The temptation. Oh…the temptation. Your roots are cray, your colorist is booked. The women on the boxes are all so shiny and vibrant. It only costs $7.99! And you don’t have to spend a morning in the salon. So cheap, so convenient. After all, it’s exactly the same product salons use, right?
Although colorists absolutely do want to make a good living applying color to your beautiful head, that is not why we tell you to please please pretty please with sugar on top for the love of god stop using box color! We tell you this because box color is literally destroying your hair. Slowly, stealthily, over time. Like a hydrogen peroxide ninja.
Knowledge is power, so let’s break down how box colors work versus professional colors.
Professional Color... Deposits color molecules on the inside of the hair cuticle where the natural melanin lives. These molecules, larger than your melanin, work with your existing color to create a special hue that’s all you. Find yourself a colorist who knows their way around the color wheel and watch magic happen.
Box Color... Stains the proteins in the cortex, changing their chemical makeup. Since hair is about 90% protein, this means that your hair is basically no longer your hair. It has now been physically changed. That caterpillar is now a ratchet-ass butterfly.
Professional Color... Custom-mixed according to your needs. Call it art, alchemy, or just a lovely science experiment, but your colorist mixes your color just for you. This means that the developer is chosen based on the strength your hair needs to get the results you want while leaving your hair in the best possible condition.
Box Color... Uses the highest developer. Because this color formula is meant for literally everyone, it will include the most potent chemicals. It’s like setting yourself on fire when you just need to put on a jacket.
Professional Color... Stops working after a certain amount of time. The potency of these colors is meant to diminish slowly after they are mixed, which is why your colorist mixes bowls as they goes. It also means that once the product has been applied and processed, it’s done. Your color is beautiful, and you can go on with your life.
Box Color... Keeps working over time. These are called “progressive” dyes because they keep processing and building on themselves over time. So every time you apply, you hair is going to get darker and more damaged. Especially with the super dark levels, the color may eventually be impossible to change, even with professional lightener.
tl;dr... Box color changes the physical makeup of your hair, making strands weaker and the color MUCH harder to change should you get tired of your hue.
Hair coloring is a beautiful miracle of modern science. But it is a commitment! Make sure you have the time and money to invest once you decide you want a change. If you’re not sure, book a consultation with your colorist. They can make sure that you get the right kind of color to fit your budget and schedule. Just don’t go down that box color aisle. Please. Pretty please.
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