We're all for anything we can do on a budget, especially if we can achieve professional-level results for less money.
We checked in with celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh, whose star-studded client list includes former Victoria's Secret Angels Gisele Bünchden and Karlie Kloss, to get the lowdown on coloring your own hair at home.
While the quality of drugstore dyes has improved, Harry says there is always going to be a limit to what you can do color-wise at home.
"Application has become easier, but without the education, it's still a disaster," he says. "You really have to understand … what's possible and what's not possible."
Many people choose box dye based solely on the photo on the front, because they like the model's hair color.
But the reality is, at home you can only change your hair color up two levels or down two levels.
And what is a level? Basically, it's the number that corresponds to how dark or light your natural hair color is.
HAIR COLOR LEVEL GUIDE
Level 1: Black
Level 2: Very dark brown
Level 3: Dark brown
Level 4: Medium brown
Level 5: Light brown
Level 6: Dark blonde
Level 7: Medium blonde
Level 8: Light blonde
Level 9: Very light blonde
Level 10: Lightest blonde
You can go from dark brown (level 3) to light brown (level 5) at home, for example. But if you have dark brown hair (level 3) and you want to go very light blonde (level 9), you'll want to go to a salon.
In addition to the numbers, hair color codes also use letters, which correspond to specific tones, Harry says. These tones are either warm or cool.
The hairstylist shares a helpful chart that covers four main letters and what they mean.
HAIR COLOR TONE GUIDE
A IS FOR ASH (COOL GREEN TONES)
"Ash colors are for those women out there who find their browns always look too red for them," Harry says. "You want to put ash into your mixture. You want to pick an ash tone."
G IS FOR GOLDEN (WARM YELLOW TONES)
On the flip side of the spectrum, if you're a brunette who feels your brown is mousy, add a golden tone into your brown mixture to achieve the luster you're looking for, the pro explains.
V IS FOR VIOLET (COOL PURPLE TONES)
Violet is for blondes who think their hair looks brassy, Harry continues. "Violet is really designed to neutralize that brass and give you a nice cooler, icier shade of blonde."
N IS FOR NEUTRAL (BLUE TONES)
If you're someone who's happy with your natural hair color but you just want to get rid of your gray hair, pick a neutral tone, Harry says.
Once you understand what they mean, it's easy to use the letter-number codes to determine whether your goal color is something you can achieve at home or not.
For example, if your ideal hair color is 4A, or a medium ash brown, you should only try it at home if your starting hair color falls somewhere between levels 2 and 6.
WHEN TO GO TO A SALON
In addition to making a major jump between levels, the other time you should definitely go to a salon is if you've messed up your hair at home. Once you've made a mistake with box dye, don't try to fix it with more box dye, Harry warns.
"You cannot fix a mistake easily. Color cannot lift color," he says.
When in doubt, go to a pro and get them to fix it once. It will be worth it!