The $8,674 Cost Breakdown of Maintaining Platinum Hair For 3 Years

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Welcome to Show the Receipts, a new series where we ask interesting people to share exactly how much it costs to get shit done. No matter the task, we're tracking every last dollar from start to finish. Up next: maintaining platinum blond hair.

Meaghan Flynn first went platinum 15 years ago. She had just moved to New York City — with "two cents to my name," she says — and so, despite starting from a jet-black base, her color upkeep was done on a budget. "I got my roots done whenever I could afford it at the cheapest place possible. Sometimes I even attempted to do it at home. The condition of my hair, the aesthetic, everything about it was a hot mess."

Still, even after trying countless hair colors in the ensuing years, Flynn decided to go back to the bright shade after the pandemic. This time, with a better income as the owner of Necessary Excess, a fine jewelry showroom, she vowed to do it the right way. For the first year, she started with foiling and highlights to break the base and make for a more gradual transition to platinum. Now, she visits colorist Ariel Munoz at IGK Salon in New York City every five to six weeks, like clockwork, and uses a few at-home products to treat any damage.

"They say you are born with the hair color you're meant to have, but that's just never been true for me," Flynn says. "Everyone who knows me identifies me as a bleach blond. It's both a time and money commitment, but to me it's worth it."

Here's the full cost breakdown.

Task: Maintaining platinum blond hair
Occupation: Owner of jewelry showroom
Location: New York City
Timeline: 3 years

The Receipts

Highlights: $400 every eight weeks for one year, or $2,400 total
Root touch-ups: $350 every six weeks for two years, or $5,950 total
At-home products: $108 per year, or $324 total
Total cost: $8,674

How I Did It

While there's a lot of maintenance that comes with preserving a platinum hair color, Flynn says she cuts costs elsewhere in her beauty routine. Here, she's sharing some of the big takeaways worth noting.

POPSUGAR: Why go the slow and steady route to platinum, which cost a little more?
Meaghan Flynn: Listen, I know girls who have gone from brunette to platinum blond in one 9-hour sitting, but it looks terrible. You can also achieve that perfect color in two to three sessions, but then you're not doing highlights, you're doing one bleach and tone and leaving with copper hair that you have to let rest for two weeks before you can go back in with more bleach. I did it in waves because I didn't want the damage or that awkward in-between stage. Cost-wise, it's comparable. If I would have done the 9-hour appointment, I probably would have spent the same amount that I've spent to get here in that one day. So, financially, it was the same investment; I just chose to spread it out over a year to save the condition of my hair.

PS: Where do you make sacrifices in your routine to accommodate this expense?
MF: My hair is my 'thing.' I'm not a big makeup person. I'm not someone who's spending $400 on a face cream. I can get ready in five minutes in the morning. I'm very low maintenance in other aspects of my beauty routine, maybe because it feels so crazy with what I have to do to maintain my hair color and because I invest so much in my appointments every six weeks. I'm a Gemini so I'm very high-low — that's a definitive part of my personality.

PS: How do you maintain your color at home?
MF: I use the K-18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask ($75) instead of conditioner to help with any damage. I love it. Otherwise I don't really use much else. I sleep with a turban on my head at night to protect the color. It's the Zimasilk Silk Sleep Cap ($33). I have a four year old, and if she wants to go into the pool, I have that turban on my head.

PS: What's been the most surprising expense of this process?
MF: My hair had always been really long and blond, but I recently cut off 12 inches into a bob. Before that, all of my hair costs were allocated to the color, and I rarely needed a trim, but now to maintain this cut, I'm also having to get my hair trimmed every four weeks. So I'm like, OK, a $300 haircut once a month — this is getting a little crazy.

Ariel says it's actually harder to do the root touch-up on shorter hair because it's not just a clump of hair you can move to the side in order to get to the root. Now she has to navigate shorter pieces. I'm not a hairdresser so I don't know how all that works, but we're all in agreement of me growing out my hair to save money.

Final Thoughts

Despite the steep price to maintain her hair color, Flynn assures it's worth every penny. "Because I've bleached my hair before, I very much so knew what I was getting into with the cost," she says. Then, a word of advice: "If you're not prepared to invest in [maintaining] your hair color, I wouldn't do it. Because it's a huge investment."

Kelsey Castañon is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and content strategist with more than 13 years of experience in publishing. She is currently the senior content director at POPSUGAR, where you can find her stockpiling (and reporting on) everything from skin care to wine. Previously, she has worked with the teams at Refinery29, Seventeen, Shape, Allure, and Teen Vogue, and has appeared on TV segments on "The Dr. Oz Show" and "Good Morning America."