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Dispelling The MYTH: "BOX COLOR"

During the past several years, I hear the term "box color" being used frequently, when a

colorist meets a client who has colored her (or his) hair at home. Quite naturally, blaming any unattractive result on the client's past application of an inferior product makes getting

started easy, as a colorist can explain the quality and top performance level of the color

brand(s) they stock at their salon.

HOWEVER............ That box of color might contain something you may not know. I have

had the honor and privilege to work for several of the TOP color manufacturers in the

world. (No, not every one, .. but the ones you know and purchase from). Before going into

details I will share: MOST of the "box color" you see at stores is EXACTLY the same product

you use in the salon. The fragrance, the name, the level and the descriptions may be different.. to suit the home user who by a huge margin:

Is covering gray OR

wants to be blonde OR

has no idea about the current level of their hair.. most thinking their hair is darker than it is.

So, understanding this, they attempt to make selection easier for the DIY customer. And, as you know, most people do not read instructions carefully.

Most companies are corporations. They have managers, directors and a board of directors. They have investors to whom they report. GROWING a business, and selling products to the

largest target market they can is what keeps them alive. The home color market has been and always WILL BE HUGE.. much, much bigger than even the biggest color business generated in the salon industry. To grow, profit, and pay investors, product must SELL or the

brand will go out of business. Even moderate growth in a difficult business climate is not acceptable. Of COURSE the retail side of a color manufacturer observes the shades, brands and SALES of what WE DO in salons. And, in many cases, they adapt this for their use.


tube. The 'Magic" is YOU: A well-trained, caring, artist... a talent who analyses the current level, tone and condition of the hair "root" area and hair lengths. And who can evaluate what "is" and "is not" possible today. Clear, happy agreement with the client, coupled with your

ability to properly formulate, mix, apply and create a result.. all this creates the MAGIC. WHY

do colorists often neglect to understand that the BOX COLOR is usually the exact same

formula that you use in the salon. YES: The Fragrance, Name, and Description differ; as

does the packaging. BUT... the person who purchased and used that color.. is most likely

NOT a salon career colorist... like YOU and like ME. YOUR hands, head and heart create

the final result. Never forget that.

I was in shock during last week's move to HOUSTON. ALL my products were packed. My roots were showing. I went to a drugstore. I purchased Clairol's Natural Instincts.. a "no lift" demi color (box says "semi)... Natural Instincts came from a Clairol salon brand called

Second Nature.. a thirty year old.. NO LIFT GRAY COVERAGE formula. It was a great salon

tool when we wanted to cover all percentages of gray hair.. with CONTROL and no "lift"

of the "still pigmented" hair. I applied it.. using salon instructions. I allowed it to process at

room temperature .. roots only.. for 45 minutes. I am happy. Great coverage. But, I used

the correct shade and understand what I am doing. The "magic"... I know how to formulate

color and know how to apply color because, like YOU.. I AM A COLORIST! Stop putting

your light under a bucket. STOP blaming "box color". what was missing when your DIY

client colored their hair at home.. was YOU. Never, Ever Forget Who YOU ARE.

I look forward to seeing YOU in class, Monday, August 8th. Houston. Future Events:

Palm Beach Gardens, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Beverly Hills, California. JOIN Me.

COMMENT HERE on the information above AND let me know if YOU want to join

me for class. Beth

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Beth, I’m curious about your thoughts on why sometimes “box” color is sooo difficult to remove from the hair. I have always felt it was a little different in that some of the grey coverage versions have a much heavier dye load and are very difficult to remove. Maybe they are developed as something similar to a double or triple N? I have always assumed that possibly they were otherwise just slightly modified versions of professional color. It definitely takes a pro to know what to do with it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Replying to

So what’s the answer..why box color is so hard to remove? Is it bc too many x’s consumer overlapping it? Beth mentioned it’s the same as per salon color but different artist? 🤷‍♀️ And aside from not evaluating the right level, tone and hair condition bc they aren’t pro colorist like us and also mentioned that the box color May contain something we don’t know? still I’m curious too, why is it hard to remove it? In my experience it has stop in L6/7 and it won’t pass no matter what. Instead it will break!


I live in Savannah Ga. I am very interested in a class in Palm Beach Gardens.


Jun 14, 2022

WOW! thank you so much for that knowledge bomb! ...Now ya know!🤔


Jun 14, 2022

Wow. I am so damn happy to hear this from you. For years I to hear how bad box color is. I have always felt it was the same product made by the same manufacturers that make the products we use on our guests. Thanks for putting it out there.

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