Jan 22, 2020
Most colorists know balayage requires a unique combination of artistry and skill. While it may come easily to some, many more study and work hard to perfect the service. As demand for balayage continues to surge, many colorists find it’s worth it. And there’s more. Because once you’re ready to start hand-painting your clients’ highlights, there’s the question of what to charge. On the one hand, it takes less time to apply balayage highlights than foils. On the other hand, this is a trendy new hair color category and technique that required you to invest in additional education. So where should it sit on your service menu, price-wise? As it turns out, most pros will approach balayage pricing in one of three ways—as a standalone service, at an hourly rate or as part of a package price.
“I start my balayage at $115,” says Lindsey Perez (@Lindseymariecolor) of Burlington, CO. “That is just for painting. It does not include toner or a haircut. If I’m doing a full foil and a root smudge/tone, I charge $95 for the full foil and $68 for the root smudge. The root smudge price is the same as my overall color charge because it takes just as long to apply and process a root smudge.”
In Chicago, Jillian Rink (@hairbyjillian) charges $145 for a partial balayage and $195 for a full. Cut and blow dry are not included. Glaze is an additional $26, and a root shadow and glaze together are $47.
Cody Parris (@shearstylist) of Cowpens, SC charges $170 for balayage, which includes the balayage application, shampoo and blow-dry. Cuts and creative styling are extra. “I also require a $25 deposit for a consultation,” Cody reveals. “During that time, I examine the canvas to determine if any pre-treatments are needed and if I can safely perform the requested service. Then before we start, I make my client aware of my pricing so there are no surprises.”
“All of my services are a la carte,” agrees Kristie (@kristiethehairguru) of Crown Point, IN. “The only thing I include is a B3 bonder with my lightener because for me, that’s not an option, it’s essential. My partial balayage starts at $68, and full balayage starts at $135. Color balance is $25 and blowouts are $10. One exception―if they request balayage but their hair is a mess and I know I’ll have more than three hours into it, I’ll charge my color correction rate of $80 an hour.”
BY THE HOUR
Balayage can vary tremendously depending upon the client, according to the team at Luscious and Company in Shelton, CT. So their pricing is set at an hourly rate that accommodates circumstances such as the need for extra toning or hair that’s extra-long or extra thick.
Hannah Lingrell (@hairgoalsbyhannah) of Brentwood, TN agrees. “I package it all and charge by the hour,” she declares. “The services might include foils, balayage, baby lights, root shadow, toner or whatever else is needed.”
“I charge by the hour, but the client doesn’t realize it,” reveals Angie Redmond (@angie_theparlor) of Napa, CA. “Balayage can take anywhere from two to four hours the first time and sometimes requires a second visit to perfect the color. I give them the price based on the time required after a consultation.” To offer her clients an idea of what they’ll pay, she lists a range of $185 to $265 for balayage on her price sheet. She also explains that while balayage can be costly, it lasts much longer and requires less upkeep than traditional foils.
Ashley Cox (@thewickedpixie) of Overland Park, KS also charges for her time, and she places balayage in the category of “trend color” including vivids, color melts, baby lights, foilayage, etc.) Her hourly rate for all of the above is $60.
Other stylists combine balayage with other services for a single price. Debbe Selvino (@styledby_debbe) of Salon 8736 in Nottingham, MD packages her balayage and foilayage services with a trim, gloss and bonder. She offers two packages depending upon the time required—either $225 or $285. “Making it a total package gives you the ability to do what’s needed without the client dictating what she wants to pay for,” Debbe believes.
Gabrielle (@hairby_gabbs) in Port St. Lucie, FL includes a toner, haircut and blow-dry in her full balayage price of $225. And Alanna Nicole (@ohsomelty) in Tampa, FL includes bonder, gloss, haircut and blowout in her overall balayage price of $190. However, base color, lowlights, root melt and hairline foils are priced a la carte and added on as needed.
Of course, package items can vary. Tracy Wood (@tracy.studio127) of Ontario, Canada begins with a balayage price of $140, which includes toner and bonder. A cut and style are priced separately, which generally brings the ticket to $180. In Austin, TX, Ellie Toia (@xoxo_balayage) charges $220 for balayage/foilayage, which includes toner, bond builder, lowlights, extra bowls and style. A root smudge is an additional $50, and a cut is an additional $70. And in Chicago, (@hairbyjillian) charges $145 for a partial balayage and $193 for a full balayage. Cut and blow dry are not included, and there is also an additional charge of $26 for a glaze or $47 for a root shadow and glaze.
Keep in mind that your market and location will impact your balayage pricing. It should be consistent with the rest of your services, which means you likely wouldn’t be able to get away with charging $500 for balayage if the rest of your services are under $200, for example. Same goes for your area. If services top out at a certain amount in your town, you probably won’t be able to go too far over that number (although, you can probably charge on the high side or a little above if you’re confident in your ability.) On the other hand, be wary of undercharging if you’re in a smaller market. “If you’re in a small town you probably have to pay extra for products,” points out Karinda Woods (@karindadoeshair) of Bellingham, WA. “You can’t think, ‘Oh I barely have to drive to get to work so I can’t charge very much.’ You need to think, “Wow, look how convenient it is for the people of my community to have a great salon right in their neighborhood.’ There’s value in that.”
Photography: Courtesy of @raylorojohair/Instagram