Tips and Tricks for Going Blonde

Updated 05/04/19
Michelle Williams. Sean Gallup/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You've heard the old adage that gentlemen prefer blondes. Being blonde has been associated with being fun, sexy and glamorous for decades. But is a flaxen mane for everyone? Well, if you had blonde locks as a child, chances are you'll look great as a blonde adult. But even if you've always had darker hair, you can still rock a golden mane. According to stylists, there's a shade of blonde for every skin tone. While your new hue may be expensive to maintain, going blonde can really revitalize your look.

The contrast between your face and hair is important when going blonde. If you have fair skin, the biggest hair color mistake you can make is to go too light, which can wash you out. A good way around this, though, is to make sure your hair is cool-toned instead of warm. The best hair color allows for a bit of contrast and shows off the face. 

Make Sure You Can Make The Commitment

Just as short hair is high maintenance because you have to get your hair cut every six weeks, pure blonde is a very high-maintenance hair color. You have to know you're committing to regular touch-ups and proper products to keep it looking natural and fresh. Don't try doing your own blonde hair—you'll probably either end up with some funky reddish colors or fry your hair, neither of which is good. 

When going blonde or blonder, you have three options:

  • Single-process color
  • Highlights
  • Single-process color to lighten your base over which your stylist adds highlights (Also known as double-process)

Single-process color is cheaper than highlights, but be warned. All-over blonde color can appear monochromatic, and it looks the least natural of the 3 coloring options. If you have a great base color, like "Dishwater" or "dirty" blonde hair, you can skip the all-over color and get highlights instead. Always ask your stylist to pay special attention to the hair around your face. Lighter highlights can make your face pop.

If your hair is dark all over, your stylist will first lighten your base to a blonde using single-process color, then add highlights to create depth and texture. Highlights make hair look more natural and sun-kissed. You really don't want to go this route if you've had your hair chemically straightened or permed. You should never subject hair to more than two chemical processes.

Due to root growth, all-over coloring will need to be touched up every four to eight weeks, while highlights can last up to two or three months, depending on what kind you get. Ask your stylist about a gloss treatment following your color. Gloss boosts color and makes hair shinier. If you're too busy to make regular trips to your salon, consider face-framing blonde highlights or going ombre. When it grows out, it'll look more natural than.

Dark Hair? Take Your Time Going Blonde

Brunettes going blonde should absolutely know not to rush the process. Your hair can only be lightened so much at one time without falling apart, and if you push the limit it's going to let off that rust-colored hue. Instead, dye it every so often for a few months to get it to the color you want. There's less chance of making a mistake that way. 

You should also know that, to a much greater extent than they do with dark hair, sun and chlorine affect blonde hair. It can get brassy, or you can leave the pool with green tones in your hair. You need to protect your new investment. You'll also probably need to adjust what makeup you wear, as well.

Blonde Hair and the Older Woman

The common assumption is that hair should get lighter with age. This is why you see so many older blonde women—blonde hair tends to cover gray very well. Cover gray with a permanent cream color, or ask your stylist to add in some lowlights, which don't require much upkeep.

Consider Your Brows

Some people love the contrast of their naturally dark brows against their lighter hair, but women who have super dark brows may consider lightening them up a bit. Similarly to bleaching your hair, don't do this yourself. Ask your stylist or eyebrow tech to lighten your brows. Never to match your brows to your new hair color, though. The best bet is to match the color to your darkest highlight or the base color underneath.

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