INOA Hair Color

L'Oreal INOA Hair Color Reviews

L'Oreal INOA Overview

In March of 2010 L'Oreal group discontinued their popular and inexpensive home hair color brand called Natural Match (advertised as "a no-ammonia, color calibrated, color systems that uses a unique oil deliver system") and relaunched it as L'Oreal INOA (Innovative No Ammonia) hair color.  

L'Oreal INOA Ingredients

L'Oreal's Natural Match ingredients list matches exactly to L'Oreal's INOA ingredients list except for one conditioning agent and one fragrance.  Although INOA includes its Oil in a separate tube, the same ingredients were in the Natural Match color product but found in the colorant itself.

One shocking fact is that "Ammonia Hydroxide" is found as a predominate ingredient in the L'Oreal INOA line, particularly the shampoos. This is despite the clear and inconspicuous advertising that L'Oreal INOA does not contain ammonia. The truth of the matter is that L'Oreal INOA contains high levels of ammonia as any chemist will tell you that the ingredient "Ammonia Hydroxide" is simply ammonia and water.

L'Oreal INOA Price

L'Oreal's Natural Match was sold in stores like Target, Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, and grocery stores for anywhere between $3.99 to $5.99 per full application.  The amount of product would comfortably color any head of hair. Comparably, L'Oreal INOA is sold for $11.42 per 4 ounce bottle. Because of the poorly engineered consistency of INOA, it is unlikely that 4 ounces would cover most heads of hair and consequently costs $22.82 per application.  

Therefore, L'Oreal INOA costs $22.82 per application and L'Oreal Natural Match costs $4.99 per application. Salons are expected to pat 357% more for product that was sold in grocery and drug stores just months ago.

Hair Colorist Review of L'Oreal INOA Hair Color

In general, the performance of L'Oreal INOA hair color is very poor for several key reasons. First, the extremely thick consistency of the product makes application difficult causing unreliable and inconsistent tones and shades. Second, the hair color's extremely high tendency to fade off tone, especially after covering gray hair, makes the durability of the hair color treatment extraordinarily low. Third, the cumbersome and time consuming mixing process increases the likelihood of colorist taking short cuts and making mistakes. Finally, the exceptionally high price of L'Oreal INOA, combined with the poorly engineered packing requiring several tubes to accomplish a single application and therefore unnecessarily wasting product, makes the hair color uncompetitive from a pricing perspective.

Mixing L'Oreal INOA Hair Color

Mixing INOA color is extremely slow and cumbersome. It takes 5 - 7 minutes to mix the color and requires both hands to squeeze the ingredents out of the oil and the peroxide bottles because of the thickness of the product. The thick consistency of the product also makes it exceptionally difficult to measure especially with the inadequate measuring device provided.

L'Oreal INOA Hair Color Application TIme

Because L'Oreal INOA haircolor is so thick, it takes much longer to apply. An average head takes almost 25 minutes to apply the thick color from scalp to ends. I cannot imagine a benefit of L'Oreal INOA being so thick that it makes it so difficult to apply. This cumbersome application process can easily lead to inconsistencies in distribution of the product and a busy colorist growing frustrated and short-cutting the process.

L'Oreal INOA Fading

Fading of INOA hair color is very significant. The hair color has an extremely high tendency to fade off tone. There seems to be a substantially higher tendency for L'Oreal INOA to fade off tone when covering gray hair.

L'Oreal INOA Hair Condition

Upon the second application of L'Oreal INOA on a client's hair it becomes undeniably difficult to comb the hair and the hair begins to exhibit a very corse feel as it presents a rough cuticle.

Comments 15 comments

salon owner 4 years ago

I have worked with inoa fron the start. I was a launch salon and after 12 months it was drawing so many clients i sent back my traditional hair color line and went full inoa. My clients hair has never been softer or held color as well as it has with inoa. This product must be applied exactly how loreal instructs or you will not get the best results. Organic color systems only has 3 organic componits in the whole line and you must use heat with it. If their product was the "best" then im sure that the larger beauty co. Would use it. The truth is if you want truly healy hair as it is when it grows out of your head just leave it alone.


anna 4 years ago

I live in Europe and noticed more than usual hair damage after the hairdresser used Inoa, but blamed it on "old age creeping on" and the water in Florida, where I spent a few winter months immediately after my hair had been colored. The second time Inoa was used on my hair the color turned out completely different and I had an allergic reaction: as soon as the product was put on my roots it was stinging ("normal" said the hairdresser)Afterwards, my scalp felt painful and as if it was on fire for three days. Weeks later now it still feels a bit strange and itchy. I have had my hair colored for over 30 years and never had any problems before. I will NEVER use Inoa again!


nickster 4 years ago

are there any salons in Sydney (prefer north shore) but will travel for smart salon who use non toxic ingredients in hair color. People who know what they are talking about. Many salons believe the marketing so if it has a botanical in it, they say it is organic. I would like to find a colorist who actually understands the products they use.


juanita 4 years ago

my hairdresser used this in october 2010. it first looked great. then she applied it in december 2010 and my hair began to look dry. when my hairdresser applied it in february 2011, she failed to get all the thick oily product off my hair. i went home that night and noticed my hair looked very oily. i washed it the next day. over the next 4 months my hair fell out and portions broke off within inches of the scalp. i was advised that because the oily product was not completely removed from my hair, that my hair continued to be processed. i am now one year out and my hair is only 6 inches longer. i tell everyone about loreal inoa. i will continue to warn about it.


Pina 4 years ago

this is the worst hair color ever my hair has broken off very dry I am very upset maybe even taking legal action against this company


Joey 4 years ago

I used the same color Inoa in Europe for over 2 years & I loved it. Since moving to the states I have had my color done twice & it certainly isn't the same - my hair feels flat & dull after about 3 weeks unless I get a lot cut off. I don't know if it's something to do with the altitude - I'm in Denver - or the water but even using Pantene conditioner (last resort) isn't helping.... On a separate note - 35 Euro in Europe v $70 in the states!!!!


Dawn 4 years ago

My hair has a lot of gray in it so I have been coloring it for over 15 years. When INOA first came out I really liked it. After a year, I noticed short pieces of hair that would stick up. When I asked my hairdresser about it she said it was from the highlights. I only do that process 1-2 times a year; my hair is medium length and seeing these 3 inch pieces sticking up looked awful. I also noticed that the back of my hair, especially underneath, was several shades darker than the medium brown that was my "top" color. I know it must be from INOA. I have been using box color for the last 2 months with my same shampoo and have been getting my hair back to normal. I am now looking for a new stylist and will be going back to the "old" color lines.


SalonExpert profile image

SalonExpert 4 years ago Author

Organic Color Systems is the best ammonia-free hair color available.


Stacey Dennision 4 years ago

After 11 years of going to the same colorist, I had to switch and find another salon because my colorist started using INOA. The first time she used INOA on my hair, it seemed to work very well at first. Then, it began to fade quickly and after the second and third applications it made my hair very dry and brittle. I really hated it. I asked her to switch back but she kept saying that her rep said it was something wrong with my hair.

I found a new salon that uses all organic products and I have never been happier with the condition of my hair. I guess there is a silver lining to every loss :)


prasad 5 years ago

i have been using for the past 6 months.As you all say colour fades within 15 days.unfortunately we don't have any other alternative for ammonia free.if anybody have any alternative please let me know.


Anne Roberts 5 years ago

I have used INOA for almost 12 months, my beautiful hair is now coarse, unmanageable and dull. It took several months for me to realise it faded very quickly and doesn't really cover gray roots well. The stylists where I go are L'Oreal and INOA trained, so it must be the product. It may be ok for some people but the salon I go to have stopped using it now due to so many clients complaining. I am now going around a lot of the time with a deep conditioning hair mask on my hair in the hope I can get some of the coarseness to disappear. Has anyone any ideas?


anna 5 years ago

i think is great but you must color very often because it fades in one week


Amy 5 years ago

@Jessica- Try ebay.


Kim 5 years ago

I, too, have had bad experiences with INOA. The color fades within two weeks and I have been washing my hair in "warm water to cold water" in an attempt to preserve the color. The color is not consistent, either. When asking my stylist why it turned so dark this last night, she states that I am the only client having trouble and that I must be taking meds that interact. I take nothing. The only benefit is that my hair is very soft.


Karolina 5 years ago

Thnank you for the article. My hairdresser has been using INOA on my hair for a half a year and the colour fades really quickly. Really disappointed with INOA and looking for an alternative.

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