From how to pick the right shade for your skin tone to the techniques to ask for and essential after-care, here’s your expert guide
Have you ever wanted to go blonde? If so, you’re not alone. According to recent stats from Mintel , it’s officially the nation’s most popular dyed hair colour of choice. Finding a shade and technique that best suits your skin tone and lifestyle can be tricky though. So to ensure that you have all you need to help you decide, we’ve teamed up with the pros at Headmasters salons to create your ultimate blonde hair guide.
From how to emulate Blake Lively’s signature golden blonde locks to Kim Kardashian’s bolder platinum and all shades in-between, here’s what you need to know - plus, in case their tips inspire you to book in, a 25% Headmasters salons discount code at the end as our gift to you...
If you want to go: bronde/dark blonde
Celeb inspo: Lucy Hale and Beyoncé
Great for: The combination of blonde and brown shades is perfect for someone wanting low commitment, natural colour with a bit of interest and movement.
The technique: If you're a natural brunette, this is a particularly great option. It can be paired with a shine-boosting base though for extra dimension. “This colour is often a combination of an all-over natural brunette shade combined with Balayage, i.e. free-hand painted colour,” explains Siobhan Jones, Headmasters Colour Ambassador. “At Headmasters we call this a Completely Gorgeous, (from £115). “The all-over colour gives a super shiny base and depth and the Balayage gives natural lift to enhance the movement in the hair.”
The after-care: To keep your colour vibrant for longer, opt for a gentler shampoo such as the SLS-free Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Wash Shampoo , £18. A shine serum can also be particularly handy too for combatting dullness such as Sachjuan’s , £22, (which also leaves ends supremely silky), and for a hard-working leave-in conditioner, try Redken’s All Soft Mega Mask , £18, which is especially great for extremely dry hair.
Regular trims will also keep your hair in tip top condition. Ask your stylist to cut your hair dry though rather than wet to ensure it better suits your specific hair type. It'll also provide a truer representation of what it’ll look like day to day. As Jonathan Soons, Headmasters Artistic Ambassador, explains: “By cutting the hair dry, you feel the true texture of the hair and it prevents unwanted surprises for both stylist and client.” It also serves as a good way of making sure touches of Balayage aren’t cut off. “When the hair is wet, you don’t see the true tone, and with colour placement and face-framing colour, you can end up removing the best parts."
If you want to go: golden blonde
Celeb inspo: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Blake Lively
Great for: Warm skin tones, whether fair, medium or dark. “If you wear lots of nude, coral and green, then this shade will complement your wardrobe perfectly,” says Siobhan.
The technique: To achieve this radiant sunkissed look, Siobhan recommends booking in for Balayage, (from £75 at Headmasters salons). This will give a soft focus golden result (“Think the Sierra Instagram filter”). Plus, it’s pretty low maintenance, as it’s usually applied to areas that the sun would naturally cause your hair to lighten like the mid-lengths and ends, making regrowth less obvious.
If you're a brunette, redhead or have black hair and are looking to switch up your hair colour completely, devise a plan with your colourist to get you there in the least damaging way possible - a gradual approach is best as it won’t compromise the condition of your hair and the tone will be less brassy than a quick fix. “If you are a natural brunette, think four to five colour appointments over a six month period,” advises Siobhan, in order to make the transition complete.
The after-care: Again, keeping hair shiny is the challenge here. This can be given a boost though by incorporating a bonding treatment like L’Oreal Professionnel SmartBond, £30, into your colour appointment. "This maintains the structure of your hair and keeps cuticles flat and therefore more able to reflect shine,” says Siobhan.
To carry on the good work at home, a weekly application of Pureology’s Strength Cure Superfood Mask , £26.50, does the trick, feeding dry ends back to life with a conditioning cocktail of olive oil and nutrient-rich goji berry extract. A strengthening serum can also make a huge difference, such as OGX’s Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum , £7.35.
If you want to go: ash blonde
Celeb inspo: Margot Robbie and Poppy Delevingne
Great for: Cool skin tones, whether you’re fair, medium or dark.
The technique: A series of visits to your colourist’s chair is needed here to achieve a more even finish. “This kind of polished ash blonde is a weaved highlighted technique created over time - repeated colour appointments of full head highlights gradually gives more and more coverage of blonde throughout the hair without causing it to lose its condition,” explains Siobhan.
The after-care: Keeping ash blonde hair shiny is a common problem, but a mixture of in-salon treatments and shampoo swaps can help. The Tone & Blowdry service at Headmasters, £46.50, is particularly great in this regard for keeping tones vibrant between colour appointments - especially after a holiday when increased exposure to sun and chlorinated pool water can cause it to dull. Shampoo-wise, Kerastase Bain Chromatique, £19.50, is one of Siobhan’s favourite radiance-boosting picks for all blonde hair types. Enriched with UV filters and vitamin E, it helps fight the factors responsible for colour fading.
Due to the level of lift needed to achieve this look, deep conditioning and regular trims are a must. Try Kerastase Touche Chromatique - Cool Blonde, £29.80, a colour-reviving hair dye designed to be mixed in with the brand’s Fondant Chromatique conditioner, £22.90, to neutralise yellow undertones.
If you want to go: platinum blonde
Celeb inspo: Kim Kardashian and Michelle Williams
Great for: Anyone looking to make a statement. “Platinum blonde works on all skin tones – it’s a question of confidence and attitude,” says Siobhan. “The tone of blonde can be tailored though - ashy platinum for those suited to cool shades and a more vanilla or sandy blonde for those looking for something warmer.”
The technique: Going platinum isn’t for the weak. As Siobhan points out: “To go this blonde, you must ensure your colourist assesses the current condition of your hair because to achieve it, pre-lightener (the nice word for bleach) is applied on every strand. It therefore needs to be able to withstand the process, (even if you use a next generation lightener that contains a bonding agent that repairs as it lifts).”
Available for £75 from Headmasters salons with the requisite toner treatment to achieve the colour’s signature icy finish, it’s also worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to budget for regular top-ups afterwards. “If you don’t embrace your roots, you will need to be in the salon every four weeks as regrowth is obvious,” cautions Siobhan. “However your appointment time will be quicker as you won’t need tricky time-consuming foils.” If you don't mind the regrowth though, it can act as a striking contrast to an already striking look (as demonstrated by Kim Kardashian below).
What if (worst case scenario), you want to go back to your original colour? It is possible, and involves an application of a more natural shade on top. Siobhan highlights some provisos though. “I would only recommend doing this if you're 100 per cent sure you want to commit as you don’t want to yo-yo between dark to light repeatedly as this will cause a lot of hair damage.”
The after-care: Investing in a silver shampoo can help keep your platinum colour shiny and glossy. Try L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo, £12.50 - great for reducing brassiness and yellow tones.
A platinum-specific daily leave-in treatment can also help fend off the effects of over-processing such as Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler, £23.50, which works to fill in gaps in the cuticles to leave hair stronger and more resilient.
If you want to go: for blonde highlights or pops of blonde
Celeb inspo: Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker
Great for: Those who are naturally dark but want to try going lighter without a complete colour transformation. This is also a great option for those looking to add more volume to their hair. “Having different textures of depth and shade will automatically give the illusion of more movement and thickness,” explains Siobhan.
The technique: There’s a huge range available. Siobhan breaks them down for us:
BabyLights: “Super fine highlights that give undetectable regrowth and super natural results,” (from £75 at Headmasters salons).
Balayage: “Allows your colourist to paint colour free-hand where it will flatter you most for a soft, golden blonde. A favourite for natural looking blondes and adding interest to brunettes,” (from £75).
Highlights using foils: “Colour is woven throughout the hair for a blended result. Adds depth and volume to fine hair and texture to short styles,” (from £75).
Tissue lights: “Sits between highlights and Balayage but uses special tissues instead of foils for a more delicate blending of colour. Perfect for adding natural tones into blonde hair or for going lighter,” (from £75).
Lowlights: “Uses a darker shade within your highlights for a very natural blended result,” (Headmasters single foils, from £3.75 a foil).
Bring a visual reference with you to help your colourist decide which is best and to make your colour appointment as collaborative as possible. Pinterest is especially helpful - visit @headmastersuk to find your perfect blonde.
The after-care: If your hair is in need of a little extra hydration each week, try Maui Moisture Revive and Hydrate Shea Butter Hair Mask , £8.99, which features aloe vera juice rather than water as its key ingredient. If your hair’s in need of an SOS treatment though, try Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak , £30.
Ready to book in? Here’s your exclusive GTG discount code
If you’re feeling inspired to go blonde for summer or you're looking for a hair length switch-up, book into Headmasters and receive 25% off cut and colour appointments by quoting code, GTG25. Call 0345 459 7700 to book in. Offer valid until 23.59 on the 26th of June 2018.
Here's a sneak peek of what will be in store.
Written in partnership with Headmasters salons. All views our own.
Celebrity imagery: Getty Images