Shocker, colorists want to make a good living just like everyone else, but that is not why we tell you to please please pretty please with sugar on top for the love of god stop using box dye! We tell you this because box dye is literally destroying your hair. Slowly, stealthily, over time. Like a hydrogen peroxide ninja.
Knowledge is power, so let’s break down exactly how box dyes work versus professional dyes.
Professional Dye: Deposits color molecules on the inside of the hair cuticle where the natural melanin lives. These molecules are larger and more numerous than your natural melanin, so they end up taking over and becoming the dominant color.
Box Dye: 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 Dye: 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 (hydrogen peroxide) is chosen based on the strength your hair needs. If your hair is fine or porous, your colorist will likely choose a lower strength, which will be gentler and leave your hair in the best possible condition.
Box Dye: 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 Dye: Stops working after a certain amount of time. The potency of these colors is meant to diminish slowly after they are mixed, usually stoping working altogether after an hour. This is why your colorist mixes bowls as she 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 Dye: 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 darker colors, it may eventually be impossible to change, even with professional lightener.
tl;dr Box dye changes the physical makeup of your hair, making strands weaker and the color MUCH harder to change should you get tired of your hue.
I love hair color. 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.