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5 Reasons You Should Never Use Box Color


Tempt you though it may, box color of any kind is never a good idea. It always ends up in a trip to the nearest professional hair salon for a color correction. Below you’ll find the top 5 reasons (though we could probably go on) that box color is always the wrong path to take.

1) Box Color = Unpredictable Results

Let’s face it: 9 times out of 10 your hair color will not look like what you see on the box.

C’mon, did you really think Eva Longoria slapped on some $8 box dye and called it day? No, she went to her stylist before L’Oreal paid her for that photo shoot.

Additionally, most box color users did not attend cosmetology school and lack what we in the business call the “laws of color.” You probably can’t differentiate between color levels, read a color wheel or even select the right developer.

And guess what?

We don’t expect you to! There are many reasons why you must attend cosmetology school and be licensed to work with hair—and the aforementioned topics are just the tip of the iceberg. Not only does a lack of knowledge make at-home box color unpredictable, it’s the quality of the product itself (more on that later).  For now, repeat after us:

Box color is more like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

2) One Size Does Not Fit All

So, let’s think about this logically.

Box color is formulated so everyone and anyone can use it.

However, not everyone’s hair type, condition or color are even remotely the same. In fact, most box dyes are formulated with maximum amounts of pigment and ammonia, so it’s able to work on most people. This unnecessary overload of ingredients wreak havoc on hair health and increase your likelihood of allergic reactions.

And no, an ammonia-free box color doesn’t mean healthier hair—the best ammonia-free hair color is found in salons.

Trust us, a hair color formula meant to cover grey is wildly different than someone who wants to “go blonde.” You both should not be using the same product.

Customization is key to achieving your healthiest, happiest color.


3) Dimension? Forget it.

Box color contains just one formula.

And applying it to your whole head will give you just that—one boring, flat color. Unless your have some pre-existing color or highlights, then you may end up with orange roots, red mids and pink highlights! But that’s not the type of color dimension you were looking for, right?

Most hair stylists will use multiple blends of colors and formulas along with strategic placements to achieve your look. Also, different formulations will call for different developer strengths and processing times.

Is your head spinning, yet?

If so, hopefully it’s in the direction of your nearest hair salon and not the box color aisle at Walmart.


4) Ombre in a box? Pastel hair color in a box? Don't you do it!

We already had our little talk about dimension, which leads us right into lightening services.

As if normal box hair color wasn’t bad enough, now companies are encouraging you to think you can achieve pastel hair color in one application! The reality is you’ll likely need to pre-lighten multiple times before achieving fashion tones like lavender and pink.  We’re talking bleach for days and damage for years, so please don’t do lightening services at home!

Lightening at home is by far the most damaging, risky thing you could do to your hair.

And no, a highlighting cap will not save you from cheetah spots or hair that is breaking off by the time you wash it.

The reality of these color trends is they must be done by a licensed professional. Even most ombres use a blend of techniques from hand painting to micro highlighting. This type of application can simply not be done without experience.

If you bring one of these fun fashion tones to your stylist, not only will they be able to lighten your hair in the least damaging way possible, but also give you tools to make it last!

5) That $10 Box Color Won’t Feel That Affordable After a $300 Color Correction.

So, you decided not to listen to the other 4 reasons because you still think you know best.

Well, orange you the hair expert?

We say orange, because that’s often the color your hair will turn when attempting to color (especially lighten) with box color. Don’t spend $10 on box color, then $300 on a color correction.

Think outside the box color and head to your nearest salon. Your wallet and hair will thank you.

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  1. Miranda Johnson

    I think it really depends on what you’re aiming for, I’m a brunet and I like to dye my hair to a different brown. And also when dyeing your hair it’s always going to be a little bit unpredictable. Every ones hair has different pigment, texture, thickness and length. It’s hard for a hair dresser to be able to achieve the exact hair color some one wants the first time.

    • Debbi Hunt Fabian

      No, it’s not hard for a hairdresser to achieve the color you want the first time they do it UNLESS:1. The client lies and says she has never colored/does not color her hair. 2.The client insists on a color that is just unattainable for her hair and the hairdresser gives in (at which point this turns into the hairdresser’s biggest nightmare and also his/her problem because he/she should never have given in) .But what do we hairdressers know anyway? We only went to school and were required to get a license, take ongoing classes, AND have to take additional hours every 2 years to be able to renew our license. Lastly, i LOVE it when you decide you can do your own hair, walk into my salon with hair that looks like something out of a horror show and expect me to fix it–cuz I see $$$ signs!! By the way–thickness and length have nothing to do with how to color your hair. But what do I know?

      • E.B. H.

        That ‘walk into my salon with hair that looks like something out of a horror show and expect me to fix it–cuz I see $$$ signs!!’ comment is very unprofessional and trashy. You are NOT the only stylist and you are representing with zero compassion for clients. That is a nightmare to a customer because with statements like that, how could anyone trust you?

        • Alice Saulnier

          I agree that that comment was completely inappropriate but you have to understand the frustration at spending 20 grand going to school for 1500 hours only to get a certificate that says you can go take several stressful state tests to get your license and then probably do much additional training in the salon under a master stylist attending several color classes on your particular brand/line only to be told by a couple people who know none of what you know about hair that a $2.00 box can do your job. It can’t. That’s all you need to understand it is not the same quality and it does not have my expertise.

      • Shirley K Russell


    • Angie K Naranjo Paz-Soldan

      No, it doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve box color is a big no no the metallic pigments are awful for your hair. Again, what do we know we pay 20000 in education. And WE DON’T DYE WE COLOR HAIR…. Dye is for your clothes or food dye… note for hair color!

      • Stephie Lynn

        I went to a salon to have my hair colored && they totally messed it up. My hair was a bit damaged but not enouh to not take the color I wanted. She mixed && used the completely wrong color && didnt realize it (I wanted red she made chocolate brown). Then proceeded to have me sit for 5 hours while she dyed rinsed blowdried && redyed about 15times. All the while not being able to figure out why it wasnt red. I left with my hair wven kore damaged then before because she messed up. I do not trust salons anymore. (This was a year ago my haor is now just starting to grow && Im still terrified to have this now 2 toned mop fixed at a salon cuz of the bad experience) They never seem to cut it how I ask either. Even when I provide photo reference.

        • Marisol Spencer

          I’m assuming your never had to touch up your roots since your hair didn’t grow. And you must have spent 3 days in the salon size your hair was colored 17 times in one sitting. Please, what happened was, communication was lacking between the two of you and your hair didn’t end how you wanted. So please stop bashing stylist and salons. I’m sure the metallics in the box color had a lot to do with the end result. Please educate yourself so you don’t sound so ignorant. Thank you

          • anon

            I too have had hair stylist completely flub the color of my hair, I’ve had some stylist do wonders. Every salon has different people, and yes, like any person in any industry not everyone is perfect at their job. I too personally do my own hair- it’s the best when I can get salon products from people in the business and do it myself. But on that note, I am one of those people that learn quickly by watching- and I get my hair exactly the way that I want, because I’m in my head. There have been several times I have communicated large blond sections like an inch wide and they gave me highlights. I despise highlights, not on me anyways. Not my style. Different artists have different visions, it helps if you find a stylist you connect with and gets you. Until then, if you can do your hair proper on your own- nothing wrong with that! But yes, box dyes are fully of Sh**** chemicals, but probably no worse than the processed foods most people eat on a daily basis, or not much worse than the tap water they drink either.
            This ‘argument’ seems pretty petty in the grand scheme of things.

          • Rebecca Balent

            You wanted stripes not highlights. They went out in the 90’s, but it’s your hair. However, any stylist with integrity would flat out tell you no and not take your money. Clients are a reflection of the stylist and walking around with outdated hair reflects poorly on the salon.

          • Sj Styles

            I agree they are outdated but I will give a client what they want because if they are happy it won’t matter if it is outdated. They will tell friends and family that you LISTENED to their wants and needs and gave them what they wanted not what you wanted. Outdated hair does not reflect negatively on the salon not listening to what the client wants reflects negatively on your salon. I have clients that still tease and have outdated looks and then I have clients that I balayage and turn purple. Listening is the best thing you can do for your clients.

        • Paige Ogden

          I refuse to go to a stylist too because every time I have they HACKED my hair. I don’t dye. And I do a trim every 6 weeks BY MYSELF. Just because someone has a license doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.

        • Haley Kaye

          I would find a stylist with experience and a portfolio you can look over. I always check for a website and a lost of stylist and hope they have a portfolio there if not I’ll go to Facebook and see if i can find a page for either as well. A good stylist should always have some before and after pictures of recent work. If not don’t go there.

        • Cori Marie Scott

          Have you attended cosmetology school? Do you know the components of professional hair color and developer? Well, if you can’t say yes to either of these questions (which I’m assuming you can’t, seeing as we in the industry do not use the term “dye”, we use the term “color”), then I take it you also would not have actually known whether or not the condition of your hair was suitable for a certain service or not. Furthermore, we all start out at the same level: the bottom. Chances are that you were possibly stuck with a brand new stylist, and they, like any of us, mess up. We are not perfect. I suggest better research on salons and stylists, because I can guarantee you will not fix the “2 toned mop” by yourself.

        • Sj Styles

          I will tell you why your hair was chocolate brown instead of the red you wanted. When you are applying your box color all over you are creating different levels of porosity. Damaged hair will soak up any red and gold tones and leave you with brown. The stylist should have added more of the appropriate pigment to the color applied so that your hair would be the red you wanted. A good colorist knows this therefore do your homework on who you are going to before so you know they are actually trained in corrective color and you will have a better experience.

    • Dorothy

      You “dye” clothes, etc. and you “color” your hair. As a former hairdresser, I cringe whenever someone says they “dyed” their hair.

      • Arizona Carrigan

        i’m a cosmetology student and our teachers make this ridiculous screeching noise whenever we say “dye”. so i have the same issue.

    • TheGlamBee

      A Hairstylist that is trained in the color line they are using can absolutely achieve the exact hair color someone wants the first time unless the clients expectations are unobtainable due to previous hair history and hair condition.

    • Alice Saulnier

      The reason that hair color can be unpredictable for a professional is usually because we don’t know what you have put in your hair. People tend to think if they haven’t dyed their hair in months that there is no dye in there, this is not the case. With what we know about color we can formulate for your hairtype/texture and the condition kf your hair much more effectively but not if there are metallic foreign substances in there that may cause an unwanted chemical reaction. We cannot know exactly what kinds of colors where used in your box dye. And yes sometimes it takes several processes to achieve a look because that’s what is best for the integrity of your hair not because I’m not capable of bleaching your hair to death.

  2. Zeph

    I’ve colored my hair many colors over the years and never had any issue.

  3. Lipstickandribbons

    I buy supplies at the hair supply store its actually cheaper than the box color (lol) when you figure it out. In all fairness I did go to Carousel Beauty college a long time back.

  4. sharonmit

    I’ve been home-colouring my hair for nine years with a £4 ($6) product which I use every 8 – 10 weeks. The results are always stunning – I get loads of people ask me about it and complimenting me on the deep purple shade I choose – and when I get a cut, the stylist always remarks on the excellent condition of my hair. I never use bleach, condition once a week, and absolutely never blow dry or straighten. I could not afford the equivalent of $200 even twice a year.

  5. Eileen

    I’ve been using box color (a variety of brands) for the past 20 years & I have never had any issues. I actually got my hair colored professionally for my birthday & saw NO difference so I went back to the box. Feria is my favorite & ive gotten tons of compliments on my highlights (which I don’t have done).

    • Cris Davis Hart

      Same here!!! I would like to find a good organic color though…

      • Jackie Hogan

        I use Shea Moister’s hair color

      • Mads

        Schwarzkopf is the best ! In the 80s ok I’m old but I had my hair bleached highlights and a spiral perm for years and it was beautiful ! I recently found it on amazon ! I tried to get my hair stylist to use it or asked and they said it was *** um no ! That is the best colour shampoo and everything ! Ha ! Had to commoner I love that product !

    • AddisonDewitt

      Ditto. My hair is down beyond my rear, really long and I just add highlights myself. As long as my hair is if I went to a beauty salon they would charge me over $200…every 6-8 weeks. No thanks my $15 box highlighter is good enough.

      • Mads

        How did you do it? Foils ? I’m trying to do my own hair . Last time I had it done she would let me pic or mix the colour ..the underneath areas … I’ve always picked the two I want to mix .. I’m an artist and I liked to pic my colours .. Don’t get me wrong she’s fantasisc but I thought that was a bit much ! And it was to brassy and orangish .. I wanted purple eggplant mixed with a brown …nope she mixed red with brown 🙁 so do you use foils ? Or ? Thanks so much let me know please ?

    • Shirley K Russell

      I do not believe this for one minute. Like one of the Professionals stated below the integrity of your hair has been compromised no getting around it.

    • Melissa Leach

      Its not so much about the result of using a box color…its more about the ethic. What ingredients are in the product and how its being made? For example testing on animals which Feria does test on animals. The ingredients being used in color can be very harmful for us, so it may seem as though you are getting great results but there is a bigger picture. Our choices effect a whole lot more then what you can see in the present moment. I suggest you look deeper into what is in the bowl of colour and how what was the process for that to be create.

      • Amen, Melissa. We’re so proud to be pioneering the holistic hair color revolution. Not only do we look at ingredients in the products, but all of the actions taken to make it. This includes how we treat animals, the environment and other human beings. 🙂 Thanks for this thoughtful comment. 🙂

        • Melissa Leach

          Thank you 🙂 I have been a holistic hair stylist for over 15years and as the years go by I am more and more sensitive to product, the energy behind the product, the ingredients and the scents. It is so important to stand behind the products we use and spread awareness. I am excited to try Oway and I feel its the next step in my career… i’m excited! Thanks again 🙂

        • Kris

          Does it stop you from being a racist, though? Just curious

  6. I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

    This article bothers me for three reasons: 1-it’s extremely condescending 2- I’m a total hair novice but after a week of researching youtube tutorials and product reviews, I was able to dye my super dark hair platinum blonde and then pink, all on my own. If you’re willing to due the research and proceed with caution, it’s not that hard. Box dyes are obviously no bueno (unless it’s black), but It’s easy to purchase the dyes and developers salons use on Ebay. 3- Hair dressers charge an arm and leg these days (particularly the ones trained in ombre and bayalage). These techniques can be learned on youtube. Why spend $200-$300 EVERY 2 monthsfor something you can do yourself?! That’s insane.

    • TheGlamBee

      Black Box Color is the absolute worse. Your novice is showing. Hahaha
      On a more serious note, most people cannot watch YouTube videos and execute professional looking colors. If you can, that’s awesome and I applaud you. You just have to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a trained eye sees all of the flaws, blotches, bleeds, etc that the novice does not.

      • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

        Dita Von Teese uses garnier’s black box color (sometime with a bit of manic panic blue mixed in). If it works for Dita it works for me! I do agree that I could not execute bayalage or ombre on my own – though there are plenty of tutorials out there (some from the BEST professional colorists out of LA AND NY). The hardest part if DIY is just the mechanics of it – it helps to gave a helping hand.

        • TheGlamBee

          That makes me cringe lol
          Manic Panic and Garnier are two different types of color. Oxidative color which enters the hairshaft and direct dye which stains the outside of the hairshaft. Manic Panic will not harm your hair but Garnier has an alarming high amount of amonia which is horrible for your hair. I will pray to the hair gods that all goes well when you’re ready for a change. Good luck girl!

        • Sj Styles

          One of these days you are going to need a good hairstylist to fix the mess you have created and you’ll be crying at the price if you have any hair left!!!

    • Alice Saulnier

      I would just like to point out that the selling of professional grade products to unlicensed people is totally illegal because of the possible misuse of them.

    • Gareth Ward

      You need to keep in mind that these professionals dedicate their lives to making people look beautiful. I think it’s completely condescending of YOU to discredit someone’s livelihood. Hair stylists do not get paid time off, hardly any benefits, and work insane hours. So keep that in mind before saying ignorant comments about an industry where the goal is to make YOU look and feel good, while trying to charge what they feel they’re worth. No one goes to YOUR job to knock the d*cks out of your mouth.

      • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

        My whole point is that paying for cosmetology school is unnecessary these days. It’s antiquated. All of the information out there is free on the internet now (it’s the same with makeup artists now too). All of the professional products are available on the internet (yes, even Olaplax)! A certification from some podunk cosmetology school means far less to me than one’s portfolio of work anyway. And to be honest, most hair stylists are not exceptional; many are awful. Obviously, you don’t like being made to feel as if your precious degree is worthless – which is the only explanation for your acrimonious diatribe. Clearly I’ve hit a nerve.

        • Haireth

          You’re generalizing. Which isn’t fair. That’s why you’re being badgered. Don’t knock or devalue something because you feel like it doesn’t deserve your credit. Yes… A lot of hairdressers are bad. And a lot of them don’t care and it’s just a job to them. But for most of us who actually CARE… Its unfair to say it’s not worth the money and people don’t deserve to make a living off of it. You can do all the research you want. But it’s the practice and the community of the school that we attend for. And I didn’t call it a “degree” . It’s a plain old certificate that anyone can get for 1000 to 1500 hours of tedious hard work. It’s not even until YEARS after that someone really comes into their own as an artist. Makeup artists don’t need anything except practice. I built a ten year career out of just practicing and was pretty successful until I wanted to broaden my skills a bit. It’s the work and dedication we put in that matters. Don’t go around saying what we do doesn’t mean anything. Because for A LOT of people… A simple change of hair and some great advice can really make their day. And that is priceless.

          • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

            I completely agree with everything you said above. And on top of that, I HATE doing my own hair- it’s messy, stinky, time consuming and can get complicated. I would love to be able to afford $250 a month, for the rest of my life. The best stylists charge a lot of money. Not everyone has that disposable income. Those women should not be sentenced to a life of mediocre hair. I’m encouraging the DIY approach under those circumstances.

          • Haireth

            Now see… This is something completely reasonable. I totally understand this. And some stylists like me are willing to work with people to find some option that’s affordable to them. Ask them! Or try another salon! Not ALL really great stylists charge an exorbitant amount. Some great stylists like to appeal to a broader audience than just those that can afford them. I completely agree that no one should have to live with bad hair.

          • Sj Styles

            I am one of those stylists. I work for myself so I can charge less if I want and more if I want depending on the circumstances of the client in my chair. I have been a hairstylist for over 30 years and I am SICK of people treating my profession as a dumping ground for their insecurities. I have had people literally act like I only do hair because I can’t do anything else. I make a lot of money, more than teachers, some nurses and a lot of people with bachelors degrees and I have never been laid off except when I had an office type job!!!

          • Katherine Delongpre

            The fact that you are so rage-filled and such an INSANELY defensive bitch shows you’re lying through your teeth. Fuck you, cunt.

        • Sj Styles

          you have no idea what you are talking about. There is a whole lot more to being a hairstylist than executing a look. Sanitation for one… It is sad that you are belittling our profession that we work hard to learn and achieve. Your college cost you a lot of money to make $60,000 a year and a good cosmetologist can make twice that and more. Yes you can get just about anything online but the only people who can help you when your hair breaks off is one of professionals you find unnecessary. I see your post was 2 years ago I wonder if you still like your self styled hair. You say hairstyling is a worthless degree but I bet I make more money than you!!!! Good luck with your olaplex you’re going to need it.

      • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

        And why am I being badgered because you chose a profession that doesn’t offer you enough time off or health care? I feel sorry for you, but it’s not my fault you chose that career.

        • Haireth

          Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m EXTREMELY happy doing what I’m doing. It’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. What makes me UNHAPPY is seeing ungrateful people like you equating OUR hard work to your bullsh*t kitchen scissors and botched dye jobs on your own head. 🙂

      • Jim H.

        How do you think this talk reflects on your profession and your peers potty-mouth?! Do ALL of us a HUGE FAVOR and STOP defending our profession – please.

      • Jim H.

        How do you think this talk reflects on your profession and your peers potty-mouth?! Do ALL of us a HUGE FAVOR and STOP defending our profession – please.

  7. Tanya Starr

    People are going to do what they want, no matter how much you try to teach them.
    I’ve colored my hair by box before and I’ve gotten my hair done by professional. Both turned out very nice. It depends what your looking for and what color you choose.
    I enjoy going to a salon, it’s the experence and having a friend do my hair and making me look beautiful. Sometimes I don’t have the funds to go, so I do what I must. Although I never would pick a color to drastic from my own natural color, unless my hairdresser was doing it.

  8. Savannah Valentin

    I went to the hair dressers, spent $120 and received a color I did not want. So I went to RiteAid, got 2 boxes of Feria for $20.00 and guess what?! Actually got the colored I wanted. So, I will stick to box color from now on.

  9. Melissa

    As a hair stylist, I know what box colors can do to people’s hair, as I’ve had to do many corrective colors over the years. Yes, if your are staying within the same level and simply changing a hue, maybe a box color isn’t going to turn your hair into a funky color. However, the quality of ingredients in box color and in “drug store” shampoos, conditioners, and products is of a far lower grade than any professional lines. I am not trying to badger anybody, simply educate them because as a licensed and experienced hair stylist, it only seems right to do so. So yes your box color may come out ok the multiple times you do it, but the integrity of your hair will most definitely be jeopardized. And if you do decide to change it, removing box color is nearly impossible, and can be highly compromising on your hair if it’s not intensely treated before and after the service with professional products. I don’t expect anybody to understand this who is not a professional because you were never taught this in school, or have dealt with these cases of damaged, over processed, or porous hair. I have my bachelor’s degree and my cosmetology license, and although cosmetology school takes a minimum of 10 months in my state, it is classes for 9 hours 5 days a week. This is equivalent to at least an associates degree in our specific field. With that being said, we learn a significant amount of information in those 10 months about how to professionally treat hair and keep it’s integrity. Box color will always be around and millions will use it. But if you ask any professional, they will tell you what a bad idea it is to put your hair through. And trust me, it’s not just for money, it’s because any good stylist truly cares about your hair being at it’s best. I also feel bad for people that have had bad experiences at a hair salon. But no stylist is perfect and mistakes are definitely made. The best advice I give my stylists is to be honest with their clients and go with the safe version, over a service that is aimed at pleasing a client, but comprising the hair. So clients keep that in mind too. If you want an honest opinion and service from your stylist, make sure you’re honest with them about any home services you have done on your hair. Also remember to have realistic expectations of styles and colors. Pictures are an amazing tool in helping to achieve a look, but many celebrity, Pinterest, or Instagram photos are filled with hair extensions and photo shopped colors. Thanks for reading and best of luck finding the right and talented stylist for you!

    • Gareth Ward

      Very well said.

    • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

      Well said, but I just want to reiterate: unless you’re going darker, no one should attempt to change several shades with box color (this should be common sense to every woman, not just stylists). That’s why I’m a proponent of ordering professional products off of the internet. Not every woman coloring their hair at home is using box color.

      • Shirley K Russell

        Sure you can order pro product off internet….you won’t know if its real quality pro product or diverted product. If you don’t have the education you need you will not use it correctly.

        • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

          For most women it just requires Hair Color + Developer. What’s so difficult about learning that? I get that bleach can be tricky, but the newer generations of products (like Olaplex) are making it much easier and gentler, especially for DIYers.

        • Sj Styles

          China is really good at counterfeiting too, they put all sorts of bad junk in the products they claim as professional and it’s just crap

    • Mads

      Yeah I went to school for that but they were full so I did the 9 month Niall class even tho for hair it’s not that intense .. Ok my point is .. I’ve been dying my hair My friends hair over the years and I can mix colour and I do know over processed and I Did understand everything you said ! I also just paid 200 for highlights and I wanted one peek abo removed ! She bleached over it ! Instead od removing the color which was done professionally !! It was ORANGE ! And fried ! I’ve spent so much also very little and just because someone has a loan ® doesn’t mean they’re any good at all ! If a hairstylist can’t draw do paint or do any form of art .. Is not talented that way .. Artistically your hair is going to come out bad ! Also now Adays they want to rich ! When doing beach and colour, highlights and peek a boos and other colour adds in your style you also should dye it first ! Rinse it ! Then do the highlights ! Why ? Because Blesch and colours are two different animals and times ! I had one girl do my hair that way ! She retired ever since they try to do it all at the same time ! I end up with washed out looking redkin or some other brand colour and ash instead of platinum blonde ! It’s a joke too ! My point ! Paying 200.00 doesn’t mean you’ll get it done right ! Or by a listened person ! I disagree with you 100% as you put down each and everyone of us .. Shake we don’t know ? Really ? I’ve been watching asking and learning for 30 years !!! I do know

    • Mads

      Also only very self confident hair stylist will tell a client what to use if we can’t affor it that month ! Yeah I did the slaw 9 hour days it’s not all that hard or intense ! It’s a lot of info in a shirt period of time and most hair stylist don’t hibachi to learn new aromas and hair colouring technique ! It’s true ! So you can have a 1980s hair dresser doing the same thing for all those years ! School doesn’t mean you’re good at it ! It means you’re good enough to slip by the class and Demo at the cosmological board ! Bare minimum ! Not all that graduate have a clue !

    • Megan Hall

      As a stylist myself, I can relate and agree to everything omg this post….the box color is working bc it’s the same level it’s being applied to and idc what anyone says if u use box/drug store lightener u are going to b Orange and need a toner….

    • lorreann

      It is hard for me to believe that the same companies (Clairol, L’oreal, etc) that provide your Professional color would decide to sell something in a box that would ruin your hair. I don’t believe it is the color but it is the inexperience of the person applying the color. Also, amateurs are not always knowledgable in choosing the right level of color.

      • BA

        Good points.
        As a chemist I also test hair color products and the boxed hair colors for sale to the public(Clairol,L’oreal, Swarzkopf, etc.) contain the same components as the hair color products sent to the Professionals. FACT.

        • Sj Styles

          WRONG!!! Some products like Swartzkopf, Clairol (No respectable hairstylist claims this as professional) and all brands have varying levels of ammonia. FACT!!! The higher the ammonia content the more damaging the product. I personally use an ammonia free, resorcinol free and ppd free formula of professional hair color. Box color is incredibly harsh and most diy’ers don’t have a clue on how to apply the color properly.

    • nicole

      I completely agree with Melissa about the metallic box hair colors from Wal-Mart they are completely damaging for your hair. I was a platinum blonde and tried to do an auburn color in my hair and it came out three different colors pink brown and dark brown And I spent $6 and a box of hair color. And I had to have my beautician from Hair Cuttery redo it for $200 plus a tip so the worst thing you can do if your hair is go get a $6 box of Revlon hair color or some other stupid color on the Shelf because you’re not going to get what you see on the package. And I ended up spending $200 to get my hair corrected because I thought I knew what I was doing I colored my hair blonde before and when it was platinum blonde and had no problem but when you’re going from platinum blonde to a auburn color Forget it do it professionally! Because Going from platinum blonde to Auburn is such a dramatic drastic change unless you really know what you’re doing and know a color wheel or anything like that have it done professionally to save yourself more money in the end.

      • Jim H.

        Box colors DO NOT use ‘Metallic Dyes’ this is a BIG MYTH started by so-called ‘professionals’ who F*cked-Up their clients hair and used ‘Box Color’ as a scape goat for their incompetence. Box Color (L’Oreal, Clairol, Garnier, Vidal Sassoon, Revlon etc.) are made by the SAME COMPANIES that make almost ALL of the professional lines (RedKen, Sabastian, Wella, Schwarzkopf etc.) the ONLY MAJOR difference is the number of colors per line 56 to 70 minimum up to 100+ for Pro Colors (Plus Color Concentrates and Modifiers) and 15 to 30+ shades for Box Color lines, a greater selection of Developers 0, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50+ for Pro colors and 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 for ‘most’ Box Colors with the developer being chosen for you and included in the Box. the REAL difference is the SKILL and KNOWLEDGE of the person applying the color – you can’t get that in a box so I don’t worry over WHO uses ‘Box Color’ because I KNOW I can do a better job and don’t need to “Bash” Box Color or people who choose to use them.

        • Sj Styles

          box color may not be metallic but it has a much higher ammonia content and usually higher volume developers which creates the damage along with a lack of knowledge by the user. Box color users usually overlap creating a big mess with bands of different porosity and elasticity.

      • Sj Styles

        the actual reason for why your color came out different shades with the same color is your porosity. Wow something we learned in COSMETOLOGY!!!! YES we went to school to LEARN about hair…texture, porosity, density. Thank you Nicole for acknowledging that hairstylists are trained and can work miracles with color.

    • Jim H.

      I have to agree it’s not really the product (but a high quality product does help) It’s the skill and knowledge of the person applying it that makes the biggest difference. Most people go to ‘Bargain Basement’ salons or ‘Training Schools’ and expect to get great services and sadly, this is not always the case. You must be willing to spend some money and DO SOME RESEARCH -find out who gets good reviews and for which service – if they get rave reviews for their haircuts does this mean they are a ‘Master’ at coloring? Be REALISTIC about what your hair CAN DO and what it CAN’T – if you have fine, fragile hair and want to go from medium brown to platinum blonde this may not be possible and no good colorist should tell you otherwise. Be PATIENT – some services take several steps or trips to the salon to get what you want. Be FAITHFUL to use good quality hair products and the care instructions given by your professional it will save your hair and your relationship with your professional colorist.

    • BA

      I am a chemist and work in a lab. I myself use boxed hair dyes with no issues. Swarzkopf is the best I have used. And FYI professionals use it as well. My stylist loves my hair color. And you can also purchase hair dye from a beauty supply store that the professionals use as well. Which is also a fraction of the cost for going to a salon.
      And no, you shouldn’t go to a stylist to get your hair colored. It’s just that are indeed options for people to get the same quality results at a good salon that you can do at home.

    • Marya Martinez

      Do you do hair still? If so, where? You are the only helpful and not rude person on this post, lol.

  10. Susan Georgeson

    Nonsense! I’ve been using L’Oreal preference for over 10 years along with L’Oreal Frost & Design. My hair is healthy and gorgeous. I constantly receive compliments. My color is perfection. It looks natural and healthy. I do not agree with this article.

    • Rebecca Balent

      In your profile picture any professional will tell you from midshaft down, your hair is brassy and needs a toner. Box color lifts 2 shades which means if you are dark blonde, you MAY end up with a very Golden medium blonde at best. The color on the box is showing you what the color looks like on white hair. Have you ever got a drop of Clorox on black pants? It doesn’t turn white, it turns orangey brown. Box color works the same way.

  11. Codi Nowacki

    My hair comes out better when I use a box color and I don’t have $65 every 4-5 weeks to be spending on professionals. I think this is kind of a self serving article for stylists. Sorry – but if you learn what you are doing and follow instructions, alot of this can be done at home for 1/10th of the cost. Maybe salons should consider that the 15 – 20 min they actually spend touching our head and applying color they get in bulk and pay minimal cost for is not worth $5 a minute to us.

    • Haireth

      That’s ignorant and insulting to people who’s livelihood it is to make YOU feel better about yourself. If you think your hair looks great, awesome… Stick with it. But don’t insult us by saying you do a better job with your cheap dyes and then compare it to what we are trained to do. Next time you need surgery… Do it yourself.

      • Codi Nowacki

        Oooh, bitter much? I actually tip well over 20% and never less than 15% because I appreciate the service. And I don’t screw people out of their livelihood. However I certainly don’t need to pay you $100 to “have confidence” and for you to assume that I have none simply because I do not agree with this article is a pretty sad statement towards you as an individual and has nothing to do with the discussion. I think someone needs a nap.

        • Haireth

          Yeah Okay. Whatever helps you sleep at night. Looks like I hit home on that one. And it has everything to do with the article when I’m defending a career which you think has no point and no value. Disgusting. Happy new year!! :p

          • Codi Nowacki

            Wow and greedy to boot – I think I will trust business insider on this one. Since I actually do my research before I spout off here’s a little tip for you that is actually correct – no thanks necessary. I noted the references that apply so you don’t have to read too many words.

            ********Waiter15% for adequate service, 20% for exceptional service.*********

            For poor service, leave 10% or less. It’s okay to leave nothing for exceptionally poor service, but only if you’re sure it’s the waiter’s fault.

            Personal service
            Again, little agreement: 10-15%, 15-20%, etc. One person recommends
            $5 to each individual who shampoos or blow-dries your hair! (also)
            Spa service15-20%
            Shoe-shiner$2 or $3

          • Haireth

            Omg I read it on the interwebs so it MUST BE TRUE!! dear woman… Continue on in your life JUST the way you’ve been doing… With the wool pulled tightly and comfortable over your eyes. You’re welcome.

          • Elle

            Where do you work? Just so we know where not to go.

          • I'veGotSomethingToSayyyy!

            Jesus, are you bi-polar?! Based on your behavior in this thread, I wouldn’t sit in your salon chair if you paid me. No one said hair stylists and colorists have no value, and I’m so happy for you that you have “a lotta money” to throw at hairstylists. Good for you. But unlike you, some of us paid $60,000+ for our degrees and are struggling to pay off those loans whilst also working weekends (and often with disgruntled people) – and thus, cannot afford to pay someone $250 every 6 weeks for something we can do ourselves (with the exact same products you use)

          • Haireth

            Oh are you a psychiatrist now? Did you watch a YouTube video on psychiatry?

            Don’t worry. I’d boot you from my chair anyway. Just because we work to make people beautiful, doesn’t mean we have to put up with ugly people’s crap.

            And what’s this about making bad decisions on where people go to school? You’re the one who chose to spend all that money… For what exactly? A piece of paper? Just like mine? K.

          • BA

            You sound very unprofessional.
            By your posts you sound like a very nasty individual and detract from the discussion..

          • Sara Recor

            Die, faggot.

          • Donna

            I’ve Got Something to Sayyyyy! I went to salons for years and years and years…..I was blessed to go to top salons and they did a good job usually it took a few times to get the color just right…..especially with highlights…often I would end up more blond all over than highlighted but toner always helped. Anyway I would pay $250 for the color alone and then the cut was $65.00 and then of course the 20% tip! Well times have changed as they so often do and I have had to cut waaayyy back on everything. I actually have not visited a salon in 9 months! Yikes! Even cutting my own hair….still a novice ….yet it does not look so bad….a good scissors is key….I am learning about color ….. all over color is “easy” ….especially with todays multihued dye that does not look flat….I have purchased highlight packets from Sallys several months ago but still hesitant to take that next step. All of this is being said because you are absolutely right …..we all cannot afford the costs to have someone apply color to our hair and charge $200 plus…..yet we deserve to be able to try to look our very best on the budget we must live with. To the stylists we say thank you for your expertise and if we could we would sit in “the Chair” and be styled away but for many of us it is not an option. Its probably time for me to go get a cut by a professional ….or maybe Not! 🙂 ♥

          • Jim H.

            You REALLY need to develop some social skills. I can’t imagine sitting in your chair and listening to you make snide remarks about your co-workers and clients because it is obvious you do just from what I’ve read here. You (and those LIKE You) are the reason most cosmetologists get a reputation for being rude, catty and un-professional.

          • BA

            No one has said here that stylists have no value.
            I go to mine for a beautiful haircut and sometimes lowlights and highlights done.
            As for your comment about “sh*tty chemicals) do some research.
            As a chemist I myself use Swarzkopf to color my hair and this product is also used at salons.
            And in conclusion I certainly would not visit your salon.

        • Keila Soñe

          I don’t why it so important to you to even reply with comments,if what your doing working well for than you not to contribute to tread other hate speech and trolling. They trueth is bix dye in metallic color color actually says on soen and like Féria. Not care that came afford to spend XYZ go do your hair so tete no need to troll about it. Clearly if paying for box color that is case and no one cares. This organic color system or professional products are not for you,so keep moving.

      • BA

        FYI I always tip at restaurants and also my hairdresser.
        My hairdresser has also told me that Swarzkopf makes excellent hair products for sale to the public.
        I often do my base color myself and she does the highlights for me with the products she uses in her salon.
        And I had a terrible experience once whilst getting my hair dyed by a Professional.
        I did tip her and she corrected her mistake and gave me my money back.

  12. Gareth Ward

    Okay… There are rights and wrongs from BOTH sides here. If you do a great job with your box dyes… Stick with them. But salon viable colors and box dyes DO NOT MIX. It’s a matter of chemistry. They are simply incompatible with one another. Meaning…if you come into a salon with box dye and want a complete change… Your results will be UNPREDICTABLE. The metallic dyes of box color do not remove easily from your hair. No one is saying you do a sh*tty job with your boxed hair and you look terrible. But you can’t have both worlds. Now… What you CAN have is some respect for people who have made this their career and CARE about what goes on your head and not come complaining when you decided you didn’t want to spend more than $10 to get gorgeous locks. If you get great results with the box… Fine. But if you don’t… It’ll cost you. So don’t complain. Color correction is expensive. It’s just the way it is. I’d rather spend $100 (completely dependant upon where you go) on guaranteed results than $10 on a shot in the dark. I am also a fan of entrepreneurs and smaller businesses. I’m extremely loyal, so I support people who train in a field and I value their expertise. I don’t know about you… But if someone gives me GREAT hair… They’ll have my loyalty, and a whole lotta my money. But don’t bash stylists because ONE person made a mistake or two. No one is perfect. And always communicate. If you don’t explain EXACTLY what you want (show pictures), you may not be happy with your results. If you’re happy with your results from the BOX… STAY WITH IT. But be advised the metallic salts are NOT good for your hair or your scalp. If you’re someone who asks professionals for advice, yet insists upon doing it them self… You are what’s called an “ASKHOLE” and I wouldn’t want you in my chair anyway. Cheers! 🙂

    • jen

      Its so amazing to see this thread and how stylists rant about how knowledgeable they are on their work , but what i would just love to know is where is all this knowledge and expertise when i sit in that chair of unpredictable, unprofessional terror!!! I have honestly been going to salons for over fifteen years or more experimenting with different ones, just to see if for once just for once one of them could get it right!!! Without me walking out cringinging my god dam teeth. And yes ive done research , and i told and showed what i want, i told them what i dont want and yet its exactly what i dont want. And no im not a low confident bad tiping customer, actully im quite the opposite because im so god damm willing and optimisic each time i vist a salon. Hoping that i will walk out and feeling for once that my 500 is well spent. See i dont know where all this knowledge of hair colring goes but ive never seen this expect work in a solon , just hair stylists experimenting on peoples hair thats all. My solution? No box dye, and certainly no salon “color” as you call it , no color at all !!! I lost faith completely so i just stay away as tempted as i am for that “nice” change, i stay the hell away!

      • Haireth

        Jen, I completely understand the frustration. There are, unfortunately, a LOT of really unprofessional and untrained stylists. I’m wondering… What do you usually ask for? What’s your hair like? I’m curious to know what’s so difficult that so many stylists can’t please you? I look at every opportunity as a challenge to better myself and always improve. I’m never satisfied until my client is.

    • Sara Recor

      Faggot bitch, table for one.

  13. cara

    I go to a salon school for my cuts and colors. if I feel they missed something or it feels to flat or straight or whatever. I speak up! If you don’t clearly (for example) say “hey I hate when my hair falls to the left like this can you take this part back a bit.?” I even will pick a piece and fold it or tuck it so they can see what I mean. They HAVE to listen to you. Its their job. Even pros I stop them and say something. Even better find the picture you like best of a hair cut and show it to them. Say exactly what you want even before they begin. Be very clear. If you aren’t sure if you’ll like it try a long version and have then slowly shorten it. You’re paying them and they are, again, trained to listen. Also avoid crappy chain salons! Omg! Not that every hair dresser their is bad at their jobs but I find soo many women get scared off by how terrible a job they do. Great clips in my area is renowned for chopping people hair off badly and unevenly. If they are selling drug store shampoos inside, run away. Yes. I have seen, Garnier Fructis, in a salon. I walked away. you should too. Also read reviews about your hair salon before you go. See what they say about them.

  14. Jordan Sacco

    I paid 28 grand to attend 15 months of school to understand the science behind why hair does what it does. Box color is shit. It treats all hair from coarse to fine black to blonde porous to less than the EXACT SAME. That means for the woman whos touching up her delicate fine hair naturally light roots the box color is going to treat your hair the same way as thick coarse dark asian hair. Therefore in longevity, leading to overprocessing and multiple layers of pigment overlaid. Lets say this, your box color is applied in a warmer environment, say you live in texas. Your natural body heat kicks up the color a smidge too much. Your roots turn hot. Not terrible. Just too yellow and too light. Now what? Do you understand the physics behind why that happened? Do you understand how to fix it? Buying another box of color is NOT the answer on this one. This is where the science and understanding that we attend school to become a professional kick in. We are professionals because we personalize color for every individual. Because tone makes or breaks you and only WE AS PROFESSIONALS understand how to customize that feature because we are trained to do so. For those of you who have gotten away with box color for so long and insist it has always been better, good for you. Keep layering that hair shredding garbage on it and then when your hair is falling out in 15 years wonder why? Some people can get away with it for so long but I hope you never have any intention of changing anything about your current color because unless you are trained to factor in your natural color, your previous color, your desired tones, how to cancel undesired tones, the integrity from root to end, and can predict the perfect level of lift or deposit, you are going to end up with a ratchet mess. Last couple of things. Please dont look for the cheap route of going to a professional. Professionals charge based on their value. Sure you can go get a cut and color for 40 bucks but there is a reason it is 40 dollars. That stylist probably does little to no continued education, which lowers his or her value. On the other hand, ive spent $14,000 on continued education which makes my knowledge more valuble to my clients because it shows through my work. Dont look for a bargain and expect to walk out with kardashian hair. Its common sense. Lastly, for the love of god, please dont sit down in my chair, ask me for fire engine red, perfect pastel lavender, or even a beautiful blondette balayage, and go home and wash your hair with some suave bullshit and wonder why your color didnt last. You need to invest in your hair and the money you spent on it. Unless your okay literally watching it rinse down the drain. No professional product that any stylist in their right mind would guarantee their work with comes from the shelves of walmart or Sorry. But no. Rant over.

  15. Lipstickandribbons

    I have been using Olaplex it has made my hair amazing again like when I was a teen

  16. Liz Shibahara

    I use box color because of the convenience and cost. I went to a stylist twice for color in the past year and the box color covered my grays better than the stylists who charged my ten times the cost and spent a lot of time. My hair has a lot of orange undertones and I explained that to one doing highlights for me. She had to lighten past the orange and then add color. Also I use regular grocery store products for shampoo, styling products, etc. I own a MyMeElos if I want to do light treatment after shaving. I suppose if I won the lottery and could spend a lot of time and money to pay someone and buy better quality products my hair might not be the dunb curly frizball it is with dumb orange tones but most women look just beautiful with box color or salon color. I can tell the ones who go to the salon and buy the fancy makeup and spend a lot on their clothes. They do look nicer than I do. But I am not going to be like that living on a box color budget. Of course don’t go out and think your black hair will turn pastel purple with one application but do live in your budget and lifestyle.

  17. Jessica Hernanedz

    The people I see and know with box colored hair hilarious ! And then they think it’s so well done.

  18. Raye

    I dye my hair every couple of weeks, however I’ve only used box dye once. In my experience, it did not work at all. I had dyed my hair black (with manic panic) and used Loreal extreme platinum, and my hair just turned brown. To bleach hair, I would recommend buying bleach and developer from Sally’s, as well as ion colours for best results. Hair salons usually do NOT do the best job and doing it yourself ensures it gets done right.

  19. I came across this article while running a plagiarism check for my website. This content is undeniably derived from my ORIGINAL post…10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color. Please properly cite your source. Even if you don’t copy an article word for word it is still plagiarism. I would link to your website if I wanted to offer your ideas to my readers and I expect the same in return.

    Thank you for understanding. If you need examples of how to properly link to my content I’m happy to share some links to other websites that have shared my article with their readers.

    Here’s the link to my article, the original content and ideas written by me that are copyright protected:

  20. Amanda Kinney

    With the box colors it really depends on what you are wanting to do. If you just want to cover your gray/ touch up roots and your hair is dark, the box stuff is usually fine. Where you run into problems is if/when you ever decide to highlight, or get rid of red from fading. We can’t always lift to get a pretty highlighted tones if someone used a box color because they often contained metals like copper that leave an orange stained undertone. Bottom line. box is okay for dark hair when you are just trying to cover grey or lighter hair but doesn’t work predictably if you are going lighter or are very picky about getting exact tones.

  21. Shannon Worsham

    I have always been respectful and tipped well but everytime I go to a salon they destroy my hair. About 2 months ago I was recommended a place, scared but hopeful, I went to have my hair bleached. No one tested my hair, asked about well water, asked what color I used, or listened when I told them I have too much hair to do in one process. (Its funny how I knew what they should’ve done since they are so much better.)My hair was red and I told them I color my hair often. I told them I expected to have orange hair for a while before I came back to have it finished but she said “oh no I will bleach it twice and tone it all today”. I cringed, I know I should’ve walked then. I sat in shock as she had to get someone to help her finish because my hair was done processing on the third that had bleach applied. I kept my mouth shut cause all I hear is ya’ll know best. Then it happened! My hair melted. It steamed and leaked and was so hot it was burning them while taking out the foils. She did not rinse it and continued to finish my hair. Then she put me under a DRYER! Then she bleached it again! It burned again! Then toner! They chopped it all off because they couldn’t even brush it. They actually wouldn’t let me see my hair, saying how they wanted it to be a surprise cause it looked so good! My hair was so long (almost to my butt)and healthy and I knew I would lose alot of it from damage but not so much that now it’s a bob that continues to break and feels slimy and spongy. I paid $320 plus $30 to the girl that did the color and $10 to the one who cut it and half-assed flat ironed it because the other girl and I quote ” didn’t know how to handle my thick hair”. I now know she meant she fucked up and needed help to make it look good before I left. But once I washed it I was pissed! This is the fifth time a salon has fucked up my hair and it will be the third time I’ve had to chop it off and start over because of a bad cut or color. So girls all it really takes is practice. I don’t recommend box dye because you can’t control the developer strength. Don’t let them make you believe you can’t go buy several shades and get that multi-tone hair. Do research. Watch youtube. Go on threads. You can learn how without paying for a piece of paper. I always get compliments on my hair when I’ve done it and I’ve never ruined it.

    • Sj Styles

      I am so sorry that a stylist did this to you! Yes you can bleach twice in one day and still have healthy hair.Usually with highlights you won’t need to and I don’t use a dryer. You said your hair was healthy and to your butt and not sure by your post if it was color treated prior to the fiasco. If your hair was healthy there shouldn’t have been a problem. If there was heat coming off your hair that is because of a chemical reaction. Were you using a natural hair color? Honestly bleach should not be handled by the inexperienced.

  22. lorreann

    I worked as an Apprentice/Assistant to a very busy stylist and the color bottles we used looked exactly the same as what you get in the box. The biggest problem with box color isn’t the color, it’s the ability to apply it properly.

  23. Lovelife55

    These comments drive me crazy. Do you do electrical, auto, carpentry by your self? Maybe but Probably not. We went to school and got licensed. Sure your box color might be good for now but what about when you want a change? Go lighter? Or the people who box color black for years and expect platnum blonde after one sitting . I’m sorry but we try to do what the client asks while keeping the integrity of your hair. So if you didn’t notice a “huge difference” then a. Your hair didn’t lift right because of the box color with the high lights or b. You said you wanted it subtle. I’m
    Sick of people putting our education down. Your box may work because you’re using the same level brown but it’s most likely not healthy and I bet you some parts are greenish or reddish.

  24. Well, some of this is VERY similar, if not exactly copied from my article…

    …it’s polite to cite your sources when copying someone’s work! Thank you, a ping back is greatly appreciated!

  25. BA

    Been use box hair color for many, years. And nearly 30 years without any issues! I use L’oreal, Garnier and Swarzkopf. My hairdresser loves the hair color. I get loads of compliments and people think it’s my natural hair color.

    I am also a chemist and work in a lab.

    And yes, I feel safe using a boxed hair dye for my hair.

    • Sj Styles

      I call BS that you work in a lab and are comfortable with the chemicals you are putting on your scalp. Have you looked up the chemicals you are slapping on???? Doubtful

  26. Sara Recor

    Wow. What a rage-filled, arrogant, defensive bitch. Erika, did you really think you could hide? Your cuntdom is detectable even in cyberspace.

  27. Sara Recor

    Hateful, catty faggot bitch, table for one. Isn’t there a dick you should be deep throating, rump ranger??

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