Help—I need an inexpensive (but great) hair colorist!

Photo courtesy of Bobbins & Bombshells blog.
Photo courtesy of Bobbins & Bombshells blog.

We’ve been asked this too many times to count, and there’s no good reason why we took so long to pass this vitally important question on to all of you. So here is the single stumper we hear most often: Where can I get my hair colored for cheap? Do I really have to pay $150 to get it done in Manhattan? The problem of course, is that if you have anything more complicated than single-process hair color, it not only costs a ton, it requires maintenance every few weeks, making your shimmering chestnut highlights a four-figure annual proposition. So who’s got a better idea? (And don’t tell us to DIY. We gave up frosting kits in high school.) Does anyone out there have a lead on a genius colorist in Brooklyn who’s affordable? Any neighborhood is fair game. In the comments, please. (And BTW, if you’re in the market for a curly haircut, check out our brilliant reader suggestions on that front.)


    • It’s called Brooklyn Hair Shop but I think she closed. The Yelp has it as still open, but I live near her shop and I am fairly certain it’s now a baby boutique.

  1. it may not be brooklyn, but if you scour craigslist, you can find free and cheap hair color done at arrojo and aveda schools. yes, i realize it’s a student and all that jazz, but i’ve had demipermanent color done at arrojo and they did a really good job. (i had not bleached but lightened ends and darker roots. she had to do 2 processes to make it even, which was unexpected for her b/c i sort of forgot to say…) and did i mention FREE?!

  2. I always (and have for years upon years) see Jenn @ Mousey Brown in Williamsburg ( She ROCKS!

    I get my hair done about once a month (it’s very short, so I get cut and color) and I think that it is better to find someone you like and to feel consistently confident and beautiful than to play Russian roulette with students (although they often do a really good job). Also, if you *do* see a student/assistant – be sure to tip them whatever you would for the actual cost of the service (at the place you are getting it done). They are not being compensated for the work they are doing on you and often have to pay for the color out of pocket.

    But, really, just go to Jenn at Mousey Brown.

  3. I also say Mousey Brown… for cuts and color. Andrew is amazing at both, Chris has given me some awesome cuts that work with my naturally curly and blown out straight locks

  4. Cristina

    I would highly recommend cosmetology schools in the city, but I wouldn’t trust just *anyone* at these schools- usually if you make an appointment the reception does NOT allow you to select a specific student. However, if you find a student who you like, he or she is able to book appointments for you to be with them specifically (this allows the students to “retain” customers but keeps things sort of on an even playing field so everyone gets practice.) I am currently 5 months into an 8 month licensing program in the city and can confidently say that I would let about 60% of my peers touch my hair with a chemical. There are some who I wouldn’t even let come near me with scissors.

    I think arrojo services are the most expensive, but aveda and carsten institute are around $40 for a single process and $50-$90 for full or partial highlights. If anyone is interested in my services, I can provide a portfolio of both cuts, color and highlights as well as a price estimate for providing a service in the studio or in-home (I frequently take clients in my home or in theirs during the evenings.) Please contact me at [email protected] for more info or if anyone is looking for the scoop on the programs available in the city!

  5. Carrie

    If you don’t work a 9 to 5 job, there are so many great free/low cost daytime options. Not at a cosmetology school, but at salons who are training new staff (who are done w/school and licensed by the state) to do things “their way,” or from colorists who are learning new techniques, playing with new product lines or building their followings. Craigslist is helpful for finding these, but there’s also this site:

  6. I just had my hair done by Kim who owns Hair in Greenpoint. I’m really happy with both the cut and the color. All told it was $125…which included a cut and blow out and MASSIVE amounts of dye for my hair which was super long and dry. She actually apologized for charging so much. Bang trims are also only $5!

  7. Michelle

    I go to Maribel at VR on Grand and Havemeyer in Williamsburg. She’s an amazing colorist, I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my hair in my life. She charged me $105 for all over color and cut and blow out.

  8. Anonymous

    I’m a Colorist/Stylist with over 5 years experience. I’ve worked at some of the top salons in both NYC and Philly. I’ve grown sick of salon culture in Manhattan but still have a passion for doing hair. I now do hair outside of the salon only- both in my apartment or my clients apartment(really whatever they are most comfortable with) this also allows me to charge really reasonable prices since the salon owner isn’t getting 60% of the service price. Also you can just relax, have a drink, watch TV and not worry about judgy/pretentious stylists look you up and down while you have a headfull of foil. If you’re ever interested in any hair color/ hair cutting service email me at [email protected]. Just no perms! Don’t do those!

  9. sarahgoldberg

    Hi,I recommend Delilah Salon in Park-Slope ,right of Union str,R train,I get my hair Highlighted and colored by Leila (owner) for past eight years she is great colorist and excellent with hair cuts,and AFFORDABLE!!!!! (If you on a budget tell her that and she will give you good deal on her service).P.S she is also good at cutting curly hair.

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