What’s the difference between a box dye job and professional salon colour service?

Hi, my name is Sophia Grace. I have been a hairstylist and specifically, a professional colourist, for over 20 years.

I now have my own salon, Luca Hairstyling, in Thorndon. Colour is our thing, and no that doesn’t mean every second client leaves with pink hair (I love pink hair on the right person), it means every client leaves with beautifully executed, suitable, editorial quality hair colour that is modern, consistent, healthy and gorgeous.

Over the last 10 years especially, colour has exploded on the hairdressing scene, and it rivals the “cut” as the crowning jewel of modern hair-dos. With that, professional product companies have been fiercely improving the quality and range of hair colouring products. We, the stylists, are spoilt for choice and can curate any colour to your mood, skin, lifestyle and hair texture. It’s really an exciting time for hair fashion.

So why not DIY your dye?

After years of seeing gorgeous, happy clients I have also experienced more than enough who have opted for the ‘cheaper’ or ‘quicker’ option of DIY home colouring.

Here are 5 reasons why visiting a professional hair salon for your hair colouring is the only way to go.

1. Your hairdresser can help you pick the right colour

Picking a colour is not looking at the box to see what shade you want, and this is what your hair colourist knows; the shade you like in the bottle is often not the shade to pick for the result you want. Tricky right? This is what your colourist trains for. Hair is not like painting a wall. The stylist must first consider your natural base shade, your underlying pigment (which lets us know how warm, or red, your hair may appear) and any existing colour already in your hair which must be treated separately. Have you ever wondered why hair stylist often has two bowls or more of colour prepared when they do your hair? There are multiple aspects of each person's hair, and the client's hair history, that need to be broken down and evaluated to get a high-quality result. In the case of DIY, you get one box, one colour formulation for all of your hair.

2. Getting a colour at the salon is safer

Let's not forget you are putting chemicals on your hair and there can be adverse effects. Good professional products have nutritive additives like argan oil to protect the hair, or ammonia free colouring options, depending on your allergy situation or other needs. Also, your hair will have a certain current condition and level of quality, and your stylist will take all of this into consideration. They will choose the right strength of colour products to avoid any type of over processing or breakage. Good colour results start with a trained expert and excellent professional product. A great stylist will use professional judgement for how long product should sit on your hair or scalp.

3. It’s all in the result

How many people that colour their hair at home are being asked where they get their colour done? I can tell you now: not many. The results for DIY are often catastrophic, and invariably we see them then come into the salon and need colour correction, which is a technical and expensive service. Often DIY jobs leave hair matte and dull, and either too green and ashy, or ginger and brassy. It’s usually a solid colour with no variation, or it's much darker or lighter than expected. It can vary in consistency, and you most often end up with bright roots and dull colour on the ends. The results are less than desirable. To discover what is possible, check out some fabulous inspiration pictures here.

4. Professional hair colouring is far more subtle

Even for those who happily achieve their desired outcome with box colour, say black for example. When people finally get sick of years of colouring their hair black and want to go lighter, hairdressers are very wary of doing the service. Years of intense black dye means an enormous amount of red pigment in the hair. However, if you were colouring in the salon, the stylist would know your history and know you won’t have needed more dye on the ends every time. Through their knowledge and skill, the hairstylist will prevent build-up and allow more flexibility to change up your look.

5. Personalisation

Finally, your hairdresser can personalise your colour for you. This means putting in highlights that suit your style and cut, touching up your roots only, and putting a gloss on the ends; assessing your hair needs each time, not saturating the colour. Layering colour on colour does not make results brighter or more vibrant, it makes hair darker. A stylist has the flexibility to create the tone to suit your skin and eye colour and personalise quality colour just for you. Take the stress out of DIY colouring and leave it to the professionals, sit back relax and enjoy the service knowing the result will be beautiful, healthy shiny coloured hair.


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