clairol nice'n easy care color

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Better Boxed Dye

Clairol Nice'n Easy Care Color ($8; drugstores,

Why We Love It
  • Free of common scalp irritants
  • Fresh non-ammonia smell

If you're part of the small percentage of women with an allergy to haircolor, you know fates far worse than streaky highlights or uneven patches. One of the ingredients commonly used to make permanent color last longer—paraphenylenediamine (PPD)—has been known to leave some women's scalps red and irritated, says cosmetic chemist Erica Douglas. Now there's an alternative: Clairol's at-home formula delivers vibrant color with staying power but swaps PPD (and the chemically similar para-toluenediamine, PTD) for a revolutionary molecule designed to reduce the risk of developing an allergy to the dye. (If you have a sensitive scalp, consult your dermatologist before trying any new product.)
well professionals wellaplex

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Reparative Salon Formula

Wella Professionals Wellaplex (available in March; for salons)

Why We Love It
  • Repairs dye-induced wear and tear
  • Maintains healthy hair by helping prevent damage

Hair dye involves serious chemistry: Ammonia (or a similar substance) opens the outermost layer of your hair like a door, allowing a developer to penetrate the inner cortex and strip your current color so the dye molecules can set up shop, says Douglas. All of this action may have an unavoidable consequence: dry and brittle hair. But soon colorists will be able to enhance the dye with Wellaplex's new bond builders, which repair the bonds that hold an individual strand together, sealing the cuticle without disrupting the dye development, says Marissa Kosolofski of Wella Professionals. "I love this for clients who want a dramatic change without fear of major damage," says colorist Mark DeBolt of NYC's Marie Robinson Salon.
redken color extend bonder kit

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At-Home Strand Mender

Redken Color Extend Bonder Kit ($30; for salons)

Why We Love It
  • Leaves hair strong, shiny and smooth
  • Restores the outer cuticle layer

True hair rehab begins after you color. Used for two weeks following your dye session, this three-step system consists of a preshampoo treatment containing maleic acid to remove mineral buildup from coloring and maintain hair's pH level, plus a shampoo and conditioner with citric acid and taurine to reinforce the cuticle and bolster weak bonds.
color extending conditioners kerastase and paul mitchell

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Color-Extending Conditioners

Kérastase Reflection Touche Chromatique Kit ($101.50;
Paul Mitchell Color Craft ($40; for salons)

Why We Love Them
  • Keep color fresh between salon visits
  • Custom formulas for personalized results

You've got two brilliant options here. Kérastase's DIY version comes with concentrated color, a nourishing hair mask, a mixing bowl, and a spatula—just blend it up in the bathroom. Don't trust your mixology skills? Paul Mitchell's formula is created in the salon by a pro. Both have ingredients—rice bran oil, vitamin E, or plant-based conditioners—for suppleness and shine. Bright, right?