Lindsey Carraher - Stylist at Garbo's Salon and Spa - Blog Post Photo

By: Lindsey Carraher

The old “box dye” versus professional hair color convo… let’s have it! 

I’m sure all of us, at some point in our day, have been tempted by Eva Longoria’s stunningly gorgeous headshot on a “chestnut sand” box of hair color in the Walgreen’s aisle…  And most of us, including me, have given it a shot!  We are human, the manufacture’s marketing skills are on point and hey- it’s only $8!  Well, let me fill you in on what I’ve learned since my own days of “home highlights”…
Just like EVERYTHING out there on the market, you get what you pay for.  Brand new hair color for less than $20 may seem like the ultimate “deal” but when you think about it this particular thing you are paying for is one that chemically alters every strand of hair on your head.  Yes, chemically alters!  No matter which brand you choose or which store you purchase it from the product works the same way… How is it possible that the box is able to give you and your girlfriend (with the complete opposite hair color) the same result?! 
It’s possible by pumping the products full of high-level peroxides and ammonia to make certain the hair does “something”.  “Why did it turn out nothing like the picture?” – because it lacks information on certain factors that a highly trained hairstylist will take into consideration when coloring your hair.  These factors include the color, condition, underlying pigment, porosity, history, density, texture or the current integrity of your hair.  Your stylist will also know that fine hair processes differently than coarse hair.  That dark hair has a different underlying pigment than light hair does.  That hair processes differently on the base than on the mid-strands and ends… Your stylist is able to factor in these points in order to create the perfect formula for your specific hair.  
“Why doesn’t my hair shine like Eva’s”, you ask?  The chemicals used in the way box color uses them, break open and roughen the cuticle.  Think of the cuticle layer like shingles on a roof.  These “box colors” cause all the “shingles” to stay raised and rough not allowing light to bounce off of them and reflect.  Raised shingles don’t do the roof much good in the way of protection…  Just like a raised shingle would allow rain, critters and other outdoor things to creep into the ceiling of your home, the raised cuticle of your hair also allows heat and other environmental factors to get in between them which end up damaging and breaking the hair. 
I know many of you are thinking “salons are just so much more expensive!”  So I challenge you to think of it this way… if you had to wear the same top every single day to every event, every function and around every social group forever would you buy an $8 top from Walgreen’s?  Probably not!  You would probably spend the time searching for and trying on many tops before deciding to make a worthy investment on the perfect one, right!?  Your hair is just that.  It is the mainstay of your wardrobe.  It is the accessory you never take off…  
So, now that I’ve shared my thoughts on this matter, my advice to you is this: save yourself the stress, the risk and the money it will cost for your color correction and find a hairstylist you trust.  You will not regret it!


Sending love,



Lindsey Carraher is this week’s guest blogger.  She is currently a Master Stylist at Garbo’s Salon and Spa, Village Pointe.  In addition to working behind the chair, Lindsey is Garbo’s Director of Education and is a member of our Business and Digital Strategies Team.  With over 14 years of experience, Lindsey is able to educate based on what she knows and what she has experienced as a tenured professional in the industry.


Follow Lindsey on Instagram if you want more great information like what she shared above!

Instagram: by_elle_c