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Is hair color correction expensive?

Hair color corrections can be pricey depending on the extent of the fix needed. If you’ve made a color mishap at home or had a bad experience at the salon, color correction is likely necessary to get your hair back to a desirable shade. While professional color correction services don’t come cheap, they are often worth the investment to repair botched dye jobs or unwanted tones.

What is Hair Color Correction?

Hair color correction refers to the process of altering existing hair color to a more desirable or natural-looking shade. This involves using specially formulated color-correction products and techniques to remove or counteract unwanted pigments. Common reasons for seeking a color correction include:

  • Botched or uneven DIY dye job
  • Hair has unwanted brassy, ashy or muddy tones
  • Previous color has faded unevenly
  • Regrowth looks drastically different from ends
  • Want to go darker, lighter or add highlights/lowlights
  • Desire a drastic color makeover

Professional color corrections can take several hours and sometimes multiple sessions to achieve the perfect results. It’s not as simple as just applying new color; the stylist needs to assess your hair’s current state, determine the right products and formulation, and skillfully apply them to reach the desired shade.

Cost of Professional Color Correction

On average, expect to pay $150-$300 for a professional hair color correction service. Here are some factors that affect the cost:

  • The size of the color correction job – Small touch-ups around the roots or toning services start around $50. Major corrections involving multiple steps over all your hair could be $200-500.
  • Your hair length and thickness – Long, thick hair requires more product and time to color correct than short fine hair.
  • Salon location and expertise – Top color correction specialists in high-end urban salons charge premium prices.
  • Number of sessions needed – More complicated fixes may require multiple appointments spaced weeks apart.
  • Hair damage level – Severely damaged hair needs special care during color corrections.

To save money, ask if your stylist offers bundle deals on color corrections that include a conditioning treatment. For dramatic changes, spacing out the process over a few separate appointments can also help make it more affordable.

Corrective Color vs. Regular Color

Color correction services typically cost more than a standard single-process color application. Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

  Color Correction Regular Color
Purpose Fix unwanted tones; make drastic change Maintain existing color; subtle change
Formulation Custom mix to neutralize old pigments Standard formulas
Application Often needs careful strand-by-strand work Applied evenly over full head
Duration 2-5 hours 1-2 hours
Cost $150-$500+ $65-$100

As shown, color corrections require more specialized expertise, custom formulas, intricate application techniques and time. Consequently, they come at a higher price. However, it’s often worth paying more to get your hair to a desired state after a color mishap.

At-Home Color Correction

Some clients try to correct hair color themselves at home to save money. This can work for minor issues like blending roots or toning down brassiness. However, drastic at-home corrections are risky. Here are some concerns:

  • Box dyes use a one-size-fits-all approach and can’t address your unique needs.
  • It’s hard to examine and test porosity, tone and strand integrity yourself.
  • Applying bleach or color removers evenly is challenging.
  • If problems persist, professional repair becomes more complicated.
  • May require many steps over weeks; easy to lose track.
  • Coloring wet hair can lead to uneven results as it dries.
  • May still need to invest in quality salon products.

While minor color corrections can be DIYed, it’s best to visit an experienced colorist for substantial overhauls. They have access to high quality products you can’t buy in stores. And their technical expertise makes all the difference.

Tips to Save on Corrective Color

If you’re concerned about the investment, here are tips to save on a major color correction:

  • Avoid box dyes – Home kits make problems worse and harder to fix.
  • Book on weekdays – Weekend and evening rates are often higher.
  • Ask student stylists – Supervised students may offer discounts.
  • Get a consultation first – A plan can help avoid extra steps.
  • Focus on only problem areas – Correct only the worst sections if possible.
  • Space it out – Break it into multiple appointments if it’s drastic.
  • Add treatments – Deep conditioning prevents damage.
  • Maintain between appointments – Use purple shampoo, hydrating masks etc.
  • Get a discount for referrals – Some salons give savings for referrals.

Lastly, remember that quality isn’t cheap when it comes to intricate hair color corrections. Don’t choose a stylist based on price alone. Vet their experience and expertise carefully first.

When to Get a Color Correction

How do you know when it’s time to seek professional color correction? Here are signs it’s needed:

  • DIY color came out wrong. It’s too brassy, dark, light, splotchy or uneven.
  • Salon color turned out unsatisfactory. You asked for caramel balayage but got orange brassiness.
  • Your color has shifted significantly. It faded or oxidized to an unflattering tone.
  • Your regrowth and ends look completely different in shade.
  • You want to go lighter or darker but aren’t sure how.
  • You’re seeking a drastic makeover like platinum blonde or black.
  • Your color is dull, dry and damaged despite conditioning treatments.

Don’t wait too long to get color corrections. The sooner you act, the easier and cheaper it usually is to fix. Consult a stylist before re-coloring and let them assess if a correction is your best option.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Here’s a general idea of what to expect when getting a professional hair color correction:

  1. Consultation – The stylist will examine your hair closely and ask about your goal shade, problem areas, hair history and lifestyle. Be very detailed and honest.
  2. Discussion – They will explain correction options, costs, realistic outcomes and maintenance needs. Ask questions and express concerns.
  3. Testing – Strand tests determine hair’s porosity and elasticity to customize the formula and process.
  4. Mixing – The colorist mixes a custom formulation and does an allergy test.
  5. Application – Using meticulous sectioning and stroke placement, the new color is painted on.
  6. Processing – The formula needs to saturate fully before rinsing.
  7. Toning & stabilizing – Tones neutralize undertones; stabilizers lock in color.
  8. Styling – A blowout or set finishes the service.
  9. Home care – Ask about recommended shampoos, conditioning tricks and when to schedule a gloss.

The correction process takes patience, so clear your schedule for the day. Temporary root touch-ups may be needed between full correction appointments. Provide lots of feedback throughout so the stylist can achieve the best results.

Aftercare Makes a Difference

How long your color correction lasts and stays vibrant is hugely influenced by proper at-home care. Follow these rules for maintaining corrected hair color:

  • Use only sulfate-free shampoos to preserve color.
  • Alternate between cool and lukewarm water to wash hair.
  • Rinse with cold water to seal the cuticle after shampooing.
  • Apply weekly conditioning masks to boost shine.
  • Use leave-in treatments with UV filters before sun exposure.
  • Avoid chlorinated pools, hot tubs and salt water.
  • Don’t over-wash hair; shampoo just 1-2 times per week.
  • Trim regularly to remove dry ends and maximize color saturation.
  • Get a gloss or toner refresh around the 6 week mark.

Following a diligent aftercare regimen lets you extend the longevity of your pricey color correction so you get your money’s worth. Use professional salon-quality products as recommended by your stylist. Don’t overlook conditioning as it helps lock in moisture and color vibrancy.


Overall, successful hair color correction does come at a cost. While more expensive than standard coloring, keep in mind it is highly specialized work. A meticulous multi-step process is required to fix color mishaps and produce natural, beautiful results. Investing in an expert color correction by a seasoned stylist saves you time, money and frustration down the road. By taking care to maintain your new hue with salon-quality color-safe products and proper washing techniques, you can make your correction last longer. So if you’ve had an unfortunate color experience, don’t despair – hair color correction is very possible. With some careful planning and budgeting, you can get your hair back on track with a professional’s help.