Why is haircolor so expensive?

Why is haircolor so expensive?

I was talking with a client the other day and she mentioned that hair services have become so much more expensive than they were 10 years ago. After having a hiatus myself, I would have to agree. But there is a good reason for it. We are so much better than we used to be. Color services back in the day were pretty simple and straight forward: highlights, grey coverage, and all over color. Today, there are so many different ways to color hair in addition to the basics. Balayage (which means to sweep), Babylights, Teasy Lights, Tip Outs, Highlights with a Root Smudge and so on. It can become overwhelming and expensive!

In addition to the multitude of new techniques, there are new products. Olaplex, bond builders, and more. These are added to your color to ensure the hair is protected during your lightening service. Clients are smarter than they’ve ever been and not only do they want more impressive results,sooner, they want to make sure that their hair feels as amazing as it looks. As they should! However, these items aren’t cheap for your stylists. Many stylist will forgo charging for these basics, and it’s to their detriment. I admit, I am one of them.

We know that these services cost us money, and we know that they’re necessary to achieve the results you want, but we also cringe when our clients balk our their totals. So we either devalue our service or we skip necessary processes to save clients money. The outcome is clients do not receive the look they want or hairdressers lose money.

So how does this add up?

Let me break it down:

Toners $20-$60: Almost every highlight service requires a toner.

What is a toner? So when you lighten hair, it always lightens warm. It can go from reddish to orange to yellow. A toner neutralizes these warm colors to a color that the client wants to see. Think of it this way: highlighting strips the color similar to removing the paint from a piece of furniture and the toner is the stain that makes it pretty again. Even if the highlights lift to a perfect color (rare but can happen on virgin hair), a toner will smooth the cuticle and restore shine. Salons can charge anywhere from $20-$60 for a toner as an add on to your highlights. For me, it is build into my price because it is non-negotiable.

Partial/Full/Halo Highlights $110-$300: Depending on how much brightness you want, your stylist will choose where on your head to place a highlight. If you wear your hair up a lot, they will specifically add a halo (around the hairline). If your hair is long, a full highlight will make sure that the underneath is bright.

Baby Lights $150 – $350: Baby lights are a new technique that is taking the industry by storm. Most clients wouldn’t know to ask for it but when you show me your inspiration photo, chances are it will require this extremely detailed service. A baby light is a microfine highlight. To apply them, you do hundreds of microfine sections, requiring two to three times the amount of time, product, and work. The results are absolutely beautiful especially for someone trying to achieve a lot of brightness in one sitting. The extra work needs to be charged for and if your hair is thick, make sure you bring a snack!

Bonding Treatment $20-$50: Hairdressers should always use a bonding treatment during and/or after a color service. When you color your hair, protein bonds are broken and hair can be damaged. A bonding treatment, such as Olaplex, can be added to your hair color and also done as a treatment post service. This will also ensure that the color lasts longer.

Tip Out $prices vary$: A tip out is when the hair that is left out between the foil is teased and the ends are lightened. Almost every picture on Pinterest will require a tip out, as the ends of the hair are brighter than the top. Depending on your hair, how much brightness you want, and what you’ve had done to your hair before, this can really range in price.

Teasy Lights $150-$300: This is another service a client wouldn’t know to ask for but it allows for nice pops of color. I like to do these in the back of the hair to really add dimension and bright pieces. Hair is weaved or sliced and then teased at the root to ensure a seamless blend when taking bigger pieces. This requires more skill and strategic placement to make sure it’s done right.

Root Tap/Smudge/Melt $20-$60 – These are the newest and hottest services on the market. It is an additional toner-type color that is applied to the root of the hair and blended down to varying degrees depending on the look the client desires. A root tap is tapped onto the very base of the highlight to blend the grow out. While it is an additional cost, it can really extend the time you can go between your services. For me, this is becoming something that I will do on all my clients as the results are so much more beautiful and the grow out is much softer than a traditional highlight.

Most pictures my clients bring me require a combination of these services. Knowing what to use when and where on the head requires skill and planning. This is where it pays to have a stylist who is well trained and knows what they are doing. Personally, I have taken several classes over the last year to perfect these techniques. The cost of this education adds up well into the thousands. This is why I must charge more. My clients know what they’re paying for before we get started and we make a plan for their hair. In this industry, you get what you pay for and if you end up in someone’s chair who doesn’t know what they’re doing, it may be cheaper for your wallet but expensive for your confidence. Choose wisely 🙂



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