Salon Hair Color vs. At-Home: thoughts?


OK, so: I have been coloring my hair at home for ages. I like to experiment and change it around. I'm competent at home hair dyeing, but I decided to splurge and go get my hair done in a salon, just to see if it was different/better than the home stuff.

I went to my usual salon - I go there for haircuts and am always very happy. This is a reputable place, really popular, it's been there for 10 years and is sort of chic and upscale. I went in for my appointment, got the color done, and while it looks all right, I am not noticing a huge difference between this and what I do at home. In fact, I'm a little disappointed, because I really wanted a natural, multi-tonal color and my hair seems a little too dark, with very little variation in color. It's not a disaster, but it's not as good as it usually is when I do it myself.

So. Did I just have a bad experience? Is it really worth it to go to a salon and pay 10 times as much as it costs to do this stuff yourself? Any thoughts?


I used to go to the salon to get my hair colored. I've paid between $35 & probably $65 or more with highlights. Compared to others, I know this is on the cheaper side. Since I'm a bit financially challenged now, I decided to do my hair color at home. My cousin recommended ColorSilk which I can sometimes get for $2 a box. This actually covers my, ahem, grays ;) better than the professional colors. I can touch up anytime I want. I think I've had maybe 2, possibly 3, great colors in my hair coloring lifetime which of course hasn't been that long :D so I am very happy with doing it at home. For me, home coloring is the way to least until I hit the jackpot! :)



I used to spend around $150 per month for a cut and color. I was never thrilled with the cut and the color was all gone within 10 days. I finally got fed up and went to Sally Beauty Supply. I was advised on the best color and how to hang onto the "red" longer and my hair color (and cut) are now, finally, exactly how I want it. The color runs me about $3.00 - $3.50 per month. I go to a chain hair salon where each of 3 ladies have cut it and I get at least one compliment on my hair every day and tons right after it's cut. I give the woman a $5 tip and the cut comes to $17.

My hair is a fun short cut and all I ever do to it is wash it, dry it, condition it, and use John Frieda's Color Glaze every other day after I shampoo. "Red" is always going to be an added hassle to maintain (fades FAST if you don't take precautions) but my cut works so well I never have to use "stuff" to make my hair work, anymore.

I went from paying $150 per month to about $22 and I've never been happier with my hair. If you aren't happy with the results, try something (or someone) else until you get what you want. Frugality rules!


I got the exact same results at home as I did with a salon. I went back to the salon when I started using color to cover grays instead of to give it a little punch w/highlights or whatever.

I found that, esp. w/curly hair & wiry grays, the at home stuff only lasted a couple of days, & I needed that stupid $75 color job to keep those grays hidden. If I didn't need it for the grays I'd stick w/the $10 box of Natural Instincts.


I used to pay $200 bucks a pop for a cut and color. Now, I buy cheap color, pay $5, and it looks just the same! I say save your money unless you want something dramatic. :)


I definitely see a difference between salon and box color but only because I am going from a light/medium brown to blonde. The blonde sometimes has a reddish/strawberry blonde hue from the box and the underneath hair in the box never gets as light as the top. I am sometimes called a red-head :-(. However, I am refusing right now to go to the salon. I should probably go with a darker color...*sigh.*



Active Member
IMO, the only reason to go to the salon is if you're getting something drastic or very creative done. For example, i have my hair dyed a brilliant red on top and chocolate underneath..something i wouldn't do at home because i'd be afraid to drip one onto the other doing it myself. I also like to switch it up and experiment quite a bit.

I'm lucky that i found a colorist who is extremely good at what she does (and is not that pricey either!)...and you can get more variation in a salon because they can custom mix your color. That said, if your hairstylist doesn't know what she/he's's not going to be anything more spectacular than what you see at home.

Also, most hair color will be single tone unless you or your stylist actually adds in highlights/lowlights. That's just the way hair dyes for the most part.


For me personally, the salon is the better choice. Thankfully, what I spend is not outside my budget. My hair is in superb shape because my hairdresser is just that good.;)

My SIL colors her own hair and she has had a lot of bad result. From wierd green tint hair to over processed fried hair with some balding. :eek::eek:
OMG, I seriously could not risk my hair!
I'll give up a workout video before I would give up my hairdresser!


For me personally, the salon is the better choice. Thankfully, what I spend is not outside my budget. My hair is in superb shape because my hairdresser is just that good.;)
Your hair in your avatar photo does look super-cute, BTW. :)

My hair is very dark and very short, and it's also very resilient! If I end up with a color I don't really like, it's not usually too noticeable. I'm extremely choosy about who CUTS my hair, though - there's a fine line between an adorable pixie cut and the "13-year-old boy" cut. I do not care to test that line.

The salon service was expensive. It was actually at the low end of the range of prices that are typical out here (DC metro area), but still too pricey for me to repeat if it's something I can accomplish just as well for 12 bucks at home. AND. I like to have some popcorn and watch a movie while the color develops.

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