You may be asking yourself…”Should I use Sally’s hair color?”…at least I hope you are.

The first step to not cultivating a huge hair color disaster for yourself is questioning yourself. Spontaneity is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to your hair…you owe yourself a little time to think on it!

Should I color my own hair?

Should I listen to the girl at Sally’s Beauty Supply?

Should I just get a box of color at Wal-Mart?

These are all valid questions that should not be taken lightly! As I’ve mentioned in 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color…it’s not always going to turn out the way you think it will.

I know that several avid box color users have commented on my box color article stating that box color has worked wonders for them. Well, that’s great. Good for you. It doesn’t work for everyone and even if you think it’s working…that’s probably not the case. Until you experience an exceptional professional hair color you won’t know how bad it is because you don’t know any better. You probably don’t know how damaged your hair is and as long as the color turns out “okay” for a $10 box…you’re cool with that.

I also know that many people disagree with me, and many people agree with me. This information, as well as my entire website, is not meant to change your mind.

My goal is to inform those that are looking for answers, so if you’re offended by what I’m saying then just go back to Googling whatever it was that you were looking for. I’ve often found it interesting that people comment on my posts about box color and have no background in cosmetology, yet they are angry about what I’ve written and they want to tell everyone about it.

So, if you want someone to tell it to you like it is…a “real” hairstylist that won’t sugar coat everything…then please enjoy my blog! Otherwise…maybe you should just go pick up your questionable box of haircolor and be on your merry way. One day when you finally mess up your hair…you’ll be back.

Should I Use Sally’s Hair Color?


should-i-use-sallys-hair-color

I don’t suggest it, but one of my readers is pretty fired up about my opinion and wants to let everyone know that it’s okay to go to Sally’s Beauty Supply and “wing it”.

That’s why I’m sharing a comment that didn’t fully make it onto my website because of the limit on characters allowed.

I do not pick and choose which comments go live and I think it’s a good thing for everyone to be able to read about all kinds of opinions.


Here’s a readers’ response to my popular post- 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color:

i am a licensed cosmetologist and i worked at sally’s as well. Though most employees of sallys are not cosmetologists they all do receive continuous training on the color process and we are allowed to give you instructions on achieving the color you chose, which is not advice it is instructions on using the products correctly, they are not allowed to pick the color out for you but come with a question of how to achieve a color you chose and the employeeshould be able to answer any questions or get a more knowledgeable employee who can & if they cant ask for customer services number or call the 1800 # for the brand of color youve chosen& they will be able to make sure you get the correct info(the # will be on the color box or color charts/swatch books).so before you want to bash sallys employees maybe have a little respect for the ones who are good at their job and do give valuable information to the customers looking to color their own hair whom without a sallys employee would be left to surfing the internet till they find enough info to try and understand hair color, luckily though there are knowledgable people at sallys who can walk you through it in person and make sure you get the items you need & products to help keep your results. maybe start by explaining to people that manic panic is a semi permanent when you used on natural hair levels 1-6 ,levels 7 and up on virgin/natural hair it will still fade out but may take longer but a clarifying treatment will usually remove staining. temporary and semi permanent are not even close to the same thing, if i gave someone a semi permanent color telling them it is temporary and will wash out quickly id be fired. temporary colors do not need pre lightening to achieve bright vibrant results and are chalks, sprays , colored hair gels& they will wash out after 1 wash on natural hair but might leave discoloration on lighter shades which should fade after another wash(clarifying shampoo helps this). I believe many people can achieve great results coloring their own hair using many of the products found at sallys as long as they are willing to take the time to understand the basics of haircoloring i.e. color will not lift existing haircolor, levels of lift for developers, levels and tones of color, the color wheel & complementary colors ie what they are&how to use them, the processes of permanent color compared to a demi ,semi or temporary color & the effects of each on either virgin or processed hair and definetely the difference between bleaching and color removers. if that seems like alot to someone considering coloring their hair or taking on color correction thats because it is & thats the just a few, it is something that licensed professionals have taken the time to learn and fine tune results through experience , it is not always something that can be explained in 5 minutes or achieved in 1 step. if you are willing to take the time and understand what the coloring process will do to your hair then you will probably be just fine but if you expect salon quality results by just picking a tube of the shelf regardless of what is or was in your hair then expect some challenges. and when buying at sallys just ask if anyone there has color experience, many of my coworkers though not licensed cosmos had great knowledge and experience in color which is why they chose to work there but if the employee has to go ask someone else about something as simple as a mixing ratio, processing time or developer strength you might want to get a second or third opinion because unfortunetly not everyone can grasp the concept of hair coloring and you will probably be able to tell.and when in doubt call the brands customer service # or sallys customer service #. a few hair coloring brands ive used from sallys and gotten great results with are anything from wella’s color charm line, any loreal colors and ion(which i would recommend choosing 1level lighter than your target color when choosing levels 1-5 as the darker colors tend to come out a lil darker ) i would avoid age beautiful , one n only and the clairol soy line& clairol beautiful collection;when using on levels 6 & up as the bases are overly gold or red( clairol classics is good if you can find it) . all the semi permanents work the same. they are not going to wash out when used on pre lightened hair , maybe pastel colors will after many many washes but other than light pastel colors any other semipermanent color will not completely fade when used on pre lightened/bleached hair. on virgin hair semis fade faster and usually completely out quickly since the cuticle is sealed but on lighter shades of virgin hair you are likely to get staining depending on how dark you go. semis are literally just sitting on the outside of your hair soif its healthy or resistant the color will wash away faster than on processed or lighter hair. if it does not use a developer it is techincally just a semi, a real demi permanent color uses a processing lotion which is very low volume developer so no lift will be achieved but the color will take better and fade slower. one last thing ,if you have dark hair and its virgin(no dye in it) and want vibrant color without pre lightening try the loreal for dark hair only the colors barely fade and look very nice but just know that any hair that was previously colored will not lift the same as your virgin hair and this is a stronger color that is not meant nor needed on lighter levels 6 / 7 & up. if you have color in your hair and want significant change ie bright fashion colors you will have to remove the previous color, bleaching is more controllable than a color remover and better for achieveing a light enough base for bright,fashion or neon colors. color removers are different than bleaches and i only use them for lightening premanent color that took too dark by 1-3 levels and do not use a color remover to remove semi permanents especially on pre lightened hair, just use a gentle shampoo with bleach and a low volume developer on wet hair checking every 5-10 minutes till color is lightened enough or removed. i read through many questions on here and tried to give advice from the perspective of someone whos been in all those positions, i was a young diy hair colorists then a sallys employee now a cosmetologists for 7 years working with many brands and hair types and understand the frustrations and questions from each viewpoint. hope that answers someones questions or atleasts gives more to look into and research before heading into to the beauty store.

-Readers’ name is protected for privacy reasons.

*The opinions reflected in the reader quote above to do not reflect the views or opinions of this website. Please note that I do not edit comments. Please do not comment on this post about grammar and spelling errors as this was not written by Confessions of a Cosmetologist!


In my opinion, a 1-800 number is no substitute for a professional haircolorist. Color consultations should not be conducted over the phone. There’s just no way that someone can give you an accurate opinion or instructions without seeing your hair. Common sense should tell you this, but I’m here to help just in case.

While I do not agree with anything that the reader said, I think that it’s up to each person to decide which opinion they relate to. I feel that a truly talented cosmetologist would not spend their time working at Sally’s Beauty Supply. I don’t dislike the store in its entirety, but I frown upon purchasing chemical products from Sally’s. I do go there for perm rods, water bottles, peanut clippers, etc. but I feel that an uneducated consumer looking for hair color is a disaster waiting to happen!

About The Author

Erika

Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

32 Responses to Should I Use Sally’s Hair Color?

  1. Rose says:

    You never actually address anything about Sally’s Ion dyes? You just say that people should go to a cosmotologist because they’re uneducated about the products and could maybe mess up their hair. Misleading article name. y’all need a new editor.

    • Erika says:

      How is the title of the article misleading?

      “Should I Use Sally’s Hair Color”

      No, you shouldn’t…unless you know what you’re doing. Nothing misleading about that.

      I do not claim to explain the various types of hair color at Sally’s in the title or the article. It sounds like you just didn’t find what you’re looking for.

      I am the creator, writer, editor, photographer, web designer, etc. for this website. I do it all because this is what I’m passionate about and I want to help people with their hair…as well as help everyone avoid making the same mistakes that my clients and thousands of others have made. So, if you don’t like it, this isn’t the blog for you.

  2. Brittany says:

    Just came across this rather old article at this point. I think you make some very valid points about weighing pros and cons and being wise. I’ve often done my own hair using sally’s products, but usually its nothing too drastic. I’ll add a demi thats maybe 1-2 shades darker.. I don’t attempt highlights and those things because I don’t feel confident in doing that. I have gone to MANY professionals. At least 15 different pros trying to find someone who can deliver. Perhaps its the area.. maybe its me, but I have yet to find someone who delivers on the first attempt or even the second. I come prepared I bring images of what I want and what I don’t want and we discuss where I am to settle expectations. As an example I was going from a dark dirty blonde to a level 6 true red not violet not copper. It took 3 times and my hair was still nearly purple. One application and I got it right. That’s the frustration. Good folks are HARD to find. I have finally found someone who I think does GREAT cuts, but the color for what it is is not better than what I can do and frankly not worth $80 bucks for all over color..

  3. Heidi says:

    You spent $20,000 to go to beauty school for one year, and think you have a PHD in chemistry now. Anyone with half a brain can learn basic color technique thanks to technology. For anything beyond that, you simply need eyes, and arms in the back of your head; that’s where the help comes in.

  4. Marissa says:

    Just thought I’d also add that I’ve been doing my hair using ion dye for the last 6 years. It started as an 18 year old knowing nothing. I researched and walked in – got what I needed and left. After years of trying different reds and burgundy shades – i find my jam by mixing colors. Every time something didnt go exactly how i wanted (fade effect, the actual color, any burning) I would research and correct. I started doing this because the few times I had my hair done in a salon the color never came out how I hoped. & I think I would have had to pay A LOT to find someone who would get it right. Now I basically roll around town getting a bajillion comments on my hair and I just do a little flick and say – girl it costs like $10 a month to get this hair. & I do it myself (or my husband will help me). I really think professionals just don’t like seeing people choose not to spend a lot in a Salon. I know they say the she is higher quality and what not but I didn’t have a fade difference getting it done vs doing it myself. Color still looks rich and shines. I don’t get it. I think productive comparisons between salon/Sally’s would be productive and helpful. I also do my own acrylics. I’ve considered going to get a license but I haven’t pulled the trigger. I think there will always be dumb people who know nothing and purchase crap like color relaxers on white girl hair but honestly – that’s their fault they will learn and grow. A diligent and smart person will do the work to figure it out.

    • Erika says:

      It’s really annoying when people comment that “hairstylists are just jealous or don’t like it if someone doesn’t want to go to a salon”, and here’s why-

      1. I have way too many clients and not enough time.
      2. It’s your hair.
      3. I don’t have to convince people that there’s a difference- my work is proof.

      It’s not offensive, I just feel for the person that repeatedly ruins their hair at home. I care…that’s why I started this blog.

      You even admitted that there was trial and error involved…I’m not saying this is a bad thing(it’s great that you figured it out eventually)…but a reliable professional hairstylist will get it right the first time.

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Erika: After nearly destroying my hair with Loreal’s products purchased at Walgreens, my hair stylist recommended, yes, recommended going to Sally’s and talking with “help.” She gave me pointers on what to ask, I did, and I’ve been using Ion products since and have been very happy. I can’t afford getting my hair colored professionally anymore, and I love doing it myself. Incidentally, several different hair colorists have asked me where I get my hair done, and when I tell them I do it, they laugh. “Really?!” So, evidently Ion products and my hair are a very good combination. 😉

    Which brings me to the question: What is your opinion of Ion hair color products and how does it rate against purely professional products?

    • Erika says:

      Karen,

      First of all, I’m so glad you switched from box color! The biggest problem with hair color from Sally’s isn’t always the product itself, but improper use. It sounds like you went about it the right way and you’re using a good formula for your needs. I wish your stylist had made the recommendations, but you’re happy so I won’t go into that(not all Sally’s Beauty Associates are lacking in knowledge…it’s just so hit or miss though).

      I’ve had clients that asked for formula help with Sally’s Beauty hair color and I usually recommend Wella Color Charm because I know more about how it works than their other color lines, but Ion is very popular. One thing I can say about Ion hair color- my overall impression of the brand as a whole compared to other brands at Sally’s is that it’s probably one of the best options for non-professional hair color.

      My opinion is based solely on judging the brand by packaging and products offered. I know that may not seem like much of an opinion(it’s not fact or performance-based), but there is a lot to be said about how a company chooses to present their products and what they offer. Here’s why it’s more meaningful than not:

      I’ve been in the beauty industry for 13 years- I frequent all of the beauty supply stores(even if just to see what’s new, and yes even Sally’s Beauty), I’ve used more brands than I can count, and I even get product samples from hundreds of companies every year because of my blog. A lot of brands come and go. The ones that don’t last and/or don’t perform well are made cheaply from the inside-out. I can usually tell just off packaging alone whether or not the product is going to be high quality. It seems like the people behind the brand want it to be perceived as comparable or similar to a professional color line, and if they want to be successful then the contents must also be quality as well(and better performing than other non-professional brands).

      So…I’m sorry I can’t give you a more solid opinion about Ion hair color and how it compares to professional brands, but I think you are using the best product considering what’s available to you!

      • Alicia says:

        I agree with almost all of your comments, except for one that is particularly off-base – “if it’s a professional, they’ll get the color right the first time.” Just like doctors or attorneys or rocket scientists, there will always be mistakes. I’ve seen stylists with years of experience who will still make mistakes…like, bad ones. lol not saying they aren’t better equipped to rectify it, but they do make mistakes. I will say that as a hair stylist, you can’t have any idea about the number of people who leave a salon smiling, get in the car, pull down that mirror, and want to cry! We just don’t tell you guys! Whether it’s hair cut way too short or a color job that’s not carmel, but more of a hideous Madonna blond, it happens more than you think! Even when you guys tell us to be honest, it happens way more than you think! Haha

  6. Tess says:

    I only go to Sally’s cause I can’t get in to cosmoprof. I say if you can’t afford to have your hair done professionally, going to Sally’s and getting something demi or semi permanent with a proper developer is significantly better than buying a science experiment from Walgreens. You at least have some control over the result. I cringe every time I see another magazine touting the box color advertisements and recommendations.

    • Erika says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! This is exactly the idea that I am trying to share with my readers in this article and “Why Do Hairstylists Hate Sally’s Beauty Supply“!

      Some people take it the wrong way…as though I am completely against going to Sally Beauty. I think it definitely comes in handy, but choosing a haircolor and developer can be overwhelming when someone is unfamiliar with how haircolor works.

      Even my own sister turns to box color sometimes(like when we aren’t in the same city/state)…and it drives me crazy! She of all people should know better, but marketing in the consumer industry is very convincing!

      Thanks so much for reading!

      ❤Erika

  7. Janis says:

    I would like to say years ago I tried to use some product from the drugstore that would get the blonde out of my hair so that I could do something different. Omg…I ended up with bright white hair and orange spots all over. For God’s sake I had to get on on airplane the next morning. I looked freaking like a freak. I went to Sally’s and the girl saved me. Also I had never felt my hair feel so silly in my life. So with that said that was years ago but I continued using Loreal wish was always a disaster to me. I just went back to Sally’s and guess what supeb. So with wondering stay AWAY FROM THE DRUGSTORE BOXES. THEY WILL DESTROY YOUR HAIR I’M PROFF SALLYS WILL ALWAYS BE MY HAIR DYE PROFESSIONALS. THANK GOD FOR SALLY’S. JANIS. GOT ANY QUESTIONS JUST ASK I’LL LET YA KNOW JANIS.

  8. Kayla Walters says:

    As other’s said, you never really got to the point. Was the point in this entry to simply state that you disagree with “everything” your reader said? You come off quite pretentious honestly. It’s not a good look.

    • Erika says:

      I wrote this because one of the top searches/reader comments/e-mails on my blog was about whether or not using Sally’s Hair Color is a good idea. A lot of people want me to give them a direct answer and I think that’s for the reader to decide.

      I’m simply encouraging you to look at your pros and cons, options, etc. and consider your knowledge or past experiences with hair color before you just go get some hair color on a whim and take a chance.

      I know I’m very direct and that isn’t for everyone, but a lot of people want someone to tell it like it is…so that’s what I do! And of course I’m a hair color snob- any good hairstylist is, but we also understand that everyone cannot afford salon color…which is why I offer other resources on my blog to help people make the right choices when doing their own hair.

      I also do e-mail/phone/skype consultations for free if someone needs help determining which products to buy at Sally’s Beauty Supply(I should probably go back and add links to all of that to even out the tone…can’t say your’re wrong about that!) I give it straight because most people are stubborn about their hair and need some hard truth to get the results they’ve been trying to achieve.

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment despite the fact that you didn’t enjoy it, and if you have any questions I’m happy to help- just send me a message via the contact me page!

      Erika

  9. maddisen says:

    Hello! I was a licensed cosmetologist for just a year and had to quit because working in my area wasn’t enough for living as a single mom- so i started working and found a great position at Sally’s beauty! It’s more for the money and because I get along with my co workers but i was just wondering if your licensed as well? and do you specifically dislike sally’s brands or the thought of people doing their own hair? Thank you for your input!

    • Erika says:

      Hi Maddisen, thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

      You are a rare gem at Sally Beauty and I’m sure your customers appreciate your help and knowledge when they’re shopping! Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people who work there and don’t know anything about cosmetology….or worse…they’re not interested in it at all. I just feel bad for the people that go in there and ask for advice and don’t realize they could be getting misguided information or suggestions that will undoubtedly lead to an at-home hair color disaster.

      I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist for 10 years(2 years prior to that I studied at Paul Mitchell in Virginia Beach, VA. I’m an American Board Certified Haircolorist, so hair color perfection is my expertise but I also love doing creative haircuts and wedding hair. You can read more on my About Me page if you’re interested!

      I don’t dislike Sally’s Beauty, and I do go there from time to time for certain things. I just get frustrated that the general public think Sally’s Beauty is the same as professional salon quality products and it’s not.

  10. Kelly says:

    I have seen many products available at Sally’s that I see on the shelves of salons, including some of the color brands (Wella, Loreal, Clairol).

    Maybe I missed something, but this blog post came up on my Google search of “best color products at Sally’s” and it included your post because of the implied relation of “Should I use Sally’s color?” except….the majority of the post was you defending a different post you made about box dyes and apparently the cautions of DIY home coloring. That’s great and all, but there are plenty of people who are capable of educating themselves to a point of being able to achieve good, healthy results at home because it is entirely possible to independently study, experiment and grow without getting your license and turning it into a profession. I’m not out here trying to make money on coloring hair, I’m out here trying to save money and make myself happy….and many others are too.
    Your blog post did not offer anything that could not have been summed up with a short and sweet “I don’t recommend Sally’s because I think unless you have a license and access to professional only supply stores you have no business in doing it yourself, go to a professional.”
    That was a whole lot of fluff for that opinion.

    • Erika says:

      I’m sorry about your experience, but you are right and I do appreciate your input and taking the time to share the details.

      I hadn’t considered writing a post about which brands are the best at Sally’s, so that shall be my next!

      Erika

  11. Dee says:

    Thank you for your information. It’s just what I was looking for. Ps. Haters gonna hate. Don’t mind them

  12. Late says:

    This is a confusing review, you don’t talk anything about the product, how they hold up next to salon quality you just rambled on about untrained people. I know a lot of girls who grew up studying hair care and coloring not everyone does it as a job but I have friends who know a hell of a lot about what developers go with what, what can and can not be lifted and etc

    • Erika says:

      Yes, I can see where that’s confusing! The actual hair color products are not as quality as professional brands, but if you know how to use them it’s much better than box hair color.

      I talk about experience because hair color from Sally’s is more unpredictable(in my experiences). I’ve used several different hair color brands from Sally’s in the past(mostly when I experimented before going to Cosmetology School or if I was in a jam and really needed something but couldn’t get to a Professional Beauty Supply Store. For example, some products may require a stronger developer to get your desired result…but that won’t be noted in the instructions unfortunately.

      So, I understand that there are lots of people out there that aren’t licensed cosmetologists or experienced hair colorists and this post isn’t for them. It’s for people who aren’t familiar with how hair color chemistry works, but want to try it because they think it will be a piece of cake.

      I want people to take the time to do research and make a more educated decision rather than spontaneously hitting up Sally’s without a plan(which is how they end up talking to a store associate that may or may not have legit hair color knowledge…some of them just work there and have no interest in cosmetology).

      I also help readers that ask me to help them formulate their hair color or ask for advice on what to use. I understand that going to a salon isn’t an option or a necessity for everyone, so there is an article about that with a link to contact me for advice.

  13. Robin says:

    Yeah but not everyone can get it salon eccentric that’s the problem or if u know how I can please lmk I don’t have my license yet

    • Erika says:

      I understand your frustration, and I thought of that after I responded to your comment. This is just meant to give you the facts so you can make an educated decision before coloring your hair at home.

      Are you in cosmetology school? If so, you can get a student membership card to CosmoProf and/or Salon Centric!

  14. Robin says:

    Yeah but not everyone can get it salon eccentric that’s the problem

  15. LT says:

    You did not give any reason on why you wouldn’t use Sally’s products other than you don’t think people can easily get the right product. But other than that you didn’t say anything about quality. So I’m assuming the quality is the same that professionals use. You mentioned that people might get the right color but won’t realize how dry their hair is. Is this bc the products are more drying or just that people don’t feel condition afterwards? Is this just based on your opinion that you’ve found other brands through distributors that are easier to work with?

    • Erika says:

      Professional beauty supply products suppliers like CosmoProf and Salon Centric are of far better quality. Sally’s Beauty is kinda like the “generic” version of everything. Some of it is okay, but some products are just not comparable to their brand name counterparts.

      The reference to dryness of the hair is just an example of what can happen when using a lesser quality hair color rather than the better quality(professional) product.

      This isn’t just my opinion, it’s the opinion of the majority of hairstylists(everyone I’ve ever worked with in the salon would agree).

  16. Rebecca says:

    FYI, “wing it” is an idiom that means to improvise, to do something without proper preparation or time to rehearse. That is not at all what that comment is saying!

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