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How much do highlights cost?

Average cost in 20149: $85 See National


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The average cost for a hair colorist is $85. You are likely to spend between $60 and $130 total. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated September 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

Hair stylists almost always offer both hair cutting and coloring services, but some specialize in coloring and highlights. Professionals first consider customers’ natural hair color and desired look before determining whether to provide all-over color, highlights or lowlights. Highlights add lighter sections to hair that’s naturally a bit darker. Lowlights (darker sections) add dimension to hair by blending in strands of darker color. Both highlights and lowlights are meant to mimic the effects of the sun, which means strands at the top of the head tend to be lighter, while strands at the nape of the neck are darker. Partial highlights (usually concentrated on the hair in the front and top of the head) cost less than full-head highlights. Balyage or hair painting—which achieves a look called "ombré"—is a technique for highlighting in which the dye is painted on to create a graduated effect of lighter to darker color. Nationally, the average price for hair coloring and highlights is $60–$130

Hair condition and previous chemical treatment

Center Stage Designs owner Janis Leffler charges a flat rate for hair coloring services. That rate can increase if the condition of the client’s hair requires a lot of extra time, dye or hair products to get it to the client’s desired look. If a client needs a deep conditioning treatment, Leffler offers one from Brazilian Blowout for $50 extra.

Natural hair color

People with naturally darker blond or brown hair and those who have had highlights before may want to have the base (roots) colored to mask the contrast between roots and highlighted strands of hair. Highlights or lowlights are achieved by applying hair color directly to sections of hair to achieve the desired look.

  • Leffler of Center Stage Designs charges the following flat rates for hair coloring services:

    • Base: $40–$75

    • Highlights: $50–$95

    • Toner: $20–$40

Some stylists charge more to color naturally blond hair versus brown hair—a difference of about $20 more for blonds nationwide.

Hair length

Some stylists charge more to color longer hair, primarily to recoup the cost of additional dye products needed. Leffler of Center Stage Designs says clients with very long hair pay about $10–$20 more to cover the cost of extra products used.

Special techniques

Balyage typically costs more because it takes the stylist more time to achieve. Hair and Makeup by Sharlene at The Boutique Salon owner Sharlene Mitchell charges $90 and up for this treatment. Rates for balyage are often based on the specific technique needed to achieve the end look, the number of formulas (hair dyes mixed by the stylist) needed, and the customer’s hair length and density. It’s a good idea to consult with a stylist in person to discuss the look you want, so they can create a custom price quote.

Cost-saving strategies

Some stylists offer package deals that combine hair coloring with cuts, styling or deep conditioning treatments.

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