Garnier Olia Hair Color Review

Hello! This morning I decided it was time to eliminate those pesky little gray hairs of mine and make a change from a subtle ombre to solid color. I’ve been sporting a modified ombre since November, meaning that I lightened my tips to a caramel shade, but only on the underneath panel of my hair. I enjoyed the look, but I’m ready for a little change back to normal. I decided to give Garnier’s new oil-based hair color a try in 4.3 Dark Golden Brown. ┬áSo as you can see, my “before” hair color was a dark brown, a little red-ish in the light in some places. You can’t really tell in the photo, but the under-layer is a lighter, caramel shade that was starting to look a tad brassy-orange. It wasn’t bad at all, but my gray hairs were starting pop out, and I needed a change.In comes Olia, which I purchased from Target for $8.99. Olia is ammonia-free, permanent, and the first drugstore hair color that is oil-based with claims of visibly improving hair. I’ve tried pretty much every brand of drugstore hair color in the past, including Preference, Feria, Nice N Easy, Perfect 10, John Frieda, Natural Instincts -you name it, I’ve tried it. Some have been good and okay, and some have been bad…very bad.

Back to Olia, the application process was rather easy with no mess, no staining. It does not have that aggressive chemical smell that normally overpowers your bathroom, and unlike all the other hair color brands I’ve tried, it did not make my scalp itch. I read countless reviews on Olia, many saying that it took forever to rinse out, some saying that the bottle isn’t user friendly, and that there wasn’t enough product in one box. In my experience, the hair color rinsed out quickly, and I found everything easy to use. However, I have very thin and fine medium length hair. I was actually worried during my application process that I would run out of product. Thankfully, I did not, but if you have longer and/or more hair than I do, there is no way one box will be enough.

Olia did in fact, leave my hair smoother, shinier, softer, and bouncy. I like how my hair looks like I flat ironed it, but I didn’t. It turned out darker than I expected, which has happened many times before with drugstore box hair color. My hair did not turn out like the color guide photo on the box. It almost looks more like the black hair photo box before the Olia. I only see the “golden” in the sun, otherwise, it looks like a dark, dark ash brown (eh hem, yeah, okay it looks black). It covered my grays and caramel tips pretty well though, so I am pleased with that aspect.

Would I use Olia again? Maybe, if it was on sale. I’ve had the same results before with cheaper drugstore hair colors. It didn’t really wow me, but I love the fact that it doesn’t smell and my scalp isn’t itchy. It would be nice if the color guide on the box wasn’t useless, but I guess it just depends on the condition and color of your hair before coloring. I read one Olia review while waiting-out the 30 minutes with the product in my hair that said it made her hair fall out in clumps. Needless to say I was freaking out a little, but I was relieved that was not my experience. I will update this post to let you know how well the color and texture hold up.

UPDATE (1 month later): Unfortunately about one week after coloring with Olia, my gray hairs started to come back and there was noticeable color fading in my previous ombre section. It was tolerable at one week, but but by week three, my grays were noticeable miles away, practically screaming out to the world to be colored over again. Although there was considerable fading, the texture of my hair remained the same, and it maintained the shine. I used Loreal’s Root Touch-Up to conceal those grays this past weekend. Will I buy Olia again? NO WAY.


55 thoughts on “Garnier Olia Hair Color Review

    • breakage, breakage oh, and more breakage. hate this product. I am 49, have been covering gray for lots of years. had healthy, managable hair until today. I am beside myself. Tried the 800 number. deep breath. gather my thoughts and will return later,

      • Oh gosh! So sorry Beth! That sounds dreadful. I know how horrifying it can be to have your hair wrecked by a product and by a professional hair stylist. I read a few Olia reviews that had similar results to yours. Yes, take some deep breaths. It may take time, but your hair will return to normal.

      • I used this product for the first time thinking its chemical free.
        Its a month now and still I am losing 1000 of may hair in every combing. Do not use this product. It just says fruits and oils but it all hard chemicals. Even today my hair is falling with its so hard effect.

    • I love this product. I have been dying my hair for years. For the first time I didn’t loose hair like other products.No nasty smell, and it feels great afterwards, smooth and shiny.

      I will keep using the light ash brown. It covers the grey nicely.

  1. I had one friend who tried Olia and raved about it, and I had another friend who said it was the worst! I guess it just depends… Love the way your hair turned out. Looks very shiny and healthy.

  2. I’ve been eyeing that brand, thanks for your review! I typically dye my own hair, as well. What brand would you recommend? I prefer Garnier Fructis at the moment. :)

    • I think I would choose either Preference or Olia. They kind of have the same look at the end, but Olia doesn’t smell bad or make my scalp itch. It’s the only one that doesn’t irritate my scalp…I’m just not happy with the price because it is more expensive. I think I’m going to try Revlon’s Luxurious Buttercream hair color next, though. I’ve heard good things about it. :)

      • Thanks for your response! :) I just started using Preference the past couple months because it’s the only brand that has a deep bright auburn that I’ve been into. :) I really like it! Haven’t heard of the Buttercream, looking forward to that review, too.

  3. Hey Reese!! I just tried Olia out yesterday in the same color (dark golden brown), and I pretty much found my hair to be very much like yours! I do like how it didn’t have the nasty smell, and left my hair very soft. Love the conditioner it comes with also. Thanks for your review!!!

    • I LOVE the conditioner also!! I always think the little tubes of conditioner in hair color boxes are awesome, especially the OLIA one. Thanks for your comment Jaime!

    • The colors on the box are completely wrong. I used “light blonde” on my hair that was grey/light blonde, light brown roots.
      My hair is now a yucky brown – not golden, not anything but ugly. It colored my blonde and grey real well – now I have no light hair in my head. The brown is dark – VERY DISAPPOINTING! I will say though – it feels and looks healthier – but I am afraid to use it again- now I am headed out to buy a frosting kit so I can get some blonde streaks back in my hair. From what I’ve read – in 3 weeks I’ll be doing something again! Too bad – always thought Garnier had great products.

  4. Hi Reese,
    It’s great to be back on your site. I do check back in! :-) I wanted to let you know about a product that I use. What I don’t know is if you can get it in the States. I get it here at the health food shop, but it’s made in Italy. It’s a bit more here in Aus than it would be in the States–$21.00 (everything is pricey here!) I have no way to attach a photo here, but I can send one if you’d like. The product is Herbatint. It’s a permanent herbal haircolour gel that contains no ammonia. What it does contain: Aloe Vera, Meadowfoam (rich in vitamins E-F), White Birch, Witch Hazel and Echinacea Angustifolia (hydrating, natural antiseptic). Kinda has a cool smell! It also comes with Aloe Vera Royal Cream & Aloe normalizing shampoo. If I leave it on for the full 30 minutes, it does have fairly good grey coverage, I must say. I sought out products like this after I’d had a ‘hair disaster’ with the chemical kind of colour. As you wrote about in your blog…I did have hair fall out a little before due to that situation! I also wanted to change colours after being blonde for several years, it did a number on my hair as you can imagine. So basically, I love this stuff and I get a nice glossy colour out of it. I think because I swim, I tend to see more reddish highlights than I would care to (as I use the Ash Chestnut colour these days). So in all fairness, I can’t say that it’s from the product itself. Naturally because it’s vegetal based, you might find that it doesn’t last as long as the other brands…but you may be surprised too! I love the colour by the way, that your hair turned out to be with the Garnier product. Cheers for now Reese.

    • Hi Shaza!!! Nice to hear from you! I’m going to look and see if I can get my hands on some Herbatint- sounds great! Love those ingredients…it’s difficult for me to find anything that doesn’t irritate my sensitive scalp. Thanks for checking in! Big hugs!!!! xoxoxo

  5. Thank you for all your sweet comments ladies!!! Hair color is so much fun to experiment with and talk about, isn’t it? I will post an OLIA update soon to let you know how well the color holds up.

  6. Thanks for posting your review, I’ve been curious about that brand. I just recently tried Naturtint, an all natural permenent hair color and love that it did not irritate my scalp or smell. They don’t have a lot of colors, so I may try Olia next. Thanks!

  7. Coloring hair is very fashionable these days. You can easily see people of all age groups going for hair coloring. People are experimenting with all kinds of colors to look fashionable. It is no longer just natural black or golden people are going for, but they are experimenting with even red, green and blue and coming up with new hair coloring ideas. Hair coloring has been in use since the ancient times. Ancient Greeks used to color or lighten their hair, which identified with honor and courage. They used harsh soaps to lighten or color their hair. There is evidence that ancient Romans also used to color or lighten their hair. `’

    Good day

  8. Wish I would have read your site before I bought this product. I have thick hair and it turned my hair to straw. I had to cut the ends off and put coconut oil in my hair just to calm it down afterwards. It was frizzy and burnt looking on the ends.
    2nd day looks better but definitely not as smooth as the less expensive hair color boxes. I agree it didn’t stink up the bathroom or burn my eyes, but I’m concerned about how it treated my hair.
    I won’t buy this brand again for that reason.

  9. i have permanent highlights, if i use garnier will it fade the highligs after? :p i want to dye it like a honey or like goldn blonde
    but if the garnier olia actually permannt? are there any other ones that are permanent?

    • Hi Adriana,
      My highlighted areas were completely covered up for the first week, but after that it slowly started to fade so that my hair is back to the ombre that it was, just a little less bright. Olia is a permanent haircolor, but it did not last on me. If you are looking for a permanent haircolor, just make sure that it says “permanent” on the box (as opposed to semi-permanent where it will wash out). As with most box colors, though sometimes you just don’t know until you take a risk and try it.

  10. I used Olia, a dark red shade, on my blonde hair. I loved the initial colour, but then on the next shower I noticed the water was orange: it was washing out. It’s been two weeks, and my hair looks kind of pinkish in areas, orange in others, and there is barely any of the initial dark red left. I will not be buying Olia again.

  11. This product made my hair fall out. I have been coloring for years and I was excited to give this new product a try. I will never try again and I urge others to stay away from this product. I have never taken the time to write a bad complaint about any product but I feel I should warn others who might have the same reaction as me.

    • hi KC,
      I just tried Olia 4.0 dark brown, was concerned after reading your comment about hair falling out. How much hair loss did you suffer as a result of using Olia? During the rinsing process, I noticed a clump of hair which looked like a bit more than my normal hair loss during washing/combing .My hair length is about half way down my back., Will I experience more hair loss each time I wash my hair? I’m a bit worried now. I previously used Garnier Herbashine, which isn’t a permanent color and washes out in about 30 days and have never had any issues with that product.

  12. Used this for the first time yesterday, I had very good condition hair and only wanted a slight colour change that would cover the grey hairs that were starting to pop up.Like other reviewers I am very disappointed as afterwards my hair feels like nylon and has never been as dull as it is now. I have tried putting all kinds of serums/oils to bring back the shine but with no success – Will definitely not be using this product again.

  13. Staying too busy I had to get up at 4:30 AM to get my grays covered before an important evening. I picked up Olia impressed with the info on the box. What a mistake!!! It did NOT cover the gray at all. Then when drying my hair I noticed that there was an oily substance remaining–back to the shower–and now running late for a busy day. I would NEVER use this product again.
    I also questioned if someone who had arthritis would have difficult with the bottles and tubes.

    • My hair is dyed a medium golden brown (using Loreal), but is about 100% gray underneath. I used Olia chestnut last night, expecting a rich brown with some reddish higlights. Big mistake! My gray roots are now pinkish and barely covered at all. Also, I have some arthritis in my right thumb which made squeezing the very wide bottle difficult. On a positive note, it did make my hair feel soft and silky.

  14. Hi Reese and all OLIA upset fans :)

    I am very keen on any new product to try but as you Reese described – nice smell, very smooth hair – shiny and looking healthy (after all I did to my hair going from black for 15years to sort of light auburn brown). I bought Olia 4.15 Iced chocolate to give it a bit richness but as you said after one week all highlighting came out. And my little bit of silvers in root was not covered by Olia at all. Simply NO I WILL NOT BUY IT AGAIN. I did used so many different brands to colour my hair but this is just uselless apart from care. Good luck with home coloring to everybody – how exciting

    • ….and did had to cut my ends as well. Now it is oil treatment and keratine masks. Hope i will not cut it short in the end

  15. I found the Olia bottle very slippery, and kept dropping it, which was rather aggravating. It may have been the combination of the gloves and the bottle, I don’t know. I am not happy with the color, it is much to dark. I too have tried every hair color, and go by the color description, not the picture on the box. Won’t use it again.

  16. I used Olia for the first time today. I liked that the solution was easy to prepare and there was no strong odors. Application was easy, but my hair color.turned out way, way too dark. When I was ready to rinse and apply the conditioner, the cap refused to open. The ONLY way I could use `cond

    • It did turn my hair colour dark, I do like the fact no strong chemical smell. Hair is silkier than before, I didn’t notice my hair fall out than before. Finger cross, hopefully the colour stays longer than two weeks. I coloured my hair in the salon many times, experience is more or less same, always dark than I expected. When I asked for dark brown, always turned out black. Difficult!

  17. I thought I would try it and it was terrible! My hair was all dry and my hair is thin and soft usually. The color only lasted 2 weeks, my gray started showing. It is too mild to stay on long enough to enjoy I guess. Don’t waste your money for the ones that did not try it. I went back to my usual with chemicals. Back to happy.

  18. What a horrible product!! Buyer beware! It turned my hair ORANGE and now my hair is falling out! I will NEVER use these Garnier products ever again! I’ve colored my hair many times before and have NEVER had this happen!

    • Hi to all you ladies,
      Well today I thought I would give Olia a go….boy oh boy I am a blond and wanted to stay that way not Grey. Followed the directions 20mins on roots and 10 on the ends…now have two different colors. Has really dried out the ends. Didn’t think the conditioner is as good as the Nice n Easy by Clairol brand. Trying to get away from using product with Ammonia…. Will try something else next time.Very disappointing!!!!

  19. I bought Garnier OLIA 5.3 six days ago and colored my hair. I thought I was going to run out of color but I managed to cover all my hair. I did not like how my hair felt after the rinsing, but I said lets wait to see what kind of results I would have. The roots are still gray/white and the rest of my hair color doesn’t look good. I am very dissapointed and paid top $ at CVS where I bought it. I would not buy it ever again. :-(

  20. This product was one of the worse i’ve ever used. The bottle was hard to handle and I didn’t have enough to cover my hair when all the others I have used gave me enough. My hair feels like straw and the only shiny hair i have is the grey ! I wouldn’t buy this ever again. It is disappointing as I have used Garnier’s hair products and their other hair dyes with much satisfaction.

  21. (Darkest Violet) Hair was a bright yellow/orange. I did not exceed longer than 5 – 10 minutes and the dye turned dark pretty quick. I honestly like the deep violet tone and followed up shortly after with Organix Biotin and Collagen conditioner with the color condition. Looks just like the hair model on the box.

  22. I have also had hair loss with this dye, not an excessive amount as I only did the ends to middle really (ran out as I got towards the roots) but still more hair loss then normally do, for sure ;( does anybody know how to stop more from falling out? i’m really quite worried as I love having relatively thick hair! x

  23. I have dyed my hair for many years
    But about 2 years ago i got a very bad reaction to the dye. Had to go
    To doctor and get shot. I looked like a monster with swollen face and
    burned scalp. Had all hair shaved as doctor said the dye in hair was still
    Effecting me when i showered and it was running diwn my body. Wore wig for some time waiting for hair to grow out. I found in health food store henna gel (not a powder) does not last as long as i would like but it
    Has not cause me any reaction nor. Dry my hair. But i am in total fear Of using any more chemical color.
    After reading all of this i thank you all for comments and will stay away
    From this product.

  24. I am glad I read your blog, I have been using this coloring system for at least three months..and yes the grey hairs are showing up within two weeks of using the product, also I do think the product increases hair loss. I have long hair and notice tons come out in my brush. I will no longer use this product, thanks for your review it was really helpful.

  25. I found exactly the same. Colour not as on box and washed out super quick. My hair was shinier but I dyed dark purple and it faded to lilac after three washes. Not good.

  26. I dyed my hair the dark reddish brown or whatever its called and loved it but it faded really fast so I went for something darker. The Deep Cherry I think its called. Hmmm.. what to say about it. TERRIBLE! my roots and scalp were seriously purple & the rest of my hair didn’t take very well to the color. Every time I take a shower the water turns really purple/rusty. I work with kids so everyday I had to listen to “Whys your hair purrrrple?” Thank goodness the top of my head isn’t purple anymore its dark with a hint of burgundy which I like. Sadly, it doesn’t end there. The top of my head might be a nice color but the middle & bottom are a light brown! Whaaat! I’ve never ever had this happen with a different brand of drug store color before. I’ve heard that other brands with not cover garnier so I’m a bit nervous to re-dye my hair.

  27. Just coloured my hair with Olia. Loved the lack of harsh chemical smell, the lack of drippiness and staining. BUT! it did not cover my greys. Grey still visible immediately after use. I have a short bob cut, but felt there was barely enough product to saturate my hair. I used it because I am searching for a chestnut brown (medium brown with red-gold highlights) and Olia 6.35 is very close. Too costly fir such a disappointing performance. Will not use again.

  28. In case anyone is interested the best conditioner I have found (and I have tried a lot!) is Earth Science avocado and olive oil hair masque. I use it every time I shampoo my hair. Fortunately I did not have the hair loss experience with the Olia but then I do condition my hair with extra virgin coconut oil 1 to 2 times a week. I also use a variety of organic shampoos.

  29. I will not use Olia hair color again. I used the medium golden blonde and my hair came out a flat looking brown color. It looked nothing like the color on the box. I am sticking to Revlon colorsilk.

  30. I just colored my hair with Olia light intense auburn. Not happy!!! I have always colored my hair myself with inexpensive color. This is the first time I’ve had a problem. It is VERY inconsistent. I have streaks of reddish purple in some places. The ends didn’t take the color at all. Around my face, where I am extra careful, is a mess!! I have no idea how to fix this.

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