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You’ve heard it a million times, from your stylist, the internet, or even friends who’ve been there before: box dye is bad. But the temptation to color your hair at home for about the same price as your monthly Netflix bill can be pretty strong. Especially now that many salons have had to close due to the current coronavirus pandemic, box dye can seem like an easy, at-home solution. 

Consider this a public service announcement: box dye is ALWAYS a bad idea. Here’s why: you know that picture on the front showing you the color you’re supposedly going to get? That picture doesn’t take into account your hair’s base color or undertones, its porosity or prior damage, the tone you’re trying to achieve, or even your hair type. While the formula in the box is supposed to be one-size-fits-all, the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Settling for box dye is taking a huge gamble with color—you never know what you’re going to get. 


What to Use Instead 

Now that you’ve backed away from the box dye, you might be wondering if there’s any way to touch up your hair color at home—and we get it! With quarantine extending from weeks to months and salons having to stay closed, it may be a while until you’re able to have your roots professionally touched up or your color toned in the salon. The good news is, there are plenty of other, better options beside box dye. Keep reading to see our favorite box-dye alternatives! 


For a Super-Fast Touch-Up

Need to hop on a Zoom call in 30 minutes but your roots are looking a little rough? Enter KEVIN.MUPRHY’s RETOUCH.ME. This root touch-up spray, which comes in four shades, can be used to instantly blend roots with your existing color and conceal grays. RETOUCH.ME uses micro-fine pigments for a discreet and seamless touch-up solution that won’t flake or reveal any residue. The formula is lightweight for a dry, satiny finish. Best of all, the effects are instantaneous and last until your next wash. 

To Get Your Best Brunette 

When it comes to toning, it seems like everyone focuses on blondes. But brunettes need help nixing those unwanted orange and gold tones, too! With this in mind, Redken recently added a new toning shampoo and conditioner duo to its Color Extend line: Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo and Conditioner. Using blue pigments—which work better than purples to combat the orange hues often found in brunette shades—Brownlights Shampoo and Conditioner is able to target deep levels of brass, leaving your hair looking perfectly cool. Plus, because it’s formulated with color-depositing technology, the more you use Brownlights, the better the results! 


If You Want to Prevent Future Fading  

Maybe you just got your color done a couple of weeks ago, and now you want to make sure it lasts. Keune has you covered. Keune’s Care Color Brillianz Shampoo, Conditioner, and Conditioning Spray are specifically formulated for colored hair. All the Care Color Brillianz products work to create a protective barrier around color-treated hair, which helps prevent fading and shield strands against UVA and UVB damage. Bonus: your hair will be left feeling silky and looking incredibly healthy.