From mothers of dragons to ice princesses, white blonde hair is a trademark of many powerful heroines—and for good reason. Though white is, by definition, the absence of color, white blonde hair is anything but bland. The icy hue is bold, statement-making, and gives off an unmistakable air of confidence.
If you’re interested in white blonde hair but aren’t sure it’ll work for your skin tone or hair type, we’re here to set some things straight. Ahead, learn how to achieve and maintain cool white blonde hair (sans excessive damage) and discover 37 gorgeous icy blonde transformations to inspire your next salon trip.
What color is white blonde hair?
True white blonde hair is the lightest of all blonde hair colors—it’s as pale and cool-toned as hair color can get. While white and platinum blonde are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same. Even the lightest shade of platinum blonde hair can have a bit of warmth—white blonde never does.
Despite what its name may suggest, white hair isn’t exclusive to one shade. Many variations of white blonde hair color exist, from creamy ivory to pearly violet. A professional stylist can help you determine which shade best complements your skin tone and undertones.
Can you dye your hair white blonde?
Technically speaking, you can’t actually dye your hair white. Dyeing is a process that adds color to your hair, like if you were to go from strawberry blonde to espresso brunette. White blonde, on the other hand, is the absence of pigment—so there’s nothing dye can really add. You might spot white blonde box dye at the store, but these formulas won't give you the paleness or coolness you want without applying tons of damaging bleach first. What’s more, a lot of these advertised white dyes are temporary hair colors or toners in disguise and won’t provide long-lasting results.
How do you make hair white blonde?
A professional bleach-and-tone is the best way to achieve white blonde hair. Your colorist will lift your hair to level 9 or 10 (the lightest shades on the blonde hair color chart) and then apply a color-correcting toner to offset any underlying brassy undertones.
As Matrix brand ambassador George Papanikolas explains, “Toners are a sheer pigment that acts like pantyhose over [bleached] hair, typically to balance out and neutralize unwanted tones or enhance the desired result.” Toning is crucial for achieving a cool, shimmering white blonde shade.
If you needed another reason to entrust your white blonde evolution to the pros, let it be this: Experts have access to the best-in-class formulas to tone bleach blonde hair, like Matrix’s Tonal Control. According to Papanikolas, some toners on the market can shift lightened hair too dark too quickly—and that’s the last thing you want if white hair is your end game. Tonal Control, however, features Real-Time Visible Oxidization technology that allows your colorist to pinpoint exactly when the toner is ready to be rinsed out. He calls it “a huge time saver with no more second-guessing or over-toned clients.”
How long does it take to lighten hair to white blonde?
Unless you already have extremely light strands, you’ll unlikely lighten your hair to white blonde in a single salon visit. Based on your current shade, it may take as many as eight bleaching sessions to lighten your hair to a level 10—and pros recommend waiting at least two months between each appointment. In effect, it could take six months or more to reach your ideal shade of white blonde. This is just an estimate, however, and may vary depending on your hair’s condition, existing color, and whether or not it’s been dyed before.
For a more accurate estimate of how long it'll take to go white blonde, consult a colorist well-versed in major hair transformations. They can also help you determine whether your locks are ready to take on white blonde and how to mitigate potential damage.
Is white blonde hair color damaging?
As with any shade that requires bleach, the process required to achieve white blonde hair can be damaging—but don’t let that deter you from trying it. A licensed expert will use all the tools at their disposal to reduce damage and preserve your hair's integrity. Plus, pros have access to the highest-quality formulas to help your hair look and feel healthy throughout (and after) the lightening process.
How much maintenance does white blonde hair require?
We won’t sugarcoat it: White blonde hair is one of the most high-maintenance hair colors to have, especially for those with naturally dark strands. Papanikolas says that a full head of white blonde hair requires root touch-ups every three to four weeks. “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,” he notes.
To keep your white blonde fresh, set up a recurring appointment with your salon to minimize the chances of harsh demarcation lines and yellow undertones. Sure, you may need to allot more of your time to sitting in your stylist’s chair, but the payoff will be worth it.
Why does white blonde hair turn yellow?
Hair product residue, styling tools, hard water, and pollution can dim your bright white down to a pale yellow. Papanikolas adds that the gradual fade of hair toner can contribute to visible brassiness, too.
Heading to the salon for a professional hair gloss treatment is the best way to refresh white blonde locks and neutralize unwanted warm tones. One of the most popular in-salon formulas is Redken’s Shades EQ Hair Gloss, a demi-permanent range that refreshes, tones, and adds shine to all hair types and colors. Tweaking your at-home hair care routine can also help fend off brassiness between salon visits.
How to Care for White Blonde Hair Color
As we mentioned earlier, white blonde hair is one of the most challenging hair colors to manage, so be prepared to overhaul your care and styling lineup if you’re committed to trying the snowy hue.
First, you’ll want to add strengthening products into your hair care routine to help repair hair bonds weakened by the lightening process. Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate bond-repairing system is among our top picks. The six-piece, mix-and-match line contains citric acid and Redken’s concentrated Bonding Complex to strengthen hair from the inside out—even after a bleach session (or three). Not to mention, the best-selling range is an editor-approved favorite.
Once or twice a week, consider swapping in a purple shampoo and conditioner like Kérastase’s Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo and Cicaflash Conditioner. These violet-tinted formulas instantly neutralize brassy undertones to keep your white blonde color cool-toned.
The back-to-back bleach sessions required to achieve white hair can make your strands feel dry and straw-like. The good news is that hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid (a natural humectant) can help replenish your hair’s moisture. You’ll find this hydrating ingredient in Kérastase’s Blond Absolu 2% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, which smooths, strengthens, and helps repair damaged hair. Also smart: incorporating a weekly deep conditioning mask into your beauty ritual. We love Biolage Professional’s Color Last Deep Treatment Pack Hair Mask, an orchid-powered formula that helps condition and maintain all types of color-treated hair.
Finally, ensure your strands and hair color look their absolute best before heat styling by adding a strengthening, heat-protecting primer to your daily regimen. We love Kérastase’s Blond Absolu Cicaplasme Hair Primer. This universal heat protectant doubles as a fortifying leave-in serum to help fill in porous areas of hair and seal frayed ends for smoother-looking strands.
27 White Blonde Hair Color Ideas
If you're willing to put in the time and effort to achieve white blonde hair, here are 27 color ideas to inspire your salon visit.
It’s only right that we begin with the most striking look of all: classic, icy white blonde. We love the way this luminous shade complements fair skin tones.
Boost your hue’s luster with a conditioner like Biolage Professional’s Color Balm Clear Color Depositing Conditioner. This formula adds intense shine in just five minutes while leaving your hair up to 10 times more conditioned.
Platinum Blonde Hair
Platinum blonde hair is a touch warmer than pure white blonde, making it slightly easier to achieve if you’re starting with darker hair. Bonus: The hue’s subtle golden undertones mean you won’t have to reach for purple toning products as frequently as you would for cooler whites.
White Blonde Money Piece
Ease into white blonde by adding a money piece (a chunky white highlight) around your face and keeping the rest of your hair a few levels darker. This popular color technique brightens up your complexion without requiring a total commitment to white.
To ward off brassiness, use a purple spray like Matrix’s So Silver All-In-One Toning Leave-In Spray to tone your white streaks without affecting your base color.
This high-shine pearlescent shade amplifies already-striking white blonde hair by giving it a glossy, metallic finish. Here, colorist Charissè Nailen glossed hair with Redken Shades EQ Hair Gloss in 010T Platinum for a soft, iridescent effect.
White Blonde Balayage
Balayage is a coloring technique that involves hand-painting highlights onto individual strands of hair. You can dip your toes into white blonde by having your colorist balayage your hair with a mixture of platinum blonde, white, and beige tones.
White Blonde to Pink Ombré
Add a girly touch to your white blonde with an ever-trendy pink hair color ombré. Pastel pink flatters fairer skin beautifully, while bolder shades like bubblegum and magenta pop against medium and darker skin tones.
Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/hollyshairaffair
White Hair With Lowlights
If a full head of white hair feels intimidating, ask your colorist to weave darker cool-toned lowlights throughout your pale base for a softer effect.
If you’re not one for monthly salon visits, consider embracing the rooted look. Dark roots give off a rock-n-roll vibe that looks even cooler over time—a great option for those who’d prefer a style that requires less frequent touch-ups.
Rose Gold With White Blonde Highlights
Spun with shades of blonde, pink, and gold, rose gold hair color is considered a subtle take on a fantasy shade. Have your stylist apply chunky white highlights on top of a rosy base for a modern ‘90s-inspired look.
Honey Blonde With White Highlights
The contrast of white highlights against a honey blonde base adds a summery, sun-bleached effect to natural blonde hair.
White Blonde Highlights
To lighten your brown hair without committing to a full color change, consider adding pale blonde highlights throughout. You’ll get the brightening benefits you’re after without spending all day in the salon chair.
Creamy white can sometimes wash out paler skin tones. However, that’s not the case with dark skin. This warm, sumptuous vanilla shade will gorgeously pop against deeper complexions.
White With Lavender Tint
One of the things we love most about white hair color is that it’s the perfect canvas to experiment with any hair color you can think of. White with a subtle lavender tint is one of our favorite combinations: it’s icy but not overly vivid.
Skunk Stripe White
You may not consider skunks a source of beauty inspiration, but there’s no denying that the skunk stripe trend is striking in the most unexpected way. Use the blonde shade as a money piece to break up jet black hair, or apply it as a peekaboo highlight underneath your hair.
Gemini White Hair Color
Gemini hair, split dye, half-and-half hair color—whatever you call it, this trend involves splitting your hair down the middle and dyeing each section a different hue.
If you pair your white hair with a vibrant hue (like the red pictured above), you’ll want to pick up a hair care system that preserves fast-fading colors, like Matrix’s Keep Me Vivid. The range’s shampoo, conditioner, and Lamination Spray help prolong the vibrancy of bright, fiery hues.
Copper With Chunky White Highlights
Kick copper hair up a notch by having your colorist paint a few white ribbons onto the outermost layer of your gingery tresses for a punch of contrast.
Subtle White Highlights
White babylights (a foiling method to bleach super-fine sections of hair) are barely noticeable but add a touch of dimension to classic blonde shades.
Pair two on-trend hues—pale blonde and smoky gray—for a moodier, slightly edgier take on the stark-white hair color trend.
White Highlights On Brunette Hair
Dark brown hair is flattering on just about everyone. Make the classic shade even cooler by asking for a thick ivory highlight along one side of your head. Then, have your stylist add lighter, more diffused streaks at the hairline and the crown for depth and dimension.
White With Blue Tint
Layer a pastel blue tint over white blonde hair for a whimsical touch that can be as bold or understated as you’d like.
Chilled Champagne Blonde
This reflective take on champagne blonde is truly something to celebrate, offering a shimmering mix of icy and warm tones that work for any skin tone.
Half Icy, Half Warm
Play around with the placement of your warm and icy tones to stand out in a sea of platinum blondes. Focus a strawberry blonde at the roots of your hair and gradually transition your ends into a cool, platinum silver for a multi-faceted effect.
White Blunt Bangs
Blunt bangs are officially here to stay, and we couldn’t be more excited. To switch up your usual forehead-skimming fringe—sans a cut—color only your bangs white. The contrast is exactly what you need to transform your hairstyle without removing any length.
Color Blocked White Bangs
Another way to jazz up your bangs is with a white color block highlight. Have your stylist dye half your blunt fringe blonde and lighten up a few tendrils around your temples for an unexpected spin on face-framing highlights.
White With Brunette Bangs
Another way to add contrast to your white-blonde hair is to pair it with brown bangs. Opt for a cooler-toned brown to keep the overall color story consistent.
Color Blocked White On Black
Black and white hair color is hot for 2023. If you’re already working with a dark base color, ask your colorist to do something completely surprising with your white sections, such as applying them diagonally (like a checkerboard).
10 Ways to Style White Blonde Hair
Take your white blonde to new heights by elevating it with one of these haircuts or styles.
Piecey Platinum Bob
Beachy hair lives rent-free in our heads year-round. To achieve natural-looking windswept waves with a flatiron, L'Oréal Professionnel artist Jeremy Taylor recommends “alternat[ing] waving the hair forward and backward while maintaining the iron in a vertical position throughout the process.” He also advises leaving about an inch of hair at the bottom straight for a softly wavy (rather than curly) finish.
Inverted White Lob
The inverted bob flips your typical graduated bob on its head. It features longer layers in the front and then tapers shorter around the back of the neck to keep you cool.
White Hair With Baby Braids
Baby braided “highlights” create a semblance of depth in single-process blonde hair colors without another coloring session. We love how pairing them with a zig-zag part gives off the ultimate Y2K vibes.
Blunt Asymmetrical Bob
Amp up your white blonde hair by chopping it into an angular, asymmetrical bob. For added visual impact, pair your asymmetrical haircuts with a deep, dramatic side part.
Mullets are back and edgier than ever, turning up the heat on your blonde hair color. Follow the lead of Biolage Professional’s creative director, Luis Alvarez, and shape your cropped ‘do using the brand’s Hydra Source Blow Dry Shaping Lotion. The aloe-infused formula provides heat protection, weightless hydration, and shape memory while reducing blow-drying time.
White Blonde Stacked Pixie
When you consistently bleach your hair, your ends can get dry—noticeably so. Give your mane a refresh by chopping off those straw-like ends for healthier-looking (and feeling) hair.
A stacked pixie can breathe new life into your style. Your hairdresser will use clippers to cut your hair short in the back (like a pixie) and keep the hair in front long enough to reach your ears.
Curly White Pixie
Visiting a licensed colorist for your blonde transformation is key to preserving your curl pattern, even after several rounds of bleach. Post-appointment, enhance and condition your curly white locks in one fell swoop with a leave-in like Mizani’s True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion. Formulated with coconut oil, olive oil, and marula oil, this creamy lotion leaves strands soft, shiny, and bouncy.
Hair endures a lot in the quest to go white, so you want to be extra cautious when heat styling. To achieve silky, pin-straight strands with less damage, swap out your flatiron for a steam-powered straightener like L'Oréal Professionnel’s Steampod. Steam is diffused from the plates and infused into the hair’s cuticle as you style, helping protect against excessive heat damage.
A classic plat emphasizes the dimensional luster of blonde hair color. If you’re not skilled at braiding, you can achieve a similar effect with the bubble braid. Rather than weaving your strands, you’ll create a ponytail and add evenly-spaced elastics down the length to create “bubbles.” Once you’re done, fan out each section to create the illusion of thicker, more voluminous hair.
Next, check out our Hair Toner article for at-home and in-salon formulas that’ll keep your white hair cool and balanced.
Interested in trying white hair color? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.
Header photo credits: @seolahair and Kérastase