Salon hair color versus drugstore brands

by Caroline Tutera

Can you tell me the difference between salon color, and store bought hair color?????

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Salon hair color versus drugstore brands

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Jan 04, 2008
Salon Hair Color/Drugstore Brands
by: Donna in Ct.

Caroline,as an experienced colorist, I'm going to tell you honestly that there really ISN'T a dramatic difference, despite what manufacturers want us to believe. The big difference comes into play with knowing WHICH colors to choose, and WHY. You are not adding color to a blank are either adding or subtracting color that is already in your hair naturally,PLUS the new artificial color pigment. An experienced colorist has studied the theory of color and will choose pigments and the appropriate volume developer to result in your desired shade. Also, they will take into consideration the porosity levels of the hair shaft; often different at the ends than at the scalp, and treat those areas accordingly. When it comes to touch-ups, a stylist will apply the formula only to the roots, not the entire head, which home-colorists often do month after month, which results in trashed hair and off-colors. So, in essence, a good stylist would get great results with ANY color line, while an inexperienced person at home may not, even if they were to use the highest end salon-only product.

Jan 04, 2008
Professional color offers more flexibility
by: Michelle

Hi Caroline,

As far as the actual chemical formulation of the color product, I'd have to agree with Donna... there isn't a noticeable difference between professional and drugstore color.

However, with a drugstore brand, you're limited to what's in the box, whereas a professional will have a cupboard full of goodies to mix into just the right formula.

For example, if we want more lift, we'll use a 30 or 40 Volume developer, rather than a 20 Volume. For more deposit, we'll opt for a 10 Volume developer.

We can also use boosters to enhance a specific pigment (i.e., make a more fiery red) or neutralizing pigments to help combat those temperamental underlying pigments.

Salon colors are often customized by mixing 3 or more different colors for a very specific formula.

More on the art and science of hair coloring.

This (plus the all important application techniques) is why you'll generally get better results with salon color. Of course, it all depends upon the level of experience and creativity your stylist possesses. You can give the same tools to 10 different colorists and get a dramatic variation of results.

All the best,

Jan 05, 2008
no comment
by: Anonymous

no comment. just want to know theory behind hair color versus drugstore brand

May 02, 2009
no drug store products
by: dioras freelance hair and makeup

hello my is diora!! .i have been a hairstylist for 13 years.i would say not to use drugstore color because its just not(good!). pro color is good for many reasons ,when you go to a salon you are paying for a trained pro to use the skills they were tought.your hair naturally has undertones,these play a big part in what your results are .so when you have a pro do it you can avoid things like blonde going green an things like always do pro color,thr results are just better!!!!! so i hope that i was able to answer the question

Jun 08, 2009
between 'pro' appointments
by: Anonymous

To cut down on 'between-salon-appointments', to cover up a stripe of grey, would it be detrimental to use a drugstore brand designed for grey roots to cover this between 'pro' appointments every 6-8 weeks?

Sep 13, 2009
between 'pro' appts and general box color
by: Anonymous

I am a professional hair designer and between pro appts i would say not to touch up your hair with box color. The first reason being box colors have different metals in them that react with "pro" colors and when you do finally go back to the salon you will probably end up paying for corrective color due to some reactions the metals may cause.

I believe in "you get what you pay for" and haircolor in a box for $3.99 will look like $3.99 color. With a professional you get guaranteed results and technique plus you get healthier hair. I find myself pep talking my clients into professional color because they are scared that hair color will take out their hair according to previous experience or some horror story due to box color.

Oct 21, 2009
Product: No, Application: BIG difference
by: Rhonda at ROCA

I work in Kansas City and have been a colorist for over 20 years (even voted Best in Kansas City!). Every color line, whether pro or over-the-counter, has subtle nuances that make us choose one over the other. As a professional, I prefer European brands because of the high quality of the caring ingredients. Think of mac-&-cheese: we all know there's a certain famous brand as well as a host of other store brands. They all feature macaroni's that need to be boiled, along with a packet of cheese powder- yet, the taste and texture can be worlds apart. This is the same as pro products (especially shampoos & conditioners) vs. home products; the QUALITY of the ingredients is by far better. Pro products need far more education to mix and create exact tones on various colors and types of natural hair, whereas home products are extremely limited and produce somewhat "safe" results on healthy, virgin hair. The problem arises when home products are abused or applied incorrectly, or applied to compromised hair, or an improper shade of color is chosen (box color is created to make your hair darker or to lighten your hair a maximum of 1 1/2 levels). Most people try to push those recommendations. It's a guessing game as to the exact color your hair will be from box color because I can take one formula and apply it to three different clients and get three different results. You're not necessarily paying for the product I use, but, rather, my knowledge and experience to use it and achieve the exact results you're looking for. I also use a $4500 ionic steam color processor that will give you amazing, long-lasting results in 12 minutes! Try that at home!

I will say that I have a handful of clients that I have helped with using home color and they have learned well and have good results. All of them have me add highlights and low-lights to it to make it look richer and more exciting than plain box color, but it saves them on their touch-ups, which is fine by me. Again, they listen to me and apply it correctly and use professional shampoo to keep it from fading. Hope this helps.

Nov 21, 2010
Box color bad
by: Anonymous

Ladies box color is horrible for your hair !!if your wondering
Why your hair feels gooey and wax that because A- ur coating your hair with metallic salts , its like coloring a Easter egg ur costing the egg the color Is on top it not going into the egg , so ur hair is made up of cuticles , when u get real color from salons the ammonia goes into the cuticle and penetrates brakes through the bonds , if ur not made of money there's beauty schools that. Do real clients with teachers by them to watch or Craig list and interns who need models to get a spot for a open chair check those out box color one of the worst things u can put on ur hair ! U look at the commercial they have high lights in there hair they don't use box color !!!! Hope this helped

Jan 17, 2011
Drug store color
by: Anne-Marie

I have been a hairstylist for 18 yrs. Color is my specialty. I couldn't agree more with the main difference between our prof. color and drugstore color is the metalics in the drugstore colors. These metalics cause a direct adverse reaction with salon color....often we are unable to achieve our desired result because of it. There are not many women that color their hair and only require 1-1/2 levels of lift. What about color balancing? Only an educated stylist can brake your base color and balance your mid-shaft & ends with a demi/semi color to match, giving your hair the healthy balance it needs.

Feb 02, 2011
How about some useful info from stylist
by: Anonymous

Obviously, some of us can't afford your inflated salon prices during hard times. Just tell us the lessor of all evils, or offer fairer pricing and specials if you want us to come into a salon. I have long hair, and immediately get charged a hundred plus to color it. However, once you get your hands on my hair, it's as thin as a childs. A girl getting color with short hair can take twice as long to get her thick hair dyed, but I get charged by length even though a stylist will put the color on my whole head in just a few minutes, stand around chatting with her friends, rinse, blow dry, and I'm walking out while the short haired girl is just now getting her hair rinsed. So, I feel it's unfair and a huge scam. I pay for quality, because I do believe you get what you pay for, but until I find an honest and fair stylist that sees the dishonesty in that pricing method, I'll be doing it myself. It's bad enough, I still pay $50-65+ to trim less hair from my head than that short haired girl. Long hair pricing at a salon is a scam when you have thin hair. It is and you all know it, but you take my money in a heartbeat to give me a hair cut that takes less effort to cut than a man's hair. Most of my cuts don't even take more than 10 minutes without the style...and don't get me started on this trend to charge additional money to blow out hair. Again, baby fine hair, so it's dry in another 3 minutes. So, how about some more helpful information than, have a stylist color you hair. I would, if you didn't charge me the same price to dye my hair as you do a head full of thick hair, and take half the time. You want me to take half as long and pay the same price, then let me sit in your chair the extra two hours. Because, I paid for that time.

Feb 03, 2011
Miss anonymous ticked @ Hairdressers
by: Anne-Marie

Maybe you should purchase a flowbee! This would allow you to cut your own hair at home. Is that enough helpful information?

Jul 21, 2011
to anne marie
by: Anonymous

i agree with the girl above with the thin hair. anne marie you're a rip off dude and you're comment back was extremely rude.

Aug 19, 2011
angry at salon prices
by: Anonymous

I have been a stylist and salon owner for over 20 years and I am tired of people who don't get the expense behind being a well educated stylist. The use of high quality products, rent, assitants, etc you need to cfharge certain prices. Also I spend good money to go to many shows and education and certifications every year I'm not going to work for a few bucks. Those who complain should use box color. Why would you think a rip off. Going to salon is a luxury not a need !

Aug 19, 2011
To the girl with the long (thin) hair...
by: Anonymous

I'm an instructor at a well known beauty school. My students are highly trained and very professional. I would advice you to visit a school in your area. You will get a great haircut and blow-dry for the same price as anyone but a fraction of what you would pay in the salon. As far as color is concerned, we charge for the amount of color used, not the length of the hair.

Nov 21, 2011
by: Michelle

I went to beauty school but have never worked as a beautician. I can tell you most hairstylist still do not know what they are doing when they graduate, so it's not the education that teaches them. It's trial and error and advice from more experienced stylists that gives them the upper hand. Most drug store boxes dyes are safe to use and will not harm your hair. Just remember to heavily condition your hair after applying the product for about a week. No hair including virgin hair will match the box 100%. And that goes for pro brands as well. Matching hair color has to do with texture, undertones, etc. To save money, you may opt to go to a beauty supply store such as "Sally's" where there are stylists that work there that can help you choose a color to get the best results. With the way the economy is today, I understand people not paying the high cost of salons for every treatment. If you use one salon and one hairstylist, tell the stylist to inform you of specials- if she is a good stylist, she will be happy to do that and keep you as a client. Some also will give you a break on root touch ups- good luck

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