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Review: Garnier Olia Hair Color

I’m just going to admit it. I color my hair. A few years ago, I noticed I was getting more and more gray hair. At first it looked pretty good, mixed in with my natural blond locks. I got comments about what nice highlights I had, and people wanted to know where I had my highlights done. I always laughed, because I never knew gray hair could be so fashionable.

Until it overtakes your head.

I don’t know when I reached that tipping point, but my gray no longer looks like beautiful highlights. It just looks gray. And since I don’t believe I’m old enough for gray hair, I decided to do something about it.

I colored it. I’ve been using a Garnier hair color for several months, so the chance to review their new product, Garnier Olia, was a natural fit. And since Garnier Olia promises to be gentle on the hair, containing no ammonia, I really wanted to try it out! After all, there’s not point in having beautiful colored hair, if it’s irreparadly damaged, right?


About Garnier Olia

As I mentioned before, Garnier Olia is notable, because it’s an oil-based hair color and 100% ammonia free. It is a 60% oil blend, made of oils including sunflower, passionflower, camellia, and meadow foam.

Garnier Olia promises to lift color up to three levels and provide 100% gray coverage. According to the manufacturer, “the oil powered formula is fluid enough to mix easily yet rich enough to apply evenly, effortlessly.”

Would it work? I gave it a try!

My Experience with Garnier Olia


I’m not a person who likes to dramatically change my hair color, so I chose the “Medium Golden Blonde” color. It looked pretty close to the color I already use on my hair.


I opened the package and laid out the contents: a pair of plastic gloves, the foam developer, the colorant, and the conditioner.

The process for coloring your hair with Garnier Olia is pretty much the same as other hair colors. Add the colorant to the foam developer and shake. Then apply it to your hair, roots first, leaving on for 30 minutes. So that’s what I did.


After 30 minutes, I ran my gloved fingers through my hair a few times, per the instructions. Then I rinsed the color off and applied the conditioner. I left the conditioner on for two minutes and then rinsed. That was it.

The process itself was easy. There were a few things I noticed about Garnier Olia.

  • The formula is thicker than other hair color products, so it’s a little bit harder to tell when your hair is saturated with the color. I ended up taking one of my gloves off to actually feel my hair. With the gloves on, it didn’t feel saturated, but once I took the glove off, I could tell that I had plenty of product on my hair.
  • Garnier Olia doesn’t smell as bad as other hair colors. It doesn’t smell great, but it’s not nearly as bad as ammonia based products. The odor fades quickly, too. By the next morning, I couldn’t smell it anymore.
  • My hair felt a little brittle after using the hair color. Not so bad that I’d avoid using the color again, but brittle enough that I know I’ll need to be careful going forward. The reason for the brittle hair, though, could very well be the fact that I last colored my hair about six weeks ago.

My Opinion of Garnier Olia


Here’s what I looked like on Sunday, the morning after coloring my hair. I like it a lot! I think it’s a shade darker than what my hair color was before, but that’s perfect for winter. I don’t see any gray, either.

I’m happy with Garnier Olia, and I will continue to stick with Garnier as my hair color product of choice.

As an aside, Sunday at church, a man my husband knows walked up to him and asked if I was his number one daughter. It’s been a long time since someone has mistaken me for my husband’s daughter! Was it the hair color? One has to wonder…

If you’d like to try Garnier Olia, it is available at Walmart for $8.97.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I’m a participant in the Walmart Moms Program. Walmart has provided me with a product sample and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. Participation in this program is voluntary and the opinions stated above are entirely my own.

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  1. Christiane says:

    It looks so beautiful, and compliments your skintone. I tried Olia myself on test strands, but it didn’t cover my gray hairs, just highlighted them. Glad it worked so nicely for you!

  2. Thank you. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. I wonder how it would have worked for me if I didn’t already have color on my hair. If I ever let my color grow out enough, maybe I’ll give it a try. :)

  3. sheila smith says:

    i just tried olia for the first time and i love it.i will definately buy again good-bye old brand.i loved the black gloves they fit so perfect compared to white latex gloves in other brands they are so big and loose fitting hard to work with.i also loved no mess and so easy to apply and the bottle was nice to hold and the mixture was a nice thick creamy texture i will definately buy again im so happy with my results

  4. Sheila, I’m glad you like it!

  5. Hi and thank you for the review as I’ve been thinking about buying this product.
    I think your hair looks very nice with the new color, it was bright and it made a big difference in your face, brightened it. But I have to be honest and tell you I liked your hair color in the before pic too. The after pic appeared not even in color as the top looked yellow and your ends at the bottom did not match.

    After wearing it for awhile how long did it take for the gray to come back?, as every time my grays, no matter what I use come back in as little as two weeks!
    Thank you again for your time and it was a great review!
    - Ginger

  6. Ginger, It’s only been a couple of weeks since I tried the Olia hair color, and I don’t notice any gray yet.

    I liked the color I was using in the before pic, too, but it’s lighter, and I like it better for summer. The color I have now fits perfectly for winter!

    Thanks for your comments!

  7. Thanks! I went searching on Google for reviews after buying this yesterday and your after pic looks really good!

  8. Thanks, Val!

  9. I too color because of wanting to not look as old as my hair wants me to. I have used several different brands. Olia left my hair soft and managable. I used a dark blonde (close to my color) and it came out perfect. My only complaint would be the bottle. Putting the two tubes into the bottle was a real challenge. I had to hang on to the bottle and that prevented me from squeezing the tube as thorouhgly as I would have liked. The bottle was okay for application but personally I like the tall more stable bottle. But I will use the product again because the result was very good.

  10. Glad you had such a great experience, Susan!

  11. Amy Bergquist says:

    I too recently tried Garnia Olia haircolor, in the 6.60 shade…the red was deep and vibrant when I finished, and looked great…however, it’s been two weeks, and there is only a very faint trace of red left, and I am disappointed that this is advertised as a “permanent” color…I won’t ever waste my money on this product again.

  12. So very sorry to report that my experience with Olia was NOT good. I have white hair and wanted a hint of blond in it so I purchased Olia Lightest Cool Blonde. My hair came out charcoal gray. Called company and was given a formula to purchase two more boxes of a different hair color to correct the situation. All these year and this is my first bad experience with any haircolor. I definitely WOULD NOT RECOMMEND this product to anyone.

  13. Yikes, Ann! I’m so sorry that happened!

    For those of you who are unhappy with Garnier Olia, have you tried the Garnier Nutrisse hair color? I think that’s still my favorite. It probably has ammonia in it, but it seems to work really well on my hair.

  14. La Monica Adams says:

    I loved the color it gave me the very red color I wanted! But as a woman of color I must keep my hair moisturized & everytime I put any kind of oil in my hair it lifts out my color. I have red pillow cases, red collars on my clothing and worse of all I have to cover furniture for fear of ruining my light leather sofa n chair. I have washed my hair 4xs in the last 3wks and still lose color. I hate that it covered the gray and gave me good color but it acts like a color rinse and NOT PERMANENT HAIR COLOR!

  15. La Monica, that is awful! I’m so sorry it worked out that way for you. In some ways I think blonde is an easier color to work with, so I’m glad those of you who have tried darker colors have been weighing in.

  16. Hi, I came upon your post because this is a new product from garnier and wanted to try it out! My hair is crazy dry (even from Houston where humidity is like 100%) Anyway, what I wanted to comment on was the Walmart Moms thing…I never knew of such a thing, can you tell me more about it? How do you get in on the action?! I shop there all the time and this would be a wonderful program for me as a Stay at home Mom

  17. I am totally disgusted with the wasteful packaging of Garnier’s Olia hair color. Two ounces of Developer in a hard plasic tube that could probably hold 12 ounces? How disgraceful to add this much unneccesary waste to our landfills. Plus, the product is skimpy and not that great. I will not purchase it again.

  18. I do not care for this product. It won’t rinse out. I have been coloring my hair for a lifetime and never had a product take so long to rinse. The instructions say rinse until water runs clear. It never ran clear. So I just waited for it to dry and it was splotchy in color and a horrible red color that looked nothing like the color shades on the box. I just shampooed my hair and I am hoping tit looks better after it dries again but again the water was red and still not clear adnd now my hair appears to be a shade of purple. I will never buy Garnier hair product again.

    • I have had a s similar experience. I used the red shade. I am in the military and forced to to take chargeable leave until I can rectify the situation. My hair looks purplish in bright light. Almost two weeks after I dyed my hair, the red still comes out in the wash and transfers to towels and clothing when my hair is wet.

  19. Ginny, it seems a lot of people have had trouble with the red. I’ve had lots of compliments on my blonde. A hairdresser friend even said it looked professionally done. I do think lighter colors are easier to work with, though.

  20. I have been coloring my hair for a long time to highlight the color and cover the grey bought the red and now have bright Ronald McDonald hair have washed it at least 15 times in he past 2 days just runs orange color now have stained towels stained pillowcases tried using a light brown to tone it down. Not quite so bright but still cherry red. Hate it is ruining anything it touches dripped some on my floor-stained, when rinsed out in the shower had to magic erase the walls more trouble then it’s worth going to ask for my money back along with whatever it costs me to fix this

  21. I have been coloring my hair for 40 years. I’m completely gray but not willing to “go” gray. I color my roots every 2-3 weeks. I tried the Olia this time and was very disappointed. It did not color my gray at all. Guess I will have to use ammonia.

  22. hii…. ur hair looks amazing… love it.. one question tho! i been wanting to use this product since i saw it on tv, but i want to know if it wont damage my hair because i use relaxer ! because other permanent hair colors do… but since this one is natural i thought it might work… can u help me?

    Thank you…

  23. Yammi, I really have no idea. My hair did OK, even though I had just colored it a few weeks before. But that’s probably a question for the person who cuts your hair.

  24. Thairesia says:

    I have naturally blonde hair. I colored my hair blue black and had to wait for my hair to grow back to get back to my blonde hair. I now have a lot of white in my hair as I have aged. I decided to try this product and I am now a brunette as this product will darken your hair. I am shocked and my husband hates the color of my hair. I am not especially satisfied with this product and now my husband treats me like I am a stranger.
    I used the 8.5 blonde, but it darkened my hair too much. I asked him to please give it 3 weeks. I will fix it then.

  25. Ever since my cruise to the Bahamas, I have used nothing but garnier products…almost none years now…they had sample everything garnier in the stateroom shower.. I was hooked… Saw the olia advertised and just had to get it… Horrible mistake… For choosing red anyhow… It is not permanent it’s a rinse… Two weeks and still bleeds… And not just a little.. My tub fills blood orange, my towels are ruined all of my sheets and pillow cases are ruined, every shirt is ruined… I am pissed!… Spend ten dollars to have to spend hundreds to replace my wardrobe… So disappointed!

  26. Rebecca Sampson says:

    I recently bought Garnier Olia in Blond, and I did not get the colour I usually get when using Garnier products; it is darker than the” Natural Light Blond” I usually use! I also found the application bottle very difficult to handle when your gloved hands are covered with the product. I REALLY think they should re-think the design of the bottle, so that a person can get a proper grip on it when trying to mix it, instead of having it slip all over the place while you are trying to apply the colouring. The way things are now, I won’t use it again, and go back to what I have been using previously–much better packaging and colour.
    I HOPE, for the consumers sake, that the company considers re-designing their packaging and colour choices!

  27. Millly Gutierrez says:

    I just recently used Olia 2.0. WOW! I have not used hair dye in 7 years because I switched to Henna. I loved Henna because the shine and health of my hair was amazing, I had compliments left and right.. With Olia 2.0 I am amazed at how my hair looks like GLASS!! shine galore. I have come back to the dark side and will continue to use OLIA, because it gives beautiful shine and great Gray coverage…

  28. I saw Garnier Olia on TV, I that I would try it the next time I needed to color my hair. I alway used Preference 9 1/2. That is a beautiful blond color. So I bought 8.31 medium golden blonde. It look tbe closes to my color…..I guess the hell not. It a straing brown with red high lights. Never again for me. It not nice to fool mother nature. Very DISAPPOINTED.

  29. diane branton says:

    I used this product and i must say i really like the color, but i have very fine hair & now it fells like wire when i wash it,.. not very happy , it’s broken the hair & i’m having to use
    extra conditioner. and did not completely cover the gray.. SADLY DISAPPOINTED.

  30. Dan's and Matt's Mom says:

    Hey Lynnae,
    I just used Garnier Olia in 5.0 Medium Brown. My hair takes A LOT of abuse by me. 1 month ago I had a beauty school perm(I wanted more body for my stick straight hair). The perm was applied over several months of box colors(even one of the school instructors advised me not to do it). The perm lightened my color(they warned me of this also) to the point that I had to do something. I am smart enough to know that I needed to give my hair some rest after the the perm so I gave it 1 month. My hair is naturally a dark dirty blonde(I so hate that description). I am 46 yrs old and about 10% grey(this is only a guess since I color my hair every 6-8 wks). I was told by the beauty school instructors to stay away from permanent color and start using demi color. I have been coloring my hair(prior to the perm) a light ash brown. I saw that there are non-ammonia permanent color products on the market now so I thought I would try one. What could it hurt? I brought the new Revlon Luxurious Colorsilk Butter Cream color in Light Golden Brown(54G). I absolutely hated the end result(red roots and almost no color change to the length of my hair). It did however leave my hair feeling softer and healthier than ever but the color was awful. Being the stubborn person I am I went out the very next day(I can’t be seen with red roots) and got the Garnier Olia color. And yes, you guessed it, I colored my hair again using the medium brown(5.0). OMG I love this color. The brown is an awesome chocolaty color and my hair didn’t suffer at all. It is still just as smooth as the day before. I have had no problems with bleeding on my pillows, towels or collars. That could be an issue for the red colors only. I usually have issues with fading but so far so good. I have shoulder length hair so I did use 2 boxes. I will say that I agree with everyone who hated the application bottle. It is awkward for small hands. I also hated the developer tube. I am used to it already being in the applicator tube so all I have to add is the color. The developer tube was hard to empty. I cut the top off and scraped the stuff into the applicator. Next time I am going to buy some applicator bottles from Sally’s and put the ingredients in there. That is my only complaint. So, I love the results. I will use this again with just a few adjustments. I loved your review and enjoyed reading the comments. I can’t keep my fingers out of my hair. I am totally satisfied.

  31. I bought a box of the Olia 9.0 yesterday but after reading these and many other reviews online I think I will be returning it and sticking with the Nutrisse 10.0 in Chamomille. It seems like the Brunette colors are great with Olia but the Blonde colors sound like they are ashy. I have natural Auburn color which of course is fading with age but I’m afraid that it will turn gray/green if I use the Olia blonde. I want to keep my strawberry blonde color. Just a chicken I guess LOL.

  32. Always used Garnier Nutrisse ammonia free hair color in lightest baby blonde and was happy with it. However, when I saw the new Garnier Olia hair colour ammonia free and oil based, I thought I’d give it a try as my hair is fairly dry – I tried the lightest cool blonde. What a big mistake!!! Not only is my hair darker blonde now, it has a purple tinge to it and the product packaging left a lot to be desired as well, the developer/color holder being hard to shake and hold with plastic gloves on with smallish hands. Extremely disappointed and haven’t a clue how to tone down the purple hue in my hair without further drying and damaging it!!! Will not be recommending Olia to anyone!! Back to the Nutrisse if can find the Lightest Natural Baby Blonde ammonia free here in BC Canada!!!!

  33. I colored my hair with Olia 9.3 & was excited about it being ammonia free , Mistake it has an odd color with no shine at all.I am no newcomer to coloring my own hair as I’ve been doing it for 17 years. I am thoroughly disgusted & will probably have to go to a pro.It is a good deal darker than expected.

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