Out of the Box or Into the Salon?

Out of the Box or Into the Salon?

Exploring the differences between at-home hair dye and professional application.

Did you know that 78% of hair color is applied at home? As a hairstylist for the last 20 years, I have learned that hair color should be used carefully and with precision. In the early days of my career, I experimented with color and was often intimidated. Hair color is a combination of chemical accelerants and dyes that when combined work to open the cuticle and affect the pigment found in the cortex. Needless to say, they don’t explain much about this on those boxes on the drug store shelf!

Each time a hairstylist formulates color, it is done by evaluating the hair, and determining the appropriate strength hydrogen peroxide developer to achieve the desired look. Developer is added to hair color right before it’s applied to the hair. It’s what adds strength to a color formulation, and it ranges from 5 to 40 volume. The lowest strength, a 5, is like a gentle wakeup for the hair; slightly opening the cuticle, but with care. On the contrary, 40 volume developer is more like pulling a door off its hinges. 

That visual is important because hair dye becomes more damaging the higher the volume developer it’s paired with. If you’ve ever colored your hair at home, you’ve had the experience of mixing chemicals together to create your dye. You may have even looked forward to achieving the hair color of the model on the front of the box you selected. But since each person starts with a different canvas (some dark brown, others light brown, some blonde or grey), and one box has to promise to achieve similar results, it’s likely that more powerful levels of accelerants and higher quantities of dyes are used for it to work.

Hairstylists work for years to understand client expectations and hair color. I personally have seen so many clients struggling with grey hair, and asking me to disguise it with hair dye. The average client will need to reapply color for grey coverage every 4-5 weeks. I know just how time consuming and expensive this can be to do at the salon, and it’s a large part of why so many people color their hair at home.

What’s most different about coloring your own hair at home, versus having a hairstylist do it? Precision. Hairstylists are trained to apply color close to the scalp, but not get hair color on the scalp. When someone applies hair color themselves at home, they often end up saturating the scalp with color. They also may be applying the hair color all over, versus only targeting areas where it’s needed. This over saturation of the hair and scalp with reactive chemicals is unnecessary, and can potentially be harmful.

For those experiencing their first grey hairs and experimenting with hair dye to cover or hide these strands, it’s important to not over-dye the hair that hasn’t turned grey yet. Overusing hair dye can expose the scalp and hair strands to oxidative stress, which could actually lead to more grey hair in the future. This is why I advise seeing a hairstylist to consult on the best ways to approach hair color. Hairstylists can help with color formulation and offer techniques that will not only leave your hair looking natural, but feeling its healthiest.

Using Arey products can help those who haven’t seen any grey yet as a proactive approach to preserving the hair’s natural color. For those currently using hair color, Arey can help counteract the stress that hair color causes on scalp and strands, and even help extend the time between color appointments, as well as reduce the amount of coverage that’s needed.