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I already know what you are thinking, this is SO contradictory to what I do and what I preach.
The reason for this short list of guidelines is because I get SO much grief from people that say the following:
- I’m offending those that cannot afford a professional haircolorist.
- Some people don’t have a really great salon in their area.
- Some people are frightened because of previous horrible experiences (which you should not use to judge the work that another stylist may be capable of).
- Some people don’t have the time to go to the salon (I’m not going there in this article).
- I just hate box color, I’m “narrow-minded”, etc.
Those are just a few of the negative reactions that I get from my popular post:
I’m okay with the conflicting opinions because everyone is entitled, and everyone is different.
I do understand that some women cannot afford it, and I give them advice whether the “nay-sayers” see it or not. I feel for those people who can’t get a great professional color no matter what the situation is that prevents them from doing so.
I started this blog to help people, so it would be very hypocritical of me to not help those that just don’t have any other options. This doesn’t mean that I recommend box color as a great choice, but if it’s all you can do….I’d rather you make a better choice than the worst one.
How to Choose a Box Color
For everyone with any hair type:
- If your hair is damaged, brittle, splitting, hard to comb when wet, etc.-don’t color your hair.
- Cap highlights are the WORST…and even WORSE when you do it yourself. I simply can’t recommend a guideline for using a box color kit for highlights…you are on your own.
- Don’t choose anything drastically different from your natural color!
- Choosing a semi-permanent haircolor is always safer. Most haircolor does not truly “wash out”(only demi or temporary colors do).
- If you already have color on your hair…don’t apply color from roots-to-ends. It won’t look right…..
- If you have a different shade of box color on your hair than the one you would like to apply- There are too many variables here and you should contact me before moving forward 🙂
If your hair is light (blonde to light brown):
- Choose something that is not darker than medium brown.
- If your hair is on the “darker” side of light….don’t choose the lightest color there is.
- Cap highlighting kits are the worst kind….choose a single application color if you can.
If your hair is medium (brown in it’s many forms):
- Choose something that is not very light.
- If your hair is very warm, don’t go too much lighter as it will turn out brassy.
- If you don’t like red or warm tones at all, choose a cool tone because browns naturally have more warmth in their undertones.
If your hair is dark (brown to black):
- Don’t go any lighter than medium brown with a box.
- The lighter the shade is that you choose, the warmer (red/brassy/gold) your hair will turn out.
- Definitely don’t go for something lighter than brown if your hair is closer to dark brown/black.
If your hair is red:
- What the hell are you thinking?!
- Don’t color your hair!
If your hair is gray:
- The type of color you choose will depend on the look you would like to achieve, how long you plan on keeping up with the look, etc.
- Your percentage and placement of gray is also a factor for choosing a color.
- Use semi-permanent (most of the time) if you have less than 50% gray and just want to slightly cover it, blend it in, or “freshen up” your look.
- Choose a shade that is closest to your natural and has warm tones (unless you are 25% gray or less and your hair is naturally warm).
- If your hair is 50% or more gray choose a permanent shade if you plan to maintain it regularly, choose a semi-permanent shade if you don’t plan to maintain as often or if you’re not as concerned with full gray coverage.
- To fully cover gray you will need a permanent hair color.
*Disclaimer:These are generic guidelines for choosing a box color to use at home. These rules do not always apply to professional coloring because your stylist should know how to achieve a certain color without pulling too much warmth or damaging your hair, for example.
These guidelines will not work in every situation as there are many other variables, and I cannot possibly include each one. If you have a lot going on with your hair, you should contact me first for more advice.
Lastly, I am not responsible if you screw up your haircolor, hair health, etc. by doing your own haircolor. I do not recommend it, as haircoloring is an art that should only be performed by a licensed professional.
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