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as i am review
Chelsea Candelario

  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 19/20
  • Quality/Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Color Factor: 18/20
  • Total: 92/100
I almost threw myself a party when the last of my dyed blonde hair was finally gone. For context, I had spent the last five years transitioning back to my natural texture and color. But while I rejoiced at seeing my dark brown (practically black) hair again from root to tip, admittedy, I did secretly missed a bright color on my curls from time to time.

I knew about color wax and chalk as temporary options, but I always thought they looked cakey and fake. I didn’t want to take the chance and step into the office looking like an abstract painting. But once the only people that were going to see me IRL were my family, I thought it was good timing to take the temporary plunge. But instead of wax or chalk, I turned to a newer application trend—color depositing masks. The first one I used didn’t stick. But then I came across the As I Am Curl Color collection, and it was a totally different story.

RELATED: The 20 Best Hair Masks to Keep Your Hair Healthy Until Your Next Appointment

My First Reaction

As I Am was one of the first brands I used at the beginning of my curly journey, so I was familiar with how great their products are in general. But it was when I saw their recent Instagram post of a woman with dark hair like me trying one of their most vibrant colors that I was immediately sold on their color collection, and knew I had to get my hands on one.

The collection features six colors such as Passion Purple, Bold Gold, Emerald Green, Hot Red, Sassy Silver and Cool Blue. I brought four of the colors and started with Hot Red. Upon examining the product, I was weary by the small jar. Was it really going to cover my whole head? But skepticism aside, the packaging was very bold and I was surprised to see the product matched the vibrant color.

I was also not expecting it to smell like the brand’s signature scent. One reason why I steered away from temporary colors in the past was because of the smell. The last thing I wanted my hair to smell like was crayola crayons or chalk. FYI, the curl color smelled amazing. It has a sweet, floral scent to it. Honestly, it reminded me of candy (like a pink starburst). However, it’s not overpowering and once you apply it to your hair, you hardly notice the scent at all.

Aside from scent, the consistency was soft. It’s a gel, so I knew I wasn’t going to have a hard time applying it. I was beginning to realize this was not going to be an average hair color product.

as i am review hot red
Chelsea Candelario

My First Attempt

The product had a few steps to follow to get the best results. The first step was to wash my hair as normal. (They recommended their own products, but I just used my usuals.) The next step was to make sure my hair was damp but close to dry (and this step is very crucial). They highlighted that hair shouldn’t be dripping wet at all. Finally, I had to only apply leave-in conditioner before moving on to the curl color.

I began sectioning off my hair before putting gloves on (which they encourage and I can’t emphasize enough that you should). I took more than a quarter of the gel before starting at the root and working towards my ends. I saw the red almost immediately and continued to work it through every section.

By the end, I used half of the jar. I really tried working the product everywhere. I’ll note that it seemed more like I was putting highlights in my hair. I didn't get the same results as the IG video and I wonder if a big part was my hair's thickness (like is this more suitable to the coily gals of the world), the routine (I didn't attempt the twists or use flexirods) and/or not using enough of the product that might've played a huge factor in the vibrancy. However, you can't deny seeing the red on my black hair. After all, it is labelled Hot Red for a reason.

Now, I loved the color. I actually have been dreaming of having red hair and this complimented my dark hair perfectly. I can definitely use this look as a reference. However, the red got on everything. The color transfer was no joke. It got on my shirt, my towel, my pillowcase, my coat. I spent more time worrying about it getting everywhere more than admiring my work.

But after perusing through their reviews and watching a bunch of YouTube videos, I wasn’t discouraged. I just knew I probably didn’t follow a step correctly (aka going back to your hair actually being damp) so a few weeks later, I attempted the collection again, and this time with Cool Blue and Bold Gold.

as i am review cool blue
Chelsea Candelario

Take Two

I decided to try the Cool Blue shade and update a few of my steps in the process. Here a few mistakes I realized I made the first time, and how I fixed them upon applying this new color:

  • Instead of jumping right into applying the gel, I decided to wait about 30 minutes to an hour after putting in the leave-in conditioner to assure my hair was truly damp.
  • I wore a shirt I didn’t care about and wrapped a towel tightly around my shoulders to avoid staining my regular clothes.
  • Previously, I divided my hair into four sections. This time I did smaller sections to better distribute the color throughout.
  • Instead of relying solely on air drying (which I do on the regular), I let it air dry for an hour before using a diffuser to dry my hair even more after applying the color.
  • And I actually wrapped my hair at night in a silk wrap so I didn’t have to rely on cotton pillowcases (I know) and stuck with my go-to silk pillowcases again.

These new steps made the experience ten times better. Now, there was still a little transfer on the first day, but after that, I went along without worrying about the blue getting everywhere. Now, this might just be the Hot Red, but I did the same steps with the Bold Gold and again, I had little to no transfer for the rest of the week. So, a big takeaway is to make sure your is damp before applying the color and dry, dry, dry your curls to get no transfer. Your pillowcase and clothes will thank you later.

as i am review bold gold
Chelsea Candelario

Last Pros (and Cons)

The color lasts for a long time. The longest I left a color was five days and it still looks vibrant like I just applied it today. However, if I don’t have good lighting, you won’t even notice I changed my hair. In the past few weeks, I’ve had three different colors and countless Zoom meetings and my camera couldn’t pick up any of them. I bet in person someone would notice it right away, but without my handy ring light, it’s like I don’t have a color at all.

The best part is the color comes out 100 percent after one wash. I don’t have to wait days or weeks for a color to fade. After one rinse, I moved on to the next color. If I wanted to change my look every week I could without the hassle. A major plus. And you can easily wash any pillowcases or clothes that have the first day transfer. For me, it came right out.

Another bonus is that the product acts like a gel, so I really appreciate that I wasn’t damaging my hair. The gel actually improves moisture and hair strength. Plus, it really defines your curls to really make the color pop. However, since it is a gel, so it leaves that crunchy texture behind. It’s not my favorite, but my curls still felt flexible and moveable to pull my hair in a bun or ponytail.

Finally, I didn’t want to use the whole jar, but if you want a full vibrant color you’ll probably have to use the whole thing. I wish the jar was a bit larger so I can store it for another time, but I like the option of going subtle or fully into a dramatic change.

Overall, I love this collection. It gets me very excited to try the colors I didn’t get to use and just experiment (or blend) them together. I never would’ve thought blue would look so good. The curl color lets me have fun with “dyeing” my hair without the commitment. So, which color should I go for next time? I’m thinking Emerald Green…

Get the colors: Hot Red ($8); Cool Blue ($8); Bold Gold ($8)

RELATED: This $8 Shampoo (Well, a Cowash to Be Precise) Saved My Hair

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