Box Dye Is Getting The High Tech Treatment & You May Never Go Back To The Salon

What your hair color routine could look like in 2023.

Originally Published: 
woman with blonde hair color

Love it or hate it, coloring your hair with a box of dye is notoriously messy — and not to mention stressful. (One wrong move, and you might end up needing professional intervention.) It's interesting, though; the beauty industry's mastered the art of the at-home blow-dry with the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and changed the lives of many with the Dyson Airwrap, but it's yet to make history when it comes to elevating DIY hair color. That is, until now, thanks to the new L’Oréal Colorsonic device, the latest innovation from the beauty giant and its Technology Incubator.

L'Oréal, which famously invented the world's first at-home hair color formulation in 1907, is making history once again with the industry's first at-home hair color gadget. It's been in the works for a whopping seven years and, though it, unfortunately, won't launch until 2023, the company insists it's worth the wait. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) seemingly agrees, as the Colorsonic is a 2022 innovation awards honoree.

The Colorsonic was designed to simplify the at-home hair color process, and lessen fears famously associated with box dyes. “The majority of people I talk to are either afraid to color their hair at home because they’re afraid they’ll get the wrong result, or afraid of the mixing process,” Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of L’Oréal Technology Incubator, tells TZR. “So based on that, we said, ‘OK, we have to make something that makes lives easier.’”

The Colorsonic device.Courtesy of L'Oreal

The result is a handheld device that L'Oréal claims will provide seamless color application to all hair lengths and types. How it works is that you first invest in the device and then select a color out of 40 shades on the Colorsonic website (with more to come). The next steps are surprisingly simple. You turn on the device and load the cartridge. From there, a custom mixer mechanism works its magic to combine the perfect amount of developer and formula needed for your hair color — no more mixing by hand and potentially getting the proportions wrong (or staining your bathroom sink).

It gets easier. To apply it, you brush the device from your roots to ends like you would a comb, and in just one pass, you’re done! The final step after running the tool through your hair is to wait 30 minutes before rinsing and styling, and then you're free to go about your life as usual. You may be able to get a second (or third) life out of your color cartridge, but that ultimately depends on your hair length and texture.


The beauty conglomerate has made headway when it comes to sustainability, too. The Colorsonic’s cartridge is recyclable and it uses less plastic per application than home box hair color. “And because there’s no more mess or leaking, you can use gloves that are reusable, so it can save up to 23 tons of gloves,” explains Balooch. Likewise, the Colorsonic device and color cartridges arrive at your doorstep in certified recyclable paper mailers.

Courtesy of L'Oreal

Intrigued? Cautiously optimistic? The good news is that you have lots of time to do more research and think it through before it lands on shelves next year. While the brand hasn’t released an exact price point just yet, the Colorsonic will be sold at mass retailers, so you can expect it won't break the bank. Compared to salon color appointments (which can run you several hundreds of dollars), this could be a happy middle ground between cost and professional quality.

This article was originally published on