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Little Embarrassed . . . Can Salon Coloring be Frugal?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm a little embarrassed to say I had never went to a salon to have my hair colored before.  I tried coloring my hair at home after finding some grey hairs, and thought it looked horrible.  I decided I really needed to get some professional help so I booked my first appointment at a salon to have my hair colored.  The price quoted sounded doable, but to my shock, the actual bill was more than double!    I learned the hard way that when the stylist was telling me what she was doing that each of those things was actually an extra with a hefty price tag.   What do I need to have done at a salon to have natural looking hair?  Is base color alone enough, or are other services just a natural and necessary part of "getting your hair colored."



post #2 of 21

Well the one and only time I got my hair highlighted at the salon I had a student do it.  It did come out really well, he was supervised so it took some of the stress out.


I've talked to my hairdresser about highlights before and they are $$$$ but the good thing was since I was there for a haircut, we got to chat about what she would do and not do and the cost on my actual head, depending on your hair the price can really vary but you know that.



I'm not sure what you can do about discounts, sometimes various salons in my town offer promotional rates, maybe that. 

post #3 of 21

Wow, I've never had my hair salon-colored before, either.  Might not ever, now, after your story.  Bait and switch is terrible.

post #4 of 21

What color is your hair and what color are you trying to achieve? I would be really mad if that happened to me in a salon...I don't think it is very professional and would not go back.


This site is helpful for learning about color:


post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

My hair is naturally medium brown, and I'm fine with keeping it approximately the same color.  I don't need to do anything drastic.  I just want to get rid of the grey strands. 


Yes.  I felt very taken by that salon.  I would never go back again. 

post #6 of 21

They must have did foils? along with base color?  For someone only wanting to color grey an all over color is all you should need.  Salons will also charge based on the amount of color needed to cover the hair.  So the longer the hair the higher the price.  If the salon charged you double the quote you should have called them out on it.  Unless they said the base price is 50 with additional costs for foils.  Foils in some salons are charged by the number of foils in the hair!  So if they add 40-60 foils (which isn't uncommon in thick hair) and do color in between you are probably looking at 100 plus. 


Go to a reputable school in your area and ask for a senior student.  They are supervised by licensed cosmetologists and do good work.

post #7 of 21

Not all salons are like that. Many are very upfront about exactly what costs you will incur. You just need to know exactly what you want going in.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Ummmmm.   I didn't have ANY foils and my hair is above my shoulders.  The quoted price was $46.  The bill was a little over $100.  . . .


I was never going back there again anyway because the "complimentary cut" that came with the color was very unprofessionally done and one of the three worst hair cuts of my entire life.  (I did call the next day and told them I was extremely dissatisfied with the outcome of the haircut and the unprofessional process of the stylist.  The owner did attempt to "fix" the cut -- with an appt. nearly 3 weeks later.)   


It sounds like just making sure a new salon just does a base color should accomplish the job. 

post #9 of 21

If they quoted $46 for the colour & it came out to over $100 I'm guessing they charged extra for the cut, possibly extra for a style too.


I have thick hair that is bra length that is dark brown.


To get mine cut & styled it is $46ish.


To get mine cut & coloured just a straight over colour to black, no highlights nothing special just plop on, heat up, wash out, style & go it is $130.


To get mine cut(3" off because it was quite damaged), colour stripped out in chunks to make it almost white. Then the stripped chunks coloured over in neon pinks & purples(twice because the first time didn't quite take enough) using foils, the rest of my hair dyed eggplant, then styled was $140.  3+ hours worth of work.


None of the prices are including taxes or tip.

post #10 of 21

If the hair cut was supposed to be complimentary, that price is crazy.  Did they just do a solid hair color on your entire head?  If so, I would have charged you $60 for the color and cut.  When I did hair, I tried to keep my prices really reasonable.  I would be mad too.  If you are just doing a solid color similar to your natural, it shouldn't be too hard to find a color to do at home.  If you want, you could PM a picture of your natural hair and I could give you some ideas. 

post #11 of 21

Yeah i had my short hair bleached out at the salon because I honestly thought they would do a better job.  well $120 later I still had to apply a toner and recolor it myself.  I could  have bleached my hair at home (I have plenty of times before) for $10

post #12 of 21

If your hair is brown and you just want to color the grey I would probably try again at home...My friend said she likes Natural Instincts color for that and it gradually washes away.  http://www.amazon.com/Clairol-Natural-Instincts-Medium-Golden/dp/B001FZMXOU 

Maybe you just need to pick a differnt tone to be satified with at home color (like figure out if you want ash, gold, or reddish tone in the meduim brown color)  


I used to color my hair light blonde at home but since my natural hair got darker I can't get a good blonde color with box color..It won't lift past the brassy stage...It is just so cheap and easy to do at home if you can!

post #13 of 21

I would try to color it at home yourself again. When you did it yourself did you use a permanent color? If so, try a demi-permanent. My mom has my dad color her hair at home with just a drugstore box every 4-6 weeks and it always looks just as good as the salon!



And I hear ya on the bait and switch!


This sentence: 


 I learned the hard way that when the stylist was telling me what she was doing that each of those things was actually an extra with a hefty price tag. 


struck a chord with me. A lot of salons do that! I remember once I was just getting a regular cut and the wash came in the price but then when she was done she asked if I wanted it blow dried and I said well just do my bangs so they don't curl up and just 30 seconds of blow drying was another big charge for "styling" !  Argh! Now I always ask if it comes in the price of the cut.

post #14 of 21

I only get my hair colored at the salon.  BUT, I am fully aware that it's a non frugal, vain expense.  I don't do it often.


My hair is really curly and pretty frizzy.  I don't trust myself to do any sort of treatments at home with it.  I am too afraid I am going to do something wrong with it and my curly frizzy mess is going to become a totally unmanagable frizzy disaster-I don't do color, I don't do straighteners, I don't do any of that at home.


I also trust my stylist implicitly.  She has been doing my hair since I was 12 years old, so almost 20 years now.  I have followed her around through 4 different salons.  I only once allowed someone else to work with my hair, it was a disaster.  If there ever comes a time when she cannot (retirement, she moves, or I move, whatever) I don't know what I am going to do.  Prior to finding this stylist, my mom used to drive me to CHICAGO (I live in Indy, and prior to that, Columbus OH) to go to a specific stylist there.   My hair is such a pain in the rear to deal with.


When I get my hair colored, I almost always also get it cut and styled.  So, the wash, cut, color and style all together works out to around $75 ish, including tip) 

post #15 of 21

Are these "salon" places really that much better than those chain stores in malls?  I used to always go to one of those cheap places for haircuts, the kind of places you just walk in without appointments.  $14 plus tax.  I had long hair and they never cut off more than I asked for, never tried to sell me any products or recommend other treatments.  Always lots of compliments.  They usually included blow-drying as well. 


Most women I know either color their own hair at home or leave it natural.  $100+ seems so much for hair coloring.  I'd suggest learn some tips on doing the roots by yourself anyway.  Hair grows 1" every two months and the roots would show before you know it.

post #16 of 21

Well, it's not frugal, but if it's a priority to you then so be it.  You could try an at home kit like loreal colouer experte that has the base color and a highlighter included.  It helps to have someone to help you do it.  I have been using these kits since my super awesome stylist moved out of town and have had good results.  In the late spring I go to the aveda institute and get a full foil done (I'm naturally a dark blonde but like it lighter) for the summer to brighten it up, and use the kits for maintenance the rest of the year.

post #17 of 21

It doesn't sound like this is a salon you normally go to, so this probably won't apply, but I'll throw it out there, anyway. I love my stylist, but she is one of the more experienced people at the salon I go to, and she is $$$. I can justify the cost of a good cut, because I have horrid hair and she makes it look presentable, but I can't swallow the price of a color. Since I've been going to her for so long, she'll refer me to a less experienced stylist at the salon and oversee the coloring, so she is right there making sure everything gets mixed/applied properly, but I pay the lower rate of the junior stylist. I'll agree with others - it isn't frugal, but if you have the money to treat yourself and it is important to you, why not!

post #18 of 21

I don't think there's any way to claim salon coloring is frugal. If it's a treat for yourself that you want and can afford then you should do what makes you happy but it is a huge mark up from doing it at home. 

I can't recommend enough trying it again at home. Even if you buy the "expensive" dye for $10-$20 it's still waaaaay cheaper than going to even a haircut chain store at the mall. I have brown hair also and sadly have a lot of grays. A cheaper brand that I never buy was just on sale at the drug store for $2.50 a box and I found a $1 off coupon on one of the boxes. I bought two boxes for a total cost of $4. I admit I was a little worried it wouldn't come out okay but since it's just one color (I'm not trying to hi-light or bleach just throw my natural color over my grays) I went for it and it turned out just fine. I can't imagine it would look much different than if someone at the salon did it. 

post #19 of 21

I second using a demi-permanent color at home, that way if you don't like it, it will just wash away.  And the chemicals are on your head for 15 minutes or less.  I loved herbashine but I got bad headaches after using it (maybe coincidence, I'm prone to headaches) so I'm not using it until I'm definitely no longer TTC (because if I get the headaches I have to take something for the headaches).  I recently tried Loreal creme gloss and it covered the gray but wasn't as good as herbashine.


I liked herbashine so much that I would use it even if I had no gray-- my hair looks better after using it than before.

post #20 of 21

My experience is that no-frills base color at a salon will cover the grey, at least until your roots start to grow.   Choose a color close to or slightly lighter than your natural hair color to prolong the time between touch-ups.


Home color is super-easy, and super-frugal; I've been doing my own for years.  If you didn't love the results when you tried it, you may want to experiment with semi-permanent color; if you really hate what you get, shampoo several times with a clarifying shampoo to remove most of the color.  (then do a hot-oil treatment or three!)  Once you find a semi- you love, then go permanent.  Common mistakes with brown hair are going too dark (go 2-3 shades lighter than your own hair for highlights and shine) and getting too brassy (try colors that say "ash" to avoid that orange undertone if you don't want to try life as a redhead).

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