It’s finally starting to feel just a bit like Fall, and I always get the itch to change my hair color when the seasons change. Previously, I used the Kao Prettia Soft Bubble hair color in Antique Rose, hoping to give my hair a deep, burgundy tone but the results were extremely underwhelming. It was only barely visible in direct sunlight. Still, I like the range of shades offered by Prettia and the ease of use since it’s a foam dye. There are several brands of foam dyes in the US market now, but the shade selections are extremely limited. I also feel more comfortable choosing a shade from an Asian company, as obviously they will be formulated for Asian hair and skintones.
Side note: Kao markets this dye under different names in different markets. Therefore, it may be referred to as Liese or Prettia, depending on where you buy it. However, it’s the exact same product.
Generally, people like to go lighter during the Spring or Summer months, and darker for Fall. I went the opposite this time. :3 My hair is naturally black, and I wanted a dark caramel brown shade. Originally, I was going to go with Milk Tea Brown but couldn’t find a US seller on eBay. I was too impatient to wait for overseas shipping, so I chose the next shade darker, Marshmallow Brown, from a US-based seller. It was about $15 after shipping, which is rather on the high side for a box dye — it retails for around $7 – $8 in Japan, so it’s almost double the price to buy online. However, lucky folks who live in an area with a large Asian population (e.g., New York City, Houston, San Francisco) can usually find this in the Asian grocery stores and specialty shops there, at not too high of a premium.
Of course the instructions are in Japanese. There are a few quirks of this dye, so I would really suggest watching the official Prettia instructional video (found below) to understand its nuances. It’s in Japanese also, but just watching it will point out some very important things.
For one, do not shake the bottle after adding 1 to 2. Gently inverting the bottle about 3-5 times is sufficient. The first time I used this, I thought it was a pump. Actually, you squeeze the bottle itself and it foams out of the nozzle.
The smell of this dye is rather strong (though not as bad as some other dyes I’ve used) so make sure to use in a well-ventilated area. Last time I used this dye, it came with a packet of what I mistakenly assumed was conditioner. In fact, it was a leave-in treatment, to be used after shampoo and conditioner, that was not meant to be rinsed out. However, looking at the packet included this time (which is rather unhelpfully termed After Color Hair Treatment), this is definitely a deep conditioning treatment meant to be left in for 5 minutes then rinsed out. It seems as though they’ve changed the type of treatment packet with the new 2012 versions, but I haven’t been able to confirm this yet.
(One benefit of buying Japanese cosmetics is getting to practice my abysmal reading skills! Shimizu-sensei would be so ashamed to see me now…)
What the video and instructions do not demonstrate, however, are the realities of home hair-dying. The model remains poised, cheery and calm as a Hindu cow the whole time. Her hairline and cover-up are immaculate. I wish demonstration videos would show the not-so-fun sides, like when you knock over the bottle onto the floor, splattering dye everywhere and you think, “Well, there goes my security deposit.” Meanwhile, you’re getting dizzy because the bathroom fan isn’t as strong as it needs to be (which would be wind-turbine levels) and it’s as much an effort not to pass out on the floor as it is to pile your hair in a messy coif on the top of your head. The tips of your ears are burning and turning red, and you go to wipe off the excess dye but only manage to smear a purple streak down your cheek. Then you realize you’ve been meticulously putting dye onto your hair for the last 15 minutes, but it’s only supposed to be a 20-30 minute processing time, so do you wait an extra half hour or wash it out in 5?
Well, as for the last bit I left the dye on my hair for just under an hour, including the amount of time I spent applying it. I followed the time to a T last time, and I really wanted a noticeable change this time, so I risked the potential fry-factor. To let it process, I bundled it into a loose bun and put on a shower cap.
Part of the appeal of a foam dye is not only its ease of use, but supposedly that it is less harsh on hair. I can attest that it is very gentle — even after almost an hour of processing time, my hair is not noticeably damaged. It also did not sting my scalp as some other dyes can.
The included hair conditioner is not as rich and deep conditioning as others included with box dyes that I’ve tried. After rinsing it out, my hair did not feel as moisturized as I am used to, so I followed up with the Kao Essential Rich Premier hair mask.
The color is subtle, and not dramatic. The lighting in this picture makes it seem brighter than it really is. Moreover, my roots are noticeably lighter (about 2 shades) than the ends. I have heard differing accounts of which end to begin the dye on — however, the instructions say to start from the top. Next time, I think I will use the hairdryer on my ends as I think the heat from my scalp sped up the processing on my roots.
I spoke to my friend Xio who uses the Prettia dyes also, and she says the color lifting really takes effect after about 3 dyes. I have already ordered a box of the Milk Tea Brown and I am awaiting its arrival from overseas. Hopefully, I can get the milky caramel brown colored hair I want in a few tries.
To help save my hair from further damage and to preserve the color from fading, I bought the L’oreal Evercreme cleansing conditioner. However, even after just one use, I feel as though it stripped a lot of the color out! I will give it another week or so, and follow up with a more in-depth review shortly.
I hope this helps anyone who is considering the Prettia dyes, and Marshmallow Brown in particular!
Update: Please go here to see the results of my second try with Marshmallow Brown!