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How Much Should a Color Correction Cost?


What is a Color Correction?

Red * Orange Hair

Hair Needing Color Correction

A color correction is any coloring involving major color transformation.

A total color make-over, for example taking a client from dark to blonde, from vivid ruby red to ash blonde would be considered a color correction.

Color stripping hair to take it a totally different color would be another example.

Dramatic change in a color reflect, for example from very warm to very cold, would also count as a color correction.

Very very brassy hair which is inconsistent between mid-lengths roots and ends almost always requires color correction.

In almost all cases, color correction involves two or sometimes even three or four separate coloring processes.

For example, someone with huge color build-up of red hair with a dark base looking to go white blonde might require the following:

  • Step One: color removal using bleach on the red parts.
  • Step Two: lifting using bleach on the dark parts
  • Step Three: extending bleach to the ends to deal with orange and orange-yellow
  • Step Four: lifting, coloring and toning on the entire hair
  • Step Five: conditioning and treatment of the hair

Time + Product + Expertise + Hot Water & Towels!

It's not just the time which the stylist needs to take into account.

Every stage requires processing, rinsing, towelling etc. 

Product cost can be significant when doing color correction.

Quality professional product use alone for a major hair color correction could easily cost the stylist around $50 - $60.

Plus, of course, there's a whole lot of expertise in play. 

Typically a color correction can require up to 4 hours. Even 6 hours is not unheard of.

That's a whole day gone for the stylist. Meaning fewer other clients for a stylist to take care of.

Clients may baulk at a high bill. But they should realise that time, product cost and expertise, not to mention hot water and towels, all cost money.

And they need to compensate the stylist fairly.

Roots, mid-lengths, ends all different

Roots, Mid-lengths, ends...All Different!

Knowledge & Expertise

From Dark Brown to Blonde

From Brunette to Platinum Blonde. Transformation achieved in 1 session of Color Correction

There is also the knowledge aspect of it.

The above transformation was achieved in just 1 session. Not all colorists can do this!

From a stylist's point of view, a color correction case like the above is a truly major thing.

This is where she or he makes or breaks his or her reputation. 

So how much should a Color Correction cost in 2022?

A colorist needs to charge enough to cover for his or her time, the hours spent.

Even a relatively simple color correction can take 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.

A minimum charge is $120 an hour for a stylist. That includes processing time.

This charge would obviously vary according to where in the US you are.

If you live in downtown NY or in Miami or LA it will be higher. Perhaps closer to $120 an hour.

And if you are in a small town it could well be lower. Edging down to around $80 an hour.

So at $100 an hour, a regular color correction (3 hours of work) should cost the consumer around $300.

It sounds like a huge amount but not if you factor in the time, expertise and the products involved.

And if it is a major correction, involving multiple stages and perhaps 4 or 5 hours, then it is going to cost around $400-$500.

Should I go for multiple sessions instead?

Sometimes the temptation comes to go to a stylist for 3 separate and cheaper sessions.

3 mini-sessions, if you like.

Some hair stylists do suggest this. Color correction in stages.

We respectfully disagree with this approach.

Do it once and do it right would be our motto.

Assuming quality products are used, and assuming the stylist knows his or her stuff, there is no reason to do it in 3 stages. 

You will just end up damaging the hair more.

And spending more by paying for 3 sessions!

It is far better to fix everything once properly.

Invest the money and the time to bring your hair back to where it should be.

It will work out cheaper in the long run.

What are the go-to color correction products that stylists use during Color Correction?

Products used typically involve the following:

  • A very good quality bleach.
  • Fresh, good quality cream developer. 
  • Toning products. These can be high lifting, regular lifting or no-lift toners according to the situation.
  • Good quality hair care products for during and after. Typically a purple toning mask and a bond protect mask.

We will go through these products in this blog now.

We will also give you some simple recommendations if you are a stylist who is looking to get into color correction. 

A Good Quality Bleach & Developer

A quality bleach is generally the first and the most important part of color correction.

We recommend Brilliant Blondexx with Bond Protect.

The extra protection, plus the very efficient lift, means that it works fast, using only 20 or 30 Vol developer.

Which is important, as it means you don't end up frying your hair with excessively powerful developers.

The Bond Protect in the bleach means that the hair is protected during the bleaching process with Maleic acid and strengthened.

So you should find that the hair is in good condition after using this bleach.

Very importantly, this bleach works for on-scalp and off-scalp use.

Brilliant Blondexx gives up to 7 levels lift using 20 and 30 Vol developer.

Brilliant Blondexx & 30 Vol

Brilliant Blondexx & 30 Vol Developer

High Lift, Regular Lift & No-Lift Toners

There is nothing as useful to a colorist as a set of really powerful professional toners in her cupboard.

After bleaching, a toner is what you use to get rid of unwanted warmth and change the reflect from warm to cool.

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V is very often used by stylists to do this blonde transformation.

This is a toner with lift, so it is very useful in cases where the hair is still very warm, yellowish-orange for example, even after bleaching.

For hair which has been lifted but is still yellow, then Regular Lift Pearl Blonde 10V can be used.

And hair which has been truly well lifted, and just needs blonde refreshing, then ammonia-free Blondify gel toners would be great.

These toners, which are some of our best selling toners, are given below.

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V - Ultra White toner with lift

Pearl Blonde 10V

Pearl Blonde Toner 10V - Toner with Regular Lift

Natural Ash Blonde Toner

Blondify Natural Ash Blonde Toner - Ammonia Free, Non lifting

Natural Violet Blonde Toner

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde Toner - Ammonia Free, Non Lifting

Purple Mask.

Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask can be used while the bleach is processing on the hair, or after rinsing off the bleach.

It can also be used after toning and also at home to maintain the blonde color of bleached and toned hair 

It will take any remaining yellow out of the hair.

The formula of the mask is acidic, with a pH of around 4.5.

Which means it will help prevent hair damage.

Purple Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask 

Bond Protect Mask

Another mask which is very useful for a stylist is a Bond Protect Mask.

Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blondexx Mask is enriched with Maleic Acid, or Bond Protect.

Use of this mask helps strengthen the internal bonds of the hair, repairs split ends and prevents hair damage.

Brilliant Blondexx is another acidic formula, as indeed are all of Ugly Duckling's masks.

It will leave the hair thicker, fuller, and also more supple and strong.

We recommend that you use this after a color correction session.

Brilliant Blondexx

Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Mask


Hair by Ashley Betancourt


Hair by Elona Taki


Hair by Brittney Perez


Hair by Elona Taki

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

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