How Long Does It Take to Color Hair?


Image of a stylist coloring the client's hair
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How Long Does It Take to Color Hair?

If you’re planning a trip to the salon soon and you want to color your hair, you may be wondering how long it will take to color your hair. If that’s you, we have good news! You have come to the right place. In this article, we will give you all the information you need to find out how long it will take to color your hair.

We wish we could give you one, definitive answer, but the truth is that the total time it takes to color your hair with professional hair color depends on various factors. However, we will go over what to expect regardless of your hair’s current color, length, texture and thickness.

It’s great that you’re preparing to get your hair done and looking into what kind of time commitments may require so you’re ready for the experience. So, let’s get into some of the reasons why your hair may take longer to color or how you may be able to get in and out within an hour.

What Factors Contribute to How Long It Takes to Color Hair?

As we mentioned above, if you’re wondering “How long does it take to color hair?” — there are various factors that will determine the time you should expect to spend at the salon. These factors mostly have to do with your hair characteristics, but there are other factors that could play a role. Regardless of hairstyle, color, length or texture, we highly suggest making sure that your stylist offers a consultation prior to your visit so that you can align with them on the rate and time it will take to achieve the color you want.

Image of a woman washing colored hair
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  • Hair Length — Is your hair long or short? Either way, the length of your hair will greatly influence the time it takes to color your hair. If your hair is long, it may take longer to color your hair than someone who has short hair because you have more hair to work through. If you have short hair, you may not have to spend as much time in the salon, unless you choose a style that is going to require multiple processes.
  • Hair Thickness — The thickness of your hair will also dictate how long it takes to color hair. Even if you have short hair, if your hair is on the thicker side, it may take longer to color your hair. If you have thin hair, your service may be a little speedier.
  • Hair Texture — Hair comes in all shapes and sizes! The time it takes to color your hair will differ for people who have straight, curly or wavy hair.
  • Hair Color — Your hair color has a lot to do with how long your color service will take. If you are coming to your stylist with virgin hair, it will be easier to color and process, which will save you time. However, if you are heading into the salon with pre-processed hair that’s colored, your stylist may need to perform a color correction or a double process. These processes could take longer.
  • Desired Hair Color and Style — Another factor to consider is the style and color you would like to achieve. If you are coming in for a root touch-up, this job may not take as long as someone coming in for a balayage or highlights.


How Long Does it Take to Color Hair?

Based on the factors above, it could take anywhere from an hour to six hours to color your hair. To get a more specific idea of what to expect, here are some services and the approximate times it could take to complete them.

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  • All Over Color — If you want to color your hair one color all over, depending on your texture, thickness, starting hair color and length, this service could take one to two hours.
  • Balayage or Highlights — If you are interested in the balayage style, this service could start at an hour and span out to three hours depending on your hair’s characteristics.
  • Root Touch-Up — For a root touch-up, you can expect to spend far less time in the salon. Depending on the amount of growth you have, your service should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Different Colors — If you want to create a rainbow style or even color your hair a vibrant color, this style may require a little more time. Depending on your natural color, your stylist may have to pre-lighten hair and then apply the color. We estimate a two- to four-hour appointment time for this look.
  • Lightening Hair All Over — If you are going from brunette to blonde, this may require multiple visits and using a substantial amount of salon developer to get you to the color of blonde you want to achieve. For one visit though, we estimate you will spend anywhere from three to six hours in the salon.

Do you have a better idea of how long it will take to achieve your desired style? We hope this guide was helpful!


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