Traditional at-home hair-color brands have stepped up their game with faster, easier kits - exactly when most women are looking to space out or eliminate their salon trips in an effort to pinch pennies.

Traditional at-home hair-color brands have stepped up their game with faster, easier kits - exactly when most women are looking to space out or eliminate their salon trips in an effort to pinch pennies.

Two products that recently hit shelves both take 10 minutes to set: L'Oreal Excellence To-Go and Clairol Perfect 10. Both involve just a bit of mixing, squirting and setting and come with an applicator brush that releases color through holes in the tines, making coloring your hair seem as easy as combing it.

The companies also claim to have made the solutions more like shampoos, with fewer nasty chemical smells and a lesser likelihood of messy spills. Perfect 10 boasts a custom fragrance of violet and rose notes blended with "fruits such as pineapple, banana, melon, apple and peach."

At-home kits make sense for women who want to add a little oomph to their natural hair color or blend in gray strands, said Cathleen Kerns, who owns Capelli's Hair Designers near Powell. She warns against trying to lighten hair color on your own.

Hair should really be given section-by-section attention by a professional rather than doused in dye, Kerns said, but did say new treatments with faster set times have less of an opportunity to do damage.

Products designed for touchups and temporary treatments, like semi- and demi-permanent options that wash out after six to 12 shampoos, are smart options too.

Kerns suggests these as an in-between solution because they typically contain little or no peroxide, which makes them easier on hair.


Clairol Perfect 10 by Nice 'n Easy, $14

Drugstores

This line promises high-shine color in just 10 minutes' time. Its 24 shades are designed to match the quality of Clairol's ubiquitous Nice 'n Easy products, with all-over coverage for a natural-looking result that lasts eight weeks.


L'Oreal Paris Excellence To-Go, $10

Drugstores

All-over hair color available in 12 shades and offering results in 10 minutes. The root-touch-up comb applies color evenly for 100-percent root coverage, and the after-color conditioner helps seal in color.


Color Mark Professional, $20

Beauty First

This temporary root touch-up paints on with a lip-gloss-like applicator for on-the-spot coverage that dries in a minute and lasts until the next shampoo. The comb helps keep the color on the hair and off the skin, and hair can be styled normally immediately afterward.

You should really be seeing a stylist if ...

You colored your hair at home, screwed up and want to fix it. Don't just try to cover it up with another kit.

You want to go lighter. Taking a dark shade toward the blond spectrum can give you an orange-hued result. Consider a consultation to learn which colors complement your skin tone.

Your hair is severely damaged. Trust the pros with this one.

E-mail Brittany Kress at bkress@columbusalive.com