Everyone remembers their first time—going blonde, that is. If you were born with naturally dark hair and lightened up or recreated the sunny blonde you had as a child, you may remember having been wowed by the way the color change brightened up your complexion.
However, going blonde isn’t always as simple as it seems. Rather than coating your hair with bright yellow, a talented colorist will work to paint in darks and lights that contour your face and create the illusion of thicker hair. Lest you make the same mistakes as many blondes before you, we spoke to a professional about the pitfalls of all things platinum.
Constance Robbins, Matrix brand ambassador and stylist, attributes many common mistakes first time blondes make to a fundamental misunderstanding of what blonde hair should really look like.
When it comes to painted techniques like balayage, it’s important to remember that your hair is not static. During the day, you’ll rumple it with your hands and flip it over your shoulder while walking. The dark pieces that flash while you do that are key to the illusion of thick hair that’s merely been sun bleached on top. Most stylists try not to add too much brightness around the face for fear of losing that dimension.
Maintaining some dark pieces isn’t just about optical illusions, however. Robbins also notes that those sections mean the difference between regular salon appointments and being able to let your hair slide a few extra weeks without a touch-up.
“It makes the color feel more organic and helps the grow out process be more seamless,” she says.
Ultimately, your hair will benefit from the extended break between salon appointments. Even when applied with care, lighteners can take their toll on your mane over time. It’s important to work with your stylist and create a care routine that supports weakened or fragile strands.
Once your fresh blonde is home from the salon, establish a salon quality product routine that supports it and keeps any brassiness at bay. It’s also the foundational step before your touch up appointments, according to Robbins.
“Home hair care helps set up the hair for a successful hair color appointment,” she says, recommending Biolage R.A.W Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner from the Matrix portfolio of products. The care system is specially formulated to protect your blonde investment.
Don’t skimp out on color protection when it comes to heat styling, either. Robbins warns that clients have a tendency to forget that high temperatures can be damaging to hair color, too.
When tempted to run back to the salon every few weeks, remember this: The best blondes weren’t created in a day. There’s a reason hair enthusiasts jokingly refer to this color family as a lifestyle. With the help of a talented professional, you should be able to find a shade of blonde that plays nicely with your budget and personal taste.
“Have patience! Sometimes your dream blonde will require multiple sessions,” Robbins adds. “Factor in your routine and lifestyle into your hair goal. You don’t want to get platinum hair if you’re only wanting to get your hair done every 12 weeks. Talk to your stylist about the game plan that’s best for you.”
Above all else, experts recommend cluing your stylist in about what's going on with your hair. Cassi Pinder, L'Oréal Professionnel artist, believes the most successful hair journeys are the product of good communication.
"I think it's really important to allow your stylist to use their professional opinion on your hair care because they're not only cutting or coloring you or styling you—it’s like almost like you're taking them home with you and they know what's best for your hair because they've been trained and will continue to be trained on what works best for you," she explains.
With these common mistakes in mind, you’re ready to go blonde the right way.