At Flirt Urban Salon in San Diego, we totally understand that box hair dye can be tempting if you’re a DIY kind of gal, especially one on a budget. However, having been in the salon business for a long time, we’ve had countless clients come to us for “emergency” color correction after DIY hair coloring has gone awry. To help you save the heartache, here are some of the reasons why box hair color might not be your best option.

Box Hair Color Means Unpredictable Results

Box hair color is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. 90% of the time, your hair color won’t look like the picture on the box. This is because a one-size-fits-all concept for hair color is impossible when there are so many different types of hair in various conditions and colors. Someone who wants to “go blonde” should not be using the same hair color formula as someone who wants to cover gray.

Unnecessary Ingredients Can Be Bad for Your Hair

As we mentioned above, the one-size-fits-all approach to boxed dyes isn’t in your best interest. Most box hair color is formulated with maximum amounts of pigment and ammonia, so it can work on most people. This equates to an overload of unnecessary ingredients that can damage your hair and/or cause allergic reactions. Ammonia-free box colors are available, but the best ammonia-free hair color is found in salons.

The developer found in most box color typically ranges from 20 to 40 volume– the amount needed for gray coverage or to darken hair. However, continually coating the hair shaft with a higher volume developer than what you need will lead to breakage and can permanently damage your hair. This is because ammonia and peroxide are used in developer to chemically alter the hair by opening the cuticles so color can penetrate the hair shaft and permanently change the hair color.

There’s a reason hair stylists and colorists go to cosmetology school and must get licensed. It’s because achieving the right hair color involves understanding proper techniques, how to differentiate between color levels, know the color wheel, and select the right developer and formulas.

Dimensionless Hair Color

Applying one formula of boxed hair dye all over your head means flat color. Even worse than dimensionless, boring hair color is having orange, red, or brassy highlights that can show up as a result of your box color being added over previously highlighted hair (that isn’t the type of “hair dimension” you want)..

Lightening Hair at Home Causes the Most Damage

Lightening your hair at home is the most risky, damaging thing you can do to it. For instance, achieving pastel hair color without looking like a hot mess typically requires multiple lightening treatments over the course of several weeks. Trying to lighten your hair several shades too quickly can damage your hair for years, or permanently. Even just adding something as seemingly harmless as highlights can leave you with cheetah-spotted, broken hair.

Hair color trends like pastels, ombres, balayage, babylights, etc. use a combination of coloring techniques and formulas can’t be done well without experience and should be left to a licensed hair stylist.

You’re Not Saving Money on Box Hair Color if You Need to Pay to Have it Fixed

A $10 box of hair dye isn’t an affordable way to color your hair if you end up needing to pay $100-$300 at a salon to have it fixed. Box hair dye gone wrong can also cost you more than money– it can cost you brittle, damaged hair for years to come. If you’re reading this and the damage has already been done, not to worry– the hair colorists at Flirt Urban Salon offer color correction services and deep conditioning hair repair treatments like Olaplex.

Hair Color Consultations at Flirt Urban Salon


Before you decide to make any drastic changes to your hair at home, come see the stylists at Flirt Urban Salon in San Diego for a free consultation. We can give you beautiful hair color in the healthiest way possible, and provide you with tips to make your hair color last longer (saving you time and money in the future). Give our Downtown San Diego Salon a call at (619) 501-6890.

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