Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Switch over to Box Color

Q: I have had my hair colored blonde by a stylist for years with foil. I would like to start using box coloring to save money. How do I go about switching over without turning my hair orange?
A: Well, the simple answer is that you are going to have to do your homework. Talk to your former stylist and find out the hair color that was used (and the base color of that formula) this allows you to select a “box color” that has a compatible base color. Ask also what strength developer was used, so that you know whether you require “high-lift” color. You can visit the websites of most of the “box color” manufacturers for color charts indicating the base colors of their product lines.
Then, investigate the color options available to you. It’s possible that you could buy the same color your stylist uses at your local beauty supply store. This will at least help prevent problems in color conflict. This will not be “box color” but will allow you to bypass the expense of the salon. (Remember that most color formulas mix with equal parts of developer, unless the packaging indicates otherwise.)
If the color you are trying to maintain is lighter than your natural color, you will have to use a permanent color with a lifting action to achieve the color results you need. This also means that you will have to use the “retouch” rules and apply the color mixture only to the new growth of the hair until the last 10 minutes of processing and then pull the color through to the ends in order to refresh the rest of the hair.
If the stylist was doing your hair color with foils, you need to be aware that she may have been doing different colors in combination for a dimensional effect, which you cannot duplicate with a box color or and “all-over” color application. This means that the color results you get from the do-it-yourself haircolor will be “flatter” than the previous results. Using a translucent color formula will help to preserve some dimensionality in the color, but these are generally not available in color formulas and processes that lift/lighten the natural color of the hair.
Related posts:
Hair color and coloring
Base color of a hair product
The basic hair color categories
The meaning of the numbers on hair color boxes