By Leah Fletcher
Salon visits for Alicia Knight are admittedly a guilty pleasure. She enjoys the attention she receives from her personal stylist, not only for her hair.
When Knight meets with her stylist, he examines her skin and facial features and tells her how beautiful she is, then chooses the perfect hair color and cut.
“I enjoy the interaction with my personal stylist,” explained Knight, who enjoys what she describes as the benefits of a relationship forged over a number of years. “He knows my unique style. He will even recommend a new hair color occasionally, especially when the seasons are changing.”
What all women like Knight know is that a personal stylist doesn’t come cheap. Like everything else, salon prices keep going up, while the discretionary income in most household budgets continues to shrink.
However, despite budgetary belt-tightening, hair remains a major avenue women use to express themselves. “Hair, for many women, is a major statement of expression about who they are,” explained Jon Gilbert, Knight’s stylist. “They are determined to keep their color fresh and fabulous, even if they have to sacrifice somewhere else,” he added.
Nevertheless, despite the costs, the goal for most women still remains the same—getting custom color, without the hefty price tag. “Cost varies depending on whether you do it yourself or pay a hairstylist to do it. Location is another consideration, as the cost to get your hair colored by a hair stylist at a hair salon can vary widely in different regions,” according to James Y. Hunter III, Vice President of Sales for F.L.O.W. Industries. The Delaware-based company offers an array of haircare product to consumers and home-based businesses.
An Angie’s List poll of more than 500 of its members found that consumers across the United States pay about $100 a month on average to keep their hair colored. The survey found that 45 percent of the members who color their gray hair, pay $20 or less for hair coloring. The poll’s also found that 47 percent of respondents color their hair themselves.
A sampling of specific prices paid by Angie’s List members for professional hair-coloring services revealed the following:
- A Lake Worth, Florida, member pays $50 every five weeks for coloring and highlights.
- A member in Little Rock, Arkansas, pays $100 to $150 every four weeks for color and cut.
- A Colusa, California, member pays $50 for color alone and $85 for color plus highlights or lowlights
At most salons, brushing in highlights costs less than full color coverage, said Gilbert. Dying hair a dark shade also often costs less than going significantly lighter. Covering a lot of gray hair may also affect the final cost. To find a fair price for a given area, Gilbert suggests, calling several nearby salons and comparing prices.
In the Delaware Valley, hair coloring services are in line with the national average, ranging from $50 to $100, according to Gilbert.
The alternative to high-cost, salon coloring services, for some, is a simple box of hair color, purchased at a local retail outlet for between $3 and $20.
While you might have tried the boxed color from your local drugstore shelves and the price might have been right, the final result might leave you horrified.
“Sure the product was cheap, but the color looked pretty cheap on your head too, not natural and luscious like the commercials promise,” said Gilbert, who has often to conducted major hair repair on coloring jobs gone wrong. “If you choose to color your own hair and carefully follow the product instructions, you can achieve a custom color look, without the salon pricing.
For inexpensive alternatives, Gilbert pointed online companies that provide salon-grade coloring packages that contain everything needed to complete a personalized coloring job. The packages are delivered right to your door for under $20.