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Which hair color is high price?

Hair color can significantly impact the overall cost and maintenance of your hairstyle. While some colors are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, others require more frequent touch-ups and the use of high-quality salon products to keep the color looking its best. This article explores which hair colors tend to be the most expensive based on the professional coloring service, home maintenance, and the hair products required.


Going blonde is one of the most expensive hair colors. To achieve a bright blonde shade, the hair must be pre-lightened to remove underlying pigment, which requires the skill of an experienced colorist. Blondes also require more frequent trips back to the salon for root touch-ups, often every 4-6 weeks, to keep the regrowth at bay and prevent obvious roots from showing. Using purple shampoo and conditioner is a must for blondes to counteract brassiness, and these specially formulated products don’t come cheap. The constant processing also puts stress on the hair, so rebuilding treatments like Olaplex are highly recommended. When all is said and done, blondes can expect to invest quite a bit of time and money into maintaining their bright locks.

Balayage and Ombre

Subtle, sunkissed highlights like balayage and ombre have exploded in popularity in recent years. Though the initial application is time-intensive and requires meticulous painting or foil work by an experienced stylist, the grow-out is more seamless than a traditional foil highlight. The blended look of balayage and ombre allows you to go longer between salon appointments, up to 12-16 weeks, before needing to get your color refreshed. Still, the products and processes used for these techniques don’t come cheap. You’ll need to budget for special toners and glazes to keep the ends looking fresh. Overall, balayage and ombre are on the pricier side for color but require less frequent maintenance than many alternatives.

Fashion Colors

Vibrant fashion colors like mermaid, pastel, neon, and rainbow hues have become popular requests in salons. But these punchy shades often don’t come easy. Achieving a bright and saturated look requires bleaching the hair first to remove natural pigment so the vivid color will pop. Fashion colors fade the fastest and require the most upkeep to remain vibrant. Plus, the hair must be re-bleached with each color change or refresh. Using a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for dyed hair is a must to extend the longevity between colorings. For these reasons, fashion colors tend to require the most salon visits and maintenance products, racking up a hefty price tag over time.

Dark Brown to Black

For those with naturally dark brown to black hair, maintaining your base shade can seem deceivingly simple and budget-friendly. But don’t be fooled by the minimal processing time. Over time, single-process color in dark hues results in a muddled or lackluster appearance as the shade overlaps itself repeatedly. To counteract this, occasional glossing or intensifying treatments are needed to refresh the tone and shine of the color. Demi-permanent options like a brown glaze can also be painted just on the mid-lengths and ends to keep the color looking rich. And for those with lighter roots wanting to stick with a dark overall color, bi-monthly root touch-ups are necessary. So in the long run, dark doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper.


Classic foil highlights require precision placement and careful processing to achieve a natural, dimensional look. Highlights are applied on top of your base color, meaning two processes are taking place during one salon visit. Lightened highlights need special toners to blend with the natural base and prevent brassiness as they grow out. Plus, highlights grow out noticeably faster than single-process color, so expect to book touch-ups every 8-12 weeks. Bleach is damaging, so rebuilding treatments are key for maintaining the integrity of highlighted hair. And just like blondes, specially formulated shampoos and conditioners are a must. For these reasons, highlights are one of the pricier coloring techniques over time.

Permanent Fashion Colors

Looking to go bright and bold for the long haul? Opting for a permanent fashion color like fire engine red, electric blue, or neon green means committing to a serious color process. Permanent fashion colors last longer than semi-permanent options but still require diligent upkeep. Pre-lightening and occasional toning are a must to keep permanent colors from fading or falling flat. Plus, the harsh chemicals used to deposit concentrated pigment often require repairing treatments to keep hair healthy. Maintenance is also key. Shampooing too often can cause rapid fading of permanent fashion colors. All these factors make permanent fashion colors one of the most high-maintenance and expensive color choices.

Color Correction

Color correction is one of the most complicated and expensive hair coloring services. Corrective color aims to fix color mishaps like removing too-dark dye, evening out spotty highlights, or neutralizing unwanted tones. The level of lifting, depositing, and custom mixing required takes an advanced stylist. Several sessions are usually needed to achieve the desired results. And because color correction involves significant lightening or overlaying of color, maintenance must be rigorous to prevent rapid fading or reverting to the underlying issue. Ongoing toning, glazing, and root touch-ups will all be necessary. When all the time, products, and expertise are added up, few services carry a higher price tag than color correction.

Gray Coverage

For those looking to cover their grays, regular salon visits and top-quality color products are a must. Gray hair is coarse and stubborn, so it takes a potent formula to achieve full coverage and saturation. Opting for permanent color is typically recommended for the most lasting results on gray hair. Allowing the roots to grow in visibly is not an option for most, so bi-monthly touch-ups are required to keep grays at bay. Anti-yellowing toners and conditioners also help maintain tone and shine between colorings. And as the gray coverage process is repeated over and over, the hair’s integrity suffers, so rebuilding treatments are key. Covering grays comes with a hefty price tag for those wanting to closely maintain the results.


Lowlights provide depth and dimension by placing darker hues strategically throughout the hair. But don’t assume going darker saves you money compared to highlighting. Lowlights require careful placement and blending to look natural. Stylists often need to hand-paint or custom-mix shades to complement your base color. The darker lowlight color also builds up easily, so occasional glossing or toner treatments help refresh the tone so it doesn’t get murky. And while grow-out is less obvious with lowlights than highlights, you can still expect to book touch-ups every 8-12 weeks. The precision technique makes lowlights a significant investment compared to single-process color.

Root Shadow

Also referred to as a root smudge or tap root, this technique melts a darker shade into the root area for a low-maintenance grow-out. It’s popular among blondes and fashion colors. While less precise than traditional highlights or lowlights, a root shadow still requires skill to seamlessly blur the regrowth line near the roots. Specialty toners and glazes are often used to soften and blend the shadow. Shadow roots allow you to stretch salon visits up to 8-12 weeks before needing a refresh. However, achieving the ideal amount of shadowing for your base color and tones requires an experienced colorist. The root shadow ends up costing more than an all-over single process, but less than regular highlights or lowlights.

Gloss Treatment

Glossing treatments are commonly used between full color appointments to refresh faded or lackluster hair color. Glosses deposit semi-permanent color without lightening or fully covering the hair. The results are subtle but help tone down brassiness and brighten up the shades. However, glosses don’t last nearly as long as permanent color, so they need to be repeated frequently. The results are also temporary and focused on enhancing shine and richness rather than significant color change. While cheaper than a full color, glosses still require repeat salon visits a few weeks apart to maintain the refresh they provide.


Well-formulated toners can help remove unwanted undertones and enhance the look of highlights, fashion colors, and bleach processed hair. But toners don’t deliver any lasting color change or grow-out coverage. Their effects are shortest-lived of any coloring technique. Most toners start fading immediately and only impact tone for 1-2 weeks max. So using them requires diligent upkeep – applying them too soon is a waste but waiting too long leaves the hair looking dull or brassy. To see results, toners need to be applied with care on freshly shampooed hair. The temporary nature of toners means repeat visits are required. For long-term color maintenance, toners alone are an expensive proposition.

Color Melt

The color melting technique blends your natural root color into a fashion shade for a low-maintenance grow-out. The melting effect is achieved using balayage highlighting techniques and precision hand-painting. Color melting allows fashion shades to fade into the regrowth instead of leaving obvious root lines. However, the initial application requires advanced artistry and several hours in the salon. Maintenance is also required to refresh the fashion tones and prevent fading. So while color melting techniques can stretch the time between salon visits, the overall investment remains quite high, especially initially. The seamless grow-out comes at a steep price.

Bleach Retouch

For blondes and fashion colors, periodic bleaching of the roots and regrowth is required to maintain brightness and vibrancy. But bleach is extremely damaging, especially with repeated application. Each lightening process compromises the hair’s integrity, resulting in dryness, breakage, and split ends over time. Using a intensive conditioning masque after lightening is crucial. And for long-term bleached hair health, Olaplex or Brazilian Blowout treatments are almost mandatory to prevent severe damage. All this pampering and protecting of bleached hair adds up. That’s why keeping up with bleach retouches carries a significant cost in services and at-home treatments.

Partial Highlights

If you’re looking for a subtle pick-me-up, asking your colorist for partial highlights – also known as face-framing highlights – can provide a lift while keeping costs down. Highlights placed only around the hairline and crown area lighten up your look while using less foils and processing time. Since only select sections are lightened, touch-ups are needed less frequently than full highlights. But precision placement is still required for a natural look. Overlapping and improper application can result in obvious regrowth lines or a stripey appearance over time. The reduced number of foils makes partial highlighting more affordable than full, but expertise is still critical.

All-Over Color

Compared to highlights, lowlights, and advanced coloring techniques, an all-over single process color is very budget-friendly. With an all-over application, there are no custom formulations or special placements needed. The colorist simply applies one consistent shade from roots to ends. All-over color also grows out diffusely and seamlessly, rather than leaving obvious regrowth lines. However, regular touch-ups are a must, usually every 5-8 weeks, to prevent visible roots. And the repeated overlapping applications can cause the color to build up and become muddy over time without proper glossing or toning. Still, in terms of initial cost and frequency of salon visits, all-over color is one of the most affordable options.

At-Home Color

For those on a tight budget, at-home hair coloring kits seem appealing. However, it’s easy for at-home color to go awry without professional expertise. Results often turn out spotty, streaky, or over-processed. Bleaching without skill carries lots of risk for major damage. And if you make a coloring mistake, correction can be expensive and lengthy. Still, with proper caution, at-home kits for touch-ups on simpler applications like all-over color can save money. But for advanced techniques like ombre, fashion colors, and highlights, seeking professional services is highly advised, despite the higher cost. The potential for disasters with at-home kits makes them difficult to recommend to avoid spending more on fixes later.

Comparing the Costs

Color Service Average Initial Cost Maintenance Frequency Maintenance Cost At-home Products Needed
Blonde Expensive Frequent Expensive Purple shampoo, toner, treatments
Balayage Moderate Infrequent Moderate Toner, glaze
Fashion colors Expensive Very frequent Expensive Color-protecting shampoo
Dark brown/black Inexpensive Frequent Moderate Gloss, glaze
Highlights Expensive Frequent Expensive Toner, treatments
Permanent fashion colors Very expensive Frequent Very expensive Color-protecting shampoo
Color correction Very expensive Frequent Very expensive Toner, treatments
Gray coverage Expensive Very frequent Expensive Anti-yellow shampoo
Lowlights Moderate Infrequent Moderate Gloss, toner
Root shadow Moderate Infrequent Moderate Toner
Gloss Inexpensive Very frequent Moderate None
Toner Inexpensive Very frequent Moderate None
Color melt Very expensive Infrequent Moderate Toner, glaze
Bleach retouch Expensive Frequent Expensive Treatments
Partial highlights Moderate Infrequent Moderate Toner
All-over color Inexpensive Frequent Inexpensive None
At-home color Inexpensive Frequent Inexpensive None


When considering a hair color change or touch-up, it’s important to weigh the initial cost as well as the necessary maintenance and expenses required to keep your color looking its best. Blondes, fashion colors, highlights, and advanced