Hair Color Outside the Box

Today, I plan to color my own hair using salon quality products I purchased at Sally Beauty Supply. Unlike your typical drugstore boxed color, using a salon store typically offers you a much wider selection of colors and application types like permanent, semipermanent, demipermananent, metallic, and bleach.

Permanent hair color is just as it sounds.

Semipermanent and demipermanent are like cousins. Both wash out of your hair gradually. The difference is demi lasts longer than semi. Demi is used to darken your hair. Most people use semi to to enhance their natural hair color.

Metallics are a newer kind of hair color. They are not usually found inside boxed color. Metallic colors are made using metallic salts. Products geared towards men that add gradual color usually use metallics.

And, bleach is pretty straight up too. Bleach is used to lighten hair. Note: IF YOU ARE BLEACHING BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE BLONDE, CONTACT A HAIR SALON. I bleach to get rid of dark color so I can dye a lighter shade only. If you are going to bleach, I suggest a bleach wash. Simply put, a bleach bath is one part bleach, 2 parts of 40 developer, and one part clarifying shampoo. Apply to hair using a tint brush. Please save your roots for last, trust me, because your roots can turn white. Keep checking hair for the correct color. Do not leave on more than 1 hour.

Now that you’ve chosen a color, it’s time to choose a developer. You can choose the developer made specifically for the brand you picked or you can get a general developer. I like to stick with the same brand but that’s just me. General developer works well and is usually cheaper than the name brand. While you are considering, think about the results you want.

10 volume developer is the most gentle on hair because there’s less peroxide. 10 is great if you are staying within the same shade as the color on your head now. Like going black to jet black, as an example.

20 volume developer offers a little more lift. It’s typically what is found in most boxed colors. It allows you shade shop in the same color range. For example, you can go from espresso to mocha brown.

30 volume developer has a higher lift due to higher levels of peroxide. This allows you to lighten your current shade by a couple levels. You could take that espresso shade to a light brown.

40 volume developer is most commonly used with bleach to significantly lighten hair multiple levels. I wouldn’t recommend using 40 for hair color application.

If you are new at this, go with the 20!! Check your hair color to find your ratio. 1:1 means 1 part color, one part developer. If you have 1 ounce of hair color, use one ounce of developer. If it’s 1:2 use one part color, 2 parts developer. If you have one ounce of color, use 2 ounces of developer.

Here’s the other items you need on your shopping list:

-barrier cream (not necessary but highly recommend)


-a deep conditioning pack

-a plastic bottle to mix color in and apply to hair OR a plastic bowl and plastic application brush

-plastic hair clips (a $1.50 for a dozen) to section hair

-plastic caps if you want (to section your hair)

Once you are back home with your purchases and you have dirty hair, you are ready to go forward with the process.

Dirty hair?

Yes, dirty hair. Not disgustingly dirty hair!! I mean hair that hasn’t been washed in the last 24 hours and doesn’t have a ton of product in it. I took my shower last night, skipped my deep conditioning treatment, and colored today.

To set up you’ll need all of your purchases plus a few extras. An old, ratty shirt that you don’t care about anymore, a hand towel or dishcloth you don’t care about, a washcloth you don’t care about, and an old towel are all the props you need to complete your mission!!

First, lay out the hand towel on your countertop. This will be your work area.

Section your hair into manageable pieces to work with. Make sure to comb each section before you pin it up. This will help with tangles.

If you opted to use barrier cream, apply a liberal amount to your hairline. Don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck, too.

Get your bottle (or bowl) out. Add developer to your bottle. Next, squeeze or pour your color into the bottle.

Time to glove up, Baby!! A little barrier cream at the tops of your glove may be a good idea, too.

Shake your bottle until the contents are well blended.

Starting at your roots, apply color. Make a line with the dye and rub it in. Continue to do this until your entire scalp feels wet and you can see your entire head is covered completely. If you wish to use a plastic hair cover, put it on now.

Check the time. Set your timer according to your package directions.

Clean up your mess!! Wipe off all barrier cream with your old washcloth and warm water.

If you find color spots outside the barrier cream areas, use soapy water and a bit of elbow grease. Rinse your bottle or bowl with warm water. Soak your clips and bottle in warm, soapy water.

Give yourself a mask or mini facial. Remember, we’re pampering you today!!

Time’s up!! Run a warm shower. Before getting in, make sure you have your old towel ready for when you get out. And, don’t forget to cut open your conditioning pack before you get in and put on new gloves!!

Rinse!! Just when you think you got it all, rinse more. Put the whole conditioning pack on your hair when the water runs clear. Remember to keep the conditioner on your hair for at least 2 minuets. Shave, scrub your face, pumice your feet, but keep that conditioner on as long as you can. That nice steamy shower will allow your product to soak in quite nicely.

Use your old towel to wrap your hair.

Style as usual.