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There are a lot of things you can learn to do yourself—painting your living room, baking bread from scratch, changing the oil in your car. Thanks to Google and YouTube, it feels like you can learn how to DIY just about anything. But when it comes to your hair, it’s a different story. 

By now, you’ve probably heard about the dangers of box dye or cutting your own bangs. You may even have heard horror stories from friends who tried to go blonde at home or who tried to give themselves a quarantine cut—with disastrous results. And, while not all DIY haircuts and colors go horribly awry, the fact is, there are a ton of reasons to skip the at-home service and book an appointment with your stylist instead. 

Hairstylists Have Thousands of Hours of Training 

While you likely know that hairstylists are required to attend cosmetology school and obtain a license, you may not realize just how intensive cosmetology licensing really is. State guidelines vary, but most stylists undergo at least nine months to two years of education and training; on average, state licensing boards require a minimum of about 1,500 hours of training hours. And this doesn’t even include the ongoing training and educational courses your stylist is likely taking. While you might be able to learn a couple quick tricks from a three-minute YouTube video, it’s simply no substitute for thousands of hours of education and training. 

Is Box Dye Really That Bad? 

If you’ve ever looked up how to color your hair at home, you’ve probably seen a few warnings from the pros about using box dye among the step-by-step highlighting tutorials and DIY balayage videos. But how bad is box dye, really? 

Before you add that box of color to your cart, consider this: box dyes are not formulated for your hair. That picture on the front showing a gorgeous blonde or rich, chocolatey brunette doesn’t take into account a myriad of factors that affect color, like your hair’s base color, porosity, undertones, or past damage. The idea behind box dye is that its formulated for everyone—but there simply is no one-size-fits-all formulation when it comes to hair color. 

When you visit the salon, your stylist draws on months or even years of education and training to customize your color. Not only does your stylist look at your hair’s current color and health, but they also look at factors like your hair type, your skin tone, and how much time you want to spend on upkeep. Using all this information, your stylist can formulate color that’s perfectly suited to you. That’s something you just can’t get from a box of dye at the supermarket. 

But, Cutting Hair Looks So Easy 

If you’ve watched your hairstylist cut your hair and thought, “That looks pretty easy,” congratulations—you’ve got a great stylist! You might be tempted to save some money by cutting your hair or trimming your fringe at home, but we’re here to tell you it’s not a great idea. You might be able to get away with a simple trim, but anything more dramatic than snipping off a few split ends should always be left to the pros. 

Hairstylists are highly educated and trained on various cutting techniques, hair patterns, hair shape, and more. Plus, they have the right tools—chances are, you don’t. It may seem like all scissors are the same, but taking kitchen or office scissors to your hair could actually cause a lot of damage, leading to more split ends and jagged, uneven lines. Chances are, a DIY haircut is not going to come out how you want.

You’ll Most Likely End Up Spending More 

One of the main reasons people are tempted to color their hair at home or DIY their own haircut is to save money. And sure, trips to the salon can be expensive. But attempting to cut or color your hair yourself is most likely going to end up costing you a lot more. When your box dye job goes awry or you accidentally chop your bangs way too short, chances are, you’re going to need some emergency professional assistance. 

Color corrections can be time-consuming and expensive, as you may need to undergo several processes to remove the unwanted box color and fix what’s left over. This can also be harsh on your hair, and you may need to space out appointments in order to get the look you really wanted. And, when it comes to fixing cuts, you may find that the only solution is going a lot shorter than you originally intended. 

Simply put, a DIY haircut or color is likely going to have a significantly higher cost—financially and emotionally—than seeing your stylist to begin with. Our advice? Leave it to the pros!