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Surprisingly, I get a lot of clients that look at me puzzled when I say that box color is bad for their hair!

I’ve always known this to be common knowledge and a few of those reasons you can guess without any background in haircolor.

I hear clients say things like- ”Doesn’t all color make your hair dry?” and, “The box doesn’t” say anything about that!”.

As a certified haircolorist it’s difficult when a client questions my suggestions or training, they are seeking me for haircolor help for a reason.  Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the client has failed at creating something to please themselves with products from the supermarket.

 ”I don’t know what happened, it’s the same box I always get.”

You probably don’t trust your friends with your color by now, and you know you’ve made one too many mistakes attempting to do it on your own. Now it’s time to trust a professional.

The reasons to trust a professional colorist are infinite! Becoming a certified haircolorist is no piece of cake! The pass rate is less than 20%, and some of the most seasoned stylists have attempted certification 4-5 times…and still don’t pass.

Remember, just because someone is a licensed stylist does not mean that they are good, well-trained, knowledgeable, experienced, etc.!

I tackled 7 grueling months of intense studying and practicing to further my understanding of color from chemistry to psychology, and more.  We are color perfectionists and consider box color to be the lowest of the low that you can go with coloring your hair.  So trust me or any other colorist that you admire, relax, and wait for the final result!

I have quite a few clients who come see me monthly and are willing to pay top dollar for a haircut but won’t pay for professional haircolor. You’re too scared to let an entry-level stylist give you a haircut, but you trust yourself (a non-professional) to make decisions on chemically altering your hair?  If you’re one of those people consider this….pay $40 for a great haircut then fry it off with an $8 box of color.

I’ll let you in on a little secret….it doesn’t matter how great your haircut is if your ends are over-processed. I know haircolor forwards and backwards so I’m going to tell you the reasons why you should get it done at the salon.

 

1. One size does not fit all.

Camel Toe : Box Color

I consider box color to be “one size fits all”. The idea of something like this is not perceivable in the world of professional haircolor and it cannot be relied upon.

In order to achieve the color you want a stylist considers several factors and customizes your developer with different hues to make the perfect shade.

Box color is made so that it can potentially alter a wide range of hair types & shades with no guarantee.

I may choose to use a 3% developer on one person and 9% on another with the same color but the outcome will be immensely different. Most box colors use 12% or higher to assure that it will at least do something to any hair type and that’s just getting dangerous!

As a woman, do you believe in one size fits all pants? I certainly don’t! They might fit the size 6 figure but they won’t fit the size 14(and if they do you’re going to have a camel toe and a muffin top coming hot!).

I know this… that’s why I don’t buy one size pants, and the same applies for box color. That beautiful buttery blonde shade might look great on your sister, but it’ll turn out orange on you. In this situation think of the camel toe you don’t want in the same sense as a bad color with fried ends.

Do you really want to walk around looking like that?


2. Haircolor must be customized for each person.

We are all unique in many ways and that applies to hair as well. I mentioned that professional stylists must consider several factors in order to give you a proper color service.

For those who don’t realize the thought process it takes to come up with your formula I’m going to give a brief overview.

Here are the main factors we consider when customizing your color service:

  • Natural level & underlying pigment
  • Skin Tone
  • Level of Porosity
  • Previous artificial pigments
  • Percentage of gray(if any)

 

Manic-Panic-Hair-Color-Dye

Manic Panic is not a “semi-permanent” haircolor!

3. Do you know what demi, semi, & permanent really means?

In the world of box color there isn’t a whole lot of difference between demi, semi, and permanent haircolor. Yes, the box may claim that it washes out in a month…. but will it?

In most cases it doesn’t. This goes back to customization again, even with colors that “wash out” there has to be a process to consider what level and shade will give you what you’re looking for.

It’s important to remember that no color really washes out completely. In the salon there is a huge difference between the three types and each option has its own factors for successful application. There is no way that a box can figure out all of those things for you.

There is ONE exception when it comes to finding a haircolor that washes out. That would be semi-permanent(temporary color), and it is in a completely different category whether you are talking about box or professional color.

Temporary colors only stain the outside of the hair strand and should last 1 to 2 weeks at most.  There can still be a hinkering of tint left depending on how light your hair is.

 

4. There is nothing like professional application.

When i hear the word “bottle” in reference to haircolor it makes me cringe.

Foil-Hair

Bottles are only good for one thing- toners, which is also something that should not be attempted at home. There is no such thing as a good bottle application of color.

In order to keep your hair healthy and avoid banding of color it must be applied precisely from the regrowth to the demarcation line.

Do you think you can do this in a poorly lit bathroom leaning over your…sink using a bottle?

Even if you’re using a brush (or trying)… you can’t see what we can see. If the color overlaps you will create banding(darker spots) and that’s not pretty.

You’re also getting into damaging your hair on a whole new level.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done a haircut on a box blonde,and it’s white-ish…yellowy…orange…burnt orange…basically splotchy all over. Just because you got your blonde hair doesn’t mean you’re looking good!

Here comes Ms. Cheap-and-Unattractive!

 

5. Your hair WILL feel like straw.

Damaged-Hair

Dry, damaged hair…and it’s only the beginning.

I’m convinced that the reason why some of my clients and other box color users out there accept the straw-like hair texture is because they just think that’s what’s supposed to happen.

This is a huge misconception resulting from an uneducated public when it comes to haircolor.

Companies that put box color on the market are clever advertisers and they’re doing a great job brainwashing everyone.

When you come to the other side and experience professional color your hair will  feel better than it ever has. It is possible to be a platinum blonde with shiny, healthy hair, but probably not with a box.

The reason why your hair feels like straw is because it is traveling further and further down the porosity scale. This means that the damage level is rising and you’re getting close to losing some hair.

Most people get a box and put it on all over the entire strand. I’m not sure, but I don’t think box colors include directions on applying to the demarcation line and refreshing ends only when needed. This is why that beautiful rich chocolate brown that you once achieved is looking black on the ends…also resulting in more and more straw-like texture, difficulty styling, and frizzing out of control.

I can’t even begin to tell you the difference between doing a blow out on hair that I colored versus box colored hair.  It’s excruciating, difficult, and hair is breaking off every 2 seconds!


6. The outcome of box color is usually an unwanted new haircut.

Do you like your hairstyle?

Whether it’s long or short… it doesn’t really matter because I’ve seen these disasters with all lengths. Damage is almost certain with repetitive use of box color. Generally…the ends to the mid-shaft are affected, and in some extreme cases it can be worse.

We’ve all seen those dry, frizzy ends on someones hair… and there isn’t much a flat iron can do for that. There comes a point where if you want your hair to look good again-cutting a few inches off is the only option.

If you’re not ready to do a total 180 with your hair you may want to think before you pick up the box!

I have a wonderful client that I’ve been working with almost 2 years now. She would like to get professional color but she either doesn’t have time or can’t readily afford it considering the rapid growth and gray that shows. I understand that so I feel for her and we’re working to get her hair healthier. We initially had to cut a lot off, and we do regular deep conditioning treatments. With my instruction she is doing much better, but she went through a year of suffering with hair hassles.

She didn’t understand why this happened, she followed the directions, but boxes do not explain the danger of porosity. Porosity has a different meaning when it comes to haircolor so I’ll give you a short explanation and you’ll soon understand why it matters.

Which one do you have?

If you’re not sure if you’re hair is damaged beyond repair take my quiz- How Damaged Is My Hair?, to find out more about your hair’s porosity!

 

7. Cap highlights are an accident waiting to happen!

Cap-Highlights

Not all things from the 80′s are great!

Most of you have probably heard of “polka dots” or “bleed lines”,  and you may have experienced them yourself.

This is not a pretty picture, and also not easily reversible at home. I don’t believe in cap highlighting at home or in the salon.

Sorry if I’m offending any “professional” haircolorists out there, but there is simply nothing professional about pulling hair through holes with what looks like a latch hook and slapping bleach on it.

The 80′s were great, but it’s time to move on and leave the cap behind.

 

Here’s an interesting tidbit about cosmetology education in the 2000′s:

Cap highlights are not even spoken of to students in most cosmetology schools. Some schools may be a little outdated and still carry and teach the cap method, but the more elite institutions don’t even consider it.

After we were taught how to foil and finished our basic color knowledge course I asked about the cap out of curiosity. My learning leader just looked at me and said, “No honey….no…we don’t do that anymore.”

There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t use cap highlights at home or in the salon. I hope this technique slowly slips out of all stylists and clients vocabulary!

 

8. You’re not going to look like the celebrities in the commercials.

Eva-Longoria-Loreal-Hair-Color

I know what your thinking, her hair looks great!

Do you think that Eva Longoria really uses box color? NO WAY!

She pays ungodly amounts of money to a top stylist for her haircolor. Same with Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé…two other huge box color endorsers. They are getting paid thousands to endorse at home haircolor for big companies.

Sure, you want to have hair like hers, but she is paying well over the hundreds for her haircolor and you are paying $8. Yea, not going to happen.

If you want great haircolor mimicking celebrity hair icons then find a certified colorist and make an appointment!

If you’re interested in learning about why certified colorists have more satisfied clients, or would like to get certified- read my article on Becoming an Expert in Cosmetology & Beauty. Even if you’re not in the beauty industry you will love the idea behind why I am so motivated when I do what I love!

 

9. It may be affordable now…but not for long.

Piggy-Bank-with-Money

Fixing Box color can cost a pretty penny!

So, you say that you cannot afford professional color.

Well, if you can’t pay the $50 for a professional then should you really be spending $10 on a box? Probably not if your situation is that tight.

Just because you can’t afford the more expensive option doesn’t mean you can afford the lesser.

 

Let’s say you get a box color and the outcome is not what you expected, which is usually the case…
In fact, it’s even worse than you expected and you have a big interview or social event coming up. You may decide to grab another box and fix the problem yourself…piece-of-cake…

It’s not that easy. Now, you’re over-processed and your only option is to crawl in a salon begging for a miracle. This would be true even if you didn’t attempt at fixing it yourself.

Most salons charge $100 per hour for corrective color services, and only a few stylists generally offer  that service. Now you’re hoping to get someone that knows what they are doing and probably paying $200-$300 for the fix.

That $8 box ended up costing a lot more than you expected!

You don’t have to go to a top salon, but find a credible stylist and explain your concerns. Your stylist will work with you to come up with something affordable. I have a client with gray that only comes in every 3 months for color.

I came up with a solution that doesn’t show a huge demarcation line when it grows in, and it averages out to about $16 per month. Doesn’t sound so bad does it? It gets better… if you have solid gray hair there are products out there like colored mousses, dry shampoos, and hair markers that can stretch you to your next color service!

 

10. If you decide to switch it’s not going to be easy.

If you’ve ever gone to a salon for professional color after coloring your own hair for any amount of time…you know what I’m talking about!

You probably get a look that says- “Do you think I have a magic wand?”. Box color is so different from professional color, so we cannot accurately predict what may happen when we apply our color on top of box color.  It’s going to be a process and you have to be patient.

The most common result is an odd shade of green shining through, or even purple. I’ve had clients come in with similar situations a few times and it’s not an easy fix. Applying color on top of color DOES NOT wipe the slate clean. You may have months or years of various pigments hiding in there and who knows which ones will pop out!

You will end up spending more money to get your hair back to normal than you would have if you had it done professionally in the first place.

 

I know I said ten reasons but there is one more…….

 

11. Box “formulas” may change, but professional formulas don’t.

Box Color on Sale ClearanceHave you ever been to a Big Lots or Ollie’s…and there it is…on the top shelf- discounted box color! You get excited!
You’re already “taking a leap and going cheap”…now you’re getting it for less than you thought!

This is not a good thing.

Just like everything else at discount stores, it’s there because it is OLD or EXPIRED. (That doesn’t mean that some products in grocery or superstores  aren’t expired…and still on the shelves for sale.)

If you buy an old box of color there’s a good chance that it will not turn out anything like you think it will. The same goes with a “new” box color, of course :).

Don’t let them fool you… companies can change their formulas but, it still looks like the same box.  It may say- ”New Formula!”, and the consumer just assumes it’s going to be an improvement in their favor.

It could be “improved” by changing hues or levels of developer, which means your hair isn’t going to turn out the same as it did last time. I’ve often heard, “I don’t know what happened, it’s the same box I always get.”.  You might think that you’re buying the same box of haircolor, but you’re not.

 


Aside from all of the obvious…I think it’s clear that the main problem with botched haircolor is the word “box”.

Hopefully many of you will be wiping that word from your vocabulary and switching over to the wonderful world of professional color! If you can’t or you’re simply happy with your box color…go over this checklist for before you color at home :).

 

 Still not sure?  Here are 5 More Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Box Color!


 

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*This content is copyrighted by Erika E. Brown and Confessions of a Cosmetologist. Please contact me if you would like information on how to properly link to this article. I DO NOT, under ANY circumstances authorize the copying of this content for any purpose.

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174 Responses to 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color

  1. Gia says:

    Thanks for the information!! I would <3 to be able to afford a professional colorist, but alas I fall into that category of women who simply cannot afford to get her gray hairs covered up every 2 or 3 months by a pro. I have a question though, if you are so kind as to be of assistance. I have not colored my hair in over 10 yrs. But 3 days ago I got fed up with all the new grays popping up so I bought a box of Loreal Preference in Golden Brown. My natural hair is very dark brown, almost black. The effect is quite nice. It looks like I have reddish/brown highlights & my grays are sufficiently covered. My question is when the color starts to fade, will it "fade" back to my natural color or to something different? I'm assuming the ammonia will have lightened my hair and so the color will fade but not back to my original color. Is that about right? Also the color will eventually fade on the grays as well right (I'm not referring to the area of new growth where the grays will start to show up, but to the area that is currently covered.) When I re-do the color how important is it to stick with the exact same color (golden Brown) or can I go slightly lighter? Thanks in advance.

    • Erika Brown says:

      It will fade to a dull and lighter version of what you have now. Your results sound on point for what you used and your hair color. On others the Golden Brown would be more gold to light brown, but with darker hair reddish tones are expected.

      When you do it again I would suggest using the same one. If you want to switch colors check with me first :) . You’ll want to only retouch the new hair to the line where the old color has grown out. Let that process for almost the full amount of time. When you have 5-10 minutes left of processing time take a comb and comb the color through your hair from the scalp to the ends (this will not happen perfectly, but that’s okay)! Results vary from person to person and depend on how long you waited to retouch the color and how much it faded.

      Good luck!

  2. Simonne says:

    Hiya! I live in South Africa and realised as I read this blog that you aren’t a local :) I read on anyway since Im assuming products and processes do not or rather should not vary according to country or continent :) I am someone who has used box dye for 7 years… (* hides face *) …. I have had more disappointments than triumphs, yet I persevered with the box dye hoping to find that magic colour… which Im still looking for :) I recently changed stylists, from going to a professional salon with major traffic in and out all day, to a stylist who used to work in a salon but now works from home. She cut and styled my hair for me and I was thrilled with the result. At the previous salon, I used to see the same stylist for cuts for 9 yrs but she left the salon and I was devastated! So the hunt began for another stylist (I did try one of the other stylists in that salon but I was really disappointed with my hair and just promised never to go back). Anyway, long story short, the cut and style was an “audition” for her, and I am happy to say that she will now be my new stylist :) For the first time however, I will be having my colour done by her. I have allowed my hair to grow out for 7 months and still have some box colour on the ends. I have chosen a crimson red for my hair…. and did consider the box route as she charges R440 for the colour and a box will cost me at most R140. I want to keep the condition of my hair healthy since Ive waited 7 months to apply colour again. So I just googled “difference between box dye and professional dye” and came across this blog. Thank you for putting this information out there! You have sealed the deal for me, and I will never use box colour EVER again!!! I cringe when I think about how over processed my hair was. I too used the awesome chocolate brown but everyone thought my hair was black and I was like “noooo man its brown, cant you see!!” LOL!!! Now I know why!! My friend coloured my hair for me and we never just did the roots, it was always all the hair and I would deliberately leave the colour on for an hour instead of 35 minutes (as the box instructions suggest)… sometimes my scalp would be numb for a few hours after each application hahahaa!!!
    Anyway, thank you again!!! I am proudly converted ;)
    Have a great day!!! xxx

    • Erika Brown says:

      Thanks for your comment!

      Depending on your hair color at the ends and the regrowth….doing it yourself could have been disastrous! Especially when trying to achieve red! Remember that with any stylist you want to try out you can always schedule a consultation to talk about your color first, then go back for the actual appointment. Some people don’t feel like doing that, but those were my favorite clients!

      They did their research and asked me specific questions about their hair and how I would choose to color it. I try to explain this to readers that complain about going to a stylist that doesn’t give them the results they are looking for. It’s up to the client to decide whether we are competent enough to do what they are asking. Good luck and I hope your hair turns out the way you hope!

  3. Anna says:

    I know the professionals like to believe (or make others believe) that all hair color that comes in a box is awful, but it all depends. If the person is trying for a drastic change or wants something complicated (like balayage), then it’s best left to the professionals (most of the time); if they just want a subtle, simple change, a box dye is okay, as long as they have some experience and understand how their hair will react. I have very dark brown (almost black) hair and color my hair a medium brown with one of the cheapest, ammonia-free home colors out there. Guess what? I love it and get compliments all the time. Stylists who cut my hair always comment on how soft and healthy my hair is and how pretty my shade is. On the other hand, I’ve heard (and seen) plenty of stories of folks who had their hair professionally done and ended up with a disaster. “So maybe it was at some cheap salon”, you’ll say. It’s happened to those who use both cheap and top of the line salons, but just because someone can’t afford to pay a lot, it doesn’t mean they’re asking for a hair disaster. If the person doing the job is licensed and trained, clients have a right to expect a good result. Years ago I myself had a few bad experiences with hair coloring at salons and actually did quick fixes with box color. Of course, not all salons are equal, but my point is that there are those who are happier and actually look just fine using home dyes. They’re not all evil, and that goes for both sides!

    • Jessica says:

      You can’t expect everyone who is coloring their hair with boxed color to know the porosity of their hair, what porosity even means, what hot roots are, what vegetable dyes are, what metallic dyes are, what ammonia is, what level ammonia is used with ALL boxed colors, what level of ammonia the condition of their hair can withstand, what a double process color means, what hair density means to hair coloring, how grey coverage works, etc…

      I think the entire point of this blog post is not to say “everyone should be able to afford a salon, so please stop using boxed color and come pay me instead”.

      The point is that the general public is NOT educated enough in the slightest about how to work with hair color. Yes, that may sound ridiculous to you because, well – it’s haircolor. But they are CHEMICALS. That you are using on your body. That are being absorbed on your scalp.

      If you’ve had decent experience with your boxed color – great! Realize that not everyone can pick a “mocha brown” or “sandy natural blonde”. That is absolutely NOT how haircolor actually works. We don’t go by names. We go by a (sometimes) complicated numbering system that involves different tones and shades. Your sandy natural blonde boxed color has no idea that it’s being applied to a level 5 redhead while at the same time that an artificial level 2 brunette is tying to use it on hers. Guess what? You’re going to get different results. Why? Because boxed color can in no way, shape, or form replace a hairstylist and/or colorist.

      End of story.

      • Anna says:

        Which is why I said that if the person is going for a slight change, has some experience with hair coloring and is familiar with how their hair will react, box color may work for them! I know professionals hate to hear it, but some people do have good DIY results. Hair coloring can be complicated in some cases but it’s not brain surgery either.

        • Erika Brown says:

          EXPERIENCE is gained from hundreds of color services, consultations, etc. on various clients asking for different results.

          EXPERIENCE is NOT gained by box coloring your own hair and your friends hair…..you will make a mistake that we already made in our first few months of school and then you will be puzzled at how to fix it…..

          It may not be “brain surgery”, but it is a hell of a lot more complicated than you think it is. Why do you think that only 1,500 of the 100,000+ hairstylists in the nation have achieved the title of American Board Certified Haircolorist? A title that even a 30 YEAR SALON OWNER has tried 5 TIMES to achieve and still HAS NOT passed!!!

          It’s because this stuff is way over your head and you don’t even know it. What do you do for a living? Do you dare to tell us? I’m not the type to belittle anyone or their education/line of work, but others will. Others probably talk about how little knowledge your job takes to do, but they don’t say it to your face. Start blogging about it if you think you are good enough and see how people respond….

          The world needs more positive people, but that’s just not as much fun I suppose!♥

      • Erika Brown says:

        ♥Like♥

        Jessica- Thanks for putting my thoughts into words when I am away or just can’t find the energy to reiterate my points…lol. Thank you!

    • Erika Brown says:

      If you read my entire article….

      You would know that I mention that some people can use a box and get okay results. It HIGHLY depends on your natural level/shade and the box that you choose (which is an uneducated choice).

      Professionals in the cosmetology industry do not work to “make other believe” that what we do is better. We do superior work and it is better.

      If I wanted to trick people everyday I would have become a magician…..

      • Anna says:

        Experience is not gained from box coloring your own hair? Not on a professional level, no, but enough to let you know what will work on your own hair and what won’t, when using home dyes and aiming for subtle changes. I know what to stay away from to avoid brassy hues, I know not to expect to effortlessly become a platinum blonde (not that I’d ever want to) from a bleach kit, etc.

        What I said is that professionals like to believe or make others believe that all box colors are awful when it isn’t always the case, I didn’t say anything about whether the job you do is superior or not (that’s a matter of opinion, btw, based on each person’s experience with salons). If YOU read my entire comment, you’ll see that I stated that there’s good and bad on both sides (DIY and professional dye jobs).

        What does what I do for a living have to do with anything (physical therapist/caretaker for the elderly and disabled, btw)?I have no reason to blog about it. It’s your choice to blog about what YOU do and as such, you can expect a variety of feedback; some will agree with you and praise you for your advice, others perhaps won’t be so supportive. I’m simply offering another point of view, based on my own experience, to an article that mostly seems to label box color as being something to stay away from at all costs. However, based on some of the replies you’ve posted to comments here, it seems that you ladies take issue with just about anyone who dares to oppose what you wrote here and you try to shoot down their opinions. As I said, if you choose to blog about something on the internet, expect all kinds of responses. Accept it and don’t be so sensitive about it; if you’d rather not deal with points of view that don’t support your own, then disable the comment section or something.

        Have a good day.

        • Jessica says:

          We are trying to make the point of – don’t group us all together with your criticisms. Saying “professionals want to make you believe…” has a negative connotation attached to it. Therefore, you think you know us all and believe we would all do the same.

          Not true. Us as hairstylists get a bad rap sometimes because some people think our profession is fluff. That it’s all beauty and fashion-y and not a “real” job. I had a teacher once say to a family member of mine (years after I graduated high school) that once she heard I was a hairstylist, said “oh, she could’ve done so much more with her life”.

          Uhh, thanks. Remember that the next you visit ANY professional to cut, color, polish, or wax you, lady. Because at one time – you WILL need us.

          Just be more sensitive to our line of work and DO NOT group us all together with any bad experiences you may have had or what you believe “ALL” stylists would say/do in a situation. It’s like saying “all caretakers probably mistreat the elderly at some point and don’t care what meds they dispense…”.

          (That’s why it mattered).

        • Erika Brown says:

          I do give credit to those that have an opposing opinion and express themselves in a positive way without putting others down. Your narrow-minded comments don’t fit into that category.

          I will continue to prove my points because that’s the purpose of this blog. If I simply agreed with everyone then it’d be a waste of time. The reason for this post is to explain why things “happen” to those that are expecting a miracle from a box and don’t get the outcome they are looking for.

          Some people want to pay for amazing color and some would rather leave it to chance. I don’t care about that…it’s a personal choice. The information is here because my clients would ask the same questions over and over again……these are the answers.

  4. Funny, when I go to the salon to get my hair dyed (with no call ahead), they go get two bottles off the shelf, squirt some of each into a bowl, and mix it together then spread it on. And this is an expensive salon. I wonder where this person is, that their stylist ‘custom blends tones’ to each customer, and ‘checks hair porosity’. Must be incredibly expensive then.

    • Jessica says:

      Do you physically accompany them into the dispensary to see what is beig mixed?

    • Erika Brown says:

      So….just because that “stylist” at the “expensive” salon doesn’t give a crap….all hairstylists must do the same thing?

      Like I mentioned in this article and several other posts….seek someone who is passionate about what they do and takes pride in being the best and you will be happy with the outcome. Same with other professions that work with the public. The American Board of Certified Haircolorists are an elite group of professionals that uphold to those standards as well as going above and beyond your expectations.

      Just because you haven’t met one of us yet….doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

  5. WASTED TIME says:

    This blog and every single comment is a load of superficial horse dung. Get a life instead of arguing over haircolor like a bunch of hoity-toity bitches. Jesus.

    • Jessica says:

      I can’t believe you SURVIVED reading through every single agonizing horse dung comment. How did you do it?! You must tell us your secret!

      My heart goes out to you, really. What a terrible thing to have to be subjected to such horse dung – I cannot believe someone actually forced you to do such an absurd and horrific act. I picture the torturing that must have been inflicted upon you and you’ve lived to tell about it – now THAT is a story to tell.

      Take your disgusting comments to the next blog and move along.

      • Erika Brown says:

        ♥ ♥ ♥

        The funny thing about the internet is that no one is forcing me to read something I don’t like….it’s not school or work.

        If I stumble upon a page while Googling that I absolutely can’t stand or I think is ridiculous…I just go back to the search and keep looking for what I want. I don’t have time to waste on a website that has information I don’t care to read. I definitely don’t have time to comment on it.

        That’s not why I don’t comment though…it’s because I appreciate that everyone has different tastes, talents, interests, etc. and who am I to judge? Why is my negative opinion important? It isn’t…the world needs more positive people and that’s why I smile and keep going.

        Maybe “WASTED TIME” needs a life or something to be passionate about. This brings me to an old favorite…

  6. Whitney Nicole says:

    I had to use Google to get to this blog!
    I was searching “boxed hair color” and this was the first thing that popped up! I was actually reading another article about “how to dye hair at home.” (dye, ugh!) I was actually surprised they suggested using a boxed color, because I always heard how bad they were for your hair. And while I would love to have the confidence of achieving salon results in my bathroom, I don’t. I know nothing about hair, so I won’t even attempt it.
    A helpful tip to anyone that isn’t necessarily concerned with touching up grays or roots, but wants to experiment with some different colors: I get my hair ombred, that way I can have the red/violet tones I love, but don’t always have to go and get touched up. I can usually let my roots grow out for a few months, maybe even longer! Of course, the color will fade, but I still get compliments, even on my faded color. And that I have to credit to my stylist that knows what she’s doing and knows what will look good on my budget.

  7. Cece says:

    Just out of curiosity, what if someone purchases & mixes colors from Sally’s Beauty. I’ve done it before. I’m a natural blonde, went dark. I purchased one color and the color right above it. Did the darker one first, then waited a week and put the other color in. It came out amazing! So, are those products the salon products we are led to believe?

    I have an amazing stylist who is a color stylist here in Vancouver. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on my hair, but I treat myself to her haircuts because she does a fantastic job. I also pay $75 – for a haircut. When I first saw her she was aiming to repair my hair (after years of going dark, then back to my natural blonde). She used color and highlights. It cost around $300 last year. That’s a third of my rent and just way too much – even though I know she does a great job (and would scold me if i come in asking for a different color. I’m thinking strawberry blonde)

    So yes, some color experts are that – experts. I appreciate that. I was a dog groomer for years and constantly fought people that thought $60 was too much for a small dog and more then their haircut (Forgetting that they don’t bite their stylists/crap on their tables/have mani/pedi’s done/teethbrushing,along with some very gross things, etc). Some of your do great work. But sometimes we just can’t afford it.

    Sorry for the long reply. But if I could get an answer on the first part? Sally’s vs. box?

    • Erika Brown says:

      Thanks for reading! First of all….I think dog grooming is totally worth it! Even hairstylists have trouble…it is definitely something meant for a pro!

      Sally vs. Box:

      Box color is pre-formulated. Even though you have to mix the developer in, it is not the same as Sally color. Box color is more damaging because the developer must be strong enough to work on a wide range of haircolors. When you use Sally color you can choose a safer developer level (as long as it’s with the right shade/level of color and being used on the right shade/level of hair).

      Also….Just like professional color (demi, semi, & permanent)…Sally’s carries all types. Your outcome really depends on what is mixed, what was already on the hair, etc.

      Sally color is not the same as professional color. The best way for me to explain this is that Sally is like the “generic” or “dollar store” brand and professional color is the high quality product. You will never see Paul Mitchell, Swarzkropf, Kenra, Joico, or other professional brands in Sally’s. The only place those can be purchased is in pro stores which require a license to buy.

      Think of it like this: Dr.Perky vs. Dr. Pepper, Great Clips vs. Your High-End Salon, $1 Paper Towels vs. Bounty Paper Towels, Drug Store Makeup vs. M·A·C Makeup, and so on.

      Hopefully I answered your question…if not let me know :)

  8. Ashley says:

    These girls that are slamming hairstylist I would like to know if u went to the most expensive hairstylist in town or the supercuts or cheaper salons!!! Big difference in us who are passionate and experienced and those salons that are just doing it for a job

  9. Selma says:

    Dear all, I hate having to cover my gray hair at home. I cannot count how many towels and pieces of cloth I have already stained and how many dark spots I left on doors and other parts around my bathroom. Still, nowadays I have to retouch my roots at the maximum every 3 weeks. I cannot afford to have professional coloring that often. It is not only my poor budget but time restrictions too. However, I have seen improvement on the quality of home products. I’m not a professional, but I noticed it. Am I totally wrong?

    • Erika Brown says:

      You’re right! Things have improved!

      It’s all about which products you choose. I have been in a pinch and needed to settle on shampoo, but there are some brands that I would absolutely not use! Try a magic eraser for your color marks around the house :) I have spilled an entire bowl of medium-brown permanent color down the white cabinets in my bathroom….it happens to all of us!

      As long as you remember to only apply color to the regrowth and take great care of your hair…you will at least be preventing extreme damage and inconsistent colors. The other important thing is to stick with the same color or something close. Never try to go a shade lighter with a box or switch from brown to red, or black to brown. Some changes are more likely to turn out decent, but it’s risky!

      I appreciate your comment because I know that everyone cannot go to the salon. I wrote this article for many reasons, but mostly for those that think haircolorists have no talent, knowledge, etc. We are always trying to prove our talents, but most stylists are sensitive to their clients limitations when it comes to pricey services. A great stylist will at least give you advice to help you when you need to color at home :)

      • Selma says:

        Thanks for you comments, Erika. I try to do most of what you said. One thing I did not know until very recently is that applying the color to the entire length of my hair would make the ends darker… Only recently a hairdresser elaborated on that to me. I think the box products are better, but the people working on this field is much better educated too (the fact you have this great blog is only an example of that). Nowadays, the trainning is better and more available and on top of that professionals like haircolorists also know how to advise their clients. We have talented people and not so talented in any profession. The bad thing is that when someone had a bad experience with a particular person they start generalizing their impressions on everybody else… You are totally on point when you say that hairdressers could be sensitive to some of the client’s issues. I, at least, really enjoy it. Keep the good work, Erika!

        • Erika Brown says:

          ♥ No, thank you! ♥

          It’s so refreshing to hear from someone that agrees…and isn’t a hairstylist! Some others are looking for advice, and I welcome those comments as much as the negative ones.

          Feel free to e-mail me anytime if you have questions or need advice ! :)

  10. Maximiana Garretson says:

    I will never use box color ever again, even if I have to wait months till I get my hair done it’s not worth the damage to my hair. Have went to a professional for 10 years and it’s worth the money. You get what you pay for and the more you pay the better the outcome, like buying a car the less you pay the worse the car and the more issues.

    • Erika Brown says:

      Thanks for commenting! It’s so refreshing to hear from someone that sees the value in going to a professional for haircolor. Most everything is like that….cheaper is not always better!

      I’m assuming that I don’t hear from as many readers like you because women who don’t use box color are most likely not Googling it :)! Second to those that are sticking up for box color are the stylists looking for help with explaining the reasons why box color is not a good choice!

      Thanks for reading!

  11. Christi says:

    It doesn’t matter how detailed I explain what I want..
    I can’t even get a simple hair cut done right.
    Apparently cosmotology doesn’t teach measurements since I haven’t found a stylist who comprehends an inch or 2.
    Let them color my hair?
    Cold day in hell

    • Did you ever think that your measurements are off? Your “inch or two” can mean two totally different things to two people. I will have you know that all combs have a measurement guide in inches along the back side so we can know exactly how much we are cutting off.

      I would suggest verifying with your stylist BEFORE he/she cuts to know how much hair is coming off. A stylist cannot be blamed for an incorrect measurement if you do not fully disclose what you’re after.

      We’re not mind readers. We also do not like to be grouped together as one bunch who cannot “comprehend an inch or two”.

      Cosmetology does teach “measurements”.

    • Erika Brown says:

      Most often the problem is a direct result of a vague consultation. Maybe you are just going to a cheap stylist….ever consider that? Watch this video for a great example about why haircuts go wrong.

      Unfortunately, there are plenty of hairstylists out there that just want to get cutting and get it over with so they can make more money. The sooner you are in and out, the more they make.

      If you go somewhere quality that holds their stylists to a higher standard, then you won’t have those problems. I always repeat what was discussed and ask lots of questions because clients do not know how to describe what they want. I want to make sure we are on the same page because I want them to be pleased so they will be a repeat client.

      Great stylists know that longevity is the best way to make money in the business….poor stylists are all about the”now”.

      p.s.- If you think you can color your hair far better than an American Board Certified Haircolorist….then please, go ahead and show off your skills. Our books are full as well as the wait lists for clients that can’t wait for their next color appointment!

  12. Drew says:

    I’m a professional salon owner on the uk , BOX COLOURS ARE AWFULL ,

    Colour is hard to remove. Colour goes patchy. I hate the retail box colours no colours should be sold to any one that is not trained in our profession

    I was trained professionally by wella international

    And for some one to say we over charge first of all , I will say you for quality in colour , you pay for quality in stylist and salon director!!

    Clients always come running back to us when they have messed up our own hair !!

    Thanks again Drew .x

    • Erika Brown says:

      Thanks for your comment! In my opinion, why ruin your hair with box color when you can enjoy your natural hair at its healthiest? If you can pay for it, get the quality salon service, if you can’t, don’t ruin your hair with the cheap option! Just do something else to make a change like a new style.

      I like this example….

      If you want plastic surgery…a new nose, boobs, or a face lift….but can’t afford it.

      Should you go to Tijuana, Mexico and pray for a great result…or to just live through it and hope you look better?

      Or should you just learn a new makeup technique, get a push-up bra, or some skin cream? Sometimes we want something so bad that we don’t care what the negative outcome of going cheap will do to us. I’ve seen a botchy boob job, a bad face lift, scary looking hair implants, etc., and they were all in the salon getting great color….swearing to never be so desperate again!

  13. Misty says:

    Ericka, then don’t put down women and make them feel inferior or stupid for not being able to afford salon color. That is exactly what you and this so called professional blog are doing. There are very many women who are doing their own hair out there that are very happy with the results. All you and you’re crony are doing is committing intimidation to get them to do otherwise. I can pick out tons of phrases all throughout this trash rag of a blog that is “immature” and insulting. $200 buys my collegiate daughter’s groceries for a month. We do each others hair and we look FABULOUS.

    • Erika Brown says:

      Sounds like you’re the one putting people down…not only me, but thousands of other professionals in my industry.

      Haircolor, manicures, facials, massages, etc. are just a few of the many luxuries in life. The same goes for shopping at Nordstrom, buying groceries at Whole Foods, driving a BMW, living in a luxury waterfront condo, going to the dentist, and so on. In every industry with every product or service there are mediocre options, premier options, and a few in-between.

      Would I “put someone down” because they can’t afford the best clothes? Of course not! I’m sure someone on the internet is raving about how awesome their boutique jeans are and that no one should buy jeans anywhere else because the quality will never compare to what she sells/buys. Is that designer/boutique owner insulting everyone for not being able to afford their clothes? Of course not!

      Would I “put someone down” because they can’t buy organic food at a grocery store that costs twice as much as Food Lion? Of course not! I’ve read lots of articles and watched several documentaries about the benefits of organic/whole foods and why everyone should eat only the best. I wish I could eat like that, but I don’t because it’s too expensive. I settle for the cheaper option and hope to one day be able to eat like that. I don’t accuse the people who are passionate about it and want to share their knowledge with the world of putting those down that can’t afford it.

      I don’t have time to elaborate on every example, and if you don’t get it by now then you won’t. I have clients that get their color done in the salon, and those that do it at home because they can’t afford it. I understand that, so I don’t push them or bring it up when they come in for a cut. Instead, I give them tips that will help if they do use box color.

      I wrote this article because many women have had bad experiences with haircolor and as a result they don’t trust their new stylist. There were times when I felt like a broken record trying to explain why their previous stylist couldn’t please them. I constantly answered the same questions with each new color consultation. I realized that the general public has no clue about what to look for in a truly talented colorist. That’s why I became a certified haircolorist….I needed credibility to ease the minds of new clients and I wanted to make sure that I had the knowledge to back it up. The only other way to prove it is for someone to let you work your magic.

      Maybe some day you will be able to look at things differently. If you read my blog you would know that I have given credit to those who are successful with box color. I also mention that it will not work for everyone and every situation….sometimes a professional is the only way.

  14. Misty says:

    Ya know, you have gone to school to learn your trade, get credit for that one. But I have a few questions. One why are the professional colors not available to the public to purchase? Answer: money monopoly. You scold someone for saying “silly”, yet you’re articles are exceedingly condescending and speak of idiocy to those of us who do not have the money or patience to pay out the rear end for yet another “professional” hair disaster as I and countless thousands of others have had. I am 47 and can’t even remember the number of times I’ve had a hair disaster with a so called pro. So now I’m to the point that I do my own color. Thank God for Google and Youtube to help educate me on how to achieve the looks I want, granted there is some filtering being done. Second question, I get charged $200. What is the profit margin for that? How much did the color cost you? To me its called taking advantage of women who are seeking a boost in their self esteem and confidence and price gouging. What about educating your costumer? Teach her the chemistry of the color of her hair, the reason your using a certain tone so she will not end up turning orange or red. For the love of God no way would a pro do anything like that because the customer may go and do her own hair and take money out of your pocket. To sum it up it sounds to me like you are a scared little blow hard that is seeking to demean instead of educate, real professional.

    • Jessica says:

      Erika, my jaw – LITERALLY dropped. People like that still exist?! It is so easy nowadays for childish and immature behavior to hide behind a keyboard and computer screen.

      Yes, we paid to go to a trade school. Yes, we purchase products to use on you for less than you pay us. It’s also called working a J-O-B. Do we have to disclose to you exactly how much we pay for our products? Absolutely not. Do we set the prices that we pay for those products? Nope. You can thank Paul Mitchell, Redken, Bed Head, Matrix, Logics, Majirel, etc. for that.

      When you walk into the dentist office – would you expect him/her to disclose what he paid for his drill, scrapes, and other miscellaneous tools? What about those plushy leather reclining chairs you sit in while under the scope? Can’t forget about the assistant who prepped you! Wonder how much she gets paid – “I should ask her”! What about those pesky utilities that keep the place running – lights, running water, and electricity…that ain’t cheap!

      My point is – a lot more money on our part goes into us getting you all primped and polished than your little brain thinks. We have utilities in the shop, assistants to keep us running on time who need to be paid, building rent, shampoo and product backbar to properly wash your hair before/after services, scissors, irons, straighteners, razors, clippers, thinning shears, edgers, combs, brushes, gallons of sanitizer for all said tools, capes, towels, laundry detergent so that you get your hair sopped up with something more clean than you, personally, probably use at home. Let’s not forget our continuing education hours that we are required by the State Board to keep every 2 years. You think education comes free my friend? Pff…didn’t think so. Did you know that we have to pay every 2 years for each single hour of education and class we receive to keep our licenses active? Your previous flippant comment makes me think ‘no’.

      If you asked a doctor how to mend a broken bone by yourself so you could save a few bucks – should he tell you? What about asking how to sew your own clothes for far cheaper than it is to buy an item of clothing at the mall? When’s the last time you asked your cable company if you could get the same rates that THEY’RE paying to provide YOU with service? Newsflash: it’s a whole hell of a lot cheaper than what you’re paying. If you expect to pay the exact same amount that professionals do for a service or product – the world would not be turning today. Money would not be made anywhere. And you would not have a job.

      I find your comment to be insulting, aggressive, overbearing, childish, immature, unintelligent, and downright RUDE. To see that you have the pure audacity to put down one’s trade because you’ve been over-paying for salon visits is disgusting. Your 47 year old rear should be ashamed of yourself. Do your research next time you decide to air your dirty little rant on a public forum. And find some human respect while you’re at it. (Probably found at your nearest Walmart – with your boxed color).

    • Erika Brown says:

      Normally, I would not even waste a minute of my time on comments like yours…for obvious reasons. I could say a lot to you, but my blog is not going to be a place for negativity. You can say what you want, I’ll leave it there for the world to see how narrow-minded you are.

      Our products are not available to purchase because you would not know how to use them. BOX color is meant to be “foolproof” for a reason.

      The internet is full of opinions, facts, fiction, etc., but I don’t put down those that I disagree with. Sure does say a lot about your character…”If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

      I am open to opposing opinions or those that wish to challenge the information I share, but do it with class and a fair argument. Calling me names and suggesting that I write and share my stories to keep people on an ignorant level is absurd.

      I know you or someone like you is thinking….she blogs to make money off of people or that I would want to “demean” readers to keep them coming back. If I could make lots of money off writing and sharing my passion all day…that would be awesome! The few cents I make don’t come close to the cost of keeping this site up and running. I do it because I enjoy it and I like helping people.

      If you haven’t noticed yet….hair services & products aren’t the only thing that are controlled by people to make money. Life is just that. The world is…unless you are not at mercy to anyone for anything. In my opinion, the only way to be truly free of monopolies is to live off the land…primitively.

      Do you shop at Wal-Mart? Probably so, that’s where they sell the box color. Like everything else they sell….it’s marked up and you are at their mercy to get the products you need. You must pay the price and it’s everywhere.

  15. Rachel says:

    I found myself so engrossed in your blog that while simply looming for an answer I read every single comment on here and can say without a doubt I learned more from you today than I even knew would have been possible. Thank you for taking time to help educate and to share your passion with us, I only wish that there were more professionals out there like you.
    I’ve got a 2 part question for you. 1) my daughter had 2 surgeries removing 2 brain tumours after which her hair completely changed texture. According to the medical doctors there is no actual reason for this and we can’t seem to get a solid answer as to how to take care of it in its current state. She had hair down to her waist however due to the change and damaged appearance we have since cut it to the middle of her back. It is now very frizzy and fragile, it’s breaking all over the place and the texture is strange in the aspect tbat it’s completely dried out and has a feel like it’s completely covered in conditioner yet wiry and dry. She gets extremely greasy hair now and we only condition halfway up her head, never doing her scalp. We’ve tried treatments and deep conditioning with no success. Due to her medical issue’s we really can’t take her into a salon but any advice for something to help would be appreciated.
    The second question is I know that the salon Is my best option for my own hair color but it’s simply not a feasible option at this point in time, I’ve looked for a professional Who could come to our home and color my hair but in our rural community it’s not a reality either. I desperately miss having my gorgeous brunette color I used to have with natural high and low lights in it. Its now getting a handful of grey hairs through it and it’s lost its shine I’d always had in my youth. I broke down and in desperation I bought a brand new brand from the box and while not horrible it’s too light on the top but the ends are exactly what I wanted for all over color. Its only been a day but I can’t handle the crown areas color. I’m hoping that you’ll have something come to mind that can help me get to my desired results without being stuck with it. Thank you once again for this blog it’s refreshing to see people still care!

    • Jessica says:

      So I know I’m not the author of this blog or creator of conversation but the inner hairstylist in me couldn’t resist adding her helpful option.

      I would say if money is a factor – then you always have the option of trying a temporary fix. Have you ever tried a color depositing shampoo/conditioner? My salon used Artec for quite a while and, if I remember correctly, the “Walnut” might’ve been the darkest shade they had. If used a couple times a week, you can keep your color from looking dull and help to temporarily darken any lighter shades that the box color “lifted”.

      • Erika Brown says:

        Thanks Jessica!
        I appreciate your input and enthusiasm for our profession! I hope that you will continue to add your opinions when you feel compelled. Maybe one day you can be a guest author on a subject that you feel passionate about! Thanks again :)

    • Erika Brown says:

      Hi Rachel!
      Your experience with box color is one of the most common. For a simple option you could try a clarifying shampoo from the demarcation line to the ends. Using something strong and cleansing could lighten the darker color a little. Even though you would be lightening the color that you want to achieve, this is the easiest and least complex option.
      Giving you instructions on how to fix that would be difficult and lengthy, so I will send that in an e-mail :).

      As for your daughter, I would need to see her hair and know more about her progress and diet to give you more advice. HOWEVER, I do have an experience to share with you that may help lift your spirits…

      About 4-5 years ago a regular client of mine referred someone to me that she worked with for a color. My new client was pleased with me, so she brought in her daughter for a trim to see if she would be happy with my services as well. Her daughter had been through some difficult medical issues and her hair went from very thick and healthy to extremely thin, brittle, fragile….you name it.

      Her daughter was weary of letting anyone touch her hair…so much that she would worry about someone combing or brushing it too hard because she did not want to lose any of the hair that grew back. After a few cuts she started to trust me and eventually let me color it with care. The new hairs texture was kinky and dry among many other things, so it was difficult to get the results that normally came with ease.

      Now her hair is long, thick, beautiful…and pretty much the same as it was before (I never saw it healthy before I became her stylist, so nothing to compare to.). With every appointment I gave her hope and did everything I could to make her happy. Every time I see her we both talk about how unbelievable it is that her hair has changed so much for the better.

      I can’t make any promises, but I can tell you that it will get better and patience is your friend :).

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