Blonde hair is a way of life. Surely, you know one or two women in your life who live and die for beautiful, beachy blonde hair colors. They research the best colorists like they’re studying for the SATs again and follow no less than 10 social media platforms dedicated to mane art. If you’re silly enough to ask about their celeb style crushes, you’ll undoubtedly be treated to a laundry list of aspirational blondes with mermaid lengths.
Although all blondes stand out, we’re firm believers that some shades of blonde are more special than others. This year, we’ve been seeing four fashion-forward, chic hues gain popularity. To get the lowdown on the best kinds of blonde for 2018, we reached out to Matrix brand ambassador and celebrity colorist George Papanikolas.
Feeling like it might be time for your blonde hair to get an upgrade? We couldn’t agree more. Keep reading to catch up on the sunny trends you’ll be asking your colorist for in just a few months.
Who should go blonde?
The age-old question: Is a blonde born or can she be made from scratch? It’s a hotly contested issue among ladies of all skin tones and ages. According to Papanikolas, blondeness isn’t a simple issue.
It’s important to realize that even the best colorist can only take you so far from your natural shade. Papanikolas recommends no more than seven shades lighter or darker, maximum.
Another aspect of a color change to consider is the identity that goes hand in hand with blondeness. Without a doubt, blondes stand out in a crowd. That’s part of the draw to the color.
“Natural blondes are a rare breed, especially in adults,” Papanikolas. “Being a blonde has a sense of youthfulness, and being part of a rare group. It's also a color that’s associated with getting a lot of attention.”
If you’re prepared for all eyes on you, it’s time to pick a shade.
Let’s start with icy blonde, a shade that’s neither platinum nor white blonde. When paired with cropped cuts or edgy braids, icy blonde is truly a showstopper. Using Matrix’s SoColor Blonde match technique, your colorist can create a bright, beautiful shade.
Papanikolas, for his part, recommends this look for ladies with naturally fair coloring and cool-toned skin tones. For the ultra-pale shade to work, it must be at least somewhat believable. Otherwise, passerby may assume you’re just wearing a pricey wig.
“There are different ways to approach it,” he says of the shade. “[Your colorist] can do a double process bleach and tone, or it can be done with lots of highlights.”
When it comes to icy blonde, your biggest challenge will be managing yellow undertones. Papanikolas recommends purchasing a color-protecting hair care system that starts with a violet shampoo and conditioner like Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver.
Caramel ladies, we’ve found the perfect shade of blonde for you. This year’s hot shade is all about golden-brown undertones that create a rich, shimmery hue. If you’re starting with medium brown strands, you may also want to consider champagne as your new shade.
According to Papanikolas, the unique facets of this color are due to the way it’s created. Your colorist will not only lift color from your strands, but also apply a round of highlights.
The real challenge of champagne blonde isn’t at-home care, but the regular touch ups you’ll need to keep the shade going strong. Mark a regular salon date on your calendar, and stick to it. You’ll need to refresh your highlights more often than your base tone, so be prepared.
“To keep hair in optimum condition, I recommend highlighting every second appointment, Papanikolas says. “Do the base color every six weeks, and do base and highlights every 12 weeks. That way you are highlighting every other appointment, but lifting the dark root to carry you over until your next highlight appointment.”
Ready for all the fizzy splendor of champagne blonde? We bet you are.
Ice and champagne blonde may be newly popular, but they fall close to the spectrum we like to call “hair colors that can actually exist on a scalp without help.” Now, we’re moving toward the realm of fashion-forward shades, the kind that usually develop thanks to social media photos and influencers.
Blush blonde is a ladylike hair color, one that skirts the division between pastel pink and golden blonde. It’s versatile, looking just as popsicle dreamy on long waves as it does on a pixie cut.
“Blush blonde works best on fair skin and lighter hair, as the hair needs to be bleached to a very pale blonde first,“ Papanikolas says. “This is a high maintenance color, as regular root touch ups are needed.”
High maintenance color isn’t for everyone, certainly. But, for ladies who like a challenge and love a statement hair color, blush might just be a match made in hair heaven.
Not so much of a pink girl, but like the look of whimsical hair color? Try lavender, the cool girl’s version of baby blue or blush. Its cool violet tones are the perfect anecdote to a case of the hair blahs.
Papanikolas agrees, adding that nearly any woman can wear this look. Because it’s a fantasy shade, it all amounts to personal preference. That’s exactly what we like to hear: Free yourself from ideas about what blonde can and cannot be! Have fun with it.
When it comes to lavender, Papanikolas says you’ll want to place an emphasis on caring for hair that’s been through the salon wringer.
“Hair needs to be bleached to a pale blonde first, he explains. “Protecting the hair during the lightening process is very important.”