As someone who can't bear the idea of living life with her natural hair color, I can tell you firsthand that color treatments are expensive. I cringe at the thought of tallying up every dollar I've ever spent on highlighting, deep conditioning, toning, and touching up my bleached strands. No regrets, but oof. This ish can add up.
It doesn't help that most colorists push their pricey treatments and products and encourage you to come in for touch-ups every six weeks. If you're anything like me, you end up saying yes to all of it, and only when you log on to your Chase app to find you have $23 left in your checking account do you realize you need to make a change.
Luckily I'm a beauty editor now and have this sneaky little way of getting colorists to spill all their deepest secrets. Want a taste of my intel? I spoke to celebrity colorists Matt Rez of Ramirez-Tran Salon in Beverly Hills and Sheenon Olson of Miami's Atma Beauty to find out their inside tips for how we can save money at the salon.
The following DIY hair color tips can save you hundreds of dollars on fancy salon visits. Keep scrolling to find out what they are!
After getting your highlights done, you could drop $200 on the salon products your colorist recommends. Or, you could go to the grocery store and snag a jar of coconut oil. "It's an ultra-affordable at-home remedy to repair dull ends and maintain hair color," says Rez. To help with dryness, pop a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, apply it to freshly shampooed ends, and leave it on for as long as possible. We promise you'll wind up with results similar to that fancy treatment from your salon.
In the summer, you can also use coconut oil to shield your color from the elements (meaning you can keep your in-salon touch-ups to a minimum). "When you go to the pool or beach to lay out, coconut oil protects the hair from sun damage or chlorine, which turns blond greenish," Rez adds. "If you're going underwater, apply a good amount to fully saturate!"
"If you have blond hair, investing in a purple shampoo is a must," says Olson. Purple shampoo helps counteract brassy tones in highlighted blond, preventing you from having to go into the salon for frequent toning treatments, which can add up. "I like Oribe's Bright Blonde Shampoo ($44) and R+Co's blond shampoo," says Olson. Use them once a week for maximum effect.
This genius hack gives you the same results as an in-salon toner for just $3. "Putting food color in your favorite shampoo is a great way to keep your tone and save some money!" Rez says. This technique might be even better than color-correcting shampoos, which can dry out your hair. All it requires is a little color chemistry.
"If you are blond and want to cancel brassiness, mix equal parts red and blue drops of the food color," Rez recommends. "Red and blue make violet, which cancels yellow undertones!" If you have brunette color, combat red tones by making a green concoction: two parts yellow, one part blue.
"If you are a redhead, you will have a blast," says Rez. "Play with yellow and red if you are on the copper end of the spectrum, or red and blue if you are more violet-red." The more pigment you use, the more toning control you'll have. "Just remember that blue pigment is dense, so with any color cocktail, don't go too heavy with it," Rez says.
One zero-effort way to avoid frequent touch-ups is to protect your hair from unfiltered water. "Invest in a high-end water filter that you can attach to your shower," Olson recommends. "Filters are amazing because they reduce all of the chlorine in the water that strips the color out of your hair." Installing a shower filter like the one above will help your color last longer, keeping you out of the salon and under budget.
Re-create an in-salon deep treatment for color-damaged hair with this way-affordable hack: "Take your regular conditioner, apply to towel-dried hair, place a shower cap over your head, and let the conditioner sit for 30 minutes," says Olson. You don't even need one of those fancy salon dryers to make it work. "The heat from your head will activate the treatment," Olson explains. Try Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Crème ($3) or OGX's Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner ($8).
Every colorist worth his salt swears by Olaplex, which works strengthen color-damaged hair from the inside out. "This treatment, often applied at salons, will rebuild the bonds inside of your hair," Olson explains. "It also lowers your hair's pH, which closes the cuticle and prevents your hair from drying out, which would cause further damage." Though the product is a bit pricier than most regular conditioners, Olson swears that "it will still save you money in the long run."
What are your favorite DIY hair treatments? Tell us your secrets in the comments below!