April 2020 Blog. Box Dye or Not?

Updated: May 8, 2020

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Having good hair during this quarantine is a tough task for sure. We are all on our phones spending a lot of time scrolling, reading & wondering. There's a lot of information out there from friends, hairstylists and social media hacks, on how to color our hair while in this predicament.

I'm here to tell you what I would do if I had gray roots and I was stuck- not able to go to the salon for months. In next month's blog I will talk about cutting your hair at home. For now, let's just stick to color.

Now, let me start by saying, under normal circumstances coloring or cutting your hair at home is not something I ever recommend . However, to my knowledge, never in modern history have we been forced indoors without connection to our normal lives & the service providers we like to frequent, to make our lives enjoyable.

So, here are my thoughts on everything 'At-home-haircolor'.

The order of operations of this list is: best towards the top, then: "it's Ok in a pinch", towards the bottom.

At Home Root Kit.

For the health of your hair, it's best to purchase a 'Root Kit' through me.

My root kits are the same professional color I use at the salon. It's all around just better for your hair than box dye. After using professional color, your hair is in better condition than when it started due to modern trichology (hair) technology & the superior ingredients the color is made of. This is the best choice if you are going to color your hair at home. It's what I always use.


If you have highlights, you have two options: just let it go baby! Let your highlights grow out and don't worry about them, because, the Ombre look is still very on trend. The second option is doing one of my 'At-home toner kits' to get rid of brassy gold tones in your highlights. This color is not bleach* & it's safe to use at home, head to the end of this article to see details.

You can maintain both of these options with a good dose of purple shampoo once a week. This is my favorite purple shampoo by Paul Mitchell: https://amzn.to/2wo6RO7 Purple shampoo is like a gentle toner for your hair softening unwanted strong gold tones.

Root Sprays are a great quick-fix option too, when you don't have the time to color your hair with liquid color. Here is my favorite root spray I use at the salon. It's by Loreal: https://amzn.to/2XghXja. Comes in 5 colors & fits in your purse, not that we are going anywhere or anything.....

Wella Permanent haircolor with matching developer is another great option if you can get it. Sally Beauty is closed & I'm not sure how reliable their delivery is, but, if it's available, this is what I would use on my own hair if I wasn't able to purchase a professional root kit from my stylist. This color has two parts: mix the color with the developer & apply. The dye molecules here are much better for your hair than box dye, but still cannot compare to the professional color I use at the salon.

Box dye.

If you are desperate, or maybe on a strict budget, and you're planning on reaching for a box dye, here's my advice: choose at least 1-2 levels lighter than what you are planning to use.

Do not try to match your exact hair color. Why? Box dye is made of, strong chemicals** and the dye molecules are not as refined as professional color, so you will end up with jet black roots if you choose a tone that's close to where you want to be. Box dye tends to be 1-2 levels darker than what's labeled on the box.

For example: If your hair is a dark brown (like Julia Louis-Dreyfus), I would choose a box of level 5N, or 6N. It may be a whisper lighter than what you normally wear, but next time you color your hair, you can choose a level darker. It's always easier to go darker the next time you color, than to go lighter. To go lighter there is NO OTHER WAY, than to do bleach. Highlighting your hair at home is something you should never do, without years of experience, or a Cosmetology license. If you are not sure which color to choose, call/ text. I'm happy to help. 858-342-7988. There's no charge for having me help you choose your hair color, only if you need help with the application.

When applying your box dye: do not run it through the rest of your hair. Just carefully tap the roots with color. Again, it's made with not the best dye molecules, and running it through the ends can cause unwanted tones & brittle hair (from a high ammonia content; see footnote** below). It's pretty safe to do the root area, because that's fresh new growth there at the roots with a good blood supply, the hair can handle the harsher chemicals that come with box dye. If you must run it through your ends, wet them down first then quickly work it through for 5 minutes

Another point to consider, when we do go back to the salon, a light brown is much easier to lift off with highlights than say a darkest brown (which will look black if you're using box dye). That's why I say stick to a lighter color than you'd normal choose. If you reach for black, level 1N, 2N, or even 3N***, you are just asking for a giant mess later when you come back to me. Black hair color is the hardest to lift off and can take many many expensive sessions in my chair to lighten or get rid of. Please just don't do black.

Three Ways I can help!

I have 3 ways to help you get through quarantine time looking pretty & feeling great!

1/ Root Touch Kits (or Toner Kit for highlights)

Designed to cover the part line & temples. Comes with gloves, tint brush, instructional video & color. $39 Roots, $45 toner for highlights. You may also purchase color for your all of your roots. The cost will be slightly higher.

To purchase: head to the 'Root/Book' tab on the home page of my website:

www.mishawnaromerohair.com or text me: 858-342-7988

2/ 1:1 Consultation calls.

This is a great option when you want to DIY your color or do a light trim at home, and you know you'll need help. Email me the service you'd like to do, I'll email you the supplies to round up before we schedule a session.

In some cases, I may have sanitized tools or supplies you can borrow. Color you'd need to purchase through me or elsewhere. Calls done through FaceTime or Zoom.

$20 for 20 minutes

$40 for 40 minutes

$70 for 1 Hour

Email to book: mishawna@mishawnaromerohair.com.

Available times 10:00am, 11:00am Wednesday, Friday

3/ Lean into your professional products

Have an extra bottle of conditioner laying around? Shampoo your hair, get out of the shower, towel dry your hair then put a generous coating of conditioner on the mids + ends, then comb the conditioner through your hair with a 'Wet Brush'. This one here, is my all around favorite:

https://amzn.to/3c18hgq . Clip your hair up out of the way & do your normal routine, leaving it on for 2-3 hours. These are the same clips I use at the salon, those flimsy Target clips can't compare to these bad boys: https://amzn.to/3c901v2 When the time's up, rinse & style. Your hair will feel amazing, because you just did an 'at-home hair masque'; Soft shiny & silky!


*Demi permanent color is what I use.

**Box dye is made of, strong chemicals : a high ammonia content is usually a main ingredient because they are trying to cover a range of hair densities from the finest blonde to the coarsest ethnic hair.

***These are all so close to black I would not choose these colors, unless you have been doing your own hair color for years & you know you like it to look black.

To contact me head to the bottom of this page hit the contact box to email me, and I'll respond in 1-2 business days.

So lovelies, that's it, a super long blog but I've had several requests on how to color your hair at home, since this whole situation started. You're going to see tons of stuff online about hair, please use good judgement. If it you're not sure about something just text me, I'm happy to help! Hair is my passion & we are all in this together - pretty hair or not.

Hugs & Stay Safe !!


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