I've always had blondish brown hair, and it's always bothered me. It's not that I didn't think my hair color was pretty, it was just that I'm indecisive, but I don't want my hair to be. And since I'm definitely not a blond, I decided to go brunette. The problem was, I'm really protective of my hair, and I didn't want some hair color to totally strip it and turn it into straw, so I put up with my annoying hair color for the sake of my hair. That is, until my mom introduced me to Clairol Perfect 10. Unlike most dyes, which use ammonia to wear away your hair's F-layer so they can deposit color, Perfect 10 leaves that layer intact, causing significantly less damage to your hair. I know. Love.
Perfect 10 is really easy to apply (it actually does take just 10 minutes), doesn't smell horrible, and doesn't leave your hair looking like straw. I think my hair might actually look healthier since I've dyed it. The process is really simple, just mix the dye, apply it, leave it on for 10 minutes, and rinse your hair until the water runs clear. The dye didn't burn my skin, but I think it bothered Maud a bit after a few minutes (Maudie has really sensitive skin though), but it's not like a "my skin is on fire I'm going to die" burn. Then apply the included conditioner (which smells realllly yummy), leave it on for two minutes, and rinse out. Done!
Make sure your hair hasn't been washed for at least a day before you dye it. The natural oils help the dye cling to the hair cuticle. Now, if you're like me and one, you're really OCD about having dirty hair, and two, you really can't go two days without shampooing like you're supposed to, I have a tip. After washing the dye out and before you conditioner, wash your roots with a tiny bit of color-safe shampoo. It won't strip your color, and it'll keep your hair clean until the next day (always a plus).
As for how long the color lasts, I wouldn't call Perfect 10 permanent. If on a scale from one to ten, one is your natural hair color and ten is a totally opaque, permanent dyed color, Perfect 10 starts out at a 10 (haha), and washes out to about a 7 after 3/4 days. A lot of hair colors lighten a tone or two in the first few days, but I think Perfect 10 does that a little more than most. Over the next 6-8 weeks, it fades down to about a 4 and stays there. So by the time my hair's grown out enough to have one inch roots (which is like three weeks, sorry Maud), the color has faded to become more of a tint. Now, if you didn't want to change your hair color that drastically and you're fine with darkening/changing it just a few tones, then this would be great for you. If you're trying to cover greys or changing your hair color dramatically (like blonde to dark brown), then you might want to go with something a little longer lasting.
I've tried three different colors of Perfect 10: Medium Brown, Light Golden Brown, and Medium Golden Brown (in that order). Medium Brown was a little flat for me. It's a very cool toned brown, and I have a lot of gold/red in my natural color, so it wasn't really working for me, and it was a little dark. Light Golden Brown is a really pretty, warm color, about one or two shades darker than my natural color. I tried Medium Golden Brown this time, just to mix it up, and I really like it. It's a very warm, almost reddish, deepy, chocolately brown. For reference, this first picture has my natural color, and the last picture captures the Medium Golden Brown most accurately. It look me like 7986798 years to get a decent picture--my hair is so shiny the camera flash makes it look white! I know, I know, my life is so rough, but I think the dye actually contributed to that. Look how shiny my hair is before I dyed it and then after. It's wayyyy shinier now. And please ignore how gross me and my hair look. That bathroom lighting is brutal.
Clairol Perfect 10 is $13.99 at drugstore.com, and about $12 instore at Target.
Perfect 10: drugstore.com