Trailer trash-tastic! I wore my hair in a bun to hide it for far too long this summer.

Since June I have been taking a break with my pinch braid extensions to give my scalp a vacation and grow my roots out a little…plus summer is in full swing so it’s too hot to have extra thick hair!  After a month or two I noticed the black roots started to creep in and I was looking quite gross…time to do something about it *gulp*

♥ ♥ ♥

When I need my blonde hair  “done” in Korea it usually just involves the stylist bleaching my roots till it matches the other hair. I have talked to other blondes with this same experience in Korea, it can be very hard to find a place that will help tone your blonde to a desirable shade or even dye your hair properly! Your choice of blonde on the hair color chart in Korea is often how long they leave that bleach in, which is not too pretty on most of us.

>> The concept of using “toner” is puzzling here… most salons have no idea what it even is, just straight bleach or color+bleach <<

Don’t believe me? Check out this other blonde expats hair adventure, I can relate.

I paid almost 150,000 won ($150) for this swamp mess in Edae. Took some time to fix 100% (-_-;)

I have had my brown hair dried out from simple lightening, roots that did not match, hair that turned green, color that washed out, scalp burned, and just general stupid mistakes.  I have thin, pin-straight, black Italian hair naturally~  it is not that different here from Korean hair VS someone who is say an ashy blonde with curly hair.  What gives?

♥ ♥ ♥

 Girls in Korea overall do not go too crazy with hair color and style. Most salons deal with the same 3 browns all day, so many just do not have experience with a wider range of colors that more ambitious places like Japan do

 Korean hair generally is thicker vs most western hair so it can take more abuse + needs stronger bleach

♥  Different training and methods that are the industry norm back home, but may not be here

♥ ♥ ♥

 If someone handles western hair well they often have had special training or lots of exp with it (like Itaewon)

So now you may be thinking why I do not just go to a salon that specialises in dealing with foerigner’s hair like Lucy Hair, Hair & Joy, etc ? Well, because they often have very inflated prices because they are dealing with foerigners!  I used to pay my stylist $180 in California to get a cut, root retouch, and full color or tone all over at a very popular salon! I called the popular Lucy Hair on the phone last month and was quoted at 150,000 won ($150) JUST to do my roots that you see in the photo above.  No tone, color, or cut included… those ran another $100-$150 each. Are you serious?  I am not cheap, but I hate being overcharged because I am not Korean and desperate.

Most girls in Korea pay 100,000 won or less for a normal visit to the salon!

Enjoy your new crazy bleach orange hair. I was so worried that day…

Over-priced places aside, touching up roots can get randomly expensive in general here in Korea… I have paid around 50,000-80,000 won at some salons when I used to pay maybe $30-$40 back home. I started thinking that if they usually fry my roots anyway + charge so much, maybe I would just start doing that step myself here.  I will lighten my own hair and/or roots and then I can easily box color it myself or go to the salon for the 2nd half.

Now what do I use to dye my hair blonde in Korea that I can easily find AND will not cook my hair off?

UPDATE! The box style had changed a bit, check the bottom of the post for a pic of the new one + info!

Thankfully my friend here has similar hair to mine and gave me some great advice!  She has been box coloring her roots and overall hair with this box of Berry Trendy hairTony Moly Milky Blonde for the last year with great results! I assumed this whole time she was going to a salon, but you can buy this at any Tony Moly location for just 5,500 won!!

♥ ♥ ♥

This is worth sharing because finding a nice basic blonde box color like this can be VERY hard here in Korea!  Color choices are so limited here, usually between two blondes and they are often very dark or ashy~ which is bad for damaged blonde hair like mine because it turns my hair green!  This is bright sunny orange-ish blonde at last, hurray!!

♥If you need to lighten your overall hair and do not want to use harsh straight bleach, this can do the job for you and did NOT fry my hair at all!♥

Basic instructions are provided in English, thanks Korea!

The contents are exactly what you would expect in a box color~ including 1 pair of gloves.

Like all box colors, add the cream to the bottle and shake it like a poloroid picture!! lol

My friend had slightly lighter brown hair vs mine, she advised me to keep it on my roots for maybe 40 min to lighten before putting the rest on my hair. If you have never had to apply color just to your roots before it is not as hard as you would think!  I start with the center and just keep folding back my hair in sections to make sure I hit all the roots and massage it around a little.

The bleach in this must be very low because it did not itch or burn at all! No smell either!!

After about 40 min I saw some progress, but my roots still looked a bit too dark so I brushed my hair a bit and reapplied a little more color.  To help box color get even lighter you can hit it with a blow dryer all around, which is what I did to give it the extra push.  Keep in mind, this can be really risky to keep color on your hair this long~but in my case I was covering such a large and very dark area of roots that I took the risk. Not a pro here, just a lady who is desperate lol.

♥ ♥ ♥

After 10 min of blow drying I saw it get considerably lighter, so I put the rest in for maybe 10 min all over to tone!

Since my hair is thin it makes SO much difference when I use deep conditioners and oils. Tony Moly provides a deep conditioning cream in the box that I slathered that all over and covered with a shower cap for 10 min to soak in and work some magic. I love the cream they included in the box, my hair felt so smooth after and soaked it up very well!

♥ ♥ ♥

When I got out air-dried my hair and sprayed Shiseido Tsubaki Water all over and the thicker K-pak color therapy oil by Joico on my tips and roots… these two things are amazing if you have fried hair. I swear by K-pak, it is a godsend.

(I link to where to buy these at the bottom of the post!)

 

Looks almost like the color on the box model!

and here is the result right after!  I was extremely pleased that the box did its job very well (I mean, my roots were black!), did not itch, and did not fry my hair at all even though I had to leave it in for quite a long time!  The roots did not come out 100% perfectly matched, but  they never have when I paid to have this done at salons here (._.) so I don’t mind so much.  It is actually quite hard to tell unless you get super close and eyeball it a ton~  I’m impressed how well it did for one application and  it took out a lot of that orange that I had going on from the Korean salon bleaching sessions.

now that I have a nice light color to work with I am giving my hair a break for a week or two to condition and oil it a bit before I finish the job and have a salon color it from here or just use another box color to tint it a little differently + match up the roots perfectly.  Also, I need a haircut badly! haha! The box color overall is very pretty though, I don’t think it is very “Milky” but it looks very close to the photo on the box~ a nice sunny blonde!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  ROUND TWO~ UPDATE ! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My regrowth gives you a good picture of how light one box got my natural black hair

So after a good month I was ready to dye my hair one more time to match my roots. When I first colored it in the photos above it seemed to match a bit better, but over a few weeks it did darken somewhat.  Again, my natural hair is brown black, so the lasting result was a milk tea light brown from the looks of it! Even though it looks a bit bad in the photo, when it was styled it was still a bit hard to notice the roots, but I wanted to give it one more lightening session to make it match much better!  ROUND TWO

I went about it the same way as before~ put it on my roots for around 30 min with a hair dryer~ followed by 10-15 min all over since I thought I would lighten it a tad more.

The result was a bit more sunny orange this time, but I am extremely happy with it now!!  My roots match about 85% I would say.  My tips are a little dry now which is the only downside, but I was growing out extremely damaged hair so that is most likely just an issue with my hair that will resolve once it gets a bit longer and I can trim it some more!  Again, I still highly recommend this dye if you are looking to lighten up your hair here!

UPDATE #2 New box design & Availability

Sometime in 2013 it seems that Tony Moly revamped the “Berry Trendy Hair” line of dye~  I can not say 100% what is going on (and neither can the shop girls, since I keep hearing mixed answers) just share my observation here from the last few months. It started to become hard to find “Milky Blonde” in many shops as several of you noted and I started to notice myself all around Korea. I thought the Berry line would be discontinued because around the same time another line of hair dye appeared in the shop, but then “Berry Trendy” reappeared with new packaging and the dates on the box are from this year 2013 so I know they are not old inventory.   Yes, I have used this and YES~  IT IS THE SAME THING AS BEFORE! ^^

♥ ♥ ♥

The boxes now have a Korean girl vs the old Caucasian girl…. it’s a bit horrid if you ask me, looks like she has a wig on :/ whatever though. The blonde seems to still be poorly stocked though, since people are commonly spotting “Milky Golden BROWN“  note that I have never used that color and yes the girl is deceivingly blond on the brown box for some goofy reason.  You need to look for “Milky BLONDE.   If you use the brown version and found success with it please do share in the comments here for others.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Pros ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

- Cheap + easy to find. Tony Moly shops are all over Korea.

- Did not damage my hair or dry it out like most Asian hair dyes. Hair felt soft and shiny!!

- Has the power to lighten your hair several shades, I jumped 3!

- Minimal wash out of color. I waited 2 days to wash it after dying it.

- useful to pre-lighten your hair or roots before salon visit here to save money/stress

- handy if you want to lighten and tint in one go with a box color.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Cons ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

- it is a box color… so ya know~ Salons are better..but in this situation, maybe not lol.

- if your overall starting color is very dark it will come out a bit more like strawberry blonde.

I have used several other brands of Korean box dyes here and they all either dried out my hair BADLY, washed out in a week leaving me with an ugly raw blonde, came out ashy, or came out crazy orange. Unless you can get your hands on some imported colors at an international market, this may very well be one of the best box blondes for you to buy here.  They sell a few other color choices which are also very pretty so if you are worried about frying your hair on Korean brands this could be a very nice line to try.  I googled around and overall everyone had very positive things to say about the dye, Tony Moly should expand the line!

Lovely (yet mostly brown) Japanese color choices at Watsons by Freshlight

If you are not looking to go Barbie blonde, but want a brand suggestion for other box dyes here I suggest the Japanese brand Palty or Freshlight which makes beautiful trendy colors and is easily found at places like Watsons or Olive Young. I often use these a few weeks AFTER my hair has been lightened in order to tint it, so if you are looking for something dramatic I can’t give you an honest opinion atm~ but for general color they are lovely! Heads up though, sometimes the color on Freshlight can be really minimal.

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28 Responses to “Tony Moly Milky Blonde Hair Dye Review ~ DIY for blondes in Korea!”

  • Custom avatar Kitty:

    I am so shocked a box colour was able to lighten so much! What a relief, money and time wise! Looks great!

    What does it say on the areas where you blank out your face? I cannot read :)

    • Elle:

      I know, right?? It is a really great find if you need this sort of treatment here in Korea since we have kinda limited (or risky!) options XD Glad you like it, it as been about 4 days and I am quite happy with the color now that it has set in a bit ♥ haha oh the chinese character says something along the lines of “forbidden” to block your face if it looks bad, which mine did that night XD

  • Great Post! I am new to your blog and found it great and interesting since I am into kdrama and asian culture! :P. Here in India too, people are not adventurous with their hair. Mostly blacks to browns. Hardly any blondes here.

    • Elle:

      Welcome to the blog! :) You know, come to think of it… I have never ever seen a blonde girl from India! Yeah, here for sure the kind of classic long dark hair = beautiful is still very much the case here, girls want to just lighten ever so slightly… at the salon you see so many shades of brown, I can not even tell them apart hehe. Although honestly dark hair is beautiful so I understand them wanting to keep it that way haha *_*

  • Looks so goood and so even! I wonder what it’ll do to asian hair :)

    • Elle:

      I think it would be a little less dramatic if it was they super THICK BLACK asian hair (like my boyfriends.. his hair is crazy thick!) but it is made for asian hair despite the white girl on the box so :D prob would go very well! Although if I was Asian I could just go to the hair shop here normally and not have to fuss around with a box color haha.

  • OMG! Its awesome! however, I couldnt get a hold of it. I think this is one of their best sellers. I went to like 2 branches of tonymoly and both stores says that the product is out of stock. Ugh. I guess I have to order in advance

  • Custom avatar Angela:

    Hi Elle! I just found your blog and it’s awesome!!! I’m just about to book an appointment at either Lucy Hair or Hair and Joy because my roots are killing me! My hair is light brown but my stylist in the States gives me beautiful double foil highlights. Do you think this Tony Moly color would be safe to use not only on the roots but on the rest of my hair???? So I could achieve some kind of uniform color?

    • Elle:

      Hi Angela :) welcome to the blog! I am not a hair pro at all~ but if you have lighter brown hair and just need a root touch up or overall lightening it is a nice trick to lighten it somewhat without having to go to the salon here. Of course, since it is just a box color it has its limitations and does have a bit of an orange/sunny tint! If you have foil highlights you will really need to see someone that is good with foreign hair I think though, I read that causes issues a lot here so you may want to have the shop do it to be safe + getting the color on the highlights will prob be a chore to do on your own *_*. I have been told (and read) that Green Turtle in Itaewon does a very nice jobs with highlights and is priced a lot more reasonably VS Lucy or Hair Joy if you are curious. If you go, please do drop a comment with how it went!!! Other readers and myself are very interested to hear :D

      In terms of a uniform color with this box, my roots are quite dark so it did not come out perfectly uniform~ but close enough for me for now!

      If after your visit your wallet is sore and the maintenance is a bit too much

      • Custom avatar Angela:

        Hi again! I looked around some Tony Moly shops in Daejeon but couldn’t find the right color, so I booked an appointment with Lucy. Including the tip, that visit set me back 200,000 won! That’s about $70 more than my colorist in the States! No more…I just can’t afford it. Now I’m back home and looking for a good box color that I can just pack with me when I return to Korea. I’m terrified of lightening my hair myself, but COME ON! kkk I hope you’re well! :)

  • Custom avatar bee:

    I really enjoyed this post and I want to check out the Shiseido hair products but I can’t seem to find your link to where to buy them! I’m in Seoul, would I need to go to department store to get them?

    Thanks in advance, I’m also thinking of trying out the Tony Moly dye – it looks great!

    • Elle:

      You can find Shiseido at any of the cosmetic drugstores here like Watsons or Olive Young~ those stores are literally everyplace :) Heads up on the Tony Moly dye though, apparently it is getting harder to find.. not sure if they are discontinuing it! I need to ask next time I am in the store!

      • Custom avatar bee:

        Thank you so much for your quick reply! There’s an Olive Young down the street so I’ll check there first :D

        And thanks for the heads up, I’ll scour the local Tony Molys! <3

  • Custom avatar V:

    Hey, thanks for your post!!
    I’m going to Korea again to teach and I wasn’t sure if I could find a place to dye my black hair blonde. The last time I was there, most of the hair dressers in town refused to dye it blonde. I had to go into the city to get it done. But now that I see the box results, I might just try doing it on my own. Have you found any toners there by chance?

    • Elle:

      Hello! Unless you have think hair, if you want to come here blonde you can (for a price) find someone to maintain it…. but I would not go black to blonde here personally! They use a stronger bleach here and just totally fry hair, yes even the nice places… I have some crazy stories from my blonde (and not natural blonde) friends here so unless you are fluent and willing to hunt high and low or pay a bunch for an overpriced foreigner salon like Hair & Joy (something like $300 for a root color and touch up… and they are just OK as in they will not mess up the color or fry your hair) come ready with something you can maintain. This box is good for maintaining roots for me, I have thin dark brown hair and the color you see me with in newer photos on the blog is maintained by this.. My friend has ashy brown blonde and she also uses it to keep her hair a very light blonde with even better success vs mine….. since it is just a box color it can only lighten so much, so sometimes I need two sessions spread out to get it the blonde I want. I have had an extremely hard time locating a shop with toners, so if you want to DIY come with plenty of your own gear!

      Hair color and Nails are two things that just always are a nightmare for me here sadly!

  • Custom avatar jamie:

    thanks for the great tips!

    curioues about the tsubaki water – how do you use it? like a detangler & protectant?

    Also…the oil – where do u buy it? !

    thanks!

    • Elle:

      its a mist version of hair oil basically :) just lighter vs using straight oils. You can buy the oils on Amazon usually, or at hair supply stores~

  • Custom avatar Vicky:

    I love your blonde!! Makes me wanna go back to it

  • Custom avatar Felen:

    Dear Elle,

    I’m so glad to have found your blog! It’s like heaven!!! Especially this blog entry you made about the Tony Moly Milky Blond Hair Dye. I’m dying to have this, unfortunately I live in Europe, so it’s really hard to get my hands on this godlike stuff T___T Can you give me any advice where I can buy this online? I’d be soooo thankful for a reply!!

    Much love,
    Felen

    • Elle:

      Hi Felen, so glad you enjoy the blog :) Sadly since I live in Korea and not Europe I have never had a need to buy things internationally~ so aside from suggesting ebay or amazon I can not be of much help! I would check online for asian or Korean cosmetic shops that may sell these sorts of products. I will say that while I am very happy with the color, I only use it because I live here and have no options for other blonde hair color that I like (selection is limited) so I am sure you have lots of choices where you live that will give you the same result! <3 If you bother to import a hair dye, I know the brand “Palty” from Japan is quite popular online so it may be easier to find, they have some more Japan-inspired trendy box colors and I love the selection~ some are just a little drying on my hair.

  • Custom avatar Felen:

    Thanks a lot for your reply Elle! =^__^= The problem is, I’m asian and thus my hair is pitchblack and I’m pretty sure those asian hair products will work a lot better than european products ;D besides I’m not looking for a blond tone but more like something to get my hair to a warm dark chocolate brown :D but thanks a lot for your help, I’m searching the Internet for Palty now :3

  • Custom avatar jamie:

    I’ve used the golden brown version…super hit. Got lots of compliments on what a “pretty color” my hair was.

    • Elle:

      Really good to know!! often the golden brown is the only “light” one they have in stock. Very tempted to give it a try since a few shades lighter would make life easier for me lmao

  • Custom avatar Victoria:

    Hi Elle ! My name is Victoria, from France. I am new to your blog, and I love it !
    I am a redhead (colour-treated) and I would like to share my experience on how I get my hair dyed.

    I usually go back home once a year, and always pack a bunch of professional colouring agent in tubes before I go back to Korea (can be found at any hair salon supply shop). Then I give the tubes to my regular colourist (who is adorable!) at a famous Korean hair salon chain and the colour works out wonderfully ! This is also because I told her about the right oxydant concentration she must use the first time I went to have my hair done.

    And, the first time I went, I settled an arrangement with her. So every time I bring my colour tubes, she gives me a 30% discount off the price of the basic dying work.
    I have tried several locations before getting this discount. Some refused and others offered a smaller discount (15%).
    Of course, you still have to pay for the tubes but they are not too expensive (around $8.00 each) and the price for one tube and a half vs 30% off 100,000 wons seems to be quite advantageous to me (I prefer to throw these 30% into the nourishing treatments that come with the dying process).

    So if there is a colour that you like from back home and want to keep dying your hair with it, this is a hassle-free solution. Also you can ask a Korean friend to come with you in your hair salon hunt if Korean language proficiency is lacking.

    Hope this will help !! ^^

  • Custom avatar Stefanie:

    I had the exact same problem when I wanted to lighten my hair. I am naturally a dirty blonde that was going brown and I searched EVERYWHERE 4 years ago to find blonde hair dye since I had fried my hair 5 years ago with a magic straight perm (I also got charged $200 >.<).

    I found success with the brand "RH12" I buy off of Gmarket. You can find it in stores but none of the "unusual" shades. It has 'henna' extracts but is pretty light on the ammonia. The color stay is AMAZING, I have never had to do full head touch ups. My hubby helps me do the roots so a $5 bottle lasts about 3-4 applications. I try to space them out as long as possible.

    Now I'm looking into strengthening my hair with using BAQ henna. I'm about to order my first shipment. I hope red hair becomes trendy!! ^^

  • Thank you so much for the tips on this hair dye, it really works and the colour looks good. I was so pleased with the result and it helped me a lot last year.

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My name is Elle and I am an Illustrator & Gallery painter from California, but currently I am living in Seoul with my Korean Fiancé!

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