I’ve seen more people recently that have attempted to color or highlight their own hair. Needless to say, the results are disastrous.

Even the “mail order” color that promises it will match your desired color and leave your hair healthy and shiny leaves much to be desired.

Let me explain again why professional stylists are licensed and educated – and even then, we can make mistakes. I never claim to know it all. because although I’ve been doing hair for 30-plus years, there are so many factors to consider.

It infuriates me when people say they’re going to “slap on” some color. I’m sorry, but slapping on random boxed color will eventually slap you in the head.

Chemicals are not meant to be just “slapped” on. Yes, sometimes it might work. I know the companies would not still be around if the result was horrible every time. But these are chemicals, and chemicals must be handled with care.

A few facts that may clarify and help you to understand a bit why this is not always easy.

Fact 1. The major pigment in all hair darker than blonde is orange. Any time you “slap” hair color or bleach on your hair, the chemicals are lifting the natural pigments out of your hair.

When attempting to self-highlight or balayage, the results will more than likely be orange, or brassy. The products sold over the counter are usually not strong enough to lift past the orange without lots of damage.

Fact 2. This process of lifting also occurs when coloring your hair. The difference is that the color in the box or tube will be deposited over the lifted hair, giving the effect of all one color, maybe not desired color, but all one color hair. It is usually a flat, one-dimensional color.

The problem begins when the artificial color begins to fade. At that point, you have new growth. Sometimes gray hair is a good majority of the new growth. (Please refer to my last article about gray hair and its resistance to color.)

This, combined with the previously colored, faded hair is now what needs to be colored. This is where the spiral to hair color hell begins. You can hope that you slap the color on all of the new growth only. But this is difficult to do evenly by yourself. If any new color gets on the previously colored hair, it will lift some more before being covered again with flat color from the box. Does this sound like a murky mess? Exactly!

Different bands of orange begin to show as the color fades once again. This results in hair that is not pretty and a visit to a knowledgeable stylist who can correct it.

If you don’t want to come to the salon as often, please touch up your roots between appointments with one of the many touch up powders or sprays that camouflage the new growth. We can also just do your hairline between full color appointments to afford you more time. Color can be painted into the top to camouflage the new growth.

There are many other professional options that will keep the integrity of your hair – with no more orange, brassy and damaged hair.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton. styleitsalon.com