Salon Hair Colour vs. Drugstore Hair Colour

The differences between Salon Hair Colour and Drugstore Hair Colour have been debated for some time. Of course as hairstylists we recommend salon hair colour for clients and warn against the use of drugstore colour products for a variety of reasons. One of our priorities is to keep client’s hair in the healthiest condition possible making colours vibrant and shiny, as well as leaveing the hair easier to style. The following information should help in understanding why we strongly stand behind the use of salon hair colour. There is a lot of technical information here but the purpose of sharing the fine details is to show the solid, scientific facts* of why we feel as strongly about this issue as we do!

The facts on Drugstore Hair Colour:

Type of Dyes – Drugstore hair colour contains two types of dyes as mentioned above. Direct Dyes are like food color hair colourtype dyes that stain the hair’s cuticle and don’t get all the way inside the hair because of their size. As a result, the intensity of the colour they provide fades out quickly. Even though this stain fades quickly it is very, very difficult to remove completely from the hair (if you are able to get it off at all) which can cause future problems when you are looking to change your hair colour.  There are professional hair colours that contain direct dyes.  Having those dyes applied in the hands of a professional is imperative so they know how to deal with the inevitable removal process.

Level of Peroxide – Because of these larger molecules, drugstore colour needs to use a higher volume of peroxide to open up the hair shaft so the colour molecule can get inside. Many times 25 volume peroxide is used.

Level of Ammonia – The larger the hair colour molecule the higher the level of ammonia needs to be to work with the peroxide to open the hair up wide enough for the molecules to get in.

Application – Most clients colour their roots once a month if they are covering grey or approximately 6 times a year if they are choosing to maintain a different colour then their natural. With drugstore colour your only option is to use the same formula you have applied to your roots to freshen up the ends of your colour. For vibrant shades, using the same formula on the ends can lead to off toned or less vibrant results.

End Result – Drugstore hair colour can cause damage from the combination of higher levels of ammonia and peroxide which leaves the hair rough in texture, lacking shine and causes the hair colour to fade out sooner. This damage is increased with each application, applied directly over already coloured hair.

Salon Hair Colour differs in many ways from Drugstore Hair Colour but it’s not just as simple as choosing any ‘Salon Hair Colour Line’ and using it. We choose to use Compagnia del Colore salon hair colour because in our opinion not only does it outperform Drugstore hair colour, it can also outperform other professional salon lines as well.

The facts on Compagnia Del Colore Salon Hair Colour:

hair colour

Compagnia del Colore Professional Hair colour

Size of Colour Molecules – 100% oxidative micro pigment colour molecules which are smaller than regular oxidative molecules. They resemble the size and texture of powdered sugar.

Type of Dye – The oxidative micro pigment colour molecules are pharmaceutical grade. Since the molecule is very small it is not necessary to be aggressive with opening the hair shaft. More of these micro molecules can stay inside the hair providing far more vibrant hair colour that will not fade like traditional colour.

Level of Peroxide – Salon Hair Colour lines provide a range of peroxide levels to choose from when creating a colour formula so we are able to add the exact strength necessary. Many times this can be as low as 7 volume.

Level of Ammonia – Since the colour molecules are smaller, a lower level of ammonia works well in combination with the peroxide to drive the colour into the hair shaft without needed to open it up too wide.

Application – There are so many options! As professionals we know that previously coloured hair must be treated differently than virgin hair. When getting a salon hair colour your stylist should be mixing two separate bowls of colour – one for the roots and one for the ends of your hair. Using a different formulation that has less (or no) ammonia and a lower volume of peroxide on the previously coloured hair makes a phenomenal difference in the health of your hair, your hair colour results and how long your colour will last. If your stylist isn’t doing this – be sure to ask them why!

End Result – The combination of all of these factors result in shiny, healthy hair and hair colour that lasts and lasts.  Combine salon hair colour with a knowledgable and technically gifted hairstylist and the sky’s the limit!


We hope you find this information helpful in understanding what makes salon hair colour and specifically Compagnia del Colore so amazing! We have taken the time to educate ourselves on the differences between Salon Hair Colour and Drugstore Colour and hope that our description here helps in understanding why we feel so strongly about it!


Thanks for listening,


*data source:Mags Kavanaugh, Trichologist/Cosmetologist and International Brand Ambassador for Compagnia del Colore


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