There’s nothing that tempts us to hit the (dye) bottle quite like the lure of golden locks. Reese, Blake, Cate and Naomi – we want what they’re having. Going blonde is not for everyone, though – it can be hard to nail the right shade and even harder to maintain. But when done right, it’s hard to beat.
If you’ve ever contemplated a lighter shade of pale, read on. We’ve asked Neon & Co owner and Melbourne-based hairdresser, Deb Pereira all our (and probably your) burning questions about going blonde.
bb: How do I know what shade of blonde suits me?
Deb: There are two important factors when choosing a blonde colour. The natural base of the hair, and skin tone.
The darker the natural hair and skin tone, the more brassiness the hair will throw off. You will need to be more consistent with using ash toners to correct this. Dark skinned girls also do not like to look unnatural; I suggest cooler shade blondes are best used.
The lighter the natural base and skin, the more choices you have with blonde tones, including cool creamy blondes and warmer tones.
bb: Will my hair change texture if I go blonde?
Deb: Hair texture will definitely change, as bleach opens the hair shaft and makes it unruly. The best way to treat bleached hair is with Glycolic acids – these will penetrate the cuticle layer of the hair shaft, attaching to the keratin, which makes the hair more manageable, as well as giving it a healthy appearance.
bb: Will I look washed out and need to change my makeup look?
Deb: If you look washed out, it’s usually because the tone of the blonde is incorrect for your skin tone.
Skin tone and makeup play an important part in looking great as a blonde. Makeup needs to look natural for darker skinned girls with bleached blonde hair. Fair skinned girls can usually get away with less makeup if they have great skin, or by using bronzers to add colour to their skin.
Full bleached blondes can also be more dramatic with makeup, playing with bright lips with smokey eyes.
bb: To go platinum, will I need to bleach my whole head or can I just get some highlights?
Deb: If your hair is around an 8-9 natural base (light blonde), you can have full head of foil highlights packed closely together to get a platinum look with a creamy ash toner. The look is less dramatic, with less stress to the hair.
If you’re after a more drastic result, then a full head bleach on a level 8-9 will give you this with a creamy ash toner applied.
bb: What kind of maintenance is required?
Deb: You’ll need to invest in a good toning shampoo and toning treatment. Also, leave-in treatments with Glycolic Acid to hydrate the hair. Hair and scalp masks with active ingredients are great, as well as oil treatments that work from the inside out to repair and strengthen hair shafts. These should be used every few weeks.
bb: How easy is it to go back to my natural colour once I’ve gone blonde?
Deb: If you’re level 1 – 5 (black to dark brown) and want to go darker it’s not a problem. I can usually get this in one application using a level 3 natural and 10vol peroxide if the ends are in good condition. Basically, a natural tone there would have enough warmth in the ends for this to come out very even. I don’t believe in filling in the ends with warm tones – this never works out and look unnatural.
If you have a full head of highlights, you can go darker by putting low lights back in and a darker colour in between for a natural look.
A full head bleach is much trickier and I would need to assess the condition and how much natural regrowth there was before I could make a decision. A full head bleach usually has damaged ends and fresh colour will not hold on to the ends.
I’d usually suggest a gradual semi-permanent colour to repair and condition the hair, then in a few weeks go for a permanent colour once the hair has had time to harden and repair.
bb: Can you go blonde in one day?
Deb: Yes, you can – if you have a full day to spare at the hairdresser! Kim Kardashian went back though the next day for more toning, as the first lot of bleach was very brassy.
The level of natural base will dictate how many bleach applications are needed to achieve the desired blonde result, and also how your scalp holds up to the chemicals. If the scalp blisters, then cold milk can be poured to soothe the scalp. Usually this will cause pain to the client and I don’t suggest another application for 48 hours, if not more.
Taking a level 1-5 natural base (black to dark brown) to blonde is is definitely harder, and I usually only recommend full ash tint roots to ends and highlights in between for this level. Ash tint is applied on the roots/mid to lengths of the hair, breaking it up with highlights, then toning the highlights to a cooler blonde.
Medium to light blonde natural base (6 to 9) is much easier. If you only want to have highlights, a full head of highlights is usually less stressful to the hair than a full bleached head. You can tone the highlights a cooler blonde or a warmer blonde depending on your skin tone and natural base of your hair.
A full bleach works best on a level 7 natural base and up, as there is less natural warmth in the underlying pigments and hair can be left in fairly good condition after bleach.
Going blonde is a big commitment but can be done fairly easy.
There’s the 411 on going blonde, if you’re game to try it and mix up your look you’ll be in safe hands with the team at Neon & Co. Located at 262 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, VIC, 3141