Platinum blonde is a hair color with a reputation. When you first hear it mentioned, does your mind jump straight to the manes of Hollywood glamazons past? Or are you more of a California girl, one who associates the shade with sun-bleached, salt-curled strands?
At one time or another, you’ve probably take a good long look at yourself in the mirror, wondering, am I bold enough to go platinum? The silvery shade is glamorous and fashion-forward, to be sure, but it also requires bleach, hope, and quite a few dollars to achieve. What’s more, ladies starting with a dark base color may need several appointments to reach their dream shades. That’s intimidating, sure, but don’t let it sway you from living your blonde dreams.
Once you’ve begun thinking about the shade, the idea is difficult to kick. Whether you’re committed to becoming a platinum blonde already (as in, your appointment is already booked) or still hovering on the edge of indecision, it’s important to educate yourself about the process. We called in George Papanikolas, Matrix celebrity stylist, who’s created some of the most memorable platinum blonde manes to grace our TV screens and social media feeds. He broke down the details of what it takes to be a platinum lady.
You may not be a celebrity or an old-school bombshell, but you can certainly have the hair of one.
Take a Long Look in the Mirror
To know if you’re the right candidate for a platinum blonde ’do, it’s important that you take a little time to reflect on your hair as it stands now. While many hair colors don’t require any specific starting point, Papanikolas is clear on who makes the best blonde.According to the celebrity stylist, the only real mistake you can make is trying platinum blonde on very long hair. The color reads as more porn star than perfect lady.
Get Ready for a Haircut
Dying your hair will always result in some damage, but lightening it dramatically means more stress. If your hair is already colored or damaged in some way, know that you’re in for a serious haircut at the end of your platinum journey. Lightening will certainly require bleaching, which takes a toll on hair.
“You can't go into platinum blonde and expect it to feel like virgin hair,” Papanikolas reminds us. “If you are naturally dark blonde, then the hair easily lifts to platinum and—as long as you take care of it—it should be in decent condition. Very dark hair should be prepared for damage as you need to lighten more shades, maxing out what the hair can handle.”
Ever wondered why you see so many famous ladies with bobs so soon after taking their hair platinum blonde? Now you know.
Choose a Pro Who Knows Platinum
In the world of professional colorists, the level of experience is just as important as the hair color recipe or the technique. For first-time platinum blondes, Papanikolas advises extensive research before booking an appointment. It’s important to put your hair in good hands.
Wondering what the difference is between a newbie and a professional? Those who have more time in the field are likely to know tricks to get your hair lighter and cause less damage.
Papanikolas, for example, has a few tricks of his own. One of his favorites is a faux-platinum shade he often uses on celebrity clients.
“You don't need to make hair completely white to have it appear platinum blonde,” he explains. “Taking hair totally white can be harsh on the hair. Most blonde celebrities have some yellow, but the flash of the lights on stage make it appear platinum. That's why they are able to keep it longer.”
Interesting, right? Don’t you want a professional with a serious working knowledge of blonde to be the one touching your hair?According to the celebrity stylist, the only real mistake you can make is trying platinum blonde on very long hair. The color reads as more porn star than perfect lady.
Start with Hair That’s Well Cared For
Because lightening the hair is an inherently damaging process, it’s crucial that you start with hair that is well taken care of. If you’re a hair color virgin, that’s good news..
“Virgin hair is ideal since the hair is the same color and similar porosity from root to ends,” he says. “If you have heavily highlighted hair, the chances for damage are high.”
Prepare to Become a Salon Regular
Like all ladies who’ve committed to a color that’s not their natural one, you’re about to get really cozy with your local hair salon. According to Papanikolas, platinum blondes should be touching up their roots every three to four weeks.
“It may sound counterintuitive to do it so often,” he acknowledges. “Coming in with too much regrowth forces your colorist to do a double virgin application and the chances for yellow bands and breakage are higher.”
If you’re not interested in developing yellow stripes like tree age lines across your mane, indicating all the times you’ve had it touched up, make a recurring appointment in your calendar. The closer your grown-out roots are to your scalp, the easier they lighten because of the warmth radiating from your skin. Papanikolas is just making the process easier for you.
Take Care of Your Platinum
Imagine purchasing a pair of designer jeans, then tossing them into the washer without so much as checking the temperature of the water. That carelessness would be the end of the jeans and would mean your hard-earned money had gone to waste.
Now, plan to apply that same attitude to your newly platinum blonde locks. Your natural color might have been wash-and-go, but platinum blonde requires a little more love and attention. Papanikolas recommends his clients commit to a haircare system that can help keep blonde hair looking bright.
“Keeping hair conditioned, hydrated, and toned are important,” he explains, breaking down the system he personally recommends to his clients.
Did you think you’d get away with any old shampoo and conditioner? Not a chance. Papanikolas recommends trying both Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver Shampoo and Total Results Color Obsessed Conditioner to keep brass at bay. Once you’ve found a formula you like, you can adapt to the entire system (that’s shampoo and conditioner).