The List March 8, 2023

The List


Using Box Dye? Here's How To Keep Your Hair Healthy Without Paying Salon Prices For Color


Any cosmetology professional will confirm that using box dye can cause significant damage to your natural hair. Simply Organic Beauty strongly advises against doing your own dye job, citing unpredictable outcomes due to varying hair types and textures. Even ammonia-free box colors can do a number on your head. However, the rise of YouTube and TikTok has given DIY-driven hair experimenters a new level of confidence, with seemingly minimal fears about the technique.

A survey conducted by haircare brand Garnier found that of 2,000 women, 33% dyed their hair themselves during the COVID-19 lockdown as salons remained shuttered (via Salon Today). Of those, 80% leaned on the internet to guide them through the process. While this may be just the encouragement some need to try out that honey blonde taunting them from the CVS hair aisle, beauty professionals have some tips to protect your follicles if you decide to take the leap.

Rinsing thoroughly can save your hair

It may seem like common sense to rinse dye out after applying it. However, it's important to reiterate this vital step because failing to do so could lead to permanent damage. Color expert Rex Jimieson with Chicago's Maxine Salon told Allure that not washing all the dye out of your hair can cause breakage down to the root. Flushing your hair until the water is clear is the only way to guarantee the excess pigment is out.

After rinsing out the dye completely, you can finally wash your hair. This ensures that you remove any stains from your scalp. But it's important to use sulfate-free shampoo for this step. Sulfates can be too harsh for colored hair, so finding a cleanser without this component will prevent the dye from being stripped. Playa Natural Every Day Shampoo is an excellent shampoo for post-coloring. It is free of sulfates, doesn't strip color, and hydrates. Sulfate-free conditioner is also recommended for creating a protective barrier for the hair, providing much-needed strength. After dye application, rinsing, shampooing, and conditioning, L.A. color guru Matt Rez advises using shampoo less often, as it can parch the dye-processed hair. He suggests going up to three days without washing and using dry shampoo in between if needed.

Taking a dip may not be in your hair's best interest

Chlorine is yet another thing that can leave your strands brittle after dyeing, but that is not the only deterioration it can inflict. It's always important to protect your hair from chlorine, but recently dyed hair can drastically shift to a completely different shade when it encounters the chemical. This may leave your candy apple red curls resembling a rust-colored brick, which is probably not the style you were going for.

As a rule of thumb, Curl Centric advises avoiding swimming for at least a week after dyeing if your hair color is permanent. Waiting three to five days should be plenty for semi-permanent color because the compounds used in this kind of application are often milder. The swim rule goes for chlorinated pools and beaches — saltwater has been known to drain the color as well and is also a moisture-sucking bandit. Keep this in mind before you decide to go for a swim too soon with your at-home hairdo.

Your biggest adversary in the box dye journey is, by far, dryness, and as we know, many products and elements can contribute to this. Hydration is your key defense against brittle hair after the color process. Obey every instruction on the box down to the fine print. When in doubt, make a call to your beautician or cosmetology friend and get advice over the phone.