I’ve seen more people recently who have attempted to color and-or highlight their own hair. Needless to say, the results were disastrous.

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

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 them in the head. Literally.

Chemicals are not to be just slapped on. Yes, sometimes it might work. I know the companies would not still be around if it was horrible every time, however these are chemicals.

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

Fact No. 1: The major pigment in all hair darker than blonde is orange. Any time you “slap” hair color or bleach on your hair, both are actually lifting the natural pigments out of your hair. When attempting to self-highlight or balayage, the results will more than likely be that orange color, or brassy.

The products sold over the counter are usually not strong enough to lift past the orange without lots of damage.

Fact No. 2: This process of lifting also occurs when coloring your hair. The difference is that the color that was in the box or tube will be deposited over the lifted hair, giving the effect of all one color – and maybe not the desired color. It is usually literally a flat, one-dimensional color.

The problem begins when the artificial color begins to fade. Now you have new growth. Sometimes gray hair is a good majority of the new growth.

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 slap the color on (hopefully) all of the new growth only. 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. Different bands of orange begin to show as the color fades once again. This results in not-so-pretty hair and a visit to a knowledgeable stylist that can correct it.

It might look easy; however, it is not.

It’s fine to touch up your roots between salon appointments with one of the many touch up powders or sprays that camouflage the new growth if you don’t want to come to the salon as often. 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 options that will keep the integrity of your hair – without orange and damaged hair. Just call a pro.

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