How Much Do Hair Highlights Cost?
Thinking about changing to your mane but don’t know how much hair highlights cost? Check out our complete guide to the cost of highlights for each type.
You’ll see how much you can expect to pay for the kind of highlights you want. The cost of highlights varies and depends on what type of highlights you get, where you get them done, and how long your hair is.
On average, you can expect to pay somewhere between $75 and $150 for full highlights, but high-end salons may charge as much as $350.
Partial highlights are cheaper, usually running somewhere between $20 and $60. For more time-consuming or complex highlights, like freehand balayage or foil babylights, expect to pay between $125 and $250 at mid-range salons.
But these costs can vary quite a bit at different salons across the nation. Keep reading to get a more detailed look at how much hair highlights cost.
How Much Do Hair Highlights Cost?
Overall, highlights cost between $75 and $150 in most salons. You may find a few that charge less (like Supercuts, where highlights are typically $25-$45), and high-end salons in major cities may charge more.
We’ve seen specialized highlighting techniques cost as much as $350 at luxury salons. Highlights for short hair and partial highlights are usually on the lower end of the pricing scale.
Partial highlights may be as low as $20 if you just want a couple of face-framing highlights. This makes sense because the stylist will use less lightening products and foils to achieve the look you want if your hair is short or if you only want a few highlights.
It also won’t take as much time to complete. Highlights for long hair and full highlights placed all over the hair are usually on the higher end of the pricing scale. If you have hair past your shoulders, you’ll need more lightening products and foils to give you the results you want.
Likewise, if you want highlights throughout your hair (and not just concentrated in a few sections), you’ll need more lightening products. It will also take your stylist more time to apply the highlights in either of these scenarios.
Hair Highlights Cost by Type
There are several types of highlights you can get at a salon, and more techniques are being developed all the time. Here’s how much the most popular types of hair highlights cost.
Partial highlights cost anywhere from $20-$55. The cost depends on how many highlights are added. For four face-framing accent highlights at the front of the hair, the cost starts at about $20. For partial highlights that are a little more extensive (about 12 highlights), the cost will be around $45 to $55.
Full highlights that are placed around the entire head cost $75-$150. Full highlights will have more than 12 foils placed in the hair to create a fully highlighted look. Shorter hair will be closer to the $60 mark for full highlights. Longer hair may run closer to $90-$150 for full highlights.
If a stylist uses the balayage highlighting technique, you can expect to pay around $100 to $150. This method does not use foils, and the stylist will paint the desired color directly onto the strands of hair to create a natural look.
Ombre isn’t technically a highlighting technique, but rather a hair coloring technique. It’s often confused with balayage. A color that is lighter or darker than the rest of the hair is applied to the ends and brought upward to create a soft and natural transition. Prices start at about $150+ for the ombre technique.
Babylights are very fine highlights done to mimic the way a child’s hair gets lightened in the sun. They are usually done around the face and hairline, at the part, and around the crown.
They cost a little more than basic highlights because the hair must be sectioned off into very fine strands, then painted with the lightening product and closed up in foils. Expect to pay $100-$120 for babylights.
Pintura highlights will cost $100 to $120+ and may not be offered at all salons. These highlights are painted freehand onto the hair (pintura means “painting” in Portuguese) and are used to accent and highlight curly or wavy hair.
They are added to specific strands in the bends and curves of the hair where light would normally hit the hair’s waves. The finished look is natural.
Lowlights and Additional Colors
For each additional color used in highlights, expect to pay anywhere from $20-$40 for a total of around $75+. Additional colors are used to add dimension to the hair.
For example, if you get blond highlights with a few lowlights in a darker shade, you’ll be paying a little extra for the additional color or toner used in the lowlights.
Short Hair vs. Long Hair Highlights
Short hair highlights (hair above the shoulders) are typically less expensive than highlights for long hair. Expect to pay $60-$70 for short hair highlights. Less lightening products and foils are used to create the desired result in short hair.
It takes less time for the stylist to apply the highlights and finish the style in shorter hair. Longer hair past the shoulders will cost closer to $90-$150. Long hair requires more lightening products and foils to get the desired result. It will also take the stylist more time to finish.
Highlights may be done freehand, with foils, or with a highlighting cap. Each of these methods has its own pros and cons. Here’s what you should know about each highlighting technique.
Foil highlights are the most common highlighting technique. A stylist sections the hair with a comb to weave a few strands out of each section, and then lays a foil underneath.
Then, lightening products or colors are painted onto the strands taken from the section, and the foil piece is folded up to cover the painted section as it processes.
Most salons primarily use foil highlights because it allows the highlights to be placed closer to the scalp and root of the hair than cap highlighting.
Foils also allow a stylist to make highlights as thin (as with babylights) or chunky as needed and add in more than one color at a time.
One disadvantage with foil highlights is that they take a little more time to do, so the first foils done process faster than the last ones done.
Cap highlights aren’t as common as foils. Highlighting caps fit snugly over the hair and have small perforations scattered across the cap.
A small hooked tool is used to gently poke through the perforations on the cap and pull a few strands of hair through the cap at a time. For chunkier highlights, the stylist may pull additional strands through each perforation.
Lightening products or color can then be applied to only the hair that has been pulled through without affecting the hair still under the cap. Cap highlights may be used if a client wants a random pattern of highlights throughout the hair, all in one color.
One benefit cap highlights offer is that all the hair processes at the same time. A disadvantage is that the color or lightener won’t quite reach down the roots.
Freehand highlights are done without the use of foils or highlighting caps. They are painted directly onto the hair using a small brush for a more natural look. Balayage, ombre, and Pintura highlights are done freehand to create transitional color without harsh lines.
With the balayage method, a stylist will paint the color midway down the strands to the ends of the hair. With the ombre method, a stylist applies color that evenly transitions to become either lighter or darker toward the ends.
For Pintura highlights, color is painted from the ends of the hair upward, concentrating on the natural bends and waves of the hair to accent curls. The benefit of getting freehand highlights is that the finished look is always quite natural.
One disadvantage of freehand highlights is that the color or lightener may bleed onto the rest of the hair if a barrier isn’t used to protect it. It also requires a very experienced and knowledgeable stylist.
Are Highlights Worth the Cost?
You’ve seen highlights can range in price from as little as $20 for face-framing highlights up to $350 for hand-painted highlights in a luxury salon. But is this selective hair lightening method worth the cost? We think so.
Highlights are a great way to switch up your look without committing to a new, all-over color. And with some of the newer highlighting and coloring techniques, like balayage, babylights, and ombre color, you can get away with less maintenance and no need for regular root touch-ups.
To accent your face, add dimension to your hair color, and bring out the natural waves and curls in your hair, highlights are the go-to solution. With most highlights running somewhere between $60 and $150, they are an affordable way to change your locks’ look.
Think you’re ready to get highlights at a salon near you? We make it easy to book an appointment or find a salon that accepts walk-ins. Find a hair salon near you now. Just type in your zip code to see which nearby salons you can choose from.