Are Salon Dyes Really Better For Your Hair?

30 March 2023 | Tincture and Colour

We’re going to start this blog post by saying, yes we completely understand that you think we might be biased and that of course we’re going to answer the question of “are salon dyes better for your hair?” with a resounding “yes” But here’s the thing: they actually are!

Not convinced? Still think we’re trying to get you to put down the boxed dye you picked up at Boots or Superdrug and get you through the doors of our salon? 

Well maybe we are. And it’s not for the reason you might be thinking.

It’s because we care about your hair!

How Does Hair Dye Actually Work?

Okay so before we get into the debate, we’re going to have to get a little scientific on you good people.

Do you know what happens to your hair when you dye it? Obviously chemicals are used – and that goes for whether you’re dyeing it at home or having it professionally coloured in a salon. 

When dye is applied to your hair it causes a chemical reaction and this changes the structure of the hair shaft. 

This shaft is protected by the hair cuticle – this is constructed of keratin cells. The ammonia that is used in hair dye causes the cuticle to swell, which reveals the cortex below it.

In the cortex is more keratin, as well as melanin, which are pigment proteins. Melanin gives your hair its natural colour but as the dye starts to infiltrate the cortex, hydrogen peroxide removes the pigment that is already there and oxidises the dye.

Lastly, the ammonia will evaporate and the hair cuticle returns to its original shape. This locks the dye into your hair and results in your new, fabulous colour.

Are you still with us? Want all of that in layperson’s terms?

In a nutshell, what this all means is that your existing hair colour, by means of chemical trickery, is replaced with the colour you have chosen to dye your hair.

So where are we going with this? Are salon dyes better for your hair and does salon dye have ammonia in it? Let’s investigate.

Are Salon Dyes Better Than Box Dyes? 

Now we’ve blinded you with science, let’s get to the crux of the matter: are salon dyes better for your hair?

They actually are. Seriously. That’s because, while hairdressers need to use chemicals to ensure you get the colour results you want, store-bought boxed hair dyes often contain an unnecessary amount of these chemicals – ammonia in particular. 

Ever opened up a hair dye in your bathroom only to be hit with that pungent, eye-watering smell? That’s ammonia. So, does salon dye have ammonia in it or not?

Does Salon Dye Have Ammonia In It?

Let’s be clear, many hair dyes contain ammonia, both box dyes and the dyes used at salons. But there are ammonia-free hair dyes out there now, so ask your hairdresser if you’re curious.

The difference is, when we’re talking about whether salon dyes are better for your hair, they do cause a lot less damage to your locks than box dyes. 

This is because your colourist will avoid using the excessive amounts of chemicals (including ammonia) that off the shelf dyes include and mix only the correct ingredients to colour the hair with the least damage possible.

After all, our goal as professional hairdressers is to have you leaving our salon with a beautiful, glossy head of hair. Not a patchy and damaged ‘do. (Looking at you, bathroom botch jobs!)

Does Salon Dye Last Longer?

Convinced yet? Realised that, actually yes, salon dyes are better for your hair and it’s not just us trying to make a fast buck?


So let’s take a look at a question that we also get asked fairly regularly: does salon dye last longer than box dye? 

Well, no real spoilers here, but yes. Salon dye does tend to last longer than home bought dye.

Why? That’s because of the dye itself and the way it’s applied. Your colourist will apply the dye to your roots and then to the rest of your hair. When you dye your hair with a boxed colour, you generally apply the dye all in one go. 

The salon technique has been developed to ensure the roots – which are more porous than the ends of the hair – have longer to absorb the dye. Not only that but the product used is superior – and so too will be the end result.

Just be aware that there is a difference between permanent and semi-permanent hair colour. The former will last around 6 to 8 weeks depending on your hair, and the latter for roughly 2 to 12 washes.

Looking After Coloured Hair

We have to point out that although salon dyes are better for your hair, you still need to treat your locks with a little love and respect.

Does salon dye last longer? Only if you play nice!

That means using a shampoo and conditioner that have been created especially for coloured hair. We really like Davines’ MINU Shampoo and matching MINU Conditioner which work in tandem to gently cleanse, condition and protect colour treated hair.

Other things to remember are to dial your temperature down to lukewarm when washing your hair (yeah, we know…) and to limit your use, as much as you can bear to, of heated tools such as hairdryers and tongs. 

Heat can strip hair of its essential oils, leaving it stressed and unhappy and it can even change its colour, so while salon dyes are better for your hair, you do need to give them a helping hand if you want to maintain the shade and maximise their lifespan! 

Get Your Dream Hair Colour At Tierney Salons Hertford

Let’s make this simple. Are salon dyes better for your hair? Yes. Does salon dye last longer? Yes. 

Should you book your next appointment with the best hairdressing salon in Hertford? Why, yes!

We’ve long been known as the salon that listens to you and whether you’re looking for a root touch up or a brand new colour, we’d love to hear from you. 

Book your appointment online now and we’ll look forward to seeing you very soon!