Price Transparency on Color Corrections

Alison Alhamed | June 12, 2019 | 6:55 AM
This is Sean Michael's photo post he shared on his @seanmichaelhair Instagram profile, breaking down his service cost.
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Session one.
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Photo 5 of 5

Recently, thanks to a movement from Gina Bianca @iamginabianca, there’s been a trend on Instagram embedding the total service cost onto images of transformations as a way to help spread awareness and transparency into the realities of what services cost.

Bianca says the worst thing you can do for retention is sticker shock. Client retention is one of the biggest factors in growing your business.

“Sticker shock will run your business into the ground, and undercharging will drain your soul of appreciation and cause resentment to build over time,” says Bianca, who bases pricing on cost per hour.

“I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that seeing a price tag on a photo of hair made me upset,” says Sean Michael, a stylist at Salon Beau in Andover, MA. “At first I was like 'Why are people showing off how much they charge? I don't think that's very fair that someone in California is charging $150 haircut and someone in Ohio is charging $40.’ Long story short, I disliked it because I didn't understand the meaning behind it.”

Michael was recently asked how he talks to clients about pricing, and does he feel comfortable charging what he’s worth.

“I immediately responding saying our salon is very open and honest during consultation about pricing, but the more I spoke about it the more I realized that, yes, I am very transparent in person, but I'm not as transparent on social as I should be,” says Michael, a balayage and blonde specialist.

Re-inspired by a podcast he listened to where Bianca gave details on why pricing transparency matters so much, Michael decided to start showcasing the price breakdown of his services.

“I wanted the transparency to shine through, just like it does during a consultation with me,” he says. “I want the topic of pricing to be open and honest in the salon. Recently I’ve made the choice to bring what I teach my team in salon onto Instagram. I want to share as much as I possibly can! I believe sharing will lift this industry up, and it’s something I am truly passionate about.”

For the client transformation featured here, she had a long-time stylist in Vermont but had recently moved to the Boston area, where Michael is based.

“She had been all levels of blonde, brown, black, caramel, blonde, green, brown, darker brown, even darker brown, really dark brown,” he says. “The reason why they did so many brown processes in the end is because the green kept coming through.”

When she came to see Michael, the hair had faded dark brown hair with a green tint throughout the ends.

“She showed me an icy light blonde and said she had been trying to achieve that color for years,” he says. “I told her because of her hair history it would be at least 5+ balayage services. She said I trust you, let’s go on this hair journey together.”

Sessions 1, 3 and 5:
Balayage: $195
Glaze: $45
Haircut: $65

Sessions 2 & 4:
Balayage: $195
Glaze: $45
Blow Dry: $45


“This client came in just about every 6 weeks and was very patient throughout the journey,” Michael says. “She had beautiful color every step of the way but it took 7 months and $1,485 to achieve her goal color.”

He started his first process by using Joico Free Play with Product Club Balayage Film to lighten out all of the layers of brown.

“The first process ended up being a dark caramel, which she was actually thrilled about,” he says. “She saw the light at the end of the tunnel. After the first process I switched over to Joico Verolight with Product Club foils. On our fifth process is when we hit our goal color result: icy light blonde!”

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