Within your first few weeks as a stylist, you will probably get a client who comes in and asks you about box coloring her hair at home. You'll probably cringe because you know the answer that you want to give, but can't say those words in a professional setting. Now you need to think of a way to tell her, and show her, why coloring in a salon with a trained stylist is so much better than a box dye.
The first thing that you should let the client know is that hair dye starts with a base and a developer. Since the hair dye companies have no idea who is using their product, they need to use a harsher developer in order to accommodate all different shades. Show the client a sample of the hair color and mix it in front of them so they can see the process and the thought that gets put into it. Is this a process they can replicate at home with a tube in a box? No.
Suggest a color and gloss for them that works with the cut that you just gave them. Talk to them about highlights, lowlights, and different glossy finishes that you cannot get with a boxed color. Let her know that if she dyes it out of the box she will not get that highlighted layer. You also want to make sure that they know about different shampoos to keep that color in their hair such as AG Hair Color Savour or Paul Mitchell Color Protect Daily Shampoo.
When the client is picking out a boxed dye, they are looking at the models on the box with perfectly colored hair (which we all know isn't the result of boxed color!). Let them know that this is all smoke and mirrors and that, if photo editing programs weren’t around, the models would not have this color on their hair. To get even color with glossy highlights, it is best to go to a professional stylist. They study this chemistry between the developers and the bases and will be able to apply an even color. No spots or patches of gray/natural hair color will be left on your scalp.
Make sure that you stress to your client how messy even the “simplest” of dye jobs can be. You can’t always see every place your head, so there may be spots that you miss. Let them know the importance of knowing how to layer their hair as well to get the coverage that they need. Finally let the client know that a box color will not give them highlights and low lights, or multi-dimensional color, even if that is what the box advertises. This is something that must be done by a stylist for it to come out the way they would like.
Hopefully you will have given your client a lot to think about and they will book you for a coloring instead of reach for the box dye during their next trip to the grocery store.
For more information on the differences between boxed dye and a salon dye see our previous article: Hair Dye: Box vs. Professional