Okay, so we’ve all at some point tried to (or at least considered) going blonde, and not all of which were successful attempts.
I have tried going “blonde” twice before and both times ended… Well, terribly.
I decided a few months ago that I wanted to try a third time (because third times the charm, right?) to go lighter, but mostly I wanted to go back to a more natural color, and surprisingly my natural color is actually a really dark shade of ash blonde. So with that being said, I wanted to try more of an ombré/balayage where I won’t have to color my natural hair anymore and the regrow will still look decent, while the rest is more blonde.
This whole process I did by myself, but that is only because I am a licensed professional and I wouldn’t recommend doing this process out of a salon. But over years of trial and error, I have accumulated quite a few lessons of what not to do, and what to do, and wanted to share them all with you. So before you go after those lush blonde locks, here are my tips:
1. Can You Pull It Off?
The first thing to take into consideration is if you can even pull it off. I would consult your stylist about this and he/she can give you a wide variety of information on this topic from skin tone to ash vs. blonde tones. I could talk all day about this, but it is so spesific to your skin tone that seeing your stylist for a consultation is the best way to go. My rule of thumb (and this is just my option) is that your natural hair color is a huge indication of what you can pull off. People with darker hair typically can pull of blonde more often than people with natural very light hair can pull off dark shades (typically it washes them out) my natural hair color is technically a very dark blonde, but I have dark brows so for me more of a balayage/ombré effect is what I went for so I could keep that depth around my eyebrows, while still getting the pretty contrast of the blonde.
2. Be Patient
I could not emphasis this enough. Patience is KEY when going blonde. It’s a Process, and it takes TIME. Sometimes it takes people months to finally get their hair the right shade of blonde that they want. Throughout the whole process just be patient and trust your hair stylist.
3. Embrace the Red Stage
Speaking of patients, how many of us have tried to go blonde and got nasty red? I have! It’s horrifying. But a little science lesson for you: your hair cuticle has been fed a lot of dark color for a long time (in my case at least) and red is a base for the dark hair, when going blonde you’re essentially “pulling” the pigment/color out of your hair, resulting in various shades and tones. The blonder you are, the less pigment in your hair. And let me say this: reds are stubborn. Getting red out can be difficult and unless you want to fry your hair, you need to do so very slowly. It will sometimes (depending on how dark you are to begin with) take several processes to get out of the “red zone” so again be patient (see # 1) and embrace the red stage. Your stylist will likely put a toner on to minimize the “brassy” awful color you will sometimes get, but don’t be surprised if your hair is still reddish until your next bleach application.
4. Try Extensions
My secret to my blonde process? Extensions. They do wonders. They minimize A LOT of damage to your natural hair because they can be really blonde at the ends without your natural level needing to be that blonde (this is only for a balayage/ombré technique like I have) my natural hair didn’t need as much blonde because my extensions had so much blonde in them. My secret was buying a set of “dirty blonde” extensions and then matching them to my hair. It was a long process, but this is something to mention to your stylist if you are trying to minimize damage to your hair (which, you should be!)
5. Balayage For Low Maintenance Up Keep
I have mentioned this already a few times, but if you’re not wanting to invest in your blonde hair for a long time, balayage is the way to go. When you’re blonde the upkeep is hard because your new growth/roots come through after a few weeks and it stops looking so pretty after a month. And it cost a lot of money to keep bleaching. So balayage is a great when to have your cake and eat it, too. You get the blonde you want, but you don’t have to get it highlighted often and you keep your natural hair on top. Some people go 3-4 months without touching up their blonde ombré. It’s one of the best techniques right now and I highly recommend it.
6. Understand Its Expensive
Speaking of expenses, something you NEED to consider before going blonde is the cost. Depending on where you go and how dark your hair is, you could spend up to 500$-1000$ going blonde. Yes, it will be the hair of your dreams, but like everything, there is a price to pay (literally) so consider that, and also consider the upkeep. That’s why I recommend balayage because it minimizes your up keep cost by so much. But also know that in the hair world, this statement is as true as can be: You Get What You Pay For
sadly, this is so true with hair. The more expensive the products used and the level of experience your hair stylist has, the better your hair will look. Now, there are always cheaper options, going to a beauty school for your service is a risk, but cheaper and generally it turns out because the students are ALWAYS monitored by a professional (I wouldn’t recommend going anywhere but AVEDA, but I am biased!)
7. You Can’t Cut Corners Without Paying The Price
This goes along with what I said before. There is always a price for going blonde and if you go somewhere cheap, your hair is going to look cheap.
Another thing is (going back to being patient) if you want to “cut corners” by doing less processes and a more aggressive bleach that will “get the job done faster” you will almost always be doing a lot more damage to your hair and it will not look as healthy as it would if you did the slower and more appointments.
8. Use Olaplex
Google it. It’s a miracle to us blondes.
9. Get A Trim
Girls *always* cringe when they hear the words “trim” and flashes of their last trim when the girl said she would take off an inch and took of 4 and you went home crying come to their mind and they freak out.
Well, that stylist probably did you a favor and your hair was damaged and was crying for help. (Kidding. Sort of)
I know the struggle, I’ve been there where I’ve had my hair hacked and it was traumatizing. But the key with keeping your hair looking fresh is getting those trims! Find a stylist that you trust to take off the right amount. But with how damaging it can be so go from dark to blonde, trims will be a necessity and when your stylist suggests it (because he/she probably will) make sure to say yes, you’re hair will be better because of it.
10. Do LOTS of Treatments Between Bleaches
Can you tell my theme of minizing damage to your hair here? Well a big one is treatments! They are going to be your BFF in this process. I HIGHLY recommend Avedas Damage Remedy In-salon treatment. They work miracles on blondes. You can buy a similar version at the salon, and I recommend their entire damage remedy line.
11. Toners Are Your Friend
You might have heard of them. They are what take red tones and make them look ashy, and they are your friend. No matter what I always recommend a toner with a bleaching process.
12. Minimize Hot Tools
Lastly, if you want your blonde looking good, especially after all that will happen to it in the process of going blonde, I suggest minimizing how much you use heat. You can try heartless curls, or just curling on a low setting, and always always use a heat protectant (this one from Redken is my fave)
There you have it! My tips for going blonde! These are all things I’ve learned in my 3 attempts to go blonde and my experience as a hair stylist of taking people from dark to blonde. I really hope that these tips help you in your own process of going blonde.
Thank you so much for stopping by
XOXO, MYKEL ELIZABETH