8 Commonly Asked Questions About Going Blonde
With more than a decade of experience behind the chair as a colorist, I have seen it all. Most of my clients are very much natural brunettes. Helping my raven-haired bombshells realize their blonde fantasies has made me an expert in tackling big projects. Thinking about going blonde? Here’s what you need to know before you take the leap.
Dramatically changing the color of your hair comes with certain risks. Finding the right expert, who understands your hair and how much it can handle, is crucial. Do your due diligence when shopping for a new colorist.
Be sure to look through their social media posts for examples of how they have transformed brunettes into blondes-not just pictures of blondes going blonder. You will want to see pictures of a variety of shades of blonde; platinums, goldens, even fantasy colors.
After you’ve done your homework and found your favorite colorist, the next step is a consultation.
Wash less frequently
Use sulfate-free, color depositing shampoo
Deep condition at least once a week
Get regular trims
Frequent heat styling
High-temperature settings on blow dryer
Combing your hair while it’s wet
I cannot overstate how important it is that you both be on the same page here!! I believe that a rushed consultation causes 90 % percent of color “mishaps” in the chair. Try to stay away from vague descriptive words like “bright” or “sandy.” Color is subjective, everyone sees it a little bit differently, and these words are super open to interpretation. Bring photos, not just of the colors you love, but examples of colors you don’t want. Sometimes those are more helpful.
Total transparency is an essential element of a great consultation. When talking about your color history, please don’t keep any secrets! I know it’s embarrassing to cop to an at-home dye job, but we will find out anyway when your hair pulls seven different colors inside of the foil. You’ll spend extra time, stress, (and $$) trying to correct your hue.
Along with your hair color history, your natural color will play the biggest role in determining how far you can go in one session.
If your colorist recommends a multi-visit plan; it’s to ensure the integrity of your strands. Trust the process.
Expect that your hair will be a little thirsty post-bleaching, that’s only natural. Avoid over-washing, especially following an appointment, let those natural oils come in and do their thing.
How do I know which shade of blonde will look best on me?
There are so many directions you can go with toning a blonde! Without going too far down the color theory rabbit hole, you have three elementary tonal families:
Neutral tones have an even balance of warmth and coolness. They are universally flattering and sophisticated.
Warm tones have a peachy, yellow, or golden reflect. Warm skin rocks rich amber and cream colors beautifully.
Cool tones have hints of pink, red or blue. These undertones look stunning with ash or pearlescent shades.
This is a great time to experiment with makeup and update your stash! A lighter brow pencil or a more vibrant lipstick can really change your whole look. Stop by the nearest department store and take advantage of a complimentary makeup consultation at your favorite counter.
Should I lighten my eyebrows too?
As a huge fan of the bold and bushy brow, I don’t usually recommend lightening eyebrows. A lot of my blondes actually deepen their brows to add contrast and make their eyes pop! Try using a pencil that’s a few shades lighter instead.
How long will the process take?
Slow & Steady: expect each highlight appointment to last about 4 hours. Space out your visits at least four weeks apart in-between visits to give your hair time to rest.
Overnight Blonde: be prepared to make a full day out of it! Bring along snacks and something to read/entertain yourself. Look up restaurants nearby that deliver to the salon so you can order in a meal.
The platinum card technique we use at Sage + Serpent takes about 2 hours just to apply (on shoulder-length hair) with an apprentice. Including processing time, toning, and a blow-dry, plan for no less than 5-6 hours in the chair. Happy blonding!
What’s the upkeep like?
Highlights & Balayage: more natural techniques such as root shadowing, grow out beautifully. Thus allowing you to go months, (sometimes up to a year) in between touch-ups. I recommend booking a refresh service, such as a face-framing highlight or a gloss, three months after your initial appointment.
Double Process Blondes: keeping platinum hair fresh requires much more time in salon. Try your hardest not to go more than 8 weeks between touch-ups! 4-6 weeks is the sweet spot – your hair begins to keratinize, becoming more resistant as it grows further from the root. The newest growth, assisted by heat from the scalp, will lighten quickly, leaving you with lines of demarcation (aka banding, which is not a good look).
Once banding becomes an issue, you have entered color correction territory. It’s a lot more work to even out the canvas, meaning extra hours in the chair and dollars spent.
What if I want to go dark again later on?
If going blonde didn’t rock your world, or you’re just over all of the maintenance, you can absolutely return to the dark side!
Expect the process to take approximately the same amount of time and effort that you spent going light. After aggressive bleaching, the hair is extremely porous-this can lead to unpredictable color results. Porosity affects how the hair takes color. It is not as simple as just throwing your “natural” shade back on top.
I personally recommend starting with balayage lowlights and a gloss. You might find your favorite color is something in between!
At the end of the day, if you treat your mane right, and respect its boundaries, you can change your color with the seasons!
How much will it cost?
Experienced can colorists charge anywhere from $300-$1,000 to take you blonde in one session. Make sure to get a clear quote during your consultation so that there are no surprises during checkout time!
clockwise from top left: Victory Wash $20, Dopp Kit $49 R+Co Control Flexible Paste $29 Hyperlink Fiber Stretch Pomade $29 Aircraft Pomade Mousse $29 Victory Dry Grooming Cream $23 Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste and Sand Castle Texture Cream, each $28 Cactus Texturizing...
clockwise from top left: R+Co Turntable Curl Cream $28 Casette Curl Shampoo and Conditioner, each $29 Davines Love Curl Shampoo $30 R+Co Two Way Mirror Smoothing Oil $32 Twister Curl Primer $28 Rainless Dry Conditioner Spray $32 Love Curl Cleansing Creme $48...
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