February 8, 2013

Review: Garnier Olia Ammonia Free Permanent Hair Color

Couple months back, I saw Garnier was releasing an ammonia free oil based hair dye called Garnier Olia  in a magazine and I knew I'd have to try it.  I have gray hair near my bangs, so I always have to dye my hair every couple of weeks.  I was too lazy to do it myself, so I used to get them done at a salon, then it got way too expensive.  So for the last couple of months, I have been only doing touch ups at home, but saw this opportunity to change my hair color and lighten it little bit from black to dark brown.

These were on sale at CVS for $8.99 (originally $10.49) and with coupons I only paid $5.  What can I say, I'm a savvy shopper. :) In order to do my full head, I typically need two boxes, but I opted for one, and thought maybe I'll just do a touch up.

 How it works: Unlike traditional haircolor, Oila uses an exclusive 60% oil blend, with natural flower oils, in the colorant. The unique oil-based formula maximizes the coloring process to achieve permanent color results. It propels colorants deep into hair, without ammonia, for pure, vivid, long-lasting color. Olia visibly improves and restores the look of hair, as oils help to reverse roughness and dullness for softer, shinier hair with bounce.
60% oil blend with natural flower oils
100% gray coverage
No ammonia

What comes in the box:  Unusually big color mixer, developer, colorant, conditioner, and pair of gloves.


When I began to mix the developer and colorant, I noticed that it was a little difficult to know if you have squeezed everything out from the developer (which felt like any hair gel/cream dispenser), because you can't see inside.  I spent good 2-3 minutes to ensure I squeezed everything out, but more product kept coming out when I tried to stop.  And the colorant comes in a aluminum tube.  So if you start squeezing from the bottom near the mouth of the tube, you are a bit skrewed, because the aluminum tube are hard to unflatten.  So that was quite a task.  I love the humongous mixer.  The gloves were not flimsy, but felt a little tight even for my regular asian hands.  LOL

Biggest seller for me was the scent.  Due to lack of strong chemicals like ammonia, or maybe because it's 60% oil, it didn't have a strong chemical scent that attacks your nose and forces you to open all windows in your home in the middle of winter.  I think I wouldn't die of strong scent even if I closed my bathroom door.  It actually smelled pleasant and flowery.  I loved it.

Now all it had to do was pass the test and cover my grays.  I picked up color dark brown, 4.0 (versus 1.0 which is black).  I typically would have gotten 2.0 (natural black) but wanted to see if dark brown would cover my grays and I wanted to lighten my hair a little bit.

While dying my hair, I dropped the bottle couple of times.  While the roundness is cute, when your hands have the slippery solution on it, and my regular sized asian hands had a hard time grasping the big round bottle with precision. The solution wasn't too liquidy or too thick.  It squeezed out like mayonnaise. :)  I concentrated on my roots and grays, and surprisingly, I had enough to cover my entire head/hair (you have to remember I have a lot of hair and it hits my waistline).  If I were to do my  entire head next time, I'd probably pick up two boxes.  I noticed that the solution on your hair start to turn a little dry and start to feel like dry oil.  I'm guessing this is normal.  But my long hair felt so stiff and stick straight.

After 20 minutes, I was instructed to massage my scalp without water with gloves on, and rinse until it runs clear.  When it hit water, it reminded me of my Shu Uemura or Shiseido Face Cleansing Oil.  The solution turned milky white and it rinsed off quite easily.  After the rinse, my hair still felt dry, so I slathered on tons of the conditioner it came with.  Left it on for good 5 minutes while I finished showering, and my hair felt normal again.  And my hair smelled gooood.

I'm happy to report that it covered my gray hair and lightened my black hair a bit.
Before and After Pictures.  (Yes, my gray hair is really bad, I got it from my Papa)

My Thoughts:  The results of this hair dye is fantastic.  Garnier Olia, I likey you.  After I blow dried my hair, my hair felt softer and that dry feeling went away.  My grays were covered, my bathroom didn't stink of nasty chemical odor.  Definitely a lot of Pros with this product, and definitely outweighs the Cons.

1. Ammonia free- less harmful for your hair
2. Smells nice and flowery
3. Covers grays
4. Colors well
5. Comes with nicely conformed gloves

1. Bottle is too big to hold (I'm being really picky here I know)
2. Tubes were not easy to squeeze out the products to mix
3. Makes your hair feel like you put on dry oil (during application)

Obviously, I'm really trying hard to list the cons here (can you tell?).  But overall, I'm happy with Garnier Olia and I highly recommend it if you are a hair dyer like me.  Finally a less harmful way to dye your hair without spending tons at the salon.  I'm definitely going to use this product to continue doing root touch ups at home.

Miloberry approved!


  1. Did the dye wash out quickly ? After 2 weeks ?

  2. Hi Sydney,
    It actually never washed out. This is a permanent hair color.

  3. Yup. Lasted permanently. Never washed out.

  4. Hi so during washing off, no shampoo is used? Won't it be very difficult and oily to wash off w/o shampoo? thanks.

  5. The oil actually dissolves when water is added so it washes off very easily. I think I remember it foaming slightly also.

  6. Somerset Wedding GalMay 16, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    It seems to work rather well! This is a great post which helpfully weighs up the pros and cons!


  7. Not permanant at all washed out of mine and my sisters hair in just over 2 weeks however it made our hair beautiful and soft and will use it again just for those reasons.

  8. I don't like the idea of not shampooing your hair after you rinse out all the dye. I wonder what happens if you shampoo your hair immediately after the application? Does the dye all wash out?