5 Reasons Why Most Stylists Hate Box Colors

If you’ve ever colored your hair, you’re probably familiar with box dye. It’s affordable, easy to use, and available in pretty much any color you could want. But did you know most hairstylists actually hate box colors?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just because they lose out on a customer (and money) whenever a person chooses to color their own hair instead of seeing a professional. Hairstylists actually have their own valid reasons for not liking box colors. So if you consider the opinions of the hair pros to be valuable, you’ll want to be let in on what they know.

things to know about box hair color


Things to Know About Box Hair Color

1. Box colors make hair so dry that any other chemical process can easily snap the hair off.

2. Box colors stain the keratin (Hair protein) so that when you color the hair using professional colors it does not take evenly because the stain keeps coming back through the color.

3. Box colors don’t color, they just stain the hair, and when applied over and over again like when people are doing regrowth, it becomes almost impossible to remove.

4. Box colors, because they are applied with a peroxide that is a “one size fits all” approach. It absolutely destroys the integrity of the hair.

Also if people come into the salon that has been using box color, and the hair is straightened, it’s unable to see how damaged it is until a chemical procedure is performed (perming, chemical straightening, coloring) and it makes the job very difficult when it’s unable to initially realize the degree of damage to the hair to assess if the hair is in good enough condition to perform the requested service and maintain the integrity of the hair and its health.

5. Clients are often embarrassed about using Box colors, as they are renowned for not being very good, and will sometimes/often not give the whole truth to their stylist who takes the risks of chemical processes not realizing.


Why Do Stylists Hate Box Colors?

So, now you know all the reasons that stylists hate box colors, let’s explain in more detail why.

These colors are made of very cheap ammonia, peroxide and varying degrees of different chemicals that are often not even allowed to be used by hairdressers(or even banned completely )in some countries.

However, because they are imported they fall under different rules and regulations. Because of the use of inferior and cheap chemicals in the box dyes the incidence of bad reactions is also very high and can come on very suddenly, even when the particular product has been used many times before. A patch test is advised every time.

Reactions to box colors can be as mild as itching but also as severe as face swelling, throat swelling and anaphylactic response. These reactions can also happen with professional colors. However, the incidence of these reactions is very low because of the regulations in place for what hairdressers are allowed to use.

When you look at box dyed hair it typically appears like:

  • Black on the mid-lengths to ends
  • In very dry and brittle condition
  • Very uneven in color, ranging from the desired color, patchy on the scalp to black ends
  • Poor grey coverage
  • Often has orangy tones through the hair from color exposing underlying reflect, but not coloring the hair fully.

When you use professional colors over hair that was previously box dyed, the result is not even, because the box dyes stain the outer keratin of the hair, whilst professional colors open the cuticle and place pigment within the cuticle, then close the cuticle, the outer staining comes back through the new color.

When you try to lift out box dyes with bleach, you can rarely get the hair lighter than orange without the integrity of the hair being compromised, because of the level of damage that has been acquired by the box dyes. When attempting to lift out box dyes with bleach the hair becomes Gellified (turns to jelly!) very quickly.



It takes a long time to remove the box dye from the hair, often it actually has to grow out. However, with good color choices, you can blend it while it’s growing out with professional colors.

It definitely is well worth making the switch from box to professional colors to have hair that is now glossy, healthy, and a beautiful even color!

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