How much does it cost to bleach your hair? It all depends on the quality of your hair and the results you’re trying to achieve. On the lower end, you can pay as little as $40 or so for the basic supplies. But, the work from a professional can cost $300 or more! Some treatments will set you back closer to $1,000 for pristine platinum locks!
As a haircare fanatic and budding cosmetologist, this is something that I get asked about all the time. Stripping the hair of all its natural color is nothing new. But like all hair trends, platinum updos are making a comeback! Unfortunately, very few people understand what it takes to lift the hair. As a result, pricing estimates are often all over the place.
In this article, we’re going to remove some of the mysteries surrounding hair bleach. We’ll talk about some raw costs, professional service prices, and what the process entails.
How Much Does Hair Bleach Cost?
Bleaching is a pretty intricate technique that dates back all the way to Ancient Rome. Modern-day bleaching is a lot more sophisticated. But, the basic principles remain the same.
When you bleach your hair, you’re using a product that removes pigment through the process of oxidation. The chemical reaction is what’s responsible for achieving lift.
Whether you get your hair done at a salon or at home, the bleaching product is the star of the show. It’s impossible to lighten your locks without it. There are many other factors to consider when figuring out the expenses associated with bleaching your hair. But the cost of the bleach itself is a good place to start!
Typically, bleach contains either hydrogen peroxide or ammonia. You might see some products out there claiming to be “ammonia-free” and “safe.” The exact formulations might be free of ammonia molecules, reducing some of the trauma on your hair.
But make no mistake: All bleaching products are going to have potentially damaging ingredients. That’s just the sacrifice you have to make! The good news is that proper technique will keep your hair in good shape. Not only that, but newer bleach formulas may contain additives that reduce damage.
Generally, creme lighteners are a bit gentler. However, powder bleaches tend to achieve more lift.
Both products are quite affordable when bought at a beauty supply store. For a single pack, you might pay around $5. More high-end creme bleaches may be closer to $10. You can also get all-in-one kits for about $10 to $15.
How Much Does It Cost To Bleach Your Hair At Home?
If you plan on bleaching your hair at home, you can save a lot of money. At a salon, a bulk of the costs go to your hairstylist. You’re paying for their expertise and time. More on that later!
With a DIY approach, you can cut back on those added costs quite a bit!
Be advised; most professionals will tell you that bleaching your hair at home is a bad idea. There are a lot of risks involved. If you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s always a chance that you could experience skin burns, extreme hair damage, and a host of other issues. On top of all that, you might get less-than-stellar results.
Professional cosmetologists go to school to learn the process. They understand how to lift your hair safely and effectively.
All that said, you can still get good results if you have some help and understand the process. So how much does it cost to bleach your hair yourself? For at-home bleach jobs, plan for about $40 or so.
Those costs cover the price of the bleach, developer, toner, and other necessary tools. Of course, prices can vary based on the quality of the products you get. In fact, you might save even more with an all-in-one kit that has all the supplies included. But, $40 is a good starting point.
What Do I Need To Buy To Bleach My Hair?
To bleach your hair, you’ll need a handful of essential supplies. If you go to a salon, all of these must-haves are taken care of for you. Your colorist might also utilize other hair-saving products to keep your locks in good shape.
For at-home bleaching, you’ll need:
- Bleaching powder
- A mixing bowl
- A brush and comb
- A plastic cap
There are tons of different bleaching powders out there. While they all look the same and serve the same purpose, not all products are made the same! It may be worth getting a more premium choice if you’re looking to get close to salon-level results. Just ask the salesperson at your local beauty supply store for help!
The developer is the second piece of the puzzle. It’s sometimes referred to as the “activator.” The developer is the constituent that contains hydrogen peroxide. It helps to open the hair cuticle so that the bleach can work its magic. To create the bleaching product, you must mix the bleaching powder with the developer. But what developer do you use?
It all depends on your current hair color and how much lift you want to achieve. Developer volumes range from five to 40. The volume refers to how much hydrogen peroxide the product contains.
For at-home bleaching, we always recommend going with a 10 or 20-volume developer. Lower volumes are gentler and provide you with more controllable lighting. With a 20-volume product, you can lift the hair about two levels. 40-volume can lift roughly four shades.
Once you are done bleaching your hair, you’ll need to apply a toner. Think of hair toner as a topcoat for your newly bleached tresses. It helps to achieve a specific tone. Typically, colorists will use them to remove brassiness. It gets rid of that highlighter yellow color for a more natural platinum look or cooler tones.
Those are the basic supplies you’ll need. However, we also recommend some practical supplies like:
- An old shirt
- A towel you don’t mind ruining
- Hair clips
Bleaching your hair can get messy! The ingredients will lighten anything it gets on, so make sure you’re using old clothes. The hair clips will help partition the hair for easier application. Meanwhile, Vaseline is for your hairline and ears. It creates a protective buffer to prevent bleach burns!
How Much Does It Cost To Bleach And Dye Your Hair At A Salon?
Now, let’s talk about bleaching prices at salons.
How much does it cost to bleach your hair when it’s done by a professional? The truth is: It’s not easy to estimate potential costs. All salons and colorists are different. Experienced and in-demand professionals will always cost more than those who are new to bleaching.
Not only that, but your own hair health and needs will impact costs. Longer hair requires more bleach. Also, darker hair will need more powerful developers to lift!
Plan to pay over $300 or more. The average is usually around $150 to over $200. But that’s for the bare minimum. If you want to add toning treatments, the price goes up quite a bit. You may also want to invest in protective additives like Olaplex to protect from damage.
All of those extras add up. As mentioned earlier, it can easily cost closer to $1,000 if the job is more involved and time-intensive. Don’t be afraid to ask around and get quotes. Most cosmetologists will be able to give you a general price range just by looking at your hair.
How Long Does It Take To Bleach Your Hair At A Salon?
Again, the timing will vary based on your hair. Generally, it takes about three hours to get the job done! Subtle highlights and touch-ups may be a little quicker, but it’s still an involved process.
Interestingly enough, the amount of time you’ll have bleach in your hair might be as little as 10 to 30 minutes! But the time to prepare your hair, apply the bleach, and cover it in foils takes a lot of time.
Your colorist will check on the bleach regularly to make sure that it’s lifting accordingly. You’ll spend a lot of time sitting and waiting, but the process is well worth the final results!
It’s also important to consider any additional processes you might get. For example, toning and dying might take a couple of extra hours on top of the standard three.
What You Should Do Before Bleaching Your Hair, And Do You Really Need It?
Before you decide to bleach your hair, take a moment to decide if it’s really necessary at all.
As we mentioned earlier, the bleaching process is naturally damaging. It causes your hair strands to swell as the oxidizing agents strip them of melanin. It’s a traumatic process that breaks apart hair proteins. As a result, you’re at risk of brittleness, split ends, and a host of other problems.
Now, professional colorists know how to minimize damage. But, it’s still not a healthy treatment.
Bleaching is necessary if you need to lighten your hair. You can use the technique to create natural-looking highlights. Alternatively, it can be the first step in a complete color transformation. Dark hair doesn’t take pigment very well, so bleaching and lightening is the only way to get it to hold onto a new color.
If you already have light hair, bleaching probably isn’t necessary. Your hair is already primed for pigment. You can use traditional dyes or toners to adjust the hue.
Still dead-set on bleach? You need to start preparing early on to minimize damage as much as possible!
Several months ahead of time, let your hair grow out. Bleaching works best on virgin, unprocessed hair. If you already have old dyes and treatments in, you may end up with uneven lift. Growing your hair lets you cycle some of those old treatments out.
It also pays to lay off the damaging styling tools. Ease back on curling irons, straighteners, and other heat styling techniques. If they’re unavoidable, at least use some protectant. The last thing you want to do is bleach already damaged hair!
About a week before bleaching, do a hair mask! Masks give your locks a boost of moisture, which can counteract some of the dryness that occurs with bleaching.
Finally, don’t forget to do a patch test. A patch test ensures that you’re not allergic to any bleaching ingredients before you cover your entire head. Plus, it can give you a better idea of the developer strength and processing time you need.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain Blonde Hair, And Why Is It So Expensive?
The work doesn’t stop after the bleaching process. Blonde hair is tough to maintain. Not only that, but it’s costly!
The bleaching process only applies to existing hair. New growth will be your normal hair color. Hair grows about half an inch per month, so it’s not going to be long until those roots start showing. You’ll need to go in for root touch-ups every month or so to maintain your color.
Additionally, you’ll have to change your entire hair care routine. You must continually hydrate it, protect it from the sun, and steer clear of any harmful products that could ruin the pristine color. Over time, blonde hair can turn brassy. Many recommend using purple shampoos and conditioners that tone your hair back to the desired shade with every wash.
Blonde hair is naturally finicky. The bleaching process weakens it, forcing you to work harder to keep in good shape. It’s also more porous, making it prone to picking up pigments. If you’re not careful, that unwanted brassiness could return before you know it.
Maintaining blonde hair is not cheap. There are so many steps involved with keeping it looking natural and fresh. It’s important to consider those ongoing costs before you commit to the change. Otherwise, your hair may end up looking worse.
How much does it cost to bleach your hair and maintain its new color? All in, you’re looking at several thousands of dollars per year just to keep your hair looking light and fresh.
The Bottom Line
There you have it! How much does it cost to bleach your hair? Expect to pay around $300 or more for professional service. Bleaching your hair is a costly endeavor that takes time to get right. You can save some money doing it yourself. But if you want to get professional-looking results, be prepared to shell out several hundred dollars depending on your needs.
Also, make sure that you’re ready to handle the maintenance costs. Bleach-blonde hair is difficult and expensive to keep fresh. It requires regular trips to the salon and a complete hair care change.
If you’re willing and able to cover those costs, go for it! Blonde hair is visually striking and always in-vogue. Visit some of your local hair salons and get quotes. Shop around until you find a salon that can meet your needs while fitting into your budget!