directions! Your roots absorb the color quickly and will begin to lighten immediately. Also, light reflects off the top of your head, creating the illusion of lighter hair. Do not exceed the recommended length of time.

After exactly 30 minutes I rinsed the mixture out of my hair. The mixture had turned a dark brown color during the processing time so I made sure to rinse my hair until the water was clear. I shampooed my hair and applied the conditioner provided in the kit. I left the conditioner on for five minutes and then rinsed. My hair felt silky and smooth, almost healthier than before the lightening process.

When I looked at my wet hair in the mirror I did not notice a big difference in my hair color. Only the very top looked slightly lighter, but after a quick blow dry, I instantly noticed a HUGE difference. As you can see from the picture below, my hair turned out at least two shades lighter.

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So, I'm sure you are wondering if I would purchase this product again. Yes, I already bought a second box to use in a few months.

Do I Like the Color?

What I like about my new hair color:

  • Feels shiny and healthy
  • Reflects the light
  • Adds depth to hair
  • Hair has different tones
  • Haircut looks better
  • Looks natural

What I don't like about the new color:

  • Not sure if it looks a little orange in bright light
  • Wish it could be a little lighter at the ends

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Susanna on March 29, 2013:

Great review! Did you need one or two boxes? I have long, straight hair (about 3 inches past my shoulders) but its not course or very thick. If I do use two boxes can I prepare one solution, see if it'll cover my hair, and then mix the second one if I need more product? Would that mess up my timing with applying it to the roots?

TeachableMoments (author) from California on March 22, 2013:

There are no brassy tones in the sunlight. That was my main concern as well! Color is very natural. I actually let my roots grow out and the overall color still looks great. Even my hairstylist asked if I had done something different to my hair. She remarked a few times about how much she loved my hair color. So, I'm letting it grow out even more!

mlyang on March 21, 2013:

finally a blog that knows how to review this dye for me :) i want to lighten up my hair too but i don't want nothing dramatic since it been years since I color my hair.. is there any brassy tone in the sunlight?? the picture outside don't seem to have any

TeachableMoments on March 15, 2013:

I would still apply the mixture to your ends first. Your roots will lighten very quickly and will always reflect the light, creating the illusion of lighter hair.

Makayla on March 15, 2013:

I have dark brown roots but the rest is light brown ? It sorta blends in though but I still can notice it. Should I still apply it to my ends first ?

TeachableMoments (author) from California on September 24, 2012:

Christine, thanks for checking out my hub. I'm loving my lighter hair color! Thanks for voting up!

Christine Miranda from My office. on September 24, 2012:

Wow that did lighten it up a lot. Great pictures, it does look natural. Voted up & useful!

TeachableMoments (author) from California on September 21, 2012:

Teaches, thanks for voting up. I enjoy sharing tips with readers. Hopefully other people will find my tips helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

Dianna Mendez on September 20, 2012:

Wonderful tips! In all the time I have been coloring my hair, I have never thought to use a mirror to check for coverage. Thanks for the advice. Voted up.

TeachableMoments (author) from California on September 18, 2012:

Thanks Sunshine! I appreciate you stopping by and writing a comment. It is so much fun to play around with your hair color and try something new. Makes you want to smile. =)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 18, 2012:

Fantastic hub for those who never color treated their hair. I have, many times. I tend to stick around my natural brown color. Your color looks awesome!!

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