Tempt you though it may, box color of any kind is never a good idea. It always ends up in a trip to the nearest professional hair salon for a color correction. Below you’ll find the top 5 reasons (though we could probably go on) that box color is always the wrong path to take.
Box Color = Unpredictable Results
1) One Size Does Not Fit All :
Hair color is not nearly as simple as most people believe it is. Trust me, there is a reason we are required to have a license to practice hair.
There are many considerations that need to be accounted for before developing the formula for any hair color. Things such as the hair type, condition, color, is it virgin or colored, medications taken, allergies, and more are all factors that determine what should be used on the hair to get to the desired outcome.
If you want a medium brown, you cannot just grab a box that says medium brown, slap it all over your hair and expect great results. (It would be nice if it were that easy though!!)
If you are currently blonde and want brown hair, the hair needs to be filled before the brown is applied. This means a warmer, copper, gold, or red color needs to be applied FIRST. Otherwise, the hair will turn a muddy/green/ash color and fade extremely quickly.
If you currently have black hair, the black needs to be lifted enough to take on the lighter color. This is typically a corrective color service and is a huge process that NO ONE should be doing themselves at home.
If you have previous color on your hair with roots growing in, you need to mix a different formula for the new-growth or else you will have two-toned hair.
2. Terrible for your hair
I’m sure you probably already figured that box dye isn’t good for your hair, right? Believe me, there is a reason it is so cheap.
In order to save money and lower the cost, the manufactures use low quality dyes, chemicals, and additives to make this possible.
They typically contain high amounts of ammonia, PPDs, nitro dyes, metallic salts, and even henna. These are all harsh chemicals that can be extremely damaging to the hair as well as cause reactions to sensitive skin and allergies.
When you put box dye on your hair, it is permanent and these chemicals do not come out until the hair is cut off. Your hair will take on a new texture and feel stiff or straw-like due to all of the chemicals it now has imbedded in the cortex.
You will need to use some serious conditioning treatments to get your hair feeling soft again, and it probably won’t ever feel as soft as it once did.
3. Box dyes are progressive dyes
What is a progressive hair color you ask? This means that each time you use it; the pigment will build onto its-self and get darker each time you apply the color.
Have you ever seen or noticed when someone’s hair is lighter at their root, and their ends appear very dark or almost black?
Because of the metallic salts and henna additives, each time the hair is colored; the ends pick up more and more color while the new-growth only has one layer. Causing a reverse-ombré, colored my hair myself at home, my hair looks like crap-look.
This does not happen with salon hair color because it does not contain henna or metallic salts that bind to the keratin in the hair (keratin is the protein that your hair is made up of).
So in the salon while the color is not always needed to pull through the ends each time, it will only get as dark as the level used even if it is.
This is another reason why box dyes make for a much more difficult corrective color service. If I need to lift and break through years of box dye, the ends may not ever lift as light as the rest of the hair because it has so many layers of progressive dye on it.
Chances are the hair will break off before it will ever be a pretty light blonde tone.
4. You shouldn’t be coloring your hair yourself
As I mentioned earlier, there is a reason we have to spend 2000+ hours in school learning how to do all of this.
Too many times have I received emergency calls because someone attempted to color their hair themselves at home. Either the hair turned bright orange, green, or is breaking off in chunks.
When we do your hair in the salon, we have access to much higher quality products than you do. We use additives that avoid breakage and contain heavy duty maximum strength conditioning treatments that are not avaliable to the general public.
And on top of all the chemistry involved, we also learn the techniques needed to color hair.
As much as you would like to, you cannot use hair color like you use shampoo. You will have tiger stripes and leopard print spots where you missed, especially in the back. Which will make it even more difficult for us to fix in the salon.
5. Your color correction will cost WAY more than going to the salon in the first place
Since box color never turns out the way it looks on the box, 9 times out of 10 you are going to need to come into the salon for a color correction.
Corrective color prices are significantly higher than a typical color or highlight because there is significantly more work and product required to keep your hair healthy and to get it looking pretty again.
I personally charge €61.50 per hour for a corrective color service, and it can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to do depending on what needs to be done to the hair and how badly you’ve messed it up.
Let’s face it: 9 times out of 10 your hair color will not look like what you see on the box.
C’mon, did you really think Eva Longoria slapped on some €8 box dye and called it day? NO, she went to her stylist before L’Oreal paid her for that photo shoot.
Additionally, most box color users did not attend cosmetology school and lack what we in the business call the “laws of color.” You probably can’t differentiate between color levels, read a color wheel or even select the right developer.
And guess what?
We don’t expect you to! There are many reasons why you must attend cosmetology school and be licensed to work with hair—and the aforementioned topics are just the tip of the iceberg. Not only does a lack of knowledge make at-home box color unpredictable, it’s the quality of the product itself . For now, repeat after us:
Box color is more like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.