So you’re standing in that aisle of the drugstore with the well-lit wall of boxed hair dyes staring at pictures of professionally-colored hair thinking, “I could use a change…” or more likely, “only $5.99?” It’s temptation at its finest and trust us, we get it. Just keep in mind that, for the most part, things won’t turn out the way you expect them to and you could do real, lasting, damage to your precious tresses in the process. Going ahead with it anyway? Bookmark these five box-dying success tips.
CHOOSE A REASONABLE COLOR
If you remember one thing about boxed dyes, remember this; do NOT attempt do anything too drastic or too specific. If you’re going to have any chance at achieving the results you want, stay within the realm of your natural color and in general, say no blonde. Attempting to go lighter is what causes people the most trouble and you will probably end up spending $$ trying to fix the damage. Same thing goes for highlights, lowlights, or any look that requires actual placement and or any type of transition. Colorists have tons of experience and knowledge when it comes to tones, dyes, lightening, lifting, adding dimension and highlighting and they use the proper tools and dyes to get the job done. They are professionals, you are not. End of story.
BUY TWO BOXES
Once you’ve landed on a reasonable color and are ready to take the plunge, buy two boxes. When it comes to box dye, more is always, always, better.
TEST IT OUT FIRST
Do the strand and skin tests. Like literally DO them. We know you want to get to your new color asap but by testing things out before hand, you could avoid a huge color disappointment or worse, a potential allergic reaction. The mixtures in these boxes are not made specifically for you and your straight/curly/thick/fine hair, so by doing a simple test you can determine (on the surface) if this is the right shade, or chemical mixture for your body and your hair.
SECTION AND TIME IT
Tests done and ready for action? This is where things can get messy. For your best chance at even coverage, divide your hair into sections with clips. Then apply the dye at your scalp, pulling the color down the shaft with your (gloved) hands. When you’ve covered your whole head, set a timer. Don’t ‘wing it’ when it comes to time and don’t leave the dye in any longer than outlined in the instructions. ‘Leaving it in’ does not mean ‘more intense color’, it means damage.
Water running clear? Perfect, now’s the time to restore moisture like it’s your job. Most boxes come with a deep conditioner so you can start with that but you will also need to purchase a full-size version because from now on, you will need to condition constantly and consistently. If you let your hair get dry, the dye (because it’s inexpensive) is likely to fade in some spots and not others. Forget to condition and after a few weeks, you’ll be left with weirdly uneven coloring. Also, If you can, avoid clarifying or dandruff-fighting shampoos, and the pool, which can strip even professional-grade colors.
Try this: the only MA-approved at-home hair color.