Beauty Scoop. High-end DIY Hair Color: New Alternative to the Salon?

July 23, 2009 • Beauty

Frederic Fekkai DIY Home Hair Color Kit $30

In a low-end economy, high-end brands are launching themselves into a new market. High-end Do-It-Yourself color kits are on the rise. Now DIY fans can achieve “professional” color for less than the salon price. Frederic Fekkai offers his at-home color kit for $30, and celebrity colorist Kelly Van Gogh will unveil her line of high-end DIY hair color in the $40- $50 range. Given that women today are adapting their beauty regimen to accommodate their financial obligations, this appears to be a smart move, but what is the difference between salon quality colorKelly_van_gogh_heads_up and the high-end DIY yourself kind? Is high-end color substantially more effective than the average drug-store bought brand?

According to WWD, Van Gogh’s color touts Mica Shine technology, a science that ‘when applied to the root area, is able to pick up the color on either side of the root area and slightly self adjust to what the current level and tone is in the hair,’ says Van Gogh. Fekkai’s high-end color kits promote the expertise of Fekkai colorists and precise color application with the use of a brush and bowl vs. the traditional bottle.

I spoke with Master Colorist, Jason Backe, at Ted Gibson Salon to better understand the culture behind hair color, and dissect the lines between salon color and the varying genres of home color kits.

Jason Backe, Master Colorist at Ted Gibson Salon

SCS: In your opinion, is high end hair color “better” than say, an $8 box of Clairol?

JB: Here is the honest truth that most people don’t know. The ingredients that make hair color work are the ingredients that make hair color work. That means whether you spend $8 on a box, $30 on a box, or $30 and up in a salon it is essentially the same product. That being said, for under $15 you can get Clairol’s Perfect10 which has brought a whole new coloring technology to the table that, in my opinion, is far superior to anything you can buy in the drugstore or salon – I actually can’t wait for them to figure out a way to bring it to the salon professional – every time I use it I am blown away!

SCS: Are there particular ingredients in DIY hair color such as preservatives or chemicals needed for mass production that are not used in high end salons?

JB: Not that I know of. DIY color is more limited, however, in the results you can achieve. In the salon not only do I have unlimited shade selection, I can choose the percentage of peroxide I want to add to the color (ammonia and peroxide are the two ingredients that allow the hair to lighten and accept the new color) which determines how fast I want the color to work or how light I want the color to get. With DIY color, the peroxide is standard. That is why you should only choose shades that are no more than two levels lighter or two levels darker than your natural.
Is brand recognition and credibility a cause for higher price points on DIY color? Or do you truly believe ingredients are different and “better” than your average drug-store bought brand?

JB: With the exception of Clairol’s Perfect10, they are pretty much the same. Each manufacturer adds their own fluff – this one is shinier, this one is softer, this one is gentler – ultimately they all color hair the same way. Brand recognition goes a long way – I’m a sucker for a pretty package and a reputable name.

SCS: Would you trust your most valued clients’ hair to a high-end DIY treatment?

JB: Yes. I have a handful of clients who ask me about an at home kit they can use.  I make recommendations for them with my DIY knowledge and guide them to get the best at home results possible. They always thank me and they always come back. A salon client is a salon client – me helping her with an at home formula for while she’s traveling or working crazy hours at work only reinforces how valuable I am to her. I want my girls to look and feel their best all of the time and if recommending a DIY kit is going to help them out in a pinch – I’m all for it.

For more information about Ted Gibson Salons visit

To learn more about Clairol Perfect 10 visit

– Deenie Hartzog

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One Response to Beauty Scoop. High-end DIY Hair Color: New Alternative to the Salon?

  1. Hair color really gives someone a “WOLLA” thing. depends on the color of course. esp on women who are really stylist.

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