Articles > Balayage and Ombré: How Much Should You Charge?
May 29, 2014

Balayage and Ombré: How Much Should You Charge?

The two color services have actually been around since the ’70s, but thanks to the likes of the Kardashians, Jessica Alba and Sarah Jessica Parker, balayage and ombré have experienced an explosive renaissance in recent years. Today, they’re the two most popular hair coloring techniques requested in salons. While your clients haven’t wasted any time jumping on the Balayage Bandwagon or the Ombré Express, how quickly have your wised up to what this could mean for your business and priced your services accordingly? If you are like one of the thousands of salon owners, including Allison Grandt from Boise, ID, shaking your head in frustration over what to charge for these services, fear not! We have quizzed our BTC Community on the dos and don’ts of balayage and ombré pricing. Here are their expert answers. 

Time Will Tell
A number of salon owners are in favor of charging based on the time a color service takes versus a set fee. “Technique doesn’t determine my cost. I stopped doing ‘partials’ and ‘full heads’—but I do charge an additional fee if more product is required,” explains Carrie McDonald Vick from England’s Hair Design in Nashville, TN. Like Carrie, Hope Wise of Hitchcock House in Aiken, SC, bases all of her prices on time. “If someone comes in with fine, thin hair and it takes me an hour for color, cut and style, I charge differently than for someone who takes me two hours. It doesn’t matter what the service is.” At Butterfly Studio Salon in New York, Min Kim, L’Oréal Professionnel Artist and Master Color Specialist, creates all of her highlights AND lowlights with balayage, and her pricing is also based on time. She charges $275 for partial highlights, $350 for full-head highlights and applies a $30 add-on charge for lowlights.


Fixed Prices
Charging a fixed fee that clients are made aware of at the time of booking can save any confusion when they come to settle their account, but be sure to set the pricing correctly. At Méche Salon in Beverly Hills, celebrity colorist Dawn Tracey says balayage is charged the same as traditional highlights, starting at $250 for a full head. “If the client just requests a base color, the price starts at $125, and if they want highlighting or balayage, they are charged an add-on price of $125,” she explains. At Anthony Cristiano’s Salon in Chicago, the price for balayage starts at $250. As a general rule, balayage expert Becky Janopoulos prices her balayage color services at 25 percent more than full-head highlights, because it is an advanced color technique. Also, the service menu at Anthony Cristiano’s lists balayage as $250+, to account for any additional fees incurred by services such as toning and glazing or for clients with exceptionally long hair. Similarly, Jessica Gomez of Bubbles Salon in Sterling, VA charges $70 for partial, standard highlights, $90 for a full-head highlight for balayage and $130 for ombré.



Top Dollar
Balayage and ombré are specialized techniques that not every stylist has been trained to do. With this in mind, some salon owners advise setting your price point higher to account for the skill and attention to detail that goes into providing these color services. If you are considering this option and decide to price higher than your competition, ensure you have a point of difference to justify the increases. Wendy Mitchell-Weinheimer from Hair Plus Salon and Spa in Clyde, OH, says: “This technique is an art form; you need to possess the skill-set to be able to give your client the right amount of depth to the hair, as well as the ability to properly place lightness near the face. It takes talent to create the perfect balayage.” Patrick Rogers from Medusa Salon in Brooklyn, NY, agrees, saying: “I charge more because these are techniques that not everyone can do, that I have spent countless hours learning, so I don’t want to just give it away.”


A Creative Color Charge
Introduce a ‘Creative Color Charge’ into your salon like Jen Tyson from NYC State of Mind in San Antonio, TX. She explains: “My ‘Creative Color Charge’ covers techniques such as ombré, balayage or a fashion color.” By doing this, clients know they are getting a special service, and will expect to pay more for the privilege.

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Anthony Cristiano