Everyone already knows that going to a professional stylist to transform your hair color can take a little bit of a toll on your bank account. However, the results are almost always worth it, even if you may not think so. Of course, there will always be salon horror stories floating around, but as good as you may be at applying a boxed dye, there's nothing like the multi-dimensional, strategically placed color job done by a pro. And hairstylist Gina Bianca's Instagram posts about hair transformations are proving just that.
As costly as any trip to the salon can be, what is even more expensive is when your hair is in need of a major transformation by way of a color correction, which is all too often the result of trying to color your hair yourself. To shine a light on the reality of how much product, work, and time stylists put into color correction appointments, Gina Bianca, a Connecticut-based stylist and owner of Gina Bianca Hair salon, has taken to her Instagram account, @the_hair_doctor, to post side-by-side, before-and-after images of some major hair color transformations — including the cost of the service, so people understand what they're actually paying for.
When scrolling through Gina's feed, the transformation images are sure to catch your attention just because of how drastic the changes are. However, to the non-hair-professionals, what is really eye-opening is likely the prices listed in big white font across the bottom of each transformation post. At first glance, the prices listed (most of which are upwards of $500 USD) may startle you, but after reading Gina's breakdown in the comments of each post, it's easier to understand how and why each service cost what it did.
For example, on one post that has the price tag listed as $608, Gina broke down the step-by-step process the transformation would follow, in addition to the cost of each step in the caption of the post: "Full highlight: $180, Extra bowls: $100, Gloss: $40, Extra bowls: $40, Smudge: $60, Treatment: $65, Haircut: $78, Curls: $45, Bond builder: Free (the only discount I think is acceptable here because it takes no time), Total: $608, five hours of work at $120 an hour."
In hindsight, the cost of the service is totally feasible, given the condition of the hair pre-appointment, the time and resources that a trained, professional stylist put into the appointment, and, of course, the amazing final results.
Gina also explains that, when it comes to larger hair transformations — and standard appointments in general — there can be hidden costs that still take a toll on stylists, like extra product used and stylists' time spent on the client.
"Every time an extra bowl is mixed, there should be a charge for extra time. Product costs that are not charged for can run a business into the ground." says Gina. "Many stylists don’t feel comfortable charging for this because many clients believe product isn’t expensive and many clients believe they aren’t paying for time, they are paying for an end result. This is completely wrong. Our time, brains, and expertise are what’s for sale!"
If, after hearing all of this, you still feel as though the prices for these mind-blowing hair transformations are exorbitant, Gina shares another curve-ball you probably haven't thought of: taxes. "What we charge our guests does not go into our bank account," she says. "Usually 70 to 75 percent goes into all of the expenses/taxes associated with doing business."
According to Gina, her inspiration for so blatantly including the cost of the service is two-fold. As important as it is to be real with potential clients about what major hair transformations cost, it's just as important to inspire and encourage fellow stylists to know (and charge) their worth.
"The reason for the price breakdown revolution was because, after my first post, there was a ton of hate from a lot of people, but even more love and appreciation," she says. "I got messages from stylists all over the world who were charging $150 for eight to 10 hours of work. I got messages from hairstylists saying they wanted to leave the industry, that they didn’t think they could make a living. This empowered and inspired me to continue posting price breakdowns for stylists and clients!"
When asked the message that she hopes to get across with her viral posts, Gina wants stylists to know that the prices they set affect the future of the hair industry. "Every time you discount or don’t charge your worth, you are cheapening the industry for the next generation," she says.
Still, though, a strong relationship with clients is not at all lost on Gina, who says stylists "would have nothing" without the support of their clientele. She simply asks that people respect "[their] stylist and their time": "If something is out of your budget, just choose a different photo and respect their professional opinion!"
Regardless of how good Gina's intentions are with these posts, internet trolls will be internet trolls. Thankfully, though, she continues to focus on the positive and hopes to continue inspiring stylists to claim what's rightfully theirs: "In the end, if I can at least get a stylist to charge for their extra bowls, I know that’s a move in the right direction!"