How to Cut the Cost of Hair Color

March 19, 2016

Exploring Your Options

Have you thought about having your hair colored but don’t think you can afford it? Maybe you saw a photo of Drew Barrymore in a magazine with her highlighted golden brown hair and thought that’s the color for me! But then you start thinking about the cost.

Most women don’t know what questions to ask about the different hair color processes and the cost involved. They get a little confused when it comes to the somewhat daunting task of making choices between one process and another. Ignorance is not bliss here. Some of you might be thinking you can do your hair at home and it will be cheaper. Be careful! It could end up costing you more in the long run to fix your mistakes.

Becoming familiar with the different hair color processes will also help ease the fear of having your hair colored. The following four processes will acquaint you with different methods of coloring your hair. You can either match your present hair color or change it a shade or two. You will be able to determine which one works best for you and your budget. Who knows? You might even have enough money left over to have lunch with your best friend!

Process #1: Semi-Permanent Color

Semi-permanent hair color does not penetrate the hair as deeply as permanent hair color. This process leaves the hair in great condition with beautiful reflections of color. Gradually it fades out with each shampoo. If your hair is healthy, it could last for six weeks.

The greatest benefit of semi-permanent hair color is that you will not see a line of re-growth as your hair grows out. It is also one of the least costly services in the salon. Most product companies have at least twenty shades that can either be used alone or mixed together. You can also use semi-permanent color at home in between your permanent color services to help keep the shine in your hair.

Process #2: Partial Hightlights

This is a wonderful process to see how you look with a little lightness around your face or over the top of your head. Partial highlights will get you started and help you stay within your budget. This small change in color will add dimension to your overall color. Ask for shades in the soft golden blondes rather than using white highlights, which don’t give shine to the hair.

Often when the highlights are too light they fade into the hair, not showing up at all. Soft golden blondes or red-gold highlights add shine and luster to all blondes and brunettes. Redheads always look magnificent with golden-coppery highlights.

Process #3: Base Color Plus Partial Highlights

(By the way, this is the process Drew Barrymore has…but she probably pays more than you will.)

If you have been coloring your hair for years and have started to feel your hair color has an overall lackluster, the best way to correct this is with a few highlights. Yellow, flat-looking blondes that look a bit fake will get the life back in their hair that most blondes want.

Highlights will add softness to the overall shade. This process is also great for flat, drab brown hair, which is very aging. You can add soft, golden shades or just softer browns over the drabness. Your hair will finally be the color it was when you had your first date, or it will give you the confidence to meet the love of your life!

Process #4: Balayage (Brush-in Hightlights)

This is my favorite way of doing highlights because the final outcome is beautiful and very natural. This process is done with very fine strands of hair being placed around the face or throughout the hair. The color is brushed onto the hair strand. When you see the finished results the hair looks as close to natural as a child’s hair that has been highlighted by the summer sun. This process can be used over either natural hair or previously processed hair.

The salon price could be a bit more than highlights done with foils. Different volumes of developer are used for different degrees of lightness. Stay with the light golden blonde shades. The overall effect will be subtle and elegant without a line of re-growth. The soft, lovely sunlights glowing throughout the hair are well worth the cost.

For Your Information

The above processes can be adjusted to full-head processes, which cost more, of course, because of the extra time involved. Please allow for this extra cost and time. Do your research in fashion magazines to find the shade you feel you might look good in. Also, be open-mined. Try to find the shade you would like before booking the free consultation. Believe me, the professional will respect you whether you’re having a partial service or the full service. They want you to return.Professional hair colorists formulate with numbers. Most of the drugstore products use shades as a guide, although this is changing. Clairol and L’Oreal are now using numbers on most of their packages. Be sure to write down what you have used and save it for the next time. The biggest problem with “at-home” color is not remembering what was used. This often leads to big trouble. When you color your hair at home you can cut the cost by using one-half of the package. Save the rest in an airtight container for the next time.When you’re changing your hair color the first time, don’t change it more than one or two shades.  Start small. You can always add more, but you can’t take away what you’ve already done.

Last Word

Some of you may be paying for college or you could be buying the newest cell phone for a child in school. Often there is not a lot left over. Most of you will leave yourself for last, but still you want to have pretty hair color. If you don’t have enough money for a hair color service and can’t think of doing your own hair, simply get a great hair cut and use a color shampoo (these come in all shades).

You can also use a color refresher, which can be added to your shampoo or used alone. These products are generally used every week to help keep the shine in your natural hair color or in your previously colored hair. They will also help to retain the gloss and shine that keeps your hair fresh and healthy. Most of them cost about $10.00.

Learn more about the difference of “at-home” and salon services. Visit my web site and find out about my eBook Excuse Me… You’re Roots are Showing!

Tracy Hill


My name is Tracy Hill – Hair Colourist to Hollywood’s elite, and former international hair colour training director for Clairol Inc., L’Oreal, and Vidal Sassoon.  I have been an authority on hair colour for more than 30 years.

With my busy star-studded clientele covering the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan, often times my clients just couldn’t make it to the salon.  So I got busy and created coloursplash!®, a new product line called coloursplash!® designed to be used between salon appointments.

coloursplash!® is a unique ammonia and peroxide-free hair color product that keeps your hair looking fresh and perfect everyday of the month…AND it diffuses your grey!  This hair colour innovation is so effective it’s no wonder it sold out in only 6 minutes on QVC!

I also decided to put my decades of experience into an eBook to help as many people as possible with their hair coloring questions.  In my eBook, “Excuse Me… Your Roots are Showing,” I’ll give you expert advice, tips, and hair color secrets.  I will tell you everything you need to know about hair color; from coloring your hair at home, going to the salon; to choosing the right hair color.  In “Excuse Me… Your Roots are Showing” I will also dispel hair color myths, explain how to deal with coloring dilemmas, and much more!

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