We’ve all been there, scanning the aisles of the supermarket alone on a Friday night. Your only plans involve a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and reruns of The Bachelor. When you hit the shampoo aisle and see box dye, you think “Why not?, blondes have more fun!”….WRONG. That box dye will leave you with a headache and feverishly speed dialing your stylist, asking them to hit the undo button. Unfortunately once you go box, you don't go back.
While the cost of box color is in the single digits, a salon visit's significantly higher price is not just a superfluous number. The reason why trips to the salon are more expensive are due to the fact that a professional is formulating a color specifically for you (keeping in mind your hair type, undertones, and skin color). It requires a bit of creativity, chemistry, and understanding of color theory to formulate the proper hue. Since everyone’s hair is different, from colors to textures and porosity, you might need an additional formulation to compensate for those differences, in order to get the outcome you desire.
Using a box color gives you the exact OPPOSITE experience of going to the salon. Box dye is meant to deliver the color pictured on the front, to EVERYONE’S hair. That means you, and anyone else who picks up the box are all getting the same formulation (but not the same color), despite completely different temperature, tones, hair types, and varying degrees of color resistance.
Box dye will not wash out until your hair grows out. It is made up of a different chemical composition than professional hair color. While professional color is made to lift the cuticle and deposit color under the cuticle, box dye can actually stain the protein in your cortex, physically changing the color and the structure of your hair permanently. Which means you’ll be living with that color for a lot longer than you would have hoped.
Sure, box dye may be inexpensive... and you needed a change... and you thought it might be fun, but in the long run it will cost you much more than you think. Box dye is harder than normal dyes to lift from the hair, and "color does not lift color" — so your Friday box night will most likely lead to a color correction, and those can be mighty pricey.
If you’ve already experimented with colors from the grocery store, your stylist is literally the only person on earth that can fix it. Be prepared to lose a little length and when you head to them with hair in hand, don’t lie — tell them everything, because the secrets are in the hair and we will find them. It is much easier to fix the problem when we know what we’re working with. Since the chance for error with box dye is high and expensive, trust us; you’re better off leaving the coloring to the pros.