Hair Dye Confessions

I have a confession: I use box hair dye to color my hair.  Spending $100 and up for a salon trip doesn't seem justifiable to me because my natural hair color is a very light brown/almost dark blonde (top right).  This means my hair lightens easily to a golden blonde, covers easily in red, and also darkens nicely.  I've used a box to get to every other color above.  I have done salon color multiple times, but it was only necessary when I wanted to go from a copper red to dark blonde because it's a big change.  My hairstylist left my salon, and her replacement gave me highlights that made my hair an AWFUL light red with white blonde streaks.  I went to my sister's stylist who fixed it right up (I still see her, she's fantastic).  After that I thought well if even a professional can mess this up I'd rather just spend less and be mad at myself.  Luckily, I've never had a color disaster of my own doing.

Well, it's not just luck.  I've been using boxed colors since high school.  I started making small changes at a time and learned a lot from my mom who has dyed her own hair for as long as I can remember.  So, I have a few tips if you're going to box dye your own hair!
1.  Only go a shade or two darker or lighter than your current color.  This is why I needed to go to a salon to do red to blonde
2.  Don't buy the cheap stuff.  You're already saving cash with a box.  Spring for the $12 one.
3.  I think foams give better/quicker coverage and don't make as much of a mess since it's less drippy.
4.  Semi-permanent is less damaging and is ready for touch up when roots are ready for dye anyway.
5.  For red color use a shade very to your hair color to start with.  Red also fades faster than other colors so expect to dye more often, and bath towels to turn red.
6.  If you have a lot of hair you may need two boxes to cover it all.
7.  It's never a bad idea to do a test on a small chunk of hair from the back of your head.  This could save you from a hair emergency, which is worth an extra 25 minutes.
8.  Read the instructions, and follow them.  Then use the deep conditioner weekly!
9.  I wash my hair every other day to keep it from drying out.  Though, my bangs get washed every day.  I use Lush Big Shampoo and Veganese Conditioner most days.  Sometimes I use Wen cucumber.

Happy coloring! Mallory


  1. I use box dyes, too! I'm a natural dark brunette, but I've been blonde, I've had black hair, and I've done every combination of dark lights/low lights in between. I like doing it myself - I'm too scared to spend that much money and have something go wrong.

  2. Boxed hair dye is setting on my hair at this very moment as I am reading your blog and typing this comment! No shame in saving some penny's :) And, now that I've figured out which brand/colors work for me, I get lots of compliments on my box dyed hair!

  3. Can I just ask how you wash your bangs every day?

    1. Good question: my bangs get greasy in a day, but the rest of my hair doesn't. So, I put the rest of my hair in a ponytail then wet my bangs in the sink. I rub in just a little bit shampoo, rinse it out, dry my bangs, and then take the ponytail down.

  4. I do mine myself, too! BUT it takes 3 boxes of John Freida! Time for a haircut?!? Haha

  5. Chemist, Eugene Schuller, however, created a hair dye using a new formula called paraphenylenediamine. Thus, he created the first commercially safe hair dye product. His company, French Harmless Hair Dye Company changed its name a year later to L'Oreal, which is now the largest and most famous among its competitors.

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