, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thank you for visiting The Hair Color Review Website!

For those of you who are new, or have never visited before, I’m Melanie Nickels, the Editor-In-Chief of The Hair Color Review website. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m sure you would like to know who I am and why I’m qualified to write these reviews, so here is my quick (albeit incomplete) bio:

I have been a stylist for right about 17 years. I am the founder of Raw Hair Organic Salon in Naples, Florida. It was the first organic/non toxic salon in all of South Florida. I still work about 50-60+ hours a week behind-the-chair there. I am the founder / creator of Raw Hair Organics and Rod’z Grooming For Men, both natural & organic salon quality products that are non-toxic, yet work just like traditional chemical based product lines. This coming June, I will be launching Raw Curls, a professional quality natural / organic line made specifically for “Curlies”. For more info on both lines, visit the website at  www.rawhairorganics.com .  I DO NOT SELL HAIR COLOR. 

I am not only a ranking member of The American Board of Certified Master Haircolorists, I’m also an exam evaluator and educator for the organization.   In addition to graduating from cosmotology school, I also have college degrees in Business Management and Accounting. I am internationally trained, was part of Inter Coiffure, a Broadway stylist on the hit show “42nd Street”, and certified by many companies way too numerous to mention here, but the likes of Deva, Quidad, Curlisto, and OCS. I am the Editor-in-Chief of another review website, Organic Hair Product Review.com which is at www.organichairproductreview.com . Later this spring, it will be merged with this review site. I teach nation-wide, including at shows like Premiere Orlando in 2013, ISSE Long Beach 2014, and The ABCH Energizing Summit in 2011 & 2012. I’m also teaching several classes, including hands-on workshops and a lecture at the ISSE show in Long Beach, California,  January 2014, and a curly hair cutting 3 hour workshop at Premiere Orlando in June 2014. I’m also a contributing member of the elite Curly Hair Artistry group here in the United States.  In addition to all of that, as I stated before, I still spend about 50-60 hours a week, every week, behind-the-chair doing hair color in my salon in Naples, Florida. I have worked with many, many hair color lines on the market, both ammonia and non-ammonia based. That is my simplified, basic bio. I would highly encourage you to follow me on Twitter, as I post there quite frequently and post a lot of things that I don’t post here…things that happen in my normal day of hair coloring. My Twitter handle is @RawHairOrganics  (Melanie Nickels).

Today we are reviewing another non-ammonia hair color line. This one is Schwarzkopf Essensity. First, some history and background about the company and it’s founders:

Scwarzkopf is part of Henkel AG & Company.They are based in Dusseldorf, Germany. The company is about 112 years old, and has many, many facets. They include Dial soap and Purex laundry detergent.

For the sake of brevity, we are only going to focus on the Personal Care segment of their business, and more specifically, Schwarzkopf. They sell professionally to the trade, and focus on a “Two-Way” relationship with stylists and themselves as a company. They pride themselves on providing expert education, and exceptional customer technical support. (although they did not return any of my calls/emails/faxes about supporting my classes on non-ammonia hair color using the Essensity line as one of the colors the students got to work with.  So the expense of buing the color was paid out of my own pocket.  They also did not give out information on the percentages of the ingredients used like MEA etc.)  As of January, 2014, Schwarzkopf has entered into an agreement in the U.K. to aggressively market some of their hair products, by means of sponsoring a daily prime time television show similar to “The View”, which we have in the United States.

More specifically, Schwarzkopf Essensity is their first try at a product in the permanent “Ammonia-Free” oil-color category, and utilizes phytolipid technology, in an effort to attain “real” color results, with a natural intensity and softness. I commend them for their effort! They use natural ingredients whenever possible, which is a great thing. I did not see the use of any organic ingredients at the time of this writing, which is about September of 2013 (that’s not to say that might not have changed by the time that you are reading this). They’ve made a concentrated effort to use renewable, naturally-derived  ingredients instead of synthetic ones whenever possible. Their label claims they are free of ammonia, odor, silicones, paraffin/mineral oil, parabens, formaldehyde derivatives, alcohol, and artificial fragrances. The Essensity color line also uses a replacement for PPD’s as pigment and does not have any wheat in it. 🙂  From what I could find, only one of their related shampoos has sulfates, and I’m not sure why. I could not find an explanation for this. That being said, Schwarzkopf created a hair product line to go along with the color line, called Essensity Care. The first segment is Color & Repair, which is geared toward chemically over-processed and damaged hair. The second segment is Color & Moisture, geared toward dry, coarse hair. There are about 4-5 products in each segment of this line. Another interesting thing is that I found on the company website that in 2013 they did a haircolor test in 84 salons in Germany and 90 salons in Spain, with 1500 different color applications. The key numbers are these: 93% of the stylists were satisfied with Essensity, and 87% would recommend it to a fellow stylist. So, roughly 9 out of 10 stylists liked it in their 2013 test. Not bad (but biased, I’m sure). However, 1 in 10 had scalp irritation. That’s bad…but still not terrible.

One thing I always look at when considering a hair product company is their philanthropic endeavors. I like to see companies that are making billions of our hard-earned dollars doing something other than lining their pockets with it. As far as Schwarzkopf (or Henkel), I found that they do support a project called “Shaping Futures”, which helps to introduce disadvantaged youth around the world to the hairdressing profession. They do this with volunteer hairdressers (I assume ones that purchase Schwarzkopf products). In 2013, their North American sales alone topped $17,000,000, and they were very happy with these numbers (according to a report I found on the Financial Times website from January), and I think it’s safe to say they are making money in the U.S. That was the only philanthropic endeavor that I could find related to any of Henkel and / or Schwarzkopf organizations.

Now, let’s talk about my use of the actual Swarzkopf Essensity hair color.

I purchased the product, with my own money, without any discount, and took it to the Raw Hair Organic Salon in Naples, Florida, that I founded in 2007.  Here’s what I found in my experience:

Schwarzkopf Professional Essensity

No Ammonia, Silicones, or Parabens, Paraffin/mineral oils, Formaldehyde derivatives, or Alcohol, Wheat-free

-Oil in cream enriched with Grape Seed oil, natural Ectoin, and natural Bees Wax

-Uses a special series of filtering processes for the water : “Pure Water”

-Uses “AMEA Technology”: this is a combination of 2 non-ammonia alkalizing agents:

  1. AMP – Aminomethylpropanol (another PH Adjuster like MEA)
  2. MEA-Monoethanolamine

-Uses Toluene 2-5 Diamine Sulfate (TDS) instead of PPD’s

-Contains Resorcinol

**I was unable to find out the percentages of these ingredients

-Colors more opaque, leaving a band.

-Good coverage

-Fades out quicker in ends and not as shiny as others

Up to 4 levels of lift

Great High lift blonds  (but color creeps up hair shaft  lifting off of scalp area as processing so have to back and  brush down onto scalp again)

Color Mixed 1:2 and process room temp 30-45 min

Decent color selection , level numbering system similar, but tones different…confusing.  I like to know is it, neutral, gold, copper, violet etc.  more straight forward with the underlying tones in order to formulate.


.00=Nature Plus

.14 , .2, .31, and.2=Cedar






.77=Autumn Leaf Copper

.75=Autumn Leaf Copper Gold

.87=Autumn Leaf Red Copper

.888, .889, .8=Autumn Leaf Red

.19 and .99=Autumn Leaf Violet

Lightening System:

Free from: artificial fragrances, artificial colorants, silicones, PEG’s, parabens, formaldehyde derivatives

Uses Potassium Persulfate and Sodium Persulfate instead of ammonium persulfate

Lightener have to mix powder with cream and says not to use more than 18 vol.

Lightener mixed .5 oz (15g) tube cream + .7 oz (20 g) 1 powder pack + 1.18 oz (35g) developer

8 vol for 2-3 levels of lift

18 vol for 3-5 levels of lift

Process room temp 30-45 min

Got good lift with 18 vol, but it swells and gets super puffy!!

Overall, I think this is a good option for a non-ammonia, PPD-free hair color line.  It has very clean ingredients including no wheat, gives good gray coverage, has great high lift blonds and a lightening system, & processes at room temperature.  The thick consistency is easy to work with, and good for those that are used to color lines such as Framesi that are thick with a heavy dye load.  As you will see in my video, the high lift blonds ( or color with 38 vol developer for that matter) creep up the hair and off of the root making it necessary to go back after applying and brush the color back down unto the scalp.  That is kind of strange, but I can deal with it……just good to know so you don’t apply and walk away.  Color selection is minimal, but sufficient to work with.  Results are just a little flat or not as shiney as some other lines.  I have not had anyone have any adverse reactions to this color so that is a positive.

I give this color line a rating of 4 on my scale of 1-5.

Thank you for joining me once again and taking the time to read my Schwarzkopf Essensity Color Review.  I hope you find this information helpful.

As always, we are looking to help people be gorgeous and green!! 🙂