The Dreaded Box Dye

1 Aug

I am worried about the gray, but can no longer justify salon visits–and always hated much time highlights took.

icky grays

icky grays

My process:

1]  I bought the L’oreal mousse because there was no mixing involved and you could re-use the same box for up to a year if you didn’t go through it all.  I also thought mousse might be cleaner, and didn’t want dripping or to have to hang my head upside-down in the bathtub for who-knows-how-long.

2]  I had no idea what color to pick.  Blonde looks icky and fake as phuk, so I steered clear of that.  Mostly I just wanted

my natural color

my natural color

something to cover the 20% of grays while leaving the rest natural-looking.  Box dye never looks natural!  I was trying to pick between light brown and dark honey blonde–2 very similar shades to my natural color.  I was going to go with the darker of the 2, but the box said right on the front if you’re torn between 2 colors, pick the lighter shade.  So hesitantly, I did.

3] Making the mistake of looking online for application tips (I’ve NEVER colored my own hair before) I got scared.  Not only do box dyes damage hair, it takes some finesse to apply them correctly and evenly.  Also, the reviews for my particular product were not just bad, but HORRIBLE.  Every review hated it and some even went so far as to write the company.

4] Not feeling good about it, and with the important 1st day of school and Labor Dave Weekend approaching, I procrastinated for a week.

5] Wanting time for recourse if things went sour, I finally sucked it up and planned to dye my hair.

6] I showered and let my hair dry even though all the forums said dirty hair is better.  I assume it was dry-haired people saying that, because my short, fine, greasy-morning, post-run hair was hardly ideal–I thought.

7] I shook the daylights out of the mousse, wanting to follow the instructions to the letter.

8] I parted my hair like I usually do and (keeping the bottle upright, per directions) sprayed some mousse blobs on and really massaged them in.  The product stayed where I put it, and was easy to work with.  Cool said it was too much massaging, so when I made the next part (about 1/2″ away) I blotted the mousse in.  I parted my hair, fairly close together as if I was doing rows, then shook the bottle, sprayed blobs of mousse, and blotted them in.  Then, parted the back and had Cool help my spray and blot the mousse.

9]  Then the instructions said to work GENEROUS (their caps) amounts of mousse in the hairline, which I did before massaging it through all hair.

10]  We tried to work the mousse through all of the hair, massaging it in, and getting it as coated as possible.  I was worried about my skin (especially my ears) getting dyed, so I may not have gotten around my ears or neck as well as I should have.  Not being a professional, and not having a view of all 360 degrees of my head, I’m not sure how successful we were at this whole portion.

11]  Then we removed the gloves and I had to wait for 30 min.

12]  I sat in front of the fan, worked on my step count, did hula-hoops, hand-brushed cat hair out of the carpet, and it was finally time to shower.

13]  The instructions were very explicit that you could blind yourself with their product so I had to tip my head way back in the shower.  This engaged my abs, which Kelly Coffey-Meyers had engaged yesterday and this morning, and our water pressure is lower then even hotels, so I opted to lie down under running bath water instead.

14]  Cool said I would feel when it was rinsed out, but my hair felt slimy the whole time.  Finally, after 12-ish min (according to Cool, it felt much longer to me) I abandoned the notion of a complete rinse and just applied their conditioner.  Again, I have never used box dye before, so I don’t know if that’s how it usually feels with any brand.  Massaging conditioner in and letting it sit for good measure.  Which, because my hair is fine and has a tendency to get greasy, I NEVER apply conditioner to my roots, or hair shaft under normal conditions (pun!).  I’m not sure what the instructions dictated as my glasses were off at this point.

15]  I rinsed, and with great hesitancy, used my beautiful green towel to dry my hair, hoping it wouldn’t turn honey-blonde.

16]  I don’t know which is worse:  Clumps of gray or uneven, phony-looking one tonal color.  I don’t think I like either, but my hair hasn’t even dried after my shower so I can’t judge quite yet.  My hair is still pretty wet, but I’m not sure I like it.  At the front and part lines it looks very honey, but the shaft and ends of the hair look like my color.

17]  I gave it another hour and all hair looked pretty even.  I guess it had been damp and dark before.

before--eww look at those natural red tones!

before–eww look at those natural red tones!

before--my natural color

before–my natural color

after--former gray zone

after–former gray zone

after--my cheap haircut sure looks nice here!

after–my cheap haircut sure looks nice here!

I don’t know how to edit these pics w/o type in between

18] Verdict:  I can live with it.  I’m not sure I like it enough to repeat (that goes for ANY brand of box color), and I don’t want to damage my hair, but the process wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and as you can see there’s a definite color change.  And I think it colored the grays for the most part–though they still want to stand up and be unruly, so even though the match I know which hairs they are.  We’ll see–I still have half a bottle left over that I can use on roots or to fully repeat the process in the next year.

A note to myself:  I could see roots on 9/6 (and dyed the hair on 8/1) so it lasted, for me and my growth, about 5 weeks.

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