By Sofie Thomson, 9th April 2017

The Real Cost of Box Colour

Why You Should Always Leave it to the Professionals

Why You Should Always Leave it to the Professionals

As a young child I had golden blonde locks that framed my chubby cheeks and although I may be slightly biased, there was no denying that I had amazing toddler hair.

But as I grew up, my curls became frizz and the colour became less ‘sunshine-glow’ and more ‘dull-rain-clouds’. It seemed that what was to follow would be a hair challenge that would plague me for the rest of my days.

By the time I hit the age of 11, I must have begged my mother for a ‘box colour’ so many times that she lost her patience and gave in.

Don’t panic, she didn’t give me a box of ammonia and let me ‘have at it’ – it was only a semi permanent “chestnut” dye, but I remember the excitement of holding that box in my hands like it was yesterday.

I also remember the beginner mistakes I made, like not wiping the dye of my forehead or washing my hair without using gloves but at the time I couldn’t care less about my stained skin, all I cared about was the new tone on my bonnet. It was glorious and I loved it!

For the first time in what seemed like years, I wore my frizz with pride. Finally proud of my locks, I went one step further and decided to grow them longer, but rather than resembling a Disney princess, my hair only seemed to only grow bigger rather than longer. It seemed to surrounded my head like a red halo.

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A few years after my first attempt at dying my hair I realised there was a whole rainbow of other colours to choose from. So at the age of 14 I saved my pocket money to get my hair highlighted going from red to blonde!

Yes I can hear a few of you reading this taking a sharp intake of breath. Big mistake, right? Red to blonde NEVER works!

But at the age of 14, I never even questioned it and to be fair, the hairdresser should have probably informed me that chances of success were minimal.

She applied a rubber hat with holes in it over my head and slowly started to pull out strand by strand. Yep, the dreaded cap! No foils ladies!

It was torture and It lasted for hours; her sweating at the thickness of my hair and me crying over the burning and fear of being left bald.

I made it out of the saloon alive, with bright orange hair.

Step aside golden sunshine, I was now a walking talking traffic light. But at the age of 14 and with much more self-confidence, I loved it wore it well.

And so was born my desire for trying new things.

My orange hair was followed by several terrible attempts at using hair bleach at home. Mostly due to the fact a 14 year olds pocket money doesn’t last that long and I suspect my mother refused to pay for the hairdressers based fully on the fact that my hair embarrassed her.

In my hunt for a hair identity I trial many different styles.

Of course I used the iron and ironing board technique when attempting to straighten my curls in to obedient straight flicks. That was before I entered my R’n’B stint. My love for the Fugees resulted in orange dread locks.

As I got older, I had more successful trips to the hairdresser and at 17 I sported long plaits, half blonde and half black. My mum came with me to get it done and I was so excited, it took 11 hours and although I left with a numb backside I was utterly in love with my new style.

After the ‘dread-gate’ I turned a bit ‘boring’ and tried chocolate brown locks with extensions. I can honestly say I think I’ve spent more money on trying to feel happy with my hair than what I would on the deposit for a small house.

Even as an adult I tend to change my hair pretty frequently, but I can’t seem to find my ‘hair identity’, and hair to me is expression of who I am.

For the last few years my hair has been an ash blonde, and although the ends were so damaged I could have used them for firewood, I loved it that way and as such I continued to abuse it.

Then it hit me that I can no longer justify £100 a month on my hair, and more so I should really not tell my impressionable daughter that I’m not good enough as I am.

I had considered growing my hair out, but when faced with the mousy colour in the mirror every day, I was suffering ‘hair-funk’. It didn’t matter how many bright lipsticks I tried to perk my look up, my hair was so dull and I couldn’t shake the feeling that it made me look older than I am.

With a hair budget in mind, one much smaller than I had previously allowed myself, I marched in to the local shop looking for the perfect hair tone to make me happy again.

I was determined that my hair would save me from the horrid pink lip shades I had been rocking as a distraction.

I chose a light chocolate brown and of course I bought two boxes to be on the safe side. It wasn’t until I covered my mousy/blonde hair I recognised that somehow I had done a full circle!

I was back in a bathroom, with a bottle of colour in hand excited for change!

Although I didn’t expect a head of faded pink hair. It wasn’t the look I was going for so I swiftly retrieved the other box out of my bag. It was late and I was too tired to fully inspect the dye job after my hair was washed and dried so I went back to bed, hoping it would live up to my expectations in the morning light.

I woke in the morning like a giddy kid before Christmas and bounced out of bed, threw open the bathroom door only to find what resembled a murder scene. Splats of reddish, pink with brown all over my bathroom. Flashbacks of my teenage years ensued.

I saw myself in the mirror. The mucky pinky-brown colour crossed my head in waves. I was mortified, but I had to quickly reminded my self that at least I saved £100 not getting this monstrosity done by a stylist!

Then I remembered the true cost of a box dye! It hit me like a slap in the face.

This had cost me 2 boxes of dye, a toilet seat, a bathroom shelf, bathroom wall paint and window sill paint and of course, I was left with a crappy pink halo I never bargained for. Next time I will leave the colour to the professionals.

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