What is the difference between at-home hair color vs. professional salon color? Hair color products directly affect the outcome of your hair condition and color and, therefore, are not something to choose blindly.
There are many factors that dramatically impact the end result aside from the current color of your hair. Hair health, texture, density, porosity, length, previous color services, and chemical history are all equally, if not more, important factors to consider as well. Even eye color and skin tone are important factors to consider when choosing your hair color. However, when it comes to at-home color products almost none of these things are considered.
In a DIY world, Don’t DIY Your Hair
Most people choose box color because it seems like a more convenient, cost-effective option than going to a salon. But, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Sure, you may be able to successfully use box color on “virgin” (never-before colored) hair and get decent results for the price. However, you may end up with breakage, permanent damage, or an undesirable outcome that requires a professional to fix. This can turn your $10 box color into a $300- $400 color correction at the salon to get the healthy, beautiful, hair color you wanted in the first place.
Using Henna on your hair at home can seem like a great option; It can improve strength, thickness, and shine as well as aid in restoring the natural pH of your hair and scalp. However, henna can create some major difficulties, especially when you’re looking to change your color.
Henna is a permanent hair color which means it will never completely come out of your hair, even after you experience the color fading. It often contains metallic salts that do not play well with other forms of hair dye. There have been instances of chemical reactions causing the hair to smoke when a professional color is placed over top of Henna! Eek! Further, if you want to get highlights, balayage, or anything that requires bleach, you will most likely end up with green or blue hair! It is extremely important to let your hairdresser know when you’ve used Henna, even if it was over a year ago-it could still be a part of your hair!
Long-Term Realities of At-Home Vivid Color
Typically, vivid colors fade relatively quickly and need to be refreshed. There are several new color-depositing products that have revolutionized the maintenance of vivid colors. With that being said, we have seen some surprising things happen behind the chair when coloring over top of these color-depositing vivid products.
Some guests use these at-home vivid refreshers to add a bit of dimension to their hair and are under the impression that it will pose no changes when they come in for a bleaching service. Once, this happened with one of our guests and once the bleach started to lift, the hair turned bright, vivid pink! Luckily the guest loved it and we ended up doing a vivid pink balayage instead of blonde.
Knowing what happened with repeated use of these products at home, we recommend our guests use it only when their color has completely faded.
Clear Expectations, Quality Results
For any at home hair color; box, henna, or vivid-depositors, the best precaution is knowledge. We will always perform a strand test before certain services when there are past elements that could potentially affect the guest’s color. This eliminates any confusion or false expectation for the outcome of the process.
The salon offers knowledge from hair professionals with years of education and experience that you will never find with at-home color. Hairdressers are trained on the laws of color and chemistry and have a variety of tools to lighten or darken your hair, personalized to your hair specifically. Home color provides a “one size fits all” approach to hair color which definitely will not guarantee salon quality results. Heavily bleached hair, resistant grey hair, virgin hair, thin hair, and damaged hair are all treated with the same color formula and application process from the box.
Your hair is unique to you
Your color formula should be too
To maintain healthy hair and great hair color, it is best to seek out a salon professional to give you your dream color. If cost is an issue, have a conversation with your hairdresser about your options of how to achieve your hair goals without breaking the bank. It’s our job as hair professionals to give your desired look and to leave your hair looking and feeling better than when you came in.
Co-authored by Anna and Kendra
Inspired and influenced by “Thinking Outside the Box: Box Color vs. Professional Color” by Teake