There is a whole new trend taking over the Internet . . . DIY hair color. How do I know? Well, I see an ad pop up in my feed at least 5 times a day promoting it, and I've had several friends ask me if they can damage their hair with color they buy from the internet.
As a hair stylist, I know what box colors can do to people's hair, as I've had to do many corrective colors over the years. I wanted to write this blog to help guide any of you considering box hair color. First let's start with some basic comparison.
Professional Color: Deposits color molecules on the inside of the hair cuticle where the natural melanin lives. These molecules, larger than your melanin, work with your existing color to create a special hue that’s all you.
Box Color: Stains the proteins in the cortex, changing their chemical makeup. Since hair is about 90% protein, this means that your hair is basically no longer your hair. It has now been physically changed.
Below are some point to consider:
- Box Color IS Unpredictable: It's almost guaranteed your hair will not look like the box. To make mater worse, lack of knowledge can make at home box color unpredictable.
- You are not a colorist: Sorry, but you'e not. Colorist attend school and receive training on the "laws of color", formulations of color, processing times, how to select the right developer or the correct strength, how to protect the hair... and much more.
- One size does NOT fit all: Box color is formulated so everyone and anyone can use it. The problem with that is not everyone's hair type, condition or color are even remotely the same. In fact, the majority of box eyes are formulated with maximum amounts of pigment and ammonia, so it's able to work on most people. This unnecessary overload of chemicals and ingredients wreak havoc on hair health, and can even cause allergic reaction.
Professional Color: The developer is chosen based on the strength your hair needs to get the results you want while leaving your hair in the best possible condition.
Box Color: Uses the highest developer. Because this color formula is meant for literally everyone, it will include the most potent chemicals.
A hair color formula meant to cover grey is wildly different than someone who wants to “go blonde.” You can see how a "one size fits all" approach may not work.
- Highlights, Dimension, Lightening, Ombre, Fashion color . . . In a box?: Box color contains just one formula. Most colorists will use multiple blends of colors and formulas along with strategic placements to achieve the look you want. Also different formulations will call for different developer strengths and processing times. And don't even get me started on the damage you can do trying to achieve pastel and fashion hair trends at home!
- Repairing and Correcting AT HOME BOX COLOR GONE WRONG can be expensive: Keep in mind that if it all goes horribly wrong, it can be very expensive to correct. Be sure to check out the Header Gallery of some color correction we have had to help clients with.
Professional Color: Stops working after a certain amount of time. The potency of these colors is meant to diminish slowly after they are mixed, which is why your colorist mixes bowls as they goes. It also means that once the product has been applied and processed, it’s done.
Box Color: Keeps working over time. These are called “progressive” dyes because they keep processing and building on themselves over time. So every time you apply, you hair is going to get darker and more damaged. Especially with the super dark levels, the color may eventually be impossible to change, even with professional lightener.
- If you still choose to use DIY hair color, please note: that you shouldn't go for a drastic change. You should choose a color that is within the same level of your natural hair color, and simply change the hue. Box color will always be around and millions will use it. But if you ask any professional, they will tell you what a bad idea it is to put your hair through box hair color. The quality of ingredients in box color and in "drug store" shampoos, conditioners, and products is of a far lower grade than any professional lines. So yes your box color may come out ok the multiple times you do it, but the integrity of your hair will most definitely be jeopardized. And if you do decide to change it, removing box color is very difficult, and can be highly compromising on your hair if it's not intensely treated before and after the service with professional products.
And trust me, it's not just for money, it's because any good stylist truly cares about your hair being at it's best.