If you’re looking to ditch your lighter strands and go dark — or simply refresh your current raven shade — we understand that the idea of pulling off a DIY black hair dye job can be intimidating. But it shouldn’t be! Nowadays, at-home hair color is easier than ever to use, and it allows you to experiment with different hair color trends, like black, for a fraction of the price of a salon visit. Most drugstore dyes are now designed to keep color vibrant for weeks — through heat styling and multiple washes — and also come with a conditioner to keep your hair nourished and shiny.
But how to choose which black hair dye is for you? There are a variety of black shades and undertones out there to consider, including blue-black (which has cooler undertones), warm black, full-on jet black (if you want the darkest black) and more. But no matter which shade you decide to try, you don’t have to go all in the first time: If you aren’t ready to commit to a permanent color, opt for a demi-permanent option, which fades after several washes.
How we test at-home hair color
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab uses both consumer testers and controlled Lab tests to test at-home hair dye. In the Lab, our scientists dye swatches with all different shades of color, and evaluate them for a multitude of factors, including gray hair coverage, color stability, shine and fade resistance. GH Beauty Lab scientists conduct their evaluations over a four-week period, running a series of tests, including 20 wash and dry cycles and 10 hours of UV light exposure. Boxed dyes are also tested on a panel of real women all over the country who evaluate the hair color on ease of use, gray coverage, color richness, color performance, uniformity and accuracy (as compared to the image on the box). They also share real-life feedback on how shiny, soft and smooth their hair is after coloring, plus how the shade fades over four weeks.
Based on the GH Beauty Lab’s extensive evaluations of the best at-home hair color products, these are the best black hair dyes you can buy for deep, dark color that lasts:
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Best Overall Black Hair Dye
Natural Instincts Demi-Permanent Hair Color Crème
In addition to having 80% naturally-derived ingredients including coconut oil and aloe vera, Clairol’s demi-permanent dye received high marks in the GH Beauty Lab. It left hair super shiny, was fade-resistant and provided even coverage. Plus, it has four different shades of black, letting you pick your favorite deep hue.
- Leaves hair shiny
- Fade-resistant against grays
Best Drugstore Value Black Hair Dye
Colorsilk Beautiful Color
Talk about a beauty steal! Priced at under $3, this boxed dye from Revlon received perfect scores across the board in all of the GH Beauty Lab’s rigorous tests: It covered grays completely, retained shine, and didn’t fade after four weeks. Additionally, the nourishing formula includes keratin and silk amino acid to keep hair in tip-top shape.
- Bargain price
- Great gray coverage
- Resists fading
Best Black Permanent Hair Dye
Superior Preference Fade-Defying + Shine Permanent Hair Color
Thanks to the included conditioner with shine serum, L’Oréal Paris’s box dye keeps color vibrant, rich and shiny. It also is known to really last. “This is the best box dye I’ve used for black hair,” one Amazon reviewer raved. “I dyed my hair 3 months ago and it’s still very black!”
- Easy -to-follow instructions
- Keeps hair soft and healthy
Best Jet Black Permanent Hair Dye
Dark and Lovely Fade Resist Rich Conditioning Hair Color
If you are looking for the truest and deepest jet black shade, Dark & Lovely has you covered. Amazon users also love that it provides great gray coverage. “I love this hair dye and it covers my gray” shares one reviewer, and “the main thing is, it covered my grey,” says another.
- Amazing gray coverage
- Gives great shine
- Extremely dark shade
Best Natural Black Hair Dye
Simply Color Permanent Hair Color
Sensitive scalp ladies, listen up: Schwarzkopf’s formula is non-irritating and perfect for you. It claims to be free of ammonia, silicone and alcohol, making it ideal for those with easily irritable skin. Plus, it contains botanical oat milk, soy protein and argan oil to keep hair hydrated and strong.
- Good for sensitive scalps
- Contains ingredients derived from nature
- Long hair may need two boxes
Best Black Hair Dye for Damaged Hair
Olia Oil-Powered Permanent Hair Color
For a gentler option free of many of hair dye’s bothersome and potentially irritating side effects, turn to this Garnier permanent color, a top performer in GH Beauty Lab testing. The formula contains no ammonia and a high level of conditioning oil. It earned high marks for its appealing non-chemical scent, easily rinsing, and not causing irritation, and it proved fade resistant for over weeks post-use. “Made my hair feel extremely healthy,” a user reported.
- Easy to use
- Pleasant scent
Best Permanent Black Hair Dye That Doesn’t Fade
Liquid Hair Color
Like red shades, black hair color is one that could fade easily if you don’t use the right formula. Creme of Nature’s dye prevents that from happening, while leaving it healthy and hydrated too. Plus, the gel formula is very user-friendly. “It’s easy to apply and doesn’t run as much as other products,” shares one Amazon reviewer.
- Easy to use and doesn’t drip
- Hydrates hair
- Resists fading
Best Professional Black Hair Dye
Pro Series Permanent Hair Dye
Designed to complement their in-salon color, each shade of Vidal Sassoon’s box dye contains the just-right blend of pigments for long-lasting color. The conditioner keeps hair soft and smooth, making the color pop even more.
- Long-lasting color
- Leaves hair silky
Best Black Blue Hair Dye
Nice’n Easy Permanent Hair Dye
If you’re looking for a different take on black hair color, try Clairol’s blue black shade in a GH Beauty Award-winning formula. It’s subtle but softer than jet black and has lots of dimension and shine. Testers found that the dye gave good gray coverage, 79% said it left hair soft and shiny and 90% said it didn’t cause irritation.
- Vibrant color
- Conditoning and non-irritating
- Strong gray coverage
- Color can bleed in the shower
Best Warm Black Hair Dye
Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme
Garnier Nutrisse’s soft black shade is exactly as it sounds: less harsh than a true black and contains warmer tones. With a triple oil blend containing avocado, olive and shea, the formula is known to nourish strands, while the color boost technology keeps the shade strong over time.
- Soft shade with warm undertones
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