Jami says…With mom being a retired hair stylist, I normally trust what she says when it comes to hair. She’s always stressed the importance of staying with one hair color brand. And even then never straying to different types within the same brand. So since I use Revlon Colorsilk I should NOT use Revlon Colorsilk Luminista. I can see the point of not using them at the same time. But if it’s been two or more weeks since you last colored, shouldn’t it be safe to try something different? So how bad for my hair would it be to try a completely different brand once in awhile?

The Left Brain responds:

Jami, your mom is right…and wrong.

All reactive hair color is damaging

If your mom says you should stay with one brand because switching is bad for your hair’s health, then she’s wrong. The basic process of using reactive dyes to color your hair is the same across brands. (Assuming that you’re comparing . permanent color to permanent color; or demi perm to demi perm.) The reactive nature of the chemistry makes all the dyes bad for your hair.

Color matching calamity

But, if she’s concerned that switching brands can be bad for your hair’s color, then she’s right. That’s because it’s very difficult to color match across brands. For example, L’Oreal’s “medium gold blonde” won’t be the same shade as Revlon’s “medium gold blond.” Manufacturers have different base platforms for their colors which give them slightly different tints. Historically, L’Oreal colors tend to have just a touch more greenish hues whereas Revlon tends to be a bit warmer and redder. (Simlar differences may even exist between different products in the same brand, like your Colorstay and Colorstay Luminsta example.)

Ulterior motive?

While I’d never suggest that your mom is out to mislead anyone, there is another reason why hairdressers (and the companies that provide training and sell them hair coloring supplies) might perpetuate the ideas the switching brands of hair colors is bad for you: they want to keep your business. If you believe that switching brands will damage your hair, you’ll be much more likely to come back to your stylist the next time you need a touch up. And that means they sell more product

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Changing hair color brands won’t increase damage your hair but you might have trouble matching the exact shade you like. If you’re changing your hair color you should have no concerns at all.