Highlights are one of the best ways to add a pop of color to your mane without fully committing to dyeing it all the way.
Highlights create the illusion of thicker, fuller sun-kissed hair.
If you considered doing this, you might have wondered how much hair highlights cost.
While hair highlights are not as expensive as balayage, they will still burn a hole in your pocket.
Highlights are created using a bleaching solution where the hair stylist lightens a small section of your hair.
Sometimes hair lightening without using bleach is possible. In that case, you only need to use an apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar solution.
In the case of bleaching, the stylist leaves the bleach on your hair for some time before rinsing it out.
This results in subtle streaks of color that brighten up your hair and add more dimension.
You can create highlights with any dye color, but brown and blonde shades are the most common.
They are a timeless classic for hairstyles and are popular because of their versatility.
The two main options for dyeing your hair are partial or full highlights, although there are a few more options, like babylights.
So whether you want to change your hairstyle or try something bolder, highlights are one of the best ways to achieve that.
We’ve done our homework and have broken it down for you, so you know how much highlights will cost you when the time comes when you want to change your hairstyle.
Table Of Contents
- How Much Do Hair Highlights Cost
- Types of Hair Highlighting Techniques
- Factors That Determine the Price of Highlights
- Maintenance of Highlighted Hair
- How to Spend Less Money on Highlights
How Much Do Hair Highlights Cost
The average cost of highlights is $20 to $200. The prices differ based on factors like the technique used, hair length, highlight color, your hair’s base colors and the general health of your hair.
You’ll also be paying for the stylist’s expertise and skills, their quality products and the effort and time it takes to get your desired color.
Ideally, expect to pay more at high-end salons.
On average, expect to pay $60 to $70 for short hair and $90 to $150 for long hair that is past the shoulders. If you are highlighting with more than one color, add $20 to $40 for each additional shade of toner used.
Expect to spend between $75 to $150 for full highlights and up to $350 if you go to a high-end salon. Low-budget salons use less expensive dyes and hair care products hence the low prices.
At high-end salons, you will find many more types of highlights, exclusive hair care products and coloring options.
Below is a breakdown of hair highlights costs:
- Full highlights: $75 – $150.
- Short hair highlights: $60 – $70.
- Long hair highlights: $90 – $150.
- Babylights: $100 – $120.
- Balayage highlights: $100 – $150.
- Lowlights and additional colors: $20 – $40.
- Ombre highlights: $100 – $150+.
- Partial highlights: $20 – $55.
- Pintura highlights: $100 – $120+.
We can’t discuss hair highlights cost without comparing the prices of highlights and balayage. Balayage usually costs more; in most salons, it’s twice as much as basic highlights.
However, it’s still not the most expensive highlighting style; Ombre or Sombre Color treatments cost more. Ombre coloring is a lot of work and requires more dye than balayage to achieve that dramatic two-tone look where the dark roots gradually become lighter at the tips of the hair.
What about the balayage vs. highlights technique? The difference between the two techniques is that highlights almost always use foil, while balayage is mostly a hand-painted technique. Because of that, balayage results in more subtle sun-kissed results than traditional highlights.
Since highlights mostly use heat, there is a chance that they might damage your hair, but balayage is gentler on the hair. Like highlights, you can either get full balayage or partial balayage.
Types of Hair Highlighting Techniques
Highlights may be achieved freehand, using foils or with a highlighting cap. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages.
Here is everything you should know about the different highlighting techniques:
This is the most common highlighting technique. The stylist will section your hair with a comb and then weave a few strands out of each section that they will lay a foil underneath.
The hairstylist then paints a lightening product or color onto the strands and then folds the foil piece to cover the painted section.
Salons usually use foil highlights since the technique allows the highlights to be placed closer to the roots and scalp than cap highlighting. Foils also make it easy for the stylist to make the highlights as thin or chunky as you would like and add more than one color at a time.
This method involves using a cap that has dozens of holes. Hair strands are passed through the holes, and then color is applied.
Highlights caps fit snugly over your hair. The stylist uses a small holed tool to gently poke through the perforations to pull a few strands through the cap simultaneously. For chunkier highlighting, the stylist will pull additional strands through each perforation.
Lightening products or colors are only applied to the hair pulled through the holes. Cap highlighting is ideal when you want random pattern highlights throughout your hair.
The one advantage this technique has is that all the hair processes simultaneously. For that reason, you won’t be bleaching your hair twice in a row, thus leaving it susceptible to damage and breakage.
This highlighting technique doesn’t use highlighting caps or foil. The stylist paints the dye directly onto your hair using a small brush resulting in a more natural look. Ombre, balayage and pintura highlights are all done freehand, creating a transition without harsh lines.
With balayage, the stylist paints the color midway down the strands to the end of the hair. With the ombre method, the stylist applies color such that there is an even transitional where hair becomes darker or lighter towards the tips.
As for pintura highlights, the color is painted from the ends, concentrating on the natural waves and bends to accent the curls. The benefit of freehand highlights is that the finished look looks natural like your hair has been sun-kissed at the beach.
The only disadvantage is that the color or lightener may bleed to the rest of the hair if a barrier is not used. The technique also requires a stylist who is experienced and knowledgeable.
Factors That Determine the Price of Highlights
The cost of hair highlights differs from one salon to another based on several key factors.
Type of Highlights
The first thing that determines the price of highlights is the type of highlights you are getting.
There are many types of highlights you can get:
Ombre isn’t technically a highlighting technique but a hair coloring technique often confused with balayage. The stylist applies a color that is either darker or lighter than your base color.
Color is applied to the ends and brought upward to create a soft, natural transition. Expect to pay more than $150 for an ombre.
Partial highlights can cost you between $20 to $55. This cost is dependent on how many highlights are added.
For instance, four face-framing highlights at the front will cost you about $20. For partial highlights that are a little more extensive (about 12 highlights), expect to pay between $45 to $55.
Full highlights are placed on the entire head and cost around $75-$150. With full highlights, the stylist will put more than 12 foils in the hair to create that fully highlighted look. For short hair, expect to pay $60 and between $90 to $150 if you have long hair.
If the stylist applies the balayage technique, expe
These fine highlights mimic how a child’s hair gets lightened in the sun. Babylights are done around the face and the hairline.
They cost more than standard highlights since the stylist has to section off hair into very fine strands that they then paint with a lightning product and close up in foils. On average, babylights cost around $100 to $120.
Pintura highlights are offered at a select few salons and can cost between $100 to $150+. The highlights are painted by hand and are used to accent or highlight curly or wavy hair.
The highlights are added to specific strands in the curves and bends of the hair where light usually hits the hair’s waves. The result is a more natural glow.
For each additional color, expect to pay between $20 to $40. Additional colors when highlighting hair help add dimension. For instance, if you get blonde highlights with a few lowlights of a darker shade, expect to pay extra for the additional color or toner.
Length of the Hair
Salons charge for highlights based on the length of your hair. Short hair that’s above the shoulder typically costs less. In such a case, you can expect to pay $60 to $70. The stylist will use fewer lighting products and foils to create the highlights.
It also takes less time to apply the highlights and finish the style in case of short hair. If your hair is longer (past the shoulders), it will cost you $90 to $150. Long hair requires more lightening products and foils and takes more time to finish.
Expect to pay more if your base color is far off the desired color for the highlights. Ideally, getting caramel highlights on brown hair isn’t the same as getting blonde highlights on black hair.
For light highlights, you must factor in the cost of bleaching the hair over the coloring cost. You also need to consider the complexity of dyeing the base color.
For instance, red hair is usually tricky to dye since it’s more challenging to get rid of red tones than other color hues if you had previously dyed your hair; that also poses a challenge since the hair stylist will be working with two or more hair colors.
Expect to pay more if the stylist needs to color correct or use other treatments to prepare your hair for highlights.
Maintenance of Highlighted Hair
Getting highlights is an excellent option for anyone looking to make a dramatic change. In the same way, getting full or partial balayage hairstyles or adding bangs to your bob hairstyle can dramatically transform your look.
Usually, after stylists wash your hair after coloring in a salon, they will give you tips on how to maintain your hair color. Similar to bangs, highlights require effort to maintain.
The main issue with highlights is regrowth, where the hair gets super light and brassiness when you add warmth to your base color.
To maintain your newly highlighted hair, consider the following:
Switch to a Gentler Shampoo
After getting highlights, you will want to change your shampoo game by switching to a gentler shampoo. Usually, the chemicals in regular shampoos strip the scalp of healthy oils, making your hair more porous, which makes the color fade away faster.
Switch to a color-safe shampoo that’s free of sulfates.
Embrace Deep Conditioning
Color-treated hair needs regular moisturizing to ensure that color doesn’t fade and that the strands don’t break and frizz. Usually, softening bleached hair requires you to use a deep conditioner.
Deep conditioning helps seal and lock the hair’s moisture. While regular in-shower conditioners you leave on for a few minutes are okay, consider utilizing deep conditioners.
Avoid Over-Washing Your Hair
Hair washing depends on the density, length, porosity, hair sensitivity, products you are using and lifestyle. For highlighted hair, consider washing it every three days.
That way, you don’t overwash it, and you still don’t get too much product build-up. When you follow that routine, shampoo your hair twice and follow that up with a deep conditioner.
Highlighted hair is susceptible to brassiness, especially when you have cool highlights. In that case, a color-depositing mask or shampoo can prevent the hair from getting brassy. Such products contain purple dye that neutralizes unwanted yellow tones.
Use a Heat Protectant
While it’s not advisable to use heat with highlighted hair if you must blow dry your hair or use a hot iron for a super sleek finish, use a color protectant.
Heat styling affects the integrity of your hair and can change the color of the highlights. To protect your hair when heat styling, use a thermal protectant.
Use a Gentle Touch
Chemicals and heat aren’t the only things that can damage highlighted hair. Rough brushing and combing, plus vigorous towel drying, can lead to hair breakage.
Most of us are guilty of getting out of the shower and grabbing any towel around to dry our hair roughly. This practice can lead to breakage, faded color and split ends. Dry your hair gently and if possible, use a microfiber towel.
Don’t Miss Your Salon Appointments
While your at-home upkeep can keep your highlights looking great, there can never be a substitute for professional care. You’ve spent a lot on your highlights, so why not go to your stylist every 6 to 8 weeks for proper upkeep?
How to Spend Less Money on Highlights
So, how can you spend less even at high-end salons when you want hair highlights?
Go for the Package Deal
You spend less if your hair appointment consists of a cut, highlighting and deep conditioning, all in the same session.
Prep Your Hair Before Your Salon Appointment
Your scalp will handle the coloring better if you prep it days before your appointment. For instance, you can wash your hair two or three days before you get your highlights.
Hair stylists only insist on washing your hair if there is too much product build-up from hair gel, mousse, hairspray, or if it’s dirty.
Look for the In-House Apprentices
One of the factors that determines how much you will pay for highlights is the stylist’s expertise. So, to spend less, opt for junior stylists.
Avoid Buying Hair Products at the Salon
Salons always overprice their products when you buy from them. Rather than buying the products there, consider getting the same products at your local pharmacy or beauty supply store.
How can you find a good colorist for hair highlights?
To find a good hair stylist, go through reviews left by former clients on their business profiles or websites, look at the before and after photos on social media or get recommendations from friends and family.
What are the three main highlighting methods?
The three main highlighting techniques are freehand, foil and cap. The most common is foil highlighting, where the stylist sections a few strands, add highlights, and folds the foil over so the hair can process using the generated heat.
How does hair length impact cost?
Short hair is usually cheaper to highlight than longer hair since it requires fewer products and takes less time. With long hair, the stylist may apply the highlights more than once to get the desired look.
Are highlights worth spending the money on?
Highlights are worth spending money on if you go to a professional stylist. In such a case, you will get natural-looking highlights.
Are highlights damaging to the hair?
Highlights use heat and can damage your hair, leaving it dry and brittle. The chemicals that are used in lighteners damage the hair shaft.
How long do hair highlights last?
Typically, highlights last between 6 to 8 weeks before requiring touch-ups. However, the duration depends on how you care for your hair and the rate of your hair growth.
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