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    Will the Real Hair Colorist Please Stand Up?

    Have you ever wondered why a hair color product, bought from a beauty supply store, just never seems to work out?  It’s like trying to buy a nice pair of pumps from Foot Locker; there is no real accurate solution to that problem.

    What manufacturers fail to tell you is how hard it is to buy a box hair color product over-the-counter, that will ever give you what you seek. Not only does it usually end in a big disappointment, it can be quite expensive to fix and can lead to some pretty damaging hair issues. I know, as I spend much of my career educating beauty professionals on the complexity of hair color.

    Despite manufacturer’s claims, hair color is not and never has been a “buy and apply” type of procedure. Buying a color product in a box will never give you the color that’s pictured on the box, and it will never give you the color that is spelled-out on the box. Color theory doesn’t work like that.

    It’s no mystery that every time a consumer buys a hair color product from the store, that it almost always turns into a hair color disaster! Hair color needs to work cohesively with your natural hair color and that means there are components in the whole process that literally rely upon one another in order to leave you with the hair color that you desire.  So, when a box reads auburn for an example, it simply means that auburn is the tonal deposit that is released unto your hair, but the color of your hair prior to that deposit will always have a paramount contribution to what it will ultimately be when it is rinsed from the hair.

    The complexities of color mixing is an art. Hair stylists with decades of experience will often struggle with understanding the principles of the art. Every hair stylist has war stories of the unpredictability of hair coloring. It is unrealistic to expect the typical consumer will ever walk into a store and get it right.

    Here’s my professional and compassionate response and answer to this frustrating cycle. All of your hair color processes should be handled by a licensed professional. Leave the hair color work to your hair stylist.  Do your homework and find yourself a hair stylist who has a broad understanding of hair color products. Research how much hair color experience your hair stylist has. Talk your hair stylist and ask all the important questions you need to ask and always make sure that they know exactly what end result you are looking for. A good hair colorist will know how to formulate to your specifications and also how to recommend proper tone for facial and hair adaptability. This is a tedious process and requires skill as well as concentration to come up with the proper end result.

    If you are very interested in hair color and would like to find the perfect hair colorist, you can get professional guidance by going to my website at ( or by contacting me at my salon at 804.323.6712. Meanwhile . . . stay away from box hair colors at beauty supply stores.

    Guest author Chuck Caple is a 29 year veteran in the beauty industry working as a national and international educator. He is a published author of “Coloring Chemically Relaxed Hair,” as well as others. Chuck has developed his own hair color line and has taught hair stylists from around the world in places such as the Bahamas, the Carribean, the U.K. and parts of Africa.


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