How Much Does It Cost To Bleach Your Hair?

Last Updated on January 9, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Dreaming of transforming your brunette or black strands to a light blonde or vivid pastel rainbow hue? Before lightening your locks, it’s very important to understand the true costs of bleaching hair and the many variables that impact pricing.

In this guide, we’ll break down at-home vs. professional bleaching, how your hair’s health and condition factors in, the number of sessions needed, and much more. Let’s get started!

How Much Does It Cost to Bleach Your Hair?

Bleaching your hair usually costs between $50 and $450 or more, depending on how you choose to do it, whether you work with a professional or not, the products you use, and so on. So the answer depends on several important factors like:

  • Are you bleaching at home or having it done professionally? Home kits with supplies start at around $50, while professional in-salon bleaching starts at $150+ and averages $200-$400 for significant multi-shade lightening.
  • How dramatic is the color change? Lightening just a shade or two generally costs $150-$250, while 6-8 shade extreme lifts to platinum average $400+. Time and care impacts costs.
  • How long and thick is your hair? Shorter hair needs fewer products, less time, and costs $100-$200. As your hair grows longer and thicker, it will require more bleach and time, running $200-$450+ to bleach and dye your hair.
  • What is your hair’s current health and condition? Healthy hair lightens quicker and cheaper than damaged or over-processed hair needing special care during bleaching sessions.
  • How many sessions will it take? All-over lightening of more than 2-3 shades requires multiple sessions for safety and best results, multiplying costs. Avoid going more than 2 shades in one session to not damage your hair.

While every head of hair is different, these are the main cost factors to consider when budgeting for bleaching. Talk with your stylist and research average prices using this guide.

Here are the reported prices for bleaching hair from various websites:

Reddit users report that a home bleaching kit can cost $20-$25 USD.

Kalista Salon’s blog states that the cost of bleaching hair ranges from $40 to $250, depending on various factors such as hair length, natural hair color, and the bleaching process.

Lippie Hippie mentions that the cost to bleach hair at a professional salon ranges from $150 to $300 while bleaching and coloring hair at home can cost as low as $45.

A Wellness Body‘s article indicates that the cost of bleaching hair at a professional salon ranges from $150 to $200, with some treatments costing as high as $400.

Compromised hair health isn’t worth any perceived savings. Smart pacing and conditioning is money well spent for beautiful bleached tresses.

Why Bleaching Costs Range So Widely

Unlike simply applying an all-over hair dye to darken your strands, lifting your existing hair color to lighter shades involves skillfully using bleach to strip away layers of pigment. This process requires:

  • Careful application and blending to evenly lighten hair
  • Precise timing and monitoring to avoid damage or chemical burns
  • Repeated lightening sessions spaced weeks apart for dramatic shifts
  • Extensive toning and conditioning to counter brassiness and repair damage

Should You Bleach Hair at Home or Go to a Professional Stylist?

The first major factor affecting cost is whether you choose an at-home bleach kit or visit a licensed colorist. Each option has pros and cons.

Bleaching Your Hair at Home

Using an at-home bleach kit lets you lighten your hair for around $50 or less in supplies. However, risks include:

  • Inconsistencies if bleach isn’t applied evenly from root to ends
  • Potential scalp burns or major damage if left on too long
  • Very limited lightening for dark brunette or black hair
  • A high likelihood of dryness and breakage afterwards

With careful application and timing, at-home kits can effectively lift natural hair a shade or two and provide an affordable starter lightening. But dramatic multi-shade lifting is extremely challenging and risky as a DIY process.

Getting Your Hair Professionally Bleached

Getting your hair bleached by an experienced, licensed colorist typically costs $150 on the very low end, ranging up to $300 or more. The benefits include:

  • Consistent results since colorists know how to evenly apply and blend bleach
  • Lower risk of scalp burns or major damage thanks to precise timing
  • Ability to safely achieve more significant lightening, even for dark hair
  • Reduced likelihood of severe dryness or breakage afterwards
  • Customized toner and conditioning treatments

While professional hair bleaching costs substantially more than DIY kits, skilled colorists deliver superior results, especially for major color shifts. Their expertise offers much more dramatic lightening with less risk.

Which is More Affordable?

If your budget for hair bleaching is $50 or less, an at-home kit is your most affordable option. However, for $150+ you gain access to the colorist skills, products and care needed for dramatic yet safe lightening and toning. It’s an investment – but in the long run, pro bleaching prevents damage that adds up to even higher costs over time.

You might also like our articles on the cost of beach wave perms, box braids, or Balayage.

How Your Natural Hair Color and Desired Lightness Impacts Cost

The starting and target shades of your hair color journey also significantly impact the time, products, and care needed to bleach hair – and thus the costs. Generally:

  • Lifting dark brown hair to light brown requires minimal lightening and has lower costs around $150-$200.
  • Shifting black hair to dark blonde is more challenging and averages $200-$300.
  • Extreme lightening of very dark hair to platinum averages $300-$500+.

It requires far more applications of bleach, more intensive toning, and additional conditioning to safely lift very dark brunette and black hair shades to light blonde and platinum blonde. Attempting dramatic 6-8 shade lifts in one session risks major breakage.

Because of these safety limits, costs rise the darker your original hair color and the lighter your ideal shade. For the most expensive platinum blondes, plan for $400+ in multiple salon sessions over months.

How Length of Your Hair and Density Affects Bleaching Costs

In addition to color, your hair’s length and thickness impacts how much time and product is needed to lighten it. Generally:

  • Shorter, shoulder-length fine or thin hair requires less bleach and time, costing $100-$200.
  • Long, thick, dense, or especially curly hair needs more product applied across more areas, costing $200-$400+.

Longer and more voluminous hair means higher costs for additional bleach, application time, monitoring, and toner. Damaged thick hair may need Olaplex or similar bonding treatments too, at $50+ per treatment.

For short hair, request highlights or a balayage look rather than full head bleaching to save money. Thick long hair almost always costs over $300+ to bleach completely.

How Healthy vs Damaged Hair Impacts Bleaching Costs

Hair that’s been damaged from prior dyeing, heat styling, chemical treatments, or bleachings requires far more caution, care, and conditioning when lightened. Existing porosity and weakness raises costs.

  • Hair in excellent condition can be quickly and gently lightened in one session.
  • Previously damaged or over-processed hair needs to be bleached gradually over multiple appointments spaced apart, while using protein treatments and minimal bleach each session. This caution takes more time and money.

Why Multiple Bleaching Sessions Are Usually Required

For safety, stylists rarely lift hair more than 2-3 shades in a single bleaching session, waiting weeks between appointments. There are two main reasons why gradual lightening over multiple sessions is required:

  1. It prevents major breakage and damage that happens when you bleach hair too many shades at once. Hair can only handle so much trauma safely at a time.
  2. Very dark hair often has underlying warm pigments that would turn hair orange if you tried to go too light too fast. It takes multiple bleachings to fully lift out obstinate darker undertones.

The Cost of Toning, Conditioning, and Continued Care Post-Bleaching

Bleached hair always requires toner to eliminate brassiness and follow-up conditioning treatments to nourish damaged strands. These mandatory steps add costs that are non-negotiable if you want healthy hair.

  • Toner costs $50+ and is essential to counteract orange/yellow undertones.
  • Deep conditioning masks and Olaplex runs $50+ per treatment, with several needed.
  • Continued at-home care with purple shampoo and weekly masks.

While annoying, these extras counteract damage and make bleached hair presentable. They protect your investment and hair’s health.

Regular Touch-Ups Are Needed to Maintain Brightness

Once lightened, bleached hair quickly starts reverting back to its natural undertone within 4-6 weeks. To keep vivid colors vibrant, plan for:

  • All-over root touch-ups every 4-6 weeks at $100+ each
  • Partial highlight touch-ups every 8-12 weeks at $80+
  • Toner glosses whenever brassiness occurs, at least monthly

These regular maintenance appointments add up financially over months and years. It’s an unavoidable cost for dramatically lightened hair.

What Does Professionally Bleaching Hair Cost on Average?

How to Bleach Your HairWhile each head of hair is unique, the following prices represent typical average costs of professional salon bleaching in 2022:

  • Single process all-over color or subtle highlight lift – $100 to $150
  • Significant all-over lightening of 2-3 shades – $150 to $250
  • Major lightening of 4-6 shades – $200 to $350
  • Extreme color shifts of 6-8+ shades to platinum – $300 to $500

The most dramatic lifts to platinum blonde tend to average $400+ for gradual lightening over multiple salon sessions. Each visit may be $200-$300, but with 2-3 needed for safety, total costs add up.

Of course, final prices depend on your particular stylist’s rates, experience level, and the local market. But these figures represent a general idea of standard professional bleaching costs.

Tips for Saving Money on Bleaching Your Hair

If your dream platinum color seems out of your budget, here are ways to save:

  • Space out sessions by 6-8 weeks instead of every 4 weeks. Spreading out lightening avoids overload.
  • Ask your stylist for a discount. Loyal or new clients may get 10-20% off.
  • Inquire about discounted rates at hair schools with supervised student stylists.
  • Get balayage or subtle highlights first, then lighten all over later. Highlights require less bleaching product.
  • Consider lower maintenance highlight touch-ups rather than full head bleach touch-ups.
  • Use purple shampoo, not toner, when brassiness occurs between salon glosses.
  • Extend the time between gloss or toner appointments to stretch them to 8 weeks instead of 4 weeks.
  • Invest in conditioning masks and bonding treatments for at-home use between sessions. Olaplex is loved by bleached hair devotees.

Final Words

With reasonable expectations and gradual lightening, you can reach your dream blonde shade – platinum or pastel rainbow – without bleaching your budget.

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