What is Low Maintenance Color?

We wanted to start this with the pricing breakdown of traditional color vs. low maintenance color. You may have also heard us refer to it as “Lived In Color.”

First, what is low maintenance color?

We’ve noticed that the beauty industry has been leaning into natural beauty for some time now. After the pandemic shut down, we realized low maintenance color is truly the wave of the future for this industry. So many of us couldn’t get our hair done, so we pivoted to something that didn’t require as much maintenance. I was growing my short cut, and as it turns out, that was a perfect time for it. I used to get a cut every 3-4 weeks. That simply wasn’t feasible during the summer of 2020 with trying to get all our clients back in. Chloe decided she wasn’t going to use permanent color on her roots anymore because every time she wanted to bring her blonde balayage up, it took more time for the lightener to lift through that permanent color. Time she didn’t have.

We stopped wearing full faces of make-up because you couldn’t see it behind the masks. Now that we are mostly done with masks, Chloe still wears a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation, and I switched to a cream make up that has a faster application and isn’t super heavy. Natural is in now- in a BIG way. When we actually sat down and put our thoughts on paper, we realized we had been evolving for awhile. Our beauty needs and that of our amazing clientele had shifted.

We made a conscious decision to bring this evolution to you. We want to shift the focus of hair color in our business– instead of covering something up, we aim to enhance what you already have, shift it a little to make something you can spend less money and time on. We researched different color lines that would give us the options our clients were wanting but also give us, the stylists, the flexibility and top of the line standard we require. Lightener that lifts cleanly without compromising bond integrity, color that melts seamlessly, root smudges that blur the grow-out line beautifully, glosses that shine and tone perfectly. A color line that offered multi-dimensional color, longer lasting vibrancy, natural color options for sensitive scalps.

“Low Maintenance Color” can be a demi-permanent color that is applied all over (or just to the new growth) that doesn’t 100% cover grey, but it can cover it 50-75% while staining the few more resistant greys. That means when roots or “new growth” starts coming in, the line of demarcation won’t be as harsh or defined. Demi-permanent color simply fades as you shampoo your hair. It also doesn’t fade as warmly (aka brassy) as permanent color. This science is so interesting, but that’s another chat for another time. We’d love to show you the underlying tones of hair color in the salon as well. It’s pretty cool, but I digress.

Our most extensive Low Maintenance Color experience is called Grey Blending which involves blending grey roots with previous permanently colored hair. It is important that the client have 1-2 inches of new growth so we can see the grey growth pattern and place lightener in foils accordingly. We might also use a darker demi-permanent color (that doesn’t fade as brassy) as a lowlight to blend as well. We then tone the lightened hair to a silvery/ashy blonde. Essentially, it is an optical illusion– the grey is still there. The permanent color is still there. But we blend light and dark, specifically tailored to each client’s very individual color palette. This type of service starts at $325, and usually takes 5+ hours. Home maintenance is crucial, and let me tell you, it works so well. All of our clients who have taken home a maintenance shampoo (also specific to the client) have not needed a toning gloss for over 12 weeks!

Low Maintenance Color can also be:

-applying a root color in foils for “lowlights” to blend the mid-shaft and ends with the fresh and vibrant root color


-a root smudge applied over highlights just at the roots

-a root smudge in a “tear drop” formation to leave brightness around the face while adding more depth at the crown to give that pinterest-worthy look

-just a root “tap” (very tiny root smudge) to blur the line of micro-lights (very popular with our blondes)

A root smudge or color melt allows a more seamless grow-out of traditional highlights or any hair lightened in foils.

{Technical hair jargon ahead!} A good example is what Chloe did for my hair back at the beginning of July 2020. She applied lightener on sliced highlights. After processing time and a quick shampoo, she then applied a root smudge that she melted into a toning gloss. I wanted to be really blonde without the need for constant upkeep. I maintained the icy platinum tone at home with a purple shampoo and conditioner, olaplex 6 (a MUST for lightened hair), and the occasional use of Olaplex 7 on my ends for particularly dull days, and wow! I was amazed at how long I have been able to go with just a little bit of at-home maintenance. Was the purple shampoo and conditioner expensive? Yes. But I didn’t have time to sit for another lightening session at the time of writing this post (late September 2020). And sometimes, time is just as important as money, amiright?!

Speaking of money, here’s what you’re really here for.

-price breakdown of traditional color vs. low maintenance color-

Let’s take the average 4-6 week color client. She will come in 13 times a year if she’s a 4-weeker and 8.7 times a year if she’s a 6-weeker. At $132-195 per visit, that is approximately $1148-$2535 a year.

Now, let’s look at a Low Maintenance Color client. We’ll look at the most expensive end of this type of color service- Grey Blending- helping a client grow out her permanent color. Let’s say that first extensive service is $380 (average price). Let’s also say she needs a cut at 8 weeks, and she decides she’d also like a toning gloss while she’s there. That would be our Glow + Go service which is $88. If she comes in every 8 weeks for this service (and the toner is usually not needed every 8 weeks, but let’s go with it anyway), that would be an additional $484 for that service over the course of the next year. To review, that’s $380 + $88 + $484= $952. At home maintenance products run $60-$90, so let’s go with the high end of that as well. That’s $1042 over the course of a year, and that’s IF she needs the toning gloss every 8 weeks.

$1148-$2535 vs. $1042


Now we know that isn’t including any additional products our example client might need. But think of the TIME spent at the salon.

8-12 times per year vs. 6 visits IF a haircut is needed. Now we also know that going to the salon is a form of self-care. That’s my reasoning for those 5 extra visits after the initial “big” appointment. We all need self-care, and even a clear gloss can do wonders for restoring shine and helping with frizz.

What about a lightening appointment with a root smudge vs. traditional color?

That service can run around $195-260. I stretch my root smudge 11+weeks, but let’s just assume that root smudge client wants more regularly scheduled haircuts and likes to visit for her self-care. She comes in every 8 weeks. That’s 6.5 times per year. Let’s assume that 2 of those visits are Glow + Go appointments. 4.5 times per year @ $260 + 2 times per year @ $88= $1346. That’s $1346 vs. $1148-$2535. Now obviously, no one client is the same as another. Everyone will have a different maintenance plan and budget, and that is just fine.

But think of the time our client is not in the salon! Think of the permanent color brassy fade-out our client is NOT having to deal with. Those Glow + Go appointments are only 1.5 hours. I don’t know about y’all, but seeing the numbers like that really put it in perspective.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We love to talk hair and formulas!

Originally published on 10/9/2020 and updated on 5/3/2022 to reflect current industry pricing.

%d bloggers like this: