One of the most exciting things about beauty (and what we're especially passionate about here at Byrdie) is the free reign we're each allowed to exercise when it comes to our unique aesthetic. While we highly discourage choosing a new hair color solely based on the prescriptive likes of texture, skin tone, or zodiac sign (hey, we've seen it all), it's hard to argue that certain hair colors and skin undertones don't go together like bread and butter. Not a fan of the combination? Feel free to ignore us and carry on.
However, if you've been itching to go blonde, have a skin tone with cool undertones (i.e. blue or pink), and are looking for some expert guidance in the hair color department, you're in luck. After all, blonde can be particularly finicky—easily veering pallid, brassy, or a slightly confusing combination of the two.
So, we thought we'd pick the minds of three industry-leading colorists for their recommendations on the best blonde hair colors for skin tones with cool undertones, plus plenty of their expert-approved tips.
The first key: Bring photos! "As a client, you're going to your stylist because they are the professional," explains Nine Zero One Salon colorist Anthony Holguin. "I always take into consideration what my client says, but also want to do what will make them feel their best base based on their undertones. So my advice is to have trust in your stylist and to show them pictures of what you're looking for—pictures are worth more than words."
Choosing a Shade: "For those with cool skin tones, I always recommend shades of blonde like ash, sand, beige, or platinum, which lack the yellow undertones that can make a client look sallow," shares colorist Malcolm Cuthbert from NYC's Suite Caroline Salon.
Maintenance Level: Medium to High. This will depend on how much lighter than your natural color you intend to go, although you can extend time between salon visits with proper care. "I really enjoy the Evo Fabuloso Color Intensifying Conditioner ($35) for maintaining your blonde hair color," says Holguin. "Essentially, it's a take-home conditioner that helps extend the longevity of your color—it's kind of like a toner at home."
Goes Great With: Blue or pink undertones
Price: Depends on how light you're planning to go and how dark your original hair color is
Keep reading for six ultra-flattering blonde hair colors for those with cool undertones.
Though this hair color for cool undertones isn't for the faint of heart, silvery platinum is a match made in heaven for those with red and pink undertones, like Michelle Williams. Again, you're obviously free to try the trend regardless of your natural undertones, but the borderline blue cast does have the potential to look a bit jarring against warmer skin tones.
Going to the light side has some drawbacks, namely damage. So do as Cuthbert does and try sticking with styling tools that will be as easy on your lightened tresses as possible. "I love the T3 Cura Luxe Hair Dryer ($285), which uses IonAir technology. It dries hair quickly—which prevents excess damage—and delivers soft, frizz-free results all while extending color by sealing the cuticle layer of the hair," he says.
According to Holguin, Emma Roberts (a salon regular) has the right idea with her flattering champagne-hued tresses. "Nikki Lee, one of the owners of our salon, does a great job with keeping Emma light and champagne-y and not too ashy since she has such light, cool-toned skin," he explains to us.
Another piece of advice from Holguin: Consider striking a strategic and flattering balance between silver and ash. "My one warning to blondes is to avoid going 100% white or ashy unless you're doing a cool, fashion-forward silver moment. Otherwise, the result can wash you out," he says.
Mary J. Blige
Still dying to try that cool-toned hair look? Holguin suggests asking your stylist to take your hair mostly beige-toned blonde with pops of ashy platinum. Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lawrence demonstrate the look flawlessly, and if you have deeper skin like Blige's, you can go a bit warmer to really make it pop.
If you have darker skin with cool undertones, consider looking to actress Zoë Kravitz for A+ inspiration where hair color is concerned. Her blonde shade of choice is ashy, but not overly so. And again, it all comes down to being explicit with your colorist with what you're looking for.
Another stunning example of that quintessential ashy-but-not-too-ashy hair color: singer Leona Lewis.
"The best blonde colors for cool skin tones are cool blonde shades, such as hues of platinum, wheat, beige, or sand. Even though these last shades are darker than platinum and baby blonde, they also work because they lack warmth and will naturally complement your skin tone," explains Dove celebrity hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez.
Taraji P. Henson
We also love actress Taraji P. Henson's take on sandy blonde, which, while a touch warmer than Amanda Seyfried's, is still cool enough to complement her skin tone. Notice how it's not too gold or brassy? Perfection.
Model Jasmine Sanders demonstrates wheat blonde color here. Note how it's not overly brassy or copper-toned for her skin tone?
"To remove unwanted warm tones in blondes, it's helpful to use a small dollop of purple shampoo mixed with your regular color-safe shampoo," says Alvarez. "I like Dove Color Care Shampoo ($3). The purple will cancel out any yellow and orange left in your hair while the color-safe shampoo locks in the color and hydrates your hair."