Salon Hair Colour vs Box Dye: What's the Difference & Which One is Better For You?

When the pandemic hit and everyone stayed home, those who usually visited colorists for gray coverage had to grow out their hair or try DIY dyeing. Now, even as salons reopen, many have gotten used to coloring their own hair and continue to do so. It’s convenient - a new look for a bargain, but at what cost? Do you go pro or try the box yourself?
A salon is where your hair gets pampered and receives a unique touch by pros. It's luxury and customised. A box dye, though, offers a quick change on a budget. Yet, it may bring risks of damage and unexpected results.
Picture leaving the salon, hair gleaming with health, and colour matching the dream in your mind. Now, think about the fear of a box dye turning out uneven or needing expensive fixes. Choosing between the two is like choosing how you want the world to see you.

A salon is where your hair gets pampered and receives a unique touch by pros. It's luxury and customised.
Key Takeaways:
  • Salon hair colour offers personalisation and professional-grade results.
  • Box dye is a more affordable and convenient option but can lead to hair damage if not taken proper care of.
  • Professional fixes for box dye mishaps can be costly.
  • The likelihood of achieving your desired color is lower with box dye compared to professional salon dyeing. Box dyes are mass-produced and may not work the same for everyone.
  • Box dyes formula is often stronger and more concentrated to ensure results on anyone’s hair.

Comparison of Salon Hair Colour and Box Dye


  • Salon appointments can be time-consuming, requiring scheduling and travel time that may not fit into busy schedules.
  • Boxed hair color kits are readily available in stores and online, and can be used at home.


  • Generally cheaper than salon treatments, boxed color kits are a budget-friendly option for coloring hair.


  • Highly customised to individual hair types and previous treatments at salons.
  • Pre-mixed for general use, less precise.


  • Professional-grade, often maintaining natural pH. Salons offer a wider range of colors, including options like ammonia-free and PPD-free formulas.
  • Higher ammonia content, more PPD (Paraphenylenediamine) in darker shades, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and weaken the hair structure.


  • Managed by trained hair colour experts, ensuring minimal damage and optimal results.
  • Convenient for home use but lacks professional precision. 

Cost Considerations: Salon Hair Colour vs Box Dye

If you're low on time but want a new hair colour, box dye could be perfect.

Salon hair colour costs depend on the technique, your hair length, and the salon you choose. High-end places that use special brands could charge more than $300. Yet, these services might last longer with proper care. This means you might not need to spend as much on maintaining your hair colour. On the other hand, Box dyes are a cheaper option. You can find them from $10 to $40.

User Convenience and Application Ease

Box dye is easy to apply at home. You can change your hair in your bathroom. DIY kits include clear instructions, great for first-timers.

Going to a salon changes how you see hair colouring. Professionals will give you the perfect hue. Salons don't just colour your hair—they're like your hair's personal trainers! They give expert tips and a one-of-a-kind salon experience. Plus, they've got secret treatments that leave your hair silky smooth post-colouring.

Yet, booking a salon visit can be tough, especially during busy times. Sometimes, you might have to book in advance to get an appointment. But the personalised service, expert application, and advice make it worthwhile.

Level of Customisation and Expertise

Getting the perfect hair colour is easier with professional help.

Getting the perfect hair colour is easier with professional help. Expert hair stylists know a lot about colours and techniques. They create a stunning color that blends will with your natural hair colour using techniques like balayage and keeps your hair healthy. They also think about your hair's condition and past when picking the most suitable colour formula for you.

Box dyes are different. They're cheap and fast, but offer less choice in colours. Often, you won't get the colour you expected. Boxed dyes are formulated for general use, so what proves effective for one person may not yield the same results for another. This can be disappointing. Dyes if mishandled can sting your scalp, parch your locks, and even make your hair break. That's why they can't match the care and quality of professional services.

Quality of Ingredients

The type of ingredients in hair dye really matters. Good ingredients make your hair look great and keep it healthy. Salon-grade brands often avoid harsh chemicals, prioritizing your hair's health. Their products are packed with nourishing ingredients, protecting your hair from damage and reducing irritation caused by colouring. Using quality ingredients means getting a formula that's just right for your hair. This makes the colouring process safer and more effective for you.

Box dyes are one-size-fits-all and may often have harsher chemicals. The difference between box and salon dyes also lies in the quality of ingredients used. Remember, you often get what you pay for. Box dyes are designed to work on a variety of hair types, so their formulas are typically stronger and more concentrated to ensure effective results.

Longevity of Hair Colour: Salon Treatments vs Box Dye

Hair dyes can last differently for everyone, depending on factors like your hair's current condition, the shade and type of dye used, and external elements such as sun exposure and how often you shampoo. So, it's tricky to predict exactly how long your color will stay fresh—it's a bit of a hair mystery!

The way you dye your hair really matters for how long the colour lasts. Both salon and box dyes try to give you long-lasting, bright colour. But, the way each one is made and applied can mean big differences in how long the colour stays vibrant.

The way you dye your hair really matters for how long the colour lasts.

Salons make sure your hair colour stays on point longer, so when it fades, it fades gracefully. Hair stylists consider your hair's health, type, and any quirks you've got, ensuring your color lasts and looks fabulous!

Box dyes, however, may come with their own quirks. Over time, you might notice the color looking a bit patchy probably due to application or ingredients. Ever had that moment when the color seem uneven on your hair? Or it just doesn't seem to last as long as it did before?

Potential for Scalp Irritation and Skin Reactions

Some people face scalp irritation from using hair dyes, which includes discomfort, soreness, and redness. These issues often come from dyes with ammonia, phthalates, and PPD. PPD, found more in dark dyes, is known for allergic reactions. Before dyeing your hair, doing a patch test is key to stopping allergic reactions.

Some people face scalp irritation from using hair dyes, which includes discomfort, soreness, and redness.

Many salons now use safer products without ammonia and PPD to protect their clients. For example, at our salon, we offer ammonia-free coloring services like Loreal INOA and Goldwell Topchic Zero. We also have PPD-free options from Goldwell Elumen and Kevin Murphy COLOR.ME. And if you prefer even more natural ingredients, we've got you covered with our Henna service.

Instant scalp reactions are one thing, but long-term dye use can make your hair weak and prone to breaking. A good salon will use products that reduce these risks. They also offer advice on keeping your hair healthy after colouring. These are what you do not get from using box dyes.

Picking the right dye and knowing its ingredients can make a big difference. You can opt for something that can lower the chance of bad reactions greatly.


The choice between salon hair colour and box dye depends on what matters most to you. If you want your hair done perfectly, a salon is best. At salons, hair stylists use their expertise and top-notch products to craft a personalized, longer-lasting hair color just for you. But, this will cost more than if you did it at home with a box dye.

Deciding between a salon or doing it at home is really a personal choice. Knowing the good and bad points can help you pick. Salons give you a special hair experience. Box dyes are there for those who prefer saving money and doing it themselves, even though it may have its risks. Whatever you choose, we hope your new hair color brings you loads of confidence and fun!

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