Color from a.... Box?
Without a doubt, one of my most frequently asked questions is along the lines of, "Why is box color so bad for my hair?" Some people think we hairstylists are merely trying to protect our income by saying box color is bad. Sure, that seems likely. However, anyone that knows me knows that, above all else, I strive for healthy hair. So, if I am telling you something is bad for your hair, please trust me and know that I have your hair's best interests at heart.
Box color in and of itself is not necessarily bad. Wait, what? It's true! Box color's downfall is in the misuse of the product and the damage it can cause over time. Not to mention if you're mixing box color with in-salon professional chemicals... things can get tricky. Let me break it down for you:
Box color is a permanent color designed to cover gray hair. The companies that make these products know that a large majority of their target audience is looking for an inexpensive, easy method of covering their grays as frequently as possible. In addition, the products are designed with a "one size fits all" mentality, offering gray coverage for even the most resistant of hair textures. And, as we all know, not all hair is created equal! Box color is intended to A) open the cuticle of the hair and B) deposit the color by changing the molecular structure of your hair strands, from the inside out. Great! That's what hairstylists do too... right? Well, sort of. If you're a client of mine, you know that when we do a full color, there are two bowls of color sitting on my tray. The first color is for your new growth - it's the heavy-duty, permanent, "get in there and get that gray covered!" formula. However, the second color is for the rest of your hair. The hair that has already previously received the fancy gray-coverage formula. The hair that just needs a little color refresh but doesn't need any molecular alteration. What are you saying, Anna? What does this mean? In a nutshell, when a person is using a box color to cover every inch of their hair (even previously colored hair), they are DAMAGING THEIR HAIR! That gray coverage formula is too strong for the ends of your hair, especially with repeated use. Essentially, it breaks down the hair strands... sometimes, to an irreparable state. Make sense?
But, what about the demi and semi permanent colors on the shelf at the store? For that person who doesn't have gray but just wants a fun color? Okay, sure, I get that as well. Here's the deal with ALL box colors - they contain something called metallic dyes. This chemical gets in your hair and stays there. In addition, metallic dyes are considered progressive dyes - simply put, the more you use them, the darker your hair will get. And (here's the clincher) the harder it will be to transform your hair to a new color. Even for us, your loving, talented hairstylists. In case I'm being too vague, if you color your hair with box dye - once, twice, a hundred times - it will be more difficult to remove that color to give you a new look. At that point, you are looking at a "color correction", which is more time, more money, and more visits in order to achieve the new look.
At our salon, we strive to educate our clients. We may tease you but we will never ridicule you or give you a hard time if you use box color. However, if you need a change of color, please trust us when we tell you the process may take some time and effort. We have the integrity of your hair at the heart of all decisions we make for you. On the other hand, if you are reading this and considering box color over in-salon professional color, please also trust us when we say "Just don't". Get it right from the start, protect your hair, and save yourself some anguish down the road. Plus, we're pretty cool to hang out with while your color processes!