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How much is it to get your hair coloured?

Getting your hair coloured can completely transform your look, but it often comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of hair colouring services can vary widely depending on factors like the salon you choose, the experience level of the stylist, the colour technique used, and how long and thick your hair is. This article will break down the average costs associated with professional hair colouring so you know what to expect before your next salon visit.

The Cost of a Single Process Colour

A single process hair colour applies permanent colour evenly across the entire head. This is the most common type of salon colour service and often the most budget-friendly option. Here are the average costs for a single process colour:

  • Root touch-up: $65
  • All-over colour: $70-$150

The starting price is usually around $65-$70 for a basic single process colour. Short hair or a root touch-up will be at the lower end of the range, while longer or thicker hair that requires more product and time will cost more. Expect to pay at least $100 or more for shoulder length hair or longer at most salons. The table below breaks down the average cost for a single process colour by hair length.

Hair Length Average Cost
Short (above shoulders) $65-$85
Medium (to shoulders) $85-$115
Long (below shoulders) $115-$150

Keep in mind that the quoted price is usually just for the colour service. An additional charge for the haircut, blow dry, and styling may apply if you get those services as well.

Partial Highlighting

Adding partial highlights creates dimension and contrast for a more natural, multi-tonal hair colour. Here are the average costs for partial highlight services:

  • Partial highlights – $80-$150
  • Partial balayage (hand-painted highlights) – $100-$250

The starting range for basic partial foiling is around $80-$100. More intricate highlighting techniques like balayage and ombre, which requires advanced skill from the colourist, starts at $100 and can be $250 or more at high-end salons.

Highlight Technique Average Cost
Partial Foil Highlights $80-$150
Balayage Highlights $100-$250
Ombre $150-$300

Like single process colour, the highlight price range accounts for factors like hair length and thickness. Long, thick hair requires more foils and colour product which drives up the cost. Partial highlighting combined with an all-over colour starts around $160 and can be $250+ for a full service.

All-over Highlighting or Bleaching

Lightening all of your hair several shades requires more advanced colour techniques and expertise. Here are the typical costs for all-over lightening services:

  • Full head highlights – $180-$275
  • Full head bleach and tone – $200-$350
  • Full balayage – $250-$400

Pre-lightening with bleach and applying foil highlights throughout the entire head tends to start around $180-$200 for shorter hair. Longer and thicker hair that requires extensive highlighting and lightening can cost upwards of $350 from top colourists. Advanced balayage techniques for full head application average $250-$400+.

Lightening Technique Average Cost
Full Foil Highlights $180-$275
Full Bleach and Tone $200-$350
Full Balayage $250-$400

You’ll pay more if your starting hair colour is dark and requires substantial lightening to achieve a dramatic transformation. Maintenance is also critical for bleached and highlighted hair, running at least $100 per session, to keep roots fresh and brassiness at bay.

Fashion Hair Colours

Vibrant fashion shades like neon, pastel and rainbow require additional lightening, specialized colour techniques, and expensive professional pigments. Here are the typical price ranges:

  • Partial colour melt – $100-$200
  • Full colour melt – $150-$300
  • Colour correction – $200-$400

Even a partial application of vivid colour averages $100-$200 as extensive pre-lightening is usually required first. For full head application, fashion colours average $150-$300 depending on how much hair needs to be lifted and coloured. Colour correction to remove or modify a fashion shade can run $200-$400+.

Fashion Colour Service Average Cost
Partial Colour Melt $100-$200
Full Colour Melt $150-$300
Colour Correction $200-$400

Upkeep is also critical for bold fashion colours, requiring touchups every 4-6 weeks to keep the vibrancy intact, at a cost of $80-$150 per session.

Permanent Wave

A perm creates tight curls or waves in the hair that last 2-3 months. Here are the average costs:

  • Spiral perm – $80-$150
  • Beach wave perm – $100-$250
  • Digital perm – $150-$300

The starting range for a basic spiral perm starts at $80-$100, while specialized perms like beach waves and digitals that require advanced techniques and technologies range from $100-$300+.

Perm Technique Average Cost
Spiral Perm $80-$150
Beach Wave Perm $100-$250
Digital Perm $150-$300

The perm cost rises for longer, thicker hair that requires more rods and product. Maintenance perms are needed around every 3 months to touch up new growth, at a cost of $65-$150 per treatment.

Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatments can smooth frizz and curls for up to 4 months. Here are the typical service costs:

  • Express blowout – $150-$250
  • Full treatment – $300-$500

An express keratin blowout provides short-term smoothing for 6-8 weeks and costs $150-$250 on average. For longer lasting results up to 4 months, a full treatment is $300-$500.

Keratin Service Average Cost
Express Blowout $150-$250
Full Treatment $300-$500

Full keratin treatments should be maintained every 4 months to keep hair smooth and frizz-free, at a cost of $150-$300 per service.

Factors That Influence Cost

Below are some of the key factors that determine hair colouring service costs:

  • Salon type – Premium salons charge more while chain salons offer lower prices.
  • Stylist experience – Top colourists command higher prices.
  • Hair length/thickness – Long, thick hair requires more product and time.
  • Colour technique – Advanced techniques like balayage cost more.
  • Colour brand – Premium colour lines are more expensive.
  • Location – Pricing is higher in major cities.

When budgeting, keep these factors in mind. You can save money by going to a newer stylist at a mid-range salon for simpler colour techniques. Or splurge on a top colourist for advanced options like ombre and fashion shades.

DIY Hair Colour vs Salon Colour

To save on the high costs of professional hair colouring, many people opt to colour their hair at home. Here is a comparison of at-home vs. salon hair colour:

DIY Hair Colour Salon Hair Colour
Cost $5-$30 per box $65-$500 per service
Application Self-applied Applied by stylist
Colour Options Limited selection Virtually unlimited
Results Inconsistent, often brassy or uneven Professional, quality results

While DIY kits are significantly cheaper, they provide less predictable results than professional colouring. However, decent at-home hair colour is readily available and sufficient for many people.

Tips for Affording Salon Hair Colour

Salon hair colouring does have a high price tag, but there are ways to keep costs in check. Here are some tips for affording professional colour services:

  • Get pricing quotes before booking a service, so you know costs upfront.
  • Ask about any special offers or discounts for new or loyal clients.
  • Book during off-peak times like weekdays to take advantage of lower rates.
  • Extend the time between touchups to cut down on frequency.
  • Go for root touchups only rather than full colour services.
  • Consider at-home colouring kits for in-between salon visits.
  • Splurge on cut/colour but skip the blowout to minimize the total bill.
  • Consider student salons for discounted services from trainees.

With some savvy scheduling and shopping around, professional hair colour doesn’t have to devastate your beauty budget. A few small tweaks can help keep your colour looking fresh and vibrant while staying within your spending limit.


Hair colouring services involve a wide range of techniques, from single process colours to advanced highlighting and trendy fashion shades. Costs can start around $65 for a basic single process and go up to $500 or more for a full head of balayage from a top stylist. Factors like hair length and thickness, colour brand, salon type, and stylist skill impact the price as well. With some budget-friendly tricks, salon-quality hair colour can still be affordable.