Differences Between Home Color & Salon Color

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Coloring your hair can make you look like a whole different person. Alternately, coloring your hair can make a subtle difference so you look like a better version of yourself. Going to the salon for customized hair color can feel indulgent and is usually expensive. If you would rather take things into your own hands and color it at home, know there can be some differences in the results, in comparison to salon color.


Salon hair color allows more flexibility in creating variations of colors. When you purchase a box of home hair color, you can only work with what is in the box. With salon color, the stylist can use a different strength of developer. She is not limited to the one kind in the box. This comes in handy when you need to lighten your hair several levels. The salon color is superior for that purpose. Also, salon stylists mix together different pro colors to get the right hair color. At-home dye does not offer that.


Salon color brands do not vary much from each other. Some are better for covering gray, while others are indicated for red or blond hair. One thing salon brands have in common is that they do not fade as quickly as home color. That does not mean that all hair color that comes in a box will fade. There is a better chance of it fading, especially if it is a dark color. Stylists often use products to control the porosity of the hair, which makes the salon color take better and last longer.

Drastic Color Change

It is not advisable to attempt a drastic color change at home. In general, you should not go darker or lighter than two levels of your hair color. It is possible to go darker using home color. It is likely to be darker than you like, but will fade over time. If you desire to lighten hair to a light blonde, doing it at home can result in an orange, bleached disaster. If you want to just cover up some gray, home hair color is perfect for you.


One main difference between home hair color and salon color is that boxed color contains metals in it. That can be rough on the hair. The metals in home hair color can make it difficult to receive the color results you desire. It makes the dye less predictable. Another problem with metals is that they are sometimes impossible to color over. Metallic dyes can fade to odd colors.