The box blonde has been around for about as long as women have wanted to go from brunette to blonde. I recently read an article in a magazine which encouraged readers to go ahead and bleach their hair out at home because of how easy it was to achieve amazing results. I want to touch on that a little because it seems that for some reason, something is lost in translation when it comes to truly understanding the art of lightening hair.
An advantage of having your hair lightened in the salon, by a pro, is not only the knowledge that your stylist or colourist possesses, (17 years in my case, and Violet Blonde Salon which specializes in that sort of thing) but also the plethora of tools and products at our disposal to help get your hair light. The box blonde is typically a formula which is not made specifically for you, or for anyone else for that matter. It is a colour or bleach which has been formulated for the masses and therefore cannot compete with an intricate colour formula calculated from years of know how, and hands on trial and error. When I mix a colour or lightener, I have at my fingertips dozens of options from which to choose and intermix to maximize lightening and toning ability. Each gram I add changes the intended purpose and outcome.
Colour formulation is so specific, that every client has their own formula which is rarely used on other clients. Hair texture, ethnicity, hair elasticity, condition, prior colour, chemical and product build up, and lifestyle all play a very big part in deciding what route to take. These are aspects which get overlooked at home, and even if they are addressed rarely do people have the know how to navigate these kind of issues that we navigate everyday in a salon setting. I have in good conscience sent many clients home when I have felt that their hair could not handle the stresses of going lighter.
I have heard many times that hairdressers make it "look so easy", and perhaps that is part of the problem. It is the opposite of easy, but after years and years you are able to discern very quickly what kind of hair you are dealing with, what product you need to use, if the formula needs any additives (yes we actually use "secret" ingredients), and the after colour products to help bring your hair back to an ideal state. The moral of the story is that next time you read that bleaching your hair out at home with products that are strong enough to sterilize infections is a good idea, take a step back and think about it.