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Foam Hair Color vs. Creme Hair Color

Updated on July 10, 2012

How one foam had me fuming

I’m not new to hair coloring. I’ve been coloring my hair since my teen years. When all the girls at school were adding highlights I went hog wild with the peroxide and became an instant blonde. It proved a bit too startling for my liking and I cried until my mom helped me dye it back to my usual dark brown and I stuck with it. But years later when my daughter was playing beauty salon on my hair and informed me I had a “big, long white string” stuck in my hair I knew it was time to color those nasty grays. I vowed to make the time to color my hair every six weeks since then and have never looked back.

Foam hair color, new to the market

Hair color has come a long way over the years. Manufacturers have listened to consumers and have made great improvements by making their products more gentle and less smelly. I’ve tried just about every brand and color on the market but always come back to the same crème formula in my own dark brown shade. But when I began seeing the new foam styles I just had to see what all the hype was about. According to commercials, the foam was supposed to be less messy, easier to use and was better at covering the grays. So when my six weeks were up and the grays came in once more I made my usual trek to the store to select a foam hair color and settled on Clairol’s Nice & Easy Foam, this time in a medium brown shade.

A difficult squeeze bottle

When I returned home I put on my usual ratty hair coloring clothes and read the instructions that came with the box. I mixed the color thoroughly as per the directions and began to apply the mixture to my head. First, I found the foam to be very runny despite shaking the bottle the necessary amount of time. Having to squeeze the bottle from the middle wasn’t the easiest of techniques. In my opinion, Clairol would do well to provide a pump bottle instead.

Not only difficult to use, but wasn't easy to wash out

As I stood at the kitchen sink, the foam went flying everywhere. Plop on my kitchen counter. Plop on the floor. It was a much more tedious process than it had ever been when I used my usual crème color. By the time I got to the ends of my hair the color on my head had dried and caked on my scalp. I waited the required time and was pretty upset about the length of time it took me to rinse the color from my hair. It was pretty hard and crusty. So I decided to get in the shower to do a better rinse. And I rinsed and rinsed some more until I thought it was rinsed pretty thoroughly. Unfortunately to my dismay all the scrubbing and rubbing had resulted in quite a bit of hair loss, which was evident from the pile of hair on my shower drain cover.

Two shades too dark

After taking the towel off my wet hair I saw that my hair was in no way a medium brown shade. It was black. Thinking that it was because it was wet, I dried it. It was still black. Darn it! Was I the only one who had used this foam color and had this experience? A quick online search brought me to several message boards where women who had used Clairol’s foam color had pretty much the same unhappy results. Honestly if I had read some of the personal reviews prior to coloring I would have steered clear of the foam.

Takes a few washes to completely remove

In addition to the above issues, it took three washings before the color was finally thoroughly washed from my hair. For three subsequent days I saw brown, murky water in my shower. And, it stained my scalp. Interestingly, other women on the message boards had this same experience as well.

Got rid of the grays

Since I’m writing about my own personal experience with Clairol’s Nice & Easy Foam Color that’s all I can attest to. I have not tried any other brand of foam color. However, in Clairol’s defense I must say that, although the color was definitely not true to the “medium brown” description and did indeed result in a black color, it did cover the gray magnificently. And the fact that this was weeks ago and I still see no visible grays I remain impressed with the coverage. In addition, when I emailed Clairol with my concerns they immediately responded with their concern and mailed me a coupon for a free product of my choice. So they did get an A+ in customer service from me. Foam hair color is relatively new to the market and hopefully it will be perfected so that manufacturers can get the kinks out of the process. But for now I plan on sticking to my usual crème hair color.

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If you color your hair, what brand do you usually use?

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    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 4 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the tip Rosie! I'll have to give it a try :D

    • profile image

      Rosie 4 years ago

      Try the John Frieda foam. I used it today and it was great.

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Hi Christine! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I can honestly say that I followed the directions on the Foam product exactly. I've been coloring my hair for a long time and am certain the problem lies with this product. The results were also MUCH darker than any other product I've used before. Thanks again!

    • profile image

      christine 5 years ago

      I love the foam dyes. Not at all messy if used properly. Shade does come darker, but find that with all hair dyes.

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas

      Hi Sammy,

      I cannot, in good conscience, recommend foam hair color. I have always liked L'Oreal Crème hair colors, but have recently begun using Revlon hair colors. I find Revlon to be excellent at covering grays and the color is always true. It's far less costly than the so-called high-end hair colors (like L'Oreal). Hope this helps. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • profile image

      Sammy 5 years ago

      I'm 40 years old & have never colored my hair. Most of my grays are in the front next to my face & temples (both sides). My hair is a nice brown but I'd like to change it to like an Auburn color. I was going to try using the foam but with all the horror stories, what should I try? Creme? Foam? Liquid? What brand? I don't know...I feel lost...HELP!!!

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 6 years ago from Texas

      It will definitely color your hair darker, that's for sure, Nancy! I'm honestly not sure the other problems make it worth it though. Please let me know how it works out for you. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • profile image

      Nancy 6 years ago

      I keep reading it dyes your hair 2 shades darker.......I use "natural blue black" normaly LOL, so I can only IMAGINE, but It may work in my favor because I love jet black hair, and most "black" hair dyes don't get me to that "raven" color I desire so I MAY give this a shot!

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 6 years ago from Texas

      I'm so sorry you had such a difficult time with this product Fancyface! That's awful. However, I have to agree with you. Unless Clairol makes some major changes to this Foam Color, I will definitely NOT be using it again. Thanks so much for your comments :)

    • profile image

      Fancyface 6 years ago

      This product should be recalled the smell firs off is worse than a home perm times ten and lingers in the hair fo days and days even after several washes and as for the color wow not even close way to dark chestnut turned horrid dark red cant even explain it i used vitamin c crushed with dishsoap to tone it down thank the lord it worked to a beautiful honey brown ...i would not recommend this crappy foam to anyone that's what i get for getting sucked from th color expert at shoppers drug mart ya right i will never use any other color but cream again ....

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 6 years ago from Texas

      I'm so glad my article helped you decide, Caitlin! From what I've read and researched, many consumers have had issues with this particular product. Thanks for your comments! :-)

    • profile image

      Caitlin 6 years ago

      I've been thinking about using the Clairol’s Nice & Easy Foam Colour and seeing your review has changed my mind completely. As Georgia was saying, I think I might use the John Frieda product! I went Plum last weekend and it's too dark for my liking. So, I'm going hopefully I will go back to brown and it will turn out fine! :)

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for all the great information Georgia! I'm sure readers will appreciate it as well.

    • profile image

      Georgia 6 years ago

      I have used the John Frieda precision color foam. It also turns out two shades darker than as expected, so i always when buying over the counter boxed hair dye, choose a shade that's at least one lighter than my desired results. I also only leave the dye on for the minimum amount of time, never the maximum. You can also watch and wash it out before you see it get to the point of looking that dark. I found with the frieda that 10-12 minutes was perfect to get the color I was trying to attain. When it comes to a product as new as this, I would go with the best 'name' out there, and John Frieda is known for its "salon-quality" products. It also is WAY less runny, an actual foam, and I haven't had but one dropped blob on a bathroom rug when seeing how thick the foam was. Gotta be sure to follow directions closely!

      ALWAYS choose a color lighter than your desired result with boxed dye. Or just go to Sally's and for not a lot more money than the box, have hair dye that ACTUAL stylists would use...

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 6 years ago from Texas

      Hi Cindy!

      I found that the foam covers the gray, but has a great deal of problems in the process. I, personally, will never use it again. Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Cindy 6 years ago

      Is the foam, hair Does it really, dye ur hair???? I never use ot.

    • kayyluh profile image

      kayyluh 6 years ago

      Well I won't be using that you aren't the only person who hasn't had a good experience! I'm glad I got another point of view on this foam, it's funny how commercials can make you believe so much that isn't true! Thanks for sharing your experience i'm sorry it wasn't to great but at least it got it colored :) Keep up the great work girl!

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 6 years ago from Texas

      Hi Wavegirl!

      This was the one and only time I used the foam. After that initial experience I went back to my regular creme haircolor and never looked back. I can't see myself using the foam until I'm sure the manufacturers make the product a little more user-friendly. Thanks for your comment!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 6 years ago from New York, NY

      I must say I have had the same experience as you. Using the foam not only is it tough getting the color out, the odor of the stuff sticks to high hell. I also noticed that my hair did not feel as soft as when I use the creme. Add to it that you need to be a bit more careful with choosing your shade. But like you the end results were amazing. Like you, I too hope that they perfect this method !

    • lovesleftovers profile image

      lovesleftovers 7 years ago from Texas

      You're very welcome MCP. Glad it helped!

    • profile image

      MCP 7 years ago

      thanks lovesleftovers! very helpful!


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