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Say Bye-Bye to Box Dye

Pic of Wendenator's Hair Up Close
What I'm about to tell you will keep the hair on your head and your money in your pocket.

Why Say Bye-bye?

I was complaining to my hairstylist about the lack of moisture and ton of breakage and she explained that box colors are way too harsh and can cause irreversible damage.

Some ladies color their hair for fun, I color my hair to cover the grays. My grays came in very early and too this day, every two weeks my grays make an appearance right along my hairline. The frequent dying was damaging my hair..

Switching to professional color improved the texture of my hair, significantly reduced the amount of breakage, and improved its ability to hold moisture.

$$$ Savings 

I went from spending $16 for one box of hair color good for only one use to $12.00 for professional color cream and developer that was enough for multiple uses. Now that's BIG SAVINGS!

What you need

Your hairstylist or a hair expert can help you select the best color or color combination. Keep in mind that some hairstylists and beauty store reps may try to steer you away from doing it yourself. As you can tell from my blog, not only do I dye my own hair, I do everything except trims and cuts.

If you don't think you're ready to do it alone, I suggest that you go to a hairstylist.

If you're ready to do it, you're better off if you're prepared with:
  • brand of hair color 
  • number for the color  
  • type of color 
  • developer level (usually 10 – 20 level or 1.9 – 4%)
  • applicator brush and bowl 
Important: If you’re a regular box-dye user, you should wait a few weeks before switching to this routine to prevent serious damage to your hair and scalp.

The beauty supply rep may encourage you to go with a stronger developer to cover the greys but I don't think it's necessary. Demi hair colors, along with mild developers have worked great for me and I have curly-coarse hair. I've been using this method to dye and my hair for the last 4 years and the colour hasn't washed out yet.

Although I recommend sticking to one brand, I rotate between the following for touching-up my greys:

Wella Color Charm Demi-Permanent Color  (my color is Chestnut) with 1.9% or 4% developer from Sally Beauty Supply.


Wella Color Touch Demi-Permanent Color (my color is dark brown) with 1.9% or 4% developer from Cosmetic World.


Follow the instructions on the box. It's a pretty easy process, here's how I do it:
  • mix 1 part of the demi-permanent hair color to two parts developer in a bowl
  • using the applicator brush, apply the color to the grey hair, and then comb the excess through your hair for blending.  I usually leave the color on for 15-20 minutes
  • wash out the color using a moisturising shampoo. Follow up with a deep moisturizing conditioner
  • style hair as desired
Extra Tip

You can mix color creams together but I would ask for help with selecting your colors. For example, a dark brown and dark red brown can be mixed together and when you're in the sun, you're hair will look dark brown with red overtones.

  • Always wait 2 weeks between coloring and processing (i.e., relaxer or perm)
  • Always wait 48 hours after dying hair before shampooing.
  • In the US, peroxide strength is stated as a numeric value followed by “volume”; i.e. 40 volume. In Canada it is stated as a percentage; i.e. 4%.


For more information on hair color and style advice…

The Beauty Department - Hair Color Guide
Thinking Outside the Box - What's the Deal With Box Color?
Hair by Takisha - Celebrity Hairstylist
How-to Hair Girl
Confessions of a Cosmetologist - 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use box Color
I Rock My Natural