20 Dark Blonde Hair Colors for Your Next Salon Appointment

The perfect in-between shade.

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Unsplash /Design by Dion Mills

Hair color is such a personal thing. Here at Byrdie, we find ourselves lusting after the current hair trends set by celebrities as well as hues inspired by the change of seasons. That being said, the popularity of going platinum is not lost on us, and in fact, we fully support the trend. But the maintenance of platinum hair color is a daunting and expensive task. If you want to dabble in the blonde hair lifestyle, why not try a richer tone?

"Dark blonde should lean in the neutral and or neutral-cool tonal world or it can read brassy to the eye," says Matt Rez, a celebrity colorist and Redken ambassador. "It can work for almost anyone if the tones are right and natural/starting base color is preserved throughout."

Matrix brand ambassador George Papanikolas tells Byrdie that while choosing an ash shade can help neutralize warmth in the hair, expect the overall look to be on the warmer side. "If you want it to be a cooler dark blonde, then you need to lift the hair to a yellow shade first, then apply the dark blonde shade over it to have a cooler dark blonde effect," Papanikolas says.

Rez suggests asking your colorist to leave your base color in between highlights or adding lowlights for best results. "Once the right level of lift is achieved via highlights, doing a root shadow will blend the highlights in with your own starting color and an all over gloss will get the right shade of dark blonde," says Rez. "This way, your natural/ base color be running through the lengths of hair and preserving depth throughout the dark blonde end result so color is not hollow."

Rez adds clients can typically expect to go three to four months between touchups with this coloring method.

Rez notes that if you want to lighten a dark brown base to dark blonde by way of highlights, you can do so by way of what's called a midlight. "The midlight should be the second color incorporated in the foiling technique that will be connecting your dark base to the highlights," says Rez. "It should be no lighter than two levels of your base/starting color, and your highlights should not have to be any lighter than two to three levels of the midlight. With a root shadow at the end, your color will be seamless root to tip and a dark based client can get a dark blonde look without reading brassy."

Read on to see the best shades of dark blonde on our favorite stars.

Meet the Expert

• Matt Rez is a celebrity colorist and Redken ambassador whose clients include Ashley Benson, Eiza González, and Lili Reinhart.

• George Papanikolas is a Matrix brand ambassador and celebrity colorist who divides his time between salons in Los Angeles, New York, and Dubai.

Dark Blonde Hair

Maintenance Level: It can be decidedly low maintenance and easy to grow out, depending on your starting shade.

Goes Great With: Red lipstick and earth-toned eyeshadow

Similar Shades: Figure out the best process for you, like choosing a strawberry blonde hue or follow in the steps of your fave celeb with sun-kissed highlights.

Price: A full head of highlights starts at around $150. 

01 of 20

Honey Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Honey Beyonce

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Beyoncé is no stranger to honey blonde hair and routinely wears it when she is on tour. When transitioning to her signature locks, the star trusts celebrity hairstylist Rita Hazan. We're fans of this 2017 iteration, where Queen B wears her long layers in a warm blonde tone with tons of definition.

02 of 20

Dark Blonde Roots

Dark Blonde Hair Roots Margot Robbie

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A star who never strays off the blonde path is Margot Robbie. We cannot help but fall head-over-heels in love with how the actress wore her locks at the Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood premiere in London. With effortless waves and a single ear tuck, the seamless blend of tones in her hair really shine through.

03 of 20

Iced Latte Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Iced Latte

@4chairchicks

This creamy shade of blonde looks amazing on a close-cropped style. This is proof you can experiment with color no matter how short you go.

04 of 20

Dark Blonde Highlights

Dark Blonde Hair Highlights Sarah Jessica Parker

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SJP is the head of dark blonde highlights that's left us awe-inspired for over two decades (with no end date in sight). Here, she styled her signature color in loose tendrils and a center part that emphasizes her oval-shaped face perfectly.

To mimic SJP's shine, try Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil ($28), which nourishes hair post-styling.

05 of 20

Caramel Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Caramel Gigi Hadid

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Gigi Hadid is yet another celebrity who has vacillated between a bright, cool-toned blonde and a darker, warmer version. Here, her color leans more caramel and works beautifully with her fluffy brows and subtle smoky eye.

06 of 20

Deep Ash Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Ash Suni Lee

@sunisalee

A cool-toned, ash blonde can look amazing on natural brunettes with dark roots to help the grow-out process go seamlessly.

07 of 20

Relaxed Dark Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Relaxed Drew Barrymore

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Like SJP, Drew Barrymore has championed the dark blonde look for quite some time. She manages to make her darker roots look quite chic while attending the 2018 Beauty Con in L.A.

08 of 20

Smoky Blonde Highlights

Dark Blonde Hair Smoky Highlights

@ninezeroone

Blonde highlights, as demonstrated on this smoky look by Nine Zero One colorist Lisa Torn, can be a great way to lighten up the overall appearance of brunette strands without committing to a full single-process. It's less damaging to the hair, and oh so cool.

09 of 20

Blonde Balayage

Dark Blonde Hair Balayage Ciara

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When Ciara hit the CFDA red carpet in 2016, our jaws dropped. Her dark blonde highlights, mixed with her caramel-colored hair, make for the perfect winter balayage. The color doesn't make her strands look dry or damaged the way a platinum shade could.

10 of 20

Classic Dark Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Classic Jennifer Aniston

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Jennifer Aniston has been working with the same colorist to create different variations of her iconic hair for decades. We cannot help but wonder if the reigning queen of '90s pop culture has ever considered changing her signature hue. Fingers crossed she never does.

To keep brass at bay between color appointments, use a purple shampoo or in-shower gloss weekly.

11 of 20

Dimensional Blonde Spirals

Dark Blonde Hair Dimensional Curls Jasmine Sanders

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Bold, chunky highlights pair well with ringlets. Subtle streaks can easily get lost, but these striking lighter blonde pieces add a whole lot of dimension and even more texture.

12 of 20

Low-Maintenance Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Low-Maintenance Candice Swanepoel

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Candice Swanepoel is another woman who never strays too far from the dirty blonde hair trend. At the 2019 Daily Front Row Awards, the model rocked a brighter shade of blonde on the ends of her hair but kept her roots quite dark. This is a great option for those of us who want a brighter blonde but cannot handle the constant salon appointments to keep up on the roots.

To help maintain your hue between appointments, we recommend using a purple deep conditioning mask like the Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Mask ($62).

13 of 20

Cookies 'n Cream

Dark Blonde Hair Cookies and Cream

@wellahairusa

Here's another gorgeous example of rich curls enhanced with well-placed blonde highlights. This one has a higher contrast, creating a cookies and cream color.

14 of 20

Sun-Kissed Highlights

Dark Blonde Hair Sun-Kissed Highlights Jemima Kirke

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Jemima Kirke—my personal hair inspiration—may not be this luscious shade of dark blonde anymore, but we'll always think of her as this long-haired, dark blonde goddess. She stunned in the hue at the 2014 Golden Globes and we'll keep this as inspiration for years to come.

15 of 20

Toasted Coconut

Dark Blonde Hair Toasted Coconut

@gooddyeyoung

Pale blonde ringlets and a darker blonde base combine to create a toasted coconut style. Use the Good Dye Young Pre-Wash Weekly Detox & Scalp Treatment ($30) to eliminate product build-up and keep your strands shiny and healthy.

16 of 20

Wheat Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Wheat Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley may be busy with her site Rose Inc., but the star seems to never let her hair go to the wayside. We've loved seeing her rock a flaxen shade of blonde that looks natural and polished. Ask your colorist for a neutral toner and you are sure to get a color close to Huntington-Whiteley's.

17 of 20

Root Beer Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Root Beer Rihanna

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This gorgeous root beer shade is the perfect creamy blonde for Rihanna's deep tan skin tone and hazel eyes.

18 of 20

Dark Dirty Blonde

Dark Blonde Hair Gradient

@hairchulture

"Dirty blonde" is sort of a catch-all phrase for a ton of different colors. This smooth, even-toned take is mostly one shade.

19 of 20

Cool-Toned Balayage

Looking for a way to lighten brown hair a bit without looking brassy or needing monthly maintenance? The way these highlights are weaved in subtly at the roots and get gradually brighter toward the ends allows for more time between appointments without a harsh regrowth line. They also blend in perfectly with an ashy-brown base.

20 of 20

Face-Framing Blonde

Warm honey-blonde tones and buttery highlights around the face give a summery look year-round. The different tones pop nicely here on loose, undone beach waves.

FAQ
  • How do you maintain dark blonde hair?

    It depends on your starting shade. "The closer dark blonde is to your natural color, the less maintenance it will require," says Papanikolas. "If you are naturally very dark or very light then it will need to be touched up and refreshed about every 4-8 weeks. If it’s close to your natural color then the upkeep is minimal." Papanikolas also mentions if you had previously bleached or highlighted hair, it can be porous, which will affect how the color takes. "It’s important to even out the porosity first with a protein spray like Matrix Instacure Anti-Breakage Porosity Spray ($24), which fills in the gaps and allows the color to adhere evenly," Papanikolas says.

  • Can light blondes go dark blonde?

    Rez says the best way for lighter blondes to go deeper is to use a lowlight shade, and that it's important to use an acidic demi-permanent product like Redken EQ Shades to avoid patchiness. "I suggest a lowlight shade that is closest to your natural/starting base color when adding depth back in for a dark blonde result," says Rez. "A root shadow may also be in order after lowlights are put in for a flawless blend root to tip."

  • Should I get highlights or a single process to go dark blonde?

    It depends on the tones you're looking for. "I don’t believe in lightening your base color unless you are going for a warmer look with very warm gold or red undertones," Rez says. "Anytime you lift your entire base using a permanent hair color, you will run into potential unwanted warm tones." If you're looking for a cool or neutral shade of blonde, highlights can be a good way to achieve this.

  • Who is dark blonde hair best for?

    "The universal rule is that any shade is most flattering when you stay within two shades of your natural color," Papanikolas says. "Going any lighter can look brassy, any darker can look harsh. Dark blonde sits on the lighter side of the hair color spectrum, so the result can look completely different if you are starting from a darker shade versus a lighter shade."

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