To my utter horror I found out at the end of July that my long-loved colour, L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss Semi-permanent hair dye in Cherry Red 406 was being discontinued. It had been unavailable in Superdrug and Boots on the shelf, and a quick google roused my suspicions further. I tweeted L’Oreal, and my fears were confirmed. Thus begins the hunt for a new semi-permanent red…
L’Oreal informed me that:
“Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued and is no longer available. There is no direct replacement for the product at the moment. If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact us.”
I did have further queries, I wanted to know why! I also wondered if they also planned to take the less-vibrant, and more brown/plum little sister of Cherry Red away too; Berry Red. They said:
“There are many reasons why we discontinue products. Sometimes, we need to create room for new ranges. There are currently no plans to discontinue Berry red.”
Scouring the internet it was clear to see that there’s not much available in a semi-permanent formula, especially reds. Tons of permanents are out there, in beautiful glossy rouge, and I also found some wash-in, wash-out options, but nothing really matched up to the colour that’s been home for the last few years, L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss, Cherry Red 460. See my full review and pics here. While out shopping with my mum, trying to stock-pile any Cherry Red boxes I could find left on the shelf (Tesco, seems to have the most stock for anyone wondering), my mum spotted Boots Botanics, in Dark Red.
Despite the box being a little dusty (literally) the colour didn’t look like a bad match, and definitely was a cool-toned red, rather than the plum/purple, which I really want to avoid. The ingredients lists are very similar, but application differs. Botanics requires you to apply to clean, dry hair – where as the Casting Creme gloss should be applied on damp here. In my opinion, the latter is much easier, where the creamy formula is so easy to apply and massage in. Strangely, the Botanics states you shouldn’t massage into the scalp, which is tricky not to when trying to cover to the root. Botanics should be left on for 30 minutes, and Casting, only 20. Botanics says it covers 100% of greys and lasts for up to 24 washes, where as Casting claims to cover up to 70% of greys and last up to 28 washes. No ammonia in either, but the Botanics contains a higher percentage of p-Phenylenediamine, a potentially harmful chemical which is also used in many permanent dyes. Some people have an allergy to this ingredient, and there for should not use the colourant.
I’ve been using Casting Creme Gloss for well over five years, and find the application super easy, the smell to be pleasant, and the colour to last well for around three solid weeks, fading out over the fourth to sixth week, with no horrendous roots (my natural colour is mousey brown). My age – or perhaps my insanely stressful day-job – has blessed me with some greys, which the Casting has been covering successfully, thought it’s worth noting that the colour does start to lift off prematurely after around 1-2 weeks.
It’s the same idea as the Casting, you mix the colour with developer in the supplied bottles, and apply to the hair. As mentioned the Botanics requests you go onto dry hair, and it was only after I’d felt satisfied in covering my roots did I discover that there is nowhere near enough product in the packet for the rest of my hair, even those with a bob would need two packets, and I think I’d have needed three – totally frustrating! I’d done a strand test which didn’t show any colour change whatsoever, so I left the dye on for just over the recommended 30 minutes. Washing off was easier than the Casting, and the balm-like conditioner had a very slippery, crispy, plastic-feel when applied, and was almost like a hot oil to rinse out – which felt both mildly alarming, and also moisturising. This actually had a pleasant smell, which unfortunately wasn’t strong enough to mask the overpowering chemically smell which was still evident after I’d finished drying my hair.
The results! I was totally ready for this to be my new colour, but unfortunately there are more cons than pros. At £4.49 it’s cheaper than the £6.79 that Casting costs (though that’s always on a two for £11 offer, making it more like £5.50) however, if I bought two or three packs as my hair length requires, it quickly becomes more costly. You get 100ml of product once combined, and with casting you get 20ml more – not loads but enough to make a difference. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the reveal once my hair was dry, and struggled to see a difference, made all the more disappointing when despite the claim that Botanics will cover 100% of greys, I could still see some of the more confident shiny whites poking out at me while drying, which would always have been covered by Casting. Although I took my before and after pics at different times of day, you can see my hair does look more red, and the colour refreshed, but my roots are still showing, and the lengths are patchy, though not as bad as I thought they would be given the fact I could barely get the product to stretch that far, which leads me to the conclusion that the coverage just isn’t that great.
I’d love to hear if anyone else has tried either Casting Creme Gloss, or the Botanics, and what your thoughts are – plus, if you have any suggestions on other semi-permanent options.