When Hair Colour Goes Horribly Wrong. The Perils of Changes in Product Development. L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss’ New Shade review.

by Katie on October 13, 2017


These type of posts are not my favourite. I love reviewing some newly (about to be released) make-up or skincare product or perfume. However, as a blogger, I feel that it’s only right to highlight a product which fails the customer on every level and disappoints, especially when it’s allegedly  ‘new’ and updated with a formula or colour change. If not simply to share the experience but to warn other consumers of the effects.

Consumers have a myriad of hair colour options foisted on them. Take a walk down the aisle of your local Superdrug or Boots store and see dozens of options from semi-permanent, to permanent and wash-in, wash-out choices, in simply hundreds of colours. Which is why, as a consumer, when you have carefully honed down your choice of colour (over years of trying and experimenting with various brands and colours), you remain true to a brand and shade, spending literally hundreds of pounds.


Then just how vexing is it to be at the end of product development colour changes; often not particularly apparent. ie When colours are ‘updated’ or ‘improved’. To minimise marketing information changes & expense, hair dye boxes are almost always identical with indistinct copy changes and boasting replica claims even with the same colour hair swatch in the picture and the same colour shade names being used.

As a marketer, I know that the first rule of marketing, especially with a category such as hair colour, is to attract and retain customer loyalty. Thus, the reason why there are so many colour shade hair deals. ie. 2 for £11, introductory price offers etc.

Women who home-dye know the anguish of trial & error and also the time and energy this takes – and the expense of any mistakes. So, when they hit upon the right product for their hair type and shade, they are brand and shade loyal to the utmost – keeping any changes to the minimum. Go in. Grab the box. Take my money = customer loyalty.

And then…we have the dreaded new formulations.

At this point, with bright orange roots and with garish orange-red hair, I have had the tears and the shock . Now, I’m just angry. Annoyed that instead of my usual rich tones that L’Oreal’s Casting Mahogany (shade 550) have given me after years of loyalty, I now have horrid hair that will need serious work in time and money to sort out, neither of which I can afford, and especially when I needed a much-needed boost. And all because the L’Oreal Casting  product has inconspicuously changed to Mahogany Henna* (354). (*Please note the changes in tone and the disaster in the pics enclosed. From my usual natural feel shade to, well…this).

I say ‘inconspicuously’, as very little has changed re the box and information (see above). There’s ‘New’ printed in a small pink box and the name ‘Mahogany Henna’ giving the appearance that the product has been revamped a tad, especially as the same colour name shades are being used. Highly misleading to the consumer. 

There is no hint that this is a completely different shade and product – especially as there are various other ‘henna’ shades in the casting spectrum such as ‘chocolate’ etc. These are all being pushed and stacked high by in-store promotions. A simple ‘shinier, glossier’ look was expected by the customer with the word use, ‘henna’. Not a serious colour shift.


And the horror! The most worrying aspect of this new ‘henna’ colour and updated product development has been the effect to the grey in my hair.

Be warned L’Oreal Casting customers, this new updated version does NOT “blend away greys” as it says (as it always has) on the box. Instead, it has turned any grey hair, bright orange in tone. Quite unlike the former 550 Mahogany shade which blended so well and had my undying loyalty.

I have spoken to two reputable hair stylists and salons about this who have both said independently that it appears that the base colour appears to have been diluted and altered (comparing the original 550 mahogany to the new updated ‘mahogany henna shade), which means that the brand is relying on the henna to add the gloss and colour. What this means, in effect, is that any grey or lighter shades become translucent and ugly. Not quite what you expect from a product that says it should ‘blend away greys’.


At the time of writing, I telephoned L’Oreal SIX times (being sent all around the houses) and ended up in Customer Services – which took three of the six calls. The original junior who took the call simply put the phone down on me after advising that I use a clarifying shampoo for 10 minutes for a few times initially to dull down the colour.


I finally spoke to a helpful and polite customer services manager. My main points being a) the usual product has changed using the same shade terminology without flagging the effects of this change to the consumer. b)  The product boxes are nigh on identical in terms of copy (from the old style 550 one to the new 354 version). c) The claim to ‘blend away grey’ is now clearly untrue as the henna addition simply highlights the massive difference in tone between grey and any colour density. d) That loyal consumers in their thousands (with greying hair) will go through this same experience and L’Oreal have a duty of care to clearly inform the customer of the difference in product – the same colour shade terminology should not be used for a vastly different product.

I noted to the customer services manager that I had also flagged this up in social media channels but have yet to have any response from L’Oreal. As L’Oreal Head Office have a no contact name, no call through rule, it’s been impossible to get in contact with a PR representative from the brand for a quote. And the social media shout-outs have been ignored (so far).

I’m putting this down to my nightmare Friday 13th experience.  My poor hair may never recover.

Have you had any similar experiences from product development changes and updates to your home hair-dye? Please let know, below, in the comments section.



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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona sloan February 27, 2018 at 11:13 pm

I am very disappointed with castings mahogany hair colour which is now mahogany henna I put the colour in my hair last week very disappointing my roots were orange what a mess I’ve been using this colour for years thanks to whoever thought it was a good idea to change it what a balls up I had to pay extra to rectify that disaster thanks henna not only was my hair a mess I was out of pocket cheers I will never buy any of your products again and I will be telling my friends who also used your product not to go near it obviously you don’t care about your customers what a let down.


Katie April 23, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Sorry to hear this Fiona. You can see what happened to my hair when I made exactly the same mistake. Customer relations at L’Oreal were hopeless and NO ONE from PR or Social Media at Casting; L’Oreal made any attempt to contact me despite me flagging this up to both parties. Very disappointed. I can imagine thousands of customers have made the same error.


Rani July 28, 2018 at 7:13 pm

I had the same horrible experience with mahogany henna!
It’s really shocking from a reputed brand like L’Oreal
to introduce such a colour without any details!!


Polly Perez September 27, 2018 at 6:32 am

Hi Katie
Couldn’t agree more. Did mine yesterday and couldn’t be less mahogany, just a terrible shade of orange with orange roots. Am horrified. What to do? Strip it out, cover it up? Clearly no point in contacting Clairol, although they really should be informed


Fiona Macdonald April 30, 2019 at 4:25 pm

wish I’d read this first,I too now have bright,orange hair ,ridiculous !


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