8 Commonly Asked Questions About Going Blonde

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.

blonde ambition



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

Tight ponytails

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.

Not sure if you’re more of a summer or a winter? Find your undertones here. 

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!


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CBD Hype Hits Haircare

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The growing popularity of CBD (cannabidiol)  has sparked some serious debate. Many fans of the product swear that it has cured ailments such as insomnia and anxiety. Is the hype justified? Or have we been fooled by this generation’s snake oil salesmen?

Thanks in large part to much more relaxed laws concerning cannabis, scientists have been able to legitimize quite a few of the medicinal claims surrounding this magic oil.

Brands in the know, both big and small, are clamouring to infuse their products with CBD in some way, shape, or form. Barneys even opened an exclusive cannabis lifestyle shop in Beverly Hills. Mega retailers like CVS and Walgreens are following their lead.


We’ve seen CBD creep its way onto shelves in just about every other wellness market- and now the hair industry is raving about the miraculous benefits of the oil as a luxury beauty ingredient.

If like me, you’re a bit skeptical about this trend, I think it’s high time we take a closer look.

CBD, short for cannabidoil, is a chemical compound from the cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp, according to the US National Library of Medicine. 

It is a naturally occurring substance that’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike it’s cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.


Our bodies actually make our own cannabis-type chemical called anandamide, aka the “bliss molecule”. CBD elevates our anandamide levels, which has proven anti-inflammatory effects. Most of the media buzz has come from its use in controlling treatment-resistant epilepsy, and there is ongoing research supporting its benefits in treating anxiety and providing a safer alternative for chronic pain management.


coconut oil

 A natural hair growth stimulant + contains antibacterial properties.


Hemp-Derived CBD

Contains regenerative benefits for hair and scalp. It helps to soothe + calm irritation on scalp.


Moringa Oil

Nourishes hair + scalp with essential fatty acids + vitamins. Provides hair with softness + shine.


Peppermint and Eucalyptus Oil

Stimulates microcirculation + invigorates scalp.



A wellness-forward way to wash. Infused with hemp-derived CBD, this shampoo instills a sense of calm — and beautiful hair. Boasting a unique blend of hydrating and invigorating oils, it gently cleanses, without disrupting your scalp’s natural balance. This nourishing, sensorially appealing daily cleanser is ideal for all hair types.

Bonus-it smells delicious! Dark Waves is my favorite R+Co fragrance with notes of cardamom, pineapple, tangerine, lavender, and bamboo.

By now, we have been witness to an infused version of everything from toliet paper to lubricant, but we still don’t know enough about the actual benefits when CBD is applied topically.

Cannabidoil contains analgesic (pain-killing) properties. Research is finding more evidence that it can be used to treat dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema-which explains the explosion in the skincare sector.

Inside CBD Oil are omega-3, omega-6 and the omega-9 acids, which according to CBD Century help improve the quality of the scalp tissue. Stronger scalp tissue means hair follicles expanding faster which means longer hair.

While I’m not running out to buy CBD mascara anytime soon, I am super excited to say that my scalp feels happy again-something I’ve struggled with since moving from Miami to Denver more than a year ago. I give it the green-light.

Blondes & Brass

Blondes & Brass

When you leave the salon, your color is amazing, delicious perfection. Fast forward to a month later, and just like that, your stunning beige balayage is now a bit more on the macaroni and cheese side of the color spectrum. What happened?

Cultivating a beautiful healthy blonde can be so high maintenance—it requires a serious amount of upkeep and special attention.  It’s even more of a challenge when you are a natural brunette who has worked her way up to the perfect ice blonde tone.

Chemically enhanced blondes turn brassy, in part, due to the increased porosity of the hair (post-bleaching). What does having porous hair actually mean? Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture. Basically, your cuticle (the outermost layer) has been a little roughed up -causing the hair to act like a sponge and soak up everything, good and bad.


All blondes are vulnerable to the harsh effects of chlorine and sun and saltwater; basically,  the elements of epic summer vacation. Pool chemicals and UV rays work together to sabotage precious strands of every color, but they’re particularly harsh on porous blonde hair. Over time, that exposure weakens the hair shaft and leaves hair more susceptible to breakage and damage—and of course, it also contributes to brassiness and (in some cases) green hair.

Not only is pool water, a brassiness magnet, but the quality of water in your shower could also be to blame. “Hard” water is water that has unusually high levels of mineral content. If this is the case- it is not helping the brass situation. Just like Brita filters for your drinking water, you can install a filter in your shower to soften your water. If that’s not an option, here are some fantastic products designed to eliminate mineral buildup and other pollutants that cause dullness.  

Are you wondering if you have hard water? 


Some of us have to break out the blow dryer and curling iron just to get our hair to look presentable. If heat styling is a must, be sure to prep hair with a  heat protectant and keep that temperature low! (300-380 degrees)

Becoming comfortable with a round brush will make your blowout last longer and lessen the need for a secondary styling tool. Ask your stylists for some tips and recommendations during your next appointment!


Daily shampooing strips the hair of much needed nutrients and can throw the scalp off-balance, leading to increased oil production. Aim for cleansing no more than 3-4 times a week. If you can’t stand taking a break between washes, try using a cleansing conditioner or an apple cider vinegar rinse (I’m obsessed with this one)  in lieu of traditional shampoo. A great dry shampoo can help get you by between washes, absorbing dirt and excess oils, all while adding volume and texture.


Think of your shampoo and conditioner as an insurance policy to protect your investment. Neglecting to use professional products is the fastest way to undo all of that hard work. Drugstore shampoos are cheap because they use cheap ingredients. (You can read more about that here.)

Professional shampoos, conditioners, and treatments specifically formulated for highlighted hair will help keep your mane brass-free while delivering moisture, UV protection, and shine.  Kick it up a notch by pairing a color-depositing shampoo with a deep conditioning treatment twice a week.


If your hair isn’t naturally blonde, chances are you will always have to work to combat brassiness, it’s just how color theory works. Dark hair contains eumelanin, which is a dominant pigment comprised of mostly red/orange undertones.

Don’t stress, the perfect blonde is totally achievable for us natural brunettes! A little bit of planning and prep work will go a long way to get your mane ready for your next color appointment. Living life as a blonde bombshell may require a bit of work, but when you master your routine, it is so worth it.