Although home hair color has been around for eons, it recently has become a lot more popular due to the downtown in the economy and the need for many people to cover their gray or do touch-ups at home. As more people color at home out of necessity they also need to understand the DIY home hair color perils to consider and hopefully avoid.
I consider myself a veteran of the hair color wars starting my own quest for the perfect blonde at the local drugstore where I lusted after the photos of the stunning blondes on the Clairol boxes. Eventually I found my way to Clairol's Nice n Easy which I used faithfully from my early teens until my 30s.
At one point I noticed my hair would not grow past my mid back, the ends were much lighter than the middle and I had no easy fix.
The hairstylist whom I consulted about my stunted hair growth explained that the home hair color had to go. I didn't believe he had evil motives because my hair had literally not budged past a certain point in 10 years. There had to be some logical explanation so I knew he was right on the money.
The home hair color kits had kept me blonde, but it had also destroyed my hair and its ability to grow to it's optimal length.
While I had saved all that hair color at the salon costs over all those years, in the end I had to have my hair cut to chin length and start over with salon highlights and low lights. My hair eventually recovered and has been several inches below my waist for many years.
Now you would literally have to pay me a million dollars to get me to use home hair color kits because of all my acquired knowledge of why box color is a major peril that hair consumers should evaluate wisely. You may save money in the short term, but in the long time there is always the Angel Of Home Hair color Death who will collect the price.
Recently I extended the time between my visit to my Dallas hair colorist Rose Zuniga to much longer than normal. There were a variety of factors which prevented me from getting into the salon. While Rose graciously offered to come to me, I didn't have the right location for her to easily perform her highlight magic.
Since Rose does such a phenomenal job of highlighting and low lighting I really don't get obvious roots. Just a few halo grays which peek out around my face and temples. With my blonde hair it's hard to even see the few grays, but I know they're there.
Finally I made my salon visit a priority and my hair looks spectacular. What did I do in-between my touch up times? I used a variety of methods to keep my hair look okay although I honestly prefer to go in for touch-ups more frequently.
Major Home Haircolor Perils To Consider
1. The price you save in buying the home hair color kit could be lost many times over if you have to go to a professional hair color correction specialist to rescue a bad home hair color job. That $5 box of home hair color could spiral to $250 for one or more sessions removing unwanted orange, purple, green or pink hues.
2. The saving in salon hair color services might mean other long term expensive hair problems. I learned the hard way that years of home hair color resulted in massive split ends, breakage along the roots and stalled hair growth.
I had to eventually have my hair chopped off and start over again to grow out my tresses due to years of home hair color damage.
3. The money you save on box hair color may need to be spent on expensive deep conditioners and other hair treatment products because ongoing use of home hair color may cause an accumulation of chemical damage resulting in very dry and damaged hair.
4. If you can't afford professional hair color then either don't start with box color that must be maintained or may turn around and bite you with unwanted results or look for other options such as going to a cosmetology school or looking for specials at your favorite salon.
5. It is not true that the home hair color formulas from the grocery store are the exact same formulations as professional hair color. I know, I went to cosmetology school and learned all about hair color formulations.
Home hair color formulas tend to be much stronger (especially ammonia based formulations) than professional color since the home hair color needs to be strong enough to cover a wide range of heads. Professional hair color is designed to be used by hair color professionals taught to personalize the color to each individual client.
One exception is if you buy more professionally focused brands from stores like Sally Beauty or similar. In those cases the hair color is similar if not identical to professional lines used by hairstylists. Expert hair colorists are more likely to use exclusive professional color brands not available from consumer beauty supply stores.
6. While it's safe to color your hair at home, unless you have virgin hair, the results may be unpredictable for some and downright disappointing or damaging for others. While it's not a given that home hair color can ruin hair, it does happen a lot more than some people realize.
7. Professional hair color experts love home hair color brands, When consumers get bad color or damage, they need the services of a hair color correction expert which means new business for the colorist.
8. Some home hair color may have a high level of fumes which could cause physical irritation (lungs, throat) of some consumers if used in areas without proper ventilation. This may also be an issue at small salons without proper ventilation. In both cases it's important to insist on proper air flow to avoid any unnecessary chemical fume exposures.
9. Home hair color has artistic limitations. It may be possible for a home hair color guru to achieve an excellent base color and even add some highlights and low lights. It's much more difficult to achieve spectacular hair color with graduated shading which looks natural and grows out without a line with home color. Only a professional colorist can easily achieve an array of beautifully placed highlights, low lights and bases.
Professional colorists spend a lot of time and money getting trained and licensed. Being a hairstylist or colorist is not as easy as you might think. Color experts are constantly learning and fine tuning their color expertise and artistic talent.
Coloring At Home With Great Results
Some hair consumers color their hair at home and love the results. If it works for you than of course it's a great option for saving money and avoiding the need to get to the salon.
If you must color at home keep it simple and safe with ammonia free hair colors which wash out over time. These are usually labeled as demi-perm or temporary color. Step away from the bleach and don't even consider permanent colors which are truly permanent. Skip anything fancy such as attempting highlights, lowlights or multi-dimensional color schemes.
If you wish to color at home talk to your hairdresser first and explain your current challenges such as budget or time. Don't depend on clerks at beauty supply stores because they are not trained colorists and may not be licensed hairstylists.
You might want to work out a plan with your hairstylist where they apply the first color base along with highlights and low-lights for you to maintain at home. Some hair colorists can create a custom color shampoo formula for you to use in-between color visits.
Other options include finding a high quality cosmetology school which also does color for a fraction of the cost as a full salon. Another option is to locate salons which need color models for their apprentice stylists. While you may not have as much say on the color, it could be a way to get your base color updated at minimal cost.
Another option is bartering. If you truly can't afford professional hair color but need to update your color for a job search or other important life experience advertise for a trade. Maybe you could offer to do some cleaning or other services at a local salon in exchange for hair color work. You never know until you ask.
And don't forget about your friends. If you need help with simple hair color maintenance they can definitely help make sure you cover your entire head and don't leave random patches of gray in back.
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