Hair-color: Box vs Professional

There are few things that make your stylist cringe.  But one of those things is box hair color. Especially right now that we are all on a “Stay at Home” order and you cannot visit your stylist for those 4-6 week touch ups.  Right now every stylist is eager to get back into the salon. However every one of us are dreading the box hair color situations that we will need to address when we return.  There are numerous reasons why a professional hair stylist does not want individuals to color their hair at home. In this blog I will list the numerous reasons why box colors are two words that make your stylist’s heart beat faster.  They start to sweat and frantically look at their schedule and inside think “I may not have time for a color correction today”.

Number 1: You do not know what is in the box. Hair color is not a one size fits all.  If you are looking at a box color you see the examples of what the color can come out looking like.  However that box does not know your exact starting level. It does not know the exact level you want to achieve.  That box cannot give you the correct colors to neutralize brass, yellow, and orange. For example, you are a natural dark brunette with grey mainly around your face.  Your desired look is a medium warm blonde, the color on the box looks to be the perfect color. That color will most likely come out too warm and leave you with very warm “hot roots”. 

As an experienced stylist we know how to find your exact starting level, percentage of greys and the desired level.  From experience and training your stylist can formulate the corrective tones, correct developers and two formulas if needed.  Stylists know every individual requires a customized formula including the developer. If your developer is too strong it can blow open the hairs cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair shaft that protects your hair and adds shine). Stylists know that the color on the scalp will process faster because it is receiving heat from the scalp.  Where as a half inch out does not have that same heat.  

Number 2:  Most individuals will pull home hair color too far down the hair shaft.  Doing so will cause hot roots, banding, and dark and/or muddy ends. Banding is caused by overlapping color. Think of coloring with a crayon.  The first mark is light but if you go over and over that same mark it becomes darker and darker. The more times that hair is colored the darker it will appear and the harder it is to remove.  Muddy ends are caused by adding the incorrect color to over processed, old, fragile, and porous ends. Those ends have been through a lot more damage than the newer growth therefore they may soak up color. 

In my salon we never use permanent color to refresh faded color.  We use an ammonia free semi permanent color that is acidic, which closes the outer cuticle layer of your hair.  The color we use has conditioning benefits and adds shine and luster to dull faded color. Your stylist will also formulate the correct refresh color to enhance the hues you desire to counteract muddy dull ends.  

Some individuals also have highlights that the stylist applied to add dimension.  If you color incorrectly and cover those highlights that can cause more issues. Hair is 95% protein.  When you color hair you are breaking down that protein by 10%. When you highlight the hair you are breaking the hair down by 20%.  Therefore if those highlights (broken 20%) are covered by color (broken 10%) then have to be re-highlighted (20%) now the hair protein has been broken by 50%.  If the hairs makeup (protein) is broken down too far, the hair can become mushy, fragile and break off.  

Number 3:  Certain hair colors coat on top of the hair and make it extremely difficult to remove.  In some cases the colors are impossible to remove. If you try to remove the colors the remover will actually end up pushing the color deeper into the strands.  The more you try to remove that color the more damaged the hair becomes. To name a few problem colors: Féria, Splat, Overtone, Henna, Koolaid(the drink mix), Sharpie(the marker), Manic Panic, Ion.

Any color containing metallic dyes can cause huge issues when returning to your stylist.  Metallic dyes create a scary chemical reaction when lightener, bleach, color remover is applied.  When trying to lighten metallic dyes the chemical reaction will cause the hair to heat up quickly.  We’ve seen foils begin to smoke before because of poor at home hair care. The hair will actually burn and break off.  

If you need to cover those shimmering strands aka grey hairs please invest in a root concealer spray.  Matte eye shadows also work well in camouflaging the shimmering strands. Be sure to use a matte color, do not use anything with a  shimmer. Hats and hair bands make great accessories. For everyone who colors their hair lighter; roots have been in style for years, now is the time to embrace it.  

We understand that it can be hard to make time to visit your stylist.  At this point in time with the COVID 19 crisis, salons are closed until further notice.  Now more than ever your stylist wishes they could give you an appointment to color your hair.  We know this is a trying time for everyone and if you decide to roll the dice and grab a box of hair color please be cautious.  The salon will re open and your stylist will be back behind the chair. If you do decide to roll the dice and use box color; please let the salon know when someone calls to book your appointment.  If you book online, put a comment in the notes. This way your appointment will have the proper amount of time to fix any mistakes.