Professional Color & Drug Store Color

Woman buying hair coloring products
Photo: Lakov Filimonov/Shutterstock
Q: I recently purchased hair color from a beauty supply store. I have previously used this color which provided me with my original color of hair again. I was in the drug store and saw a color that I liked even more and thought it may look good as well. I am a natural strawberry blonde.
The beauty store color I bought is a perfect match however the drug store color was just a hint redder. Would it be ok to use these products at the same time? The professional color is liquid and the drug store color is creme. Thanks for your help!

A: The fact that one hair color is a liquid suspension and the other a cream-based suspension is not a problem when it comes to compatibility. The drug-store hair color kits are usually cream-based to create a thicker formula that is less prone to dripping, and running down onto the face or clothes.
There are, however, some important things to look for: namely, that your new-found hair color formula is a deposit-only color process. If it is a formula that provides lift you could experience a change in the color results that will leave you unhappy. Fortunately, many pre-packaged hair color formulas have on their package images showing a starting color and results so that you can get an idea of how the color will affect your hair.
Secondly, you want to be aware of the type of dyes the pre-packaged hair color kit uses. Some color kits use vegetable-based dyes which can interfere with other color processes later on. If you are simply using the color to cover gray or such, then there should be no problem, but if you are prone to changing your hair color from darker to lighter shades you could have difficulties with the effects of the vegetable dyes.
Finally, I want to make sure that the issues I am addressing are what you are asking about. I am presuming that when you say “use these products at the same time” you mean one after the other. In such case, you should be sure that the colors are not lifting colors as mentioned above. If they are not, you should be able to apply the other color to the hair and get the red you seek.
You must understand, however, that applying a deposit-only hair color on top of a color could result in darker color results than you want. If the “new” color is just the same as your “usual” color – only a hint redder – you should probably use the new color only, instead of using both.
If your question was about mixing both colors together to apply them in a single application, you should be aware that mixing the colors will diffuse the redness and leave you with a shade somewhere between what you describe the two colors to be. This would only be an advisable course of action if you didn’t particularly care for how red the “new” color was and hoped to get something toned-down.
See also:
How to dye your hair
The different types of hair dyes
What do the numbers on the hair dye boxes mean?
What is less harsh and has fewer chemicals: store-bought or salon hair coloring?