Tales from the Hair Chair
Metallic hair dye: Box color and Henna

Again and again with this crap! I feel like a parrot. Let’s get one thing out there before I even BEGIN to get into this. Hair color is CHEMISTRY! Why people feel they are qualified to determine what is “safe” without any knowledge of the chemistry is beyond nieve. I would not DARE give myself botox or minor medical procedures. There’s a reason hair stylists need a license. There’s a lot of chemistry we need to know.

*Okay, Michelle, just breath and give them the information.*

I’ve heard it time and time again. “I just use box color.” And granted, some of you get lucky. But what you don’t know can hurt you. The danger I’m talking about here is Metallic salts. Metallic salts have been used in haircolor since the 1800’s. We’ve come a long way since then but for some reason people still blindly LOVE them. Metallic Salts fall under a category of hair color called “Progressive Dyes”. This means with every application the dye adds another coating to the hair making it darker and darker. Now, if you’re going for ink black, for example, you may not think this is a problem. But hair that has been using these metals over time start to feel rough. I call it tinsel.

So what happens when you want to lighten or get rid of this color. Well, the problem with metallic salts is that it’s EXTREMELY reactive with other chemicals. If you try to use most color removal methods on Metallic salt major chemical reactions can occur in the hair shaft such as horrible burning fumes and sometimes even smoking.

"But Henna? Henna is natural! It’s organic and healthy!"

No, have I taught you nothing. Chemicals ARE organic. Chemicals are in nature. The color of pure henna is brown. Metallic Salts are added to Henna to make it warmer or cooler. And Henna may not take evenly the first few times you use it causing you to have to do it several times.

Aside from Henna here’s a list of some of the box colors that use Metallic Dyes:

Nice ‘N’ Easy


Grecian Formula

What to do if you used these? Be patient. You have gotten yourself into a special category of client called the “corrective color client”. Chances are it will take several visits and some patience to get rid of what you have. Even if you’ve only done it once. Patience and time will be rewarded with healthier better feeling hair in the long run. Quick fixes just result in quick damage. So color safely.