Everything You Need To Know About Getting Blonde Highlights

Color Ideas

Want Blonde Highlights? Here's Everything You Need To Know

23 January 2018
photo of woman with curly blonde hair
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

Here’s a hair color truth: Everyone can benefit from blonde highlights. The sunny, effortless shade brings a hint of summer to even the darkest base color.

If you’ve been considering adding a hint of platinum or ash to your hair, rest assured it’s a good move. We tapped Tracey Cunningham, Redken brand ambassador and undisputed queen of the celebrity blondes, to teach you everything you need to know about life on the sunny side of the street.

Unlike other hair colors, blonde doesn’t go out of style—particularly when it’s in highlight form. According to Cunningham, that’s because the shade has a brightening, flattering influence on every head of hair.

Highlights, especially blonde ones, can lighten or add dimension to any shade of hair color...Blondes, brunettes, and redheads can all benefit from blonde highlights in some way.

Tracey Cunningham

When debating coloring your hair, some part of your brain has to consider the risks involved. How long will it last? What if you hate it? Quality blonde highlights should never be frightening. When applied with a balayage technique, the color won’t dominate your entire look.

“Whether the client’s goal is to change their overall shade or add a little something extra to their natural hair color, highlights are a great way to experiment with hair color without a drastic change or commitment,” Cunningham agrees.

Interestingly, Cunningham believes that placement is the key factor in attaining beautiful blonde streaks. Placed near the roots, these bleached pieces mimic the natural highlights children can develop from playing in the sun. The technique—often called “babylights”—is a favorite of the celebrity colorist’s.

“More highlights around the face will give clients a lighter look without having to color every strand of hair,” she adds. “I also love a rooted look, so placing a darker gloss near the root blends the line of demarcation, which also allows clients to go longer in between services.”

Fewer highlights but more impact? Yes, please.

It’s also crucial to find a flattering shade of blonde for your highlights, one that plays nicely with both your skin tone and hair color. Although your colorist can help, have an idea of the specific hue you’d like before jetting off to your appointment.

“One client might want an ashy shade of blonde, while another wants something warmer and more golden,” Cunningham adds. “I always suggest bringing at least two pictures to your salon appointment to show your colorist exactly what you’re looking for to minimize any confusion when trying to explain your perfect blonde.”

Once you’ve finally attained your dream highlights, your colorist will set you free like a mama bird pushing her baby out of the nest. It’s up to you to maintain the glossy color between appointments. Cunningham recommends a hair care system specifically designed for colored hair, like Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner.

When it’s time to touch up your blonde, don’t delay getting to that appointment.

“Depending on your starting shade and desired outcome, clients can expect to come in every six weeks to every six months—it varies from client to client! The more drastic the change, the more salon visits you can expect,” the colorist adds.

Blonde highlights are about to become the best hair decision you’ve ever made.

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