Mistake; I picked HAVANA based on the photo of the model on the box [new 2012 design], even though I've been dying my hair for over half of my life, so I'm aware that this picture is rarely accurate. The model has honey soft hair, with a lovely golden overtone, that all together looks more blonde then brown. What the packaging's picture doesn't show is the mahogany highlights the colour has, which is strange because the mahogany is much stronger then the gold in real life, so gives hair a red tinge for a few weeks. Plus, without the vividness of the golden overtone showing through, the brown base looks much darker.
But, although this wasn't the shade I wanted or expected, after a week or two it grew on me and I came to love it. Which is why I was dismayed when it came time to touch up my roots; the dye covers my roots, but they are still noticeably darker then the rest of my hair. Of course, if my hair were naturally dark I'd expect this, but it isn't. My natural hair colour is ash [not quite classed as blonde, but still too light and colourless to be classed as brown], so I don't understand why a brown dye covers it so much darker then the brassy blonde that was on the rest of my hair.
At first I thought the uneven results were my own fault and I hadn't applied it properly the first time around. So I recoloured my whole head again, to try to even it out:
So now the base shade is even less like I wanted, AND the roots still cover a differing shade to the rest of my head. Needless to say, that despite liking the colour, I'm going to have pick something darker, to avoid the two-tone effect.
I want to clarify that I do love the new and improved Recital Preference formula; it doesn't have a harsh smell, it doesn't stain or irritate skin, it covers my gray streaks perfectly, it is fade resistant and has a long lasting shine.
If you have blonde hair and want to go darker I'd recommend HAVANA, but for everyone else I'd look elsewhere.