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Professional Haircolor On A Budget


You may dream of visiting one of the current hair color magicians known for transforming mousy hues into spectacular works of shimmering beauty, but lack the funds for both the initial color and the long term upkeep.

Although you may be able to scrape together the medium to big bucks to get foiled by the best colorists around, you will be wasting your money if you can't afford regular maintenance.

Does this mean that you can't go to the master colorist for a hue transformation? Not at all. What you should do is make sure that the colorist understands your budgetary limitations and requirements.

Professionally applied color can have a spectacular impact on your hair. While it doesn't come cheap, it is often a wiser financial investment than home hair color that may ultimately cause more damage than the cost savings are worth.

It is also important to note that hair correction services that must be performed by a color professional can wipe out any potential savings you might have counted on with a home hair color treatment.

Color Options For Any Budget

Master stylist and color expert Barbara Lhotan pointed out "there are many tricks that experts can use" to create stunning hue transformations" with much lower maintenance requirements.

Barbara, who's a senior educator with Paul Mitchell Systems and author of 5 Minute Fun Finishes and 5 Minute Updos, pointed out that the majority of hair dressers want to work with their customers offering the best possible color options according to their financial constraints.

Barbara explained that when she is approached with tight budgetary consideration for achieving color, she suggests a number of treatment options that range from very simple and limited face framing ribbons of color to more extensive random highlights applied "like a field of flowers".

While the limited face framing highlights may only utilize one contrasting color, the more extensive highlights might include three or four contrasting and complimentary colors painted in a "hunt and peck" formula on a series of previously separated and elasticized hair sections.

Barbara's random color highlighting technique results in deep, multi-dimensional colors that have a gorgeous shine. Even better, both types of highlighting is less extensive and will grow out with minimal lines.

She estimates that both types of highlighting applications could last up to six months with minimal, if any, need for salon touchups in between.

Note: To talk about Hair Color visit's HairTalk Forum on Hair Color.

She also suggested that a cost conscious color client that wants a more edgy color change might consider a hot new color strapping technique.

Barbara explained that "one of the hottest new color techniques is the strap technique" invented by the Paul Mitchell award winning Hair Color USA team of Scott Cole & Linda Yodice.

Barbara explained that "the strap technique involves foiling the underneath of the hair a darker color and then painting a contrasting color, either lighter or darker, along a strategically placed hair strap on the top of the strands along the natural part.

The colored strap can range in size from 1/2 to 2 inches and extends from the tip of the widows peak near the forehead to the rounded part of the head. Similar to a suspender strap in shape, the technique provides bold and spectacular hues that grow out beautifully with a minimal color line.

The strap can be designed to fall open along the part and can be optionally angled to achieve a more horizontal or vertical impact with the color.

Barbara noted since bold red and gold hues are sizzling color combinations, many colorists are creating the new strap technique with a black and red focus.

The color strap technique can be easily maintained every 6-8 weeks with minimal investment after the initial color strap application.

Haircolor clients that have the straping color technique applied to their strands only have to have the color touched up along the strap zone.

Barbara explained that the average client might require "touchups every 6-8 weeks or so depending on their hair growth".

Color reapplication to the 1-2" of the strap hair would be very quick and relatively inexpensive, compared to the time and cost of touch ups required with full blown color or highlight treatments.

Even better, the strap area, as it grows can be disguised through a series of zig zag or alternating parts. Carefully planned trims can also maximize the lifecycle of a strap color treatment.

Color Options For Any Budget

The cost of professionally applied color varies widely according to a number of factors from the geographic location of the salon and the skill of the colorist to the type of actual treatment selected.

Expect to pay more in large cities and for full blown color or multi-step treatments.

Besides asking your colorist to create a limited color solution built around your hair and budgetary needs, there are other cost saving options you can employ to have your desired professional hue without breaking the bank.

1. Investigate discounted coloring options.

Consider volunteering to have your hair colored by apprentices during training nights at large established salons. Although the pros are always standing by, be aware that being worked on by an apprentice may take more of your time at the salon.

The good news? You will get new hair color for discounted prices.

The bad news? You may not be able to select the color you want since apprentices are often required to perform planned color treatments.

2. Check out local hair academies for savings on hair color treatments.

Similar to the established salon's training night opportunity, all beauty schools have a experienced professional supervising the students. Although this may pose a slightly higher risk than training night at an established salon, the costs savings are similar.

The good news? You can book an appointment at a cosmo college or similar school and request color touch up services. Not all schools will offer all types of color treatments so call before you go.

To get the best possible work at a cosmetology college or related school, always ask for the most senior students. At Paul Mitchell there are actually students who have been picked to be in the honors program. Ask for an honor student and you have a much better change of receiving top notch color services supervised by a teacher.

3. Locate experienced colorists.

Check into hair color experts that have recently moved to your area or have opened a new salon and are trying to build a new customer base. Newly opened salons or relocated colorists often run coupon specials to attract new clients.

You may also wish to ask your own hair color expert if they are planning any specials in the near future. Ask to be added to their mailing list to be notified of any deals. Some colorists will offer special deals during slow periods or during the day with their business is not as busy.

4. Ask about a referral system.

Some hair colorists are willing to offer a free color service based on the number of new customer referrals you provide. Others may offer you a discount for bringing in new clients. It never hurts to politely inquire. Professional hair colorists would much rather retain their long standing customers during economic slowdowns by offering deals or special seasonal sales.

5. Take extra care with your color treated hair at home to maximize the time between touchups.

This includes avoiding the use of harsh hot water shampoo treatments while utilizing color enhancing shampoos and conditioners such as healthy hair color drops. Remember to avoid extended exposure to the sun or surf which can fade your color investment.

6. Take advantage of latest color extend options for at-home use

Famed celebrity hairdresser to the stars, Ken Paves, has developed a spectacular color enhancement product designed for use by professionals and hair consumers. The product known as healthy hair boost up color drops comes in six different popular colors (Platinum, Beige, Honey, Red, Brown and Black).

If you wish to extend the life of your chemically enhanced hair color, use 1-2 pumps of Ken Paves boost up color drops with your daily conditioning rinse. The beauty of the color drops is that you can use it with your rinse-out conditioner, your leave-in conditioner or your favorite styling products.

This amazing product also works well to amp up natural hair color hues while making hair amazing soft and shiny. Ken's celebrity clients like Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria use the revolutionary color drops on their own tresses.

Note: If you would love to try the Ken Paves Healthy Hair products check out his convenient Healthy Hair Try Me Kit which includes 2 oz of the daily shampoo, conditioner, shine serum and shaping hair spray. All Ken Paves Healthy Hair products are available at the Marketplace.


Professionally applied salon color doesn’t come cheap but with a little planning and thought, you can have the color of your dreams without busting your budget to smithereens.

Barbara Lhotan is known as the "Personal Trainer" for stylists wishing to be experts with long hair and is a Senior National Educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems.

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Thank you for visiting us at The HairBoutique Blog and for leaving your comments. They are very much appreciated. We apologize in advance but must remove any direct advertisements or solicitations.

- Revised: 01/11/10

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

Juxtapose Credits

Hair: A Robert Cromeans Salon Team/Hair: Scott Cole & Linda Yodice (see how Nanette has done it). Photography: Giuliana Bekor Make-up: Joanne Gair

Social Media Network Information

Please follow us on Twitter at: I look forward to meeting new people from all walks of Twitter and learning from their Tweets.

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