It’s the time of the year when I start to get excited about cookouts, pool parties, outdoor movies, and bonfires on the beach. I switch my makeup and nail polish to lighter shades and go on a sundress and denim cutoffs shopping spree. With that comes a shift in my hairstyle. Each spring I head to the salon to have my blonde locks highlighted. The combination of a beachy blonde shade and a sun-kissed tan is something I look forward to every summer.
I reached out to Los Angeles based hair stylist, Lauren Jones—the go-to for anything blonde—and asked her 12 often overlooked questions on blonde hair care. From how to find the ideal stylist, to choosing the right shade based on your skin tone, and everything in between. Read along for Laurens helpful insight on how to obtain the vibrant color you want and learn how to maintain it so it stays healthy long after you’ve left the salon.
#1 What is the most important question someone should ask their stylist before going blonde?
You want to ask what type of upkeep is going to be required for the look you are going for. Then ask yourself, will it fit into my lifestyle? You should also ask if the color is realistic for your texture and complexion.
#2 How do you recommend finding a stylist?
Instagram is an amazing way because it’s an online public portfolio that you can view from the comfort of your home! Stylists can feature their work and use it to advertise their services; clients can tag them so you can see their skills from the client’s eyes. This allows you to get a vibe on their aesthetic and to determine if they will be a suitable match for what you’re going for.
#3 If you have dark hair and want to go to an ashy blonde, how many sessions does it usually take?
I get this question a lot—it’s not a one size fits all situation because two heads of dark hair can have completely different experiences. Virgin hair can typically be lifted to ashy blonde in one appointment, but sometimes it won’t lift light enough to get to an ashy shade and it will end up taking 2-3 sessions. It’s hard to give an answer because it varies depending on the client.
#4 How does skin tone play a part in choosing the right shade?
I love this question! When someone is thinking about changing their color, I feel like this is the least thought about question—but it shouldn’t be. For example, I had a fair-skinned client with natural light brown hair. She brought in a photo of a beautiful tan-skinned Filipina model as her hair inspo. The model had very dark—almost black hair, and a completely different length and texture than the girl showing me the picture. I tried to guide her (and I tell this to all my clients), when you’re looking for a new color, look for inspiration in people that have the same natural root color as yours, and who also have similar complexion. This will give you a more “realistic” preview of how it will look on you.
#5 Does hair texture change after coloring it?
Yes, it can. If you have curly hair, it can mess with your curl pattern and that is something to keep in mind if you love your natural curls. If you already have dry or frizzy hair, it can make it worse.
#6 How often are touch-ups needed?
This is different for every client and it depends on what service(s) are being done. For my balayage girls I recommend every 3-5 months, and for all over root color I’d say about every 6 weeks. Other elements to consider are how often your hair grows and how you care for it at home. The more effort you put into the longer the color will last.
#7 What do you recommend for someone who’s on a budget but still wants to go blonde?
I’m going to be totally transparent with this question—I wouldn’t look for a stylist that is giving the best price, I’d look for someone who does amazing work. Weekly I get girls who message me on Instagram asking for a price quote, and then a month or two later they’ll message me and ask if I can fix their hair because they decided to go with a friend of a friend who gave them a good “deal.” Now they have to pay for a color correction on top of whatever they just paid. Then to correct the damage I need to apply more bleach and process their hair again. All this in a short amount of time begs the question, was attempting to save your money really worth it? Instead of trying to skimp, the best thing is to be honest with your stylist. If you’re on a tight budget, let him or her know and see what they can do for you. Ask for advice on choosing a low maintenance look where you’ll only have to come back to the salon a few times a year.
#8 What should you do at home to maintain the color and keep it from fading?
How you care for your hair at home is key to keeping it healthy, while helping to prevent the color from fading. It’s going to vary from look to look but overall, you want to make sure you have a really great shampoo and conditioner combo that your stylist recommends. If your hair was bleached, use Olaplex No. 3 once to twice a week. I recommend washing your hair as little as possible and be gentle when brushing (your hair is most delicate when it’s wet). After stepping out of the shower, I suggest using a wet brush, a good quality detangling spray, and leave in conditioner. Let your hair air dry when you can and save the hot tools for special occasions. (Don‘t forget to use a heat protecting spray.)
#10 What happens to blonde hair when we’re in the sun for a long period of time? How can we protect against damage?
The sun isn’t the worst thing for your hair but it can be a little harsh on your color and toner. Be sure to choose a good quality toning shampoo (aka purple shampoo) for the sunny season, my favorite is Fanola—which in my opinion is hands down the best! By using it once or twice a week it will help to keep your color vibrant and fresh. Leave it on for 5 minutes which will work to prevent (and remove) brassy tones. It’s also important to pair it with a great hydrating shampoo because the toning shampoo can dry out your hair when used by itself.
#11 Speaking of being in the sun, with the summer months approaching how can we protect our hair from chlorine and saltwater?
Pool and ocean water is super harsh on your hair, especially for blondes. I always tell my clients if possible, don’t get your hair wet, but to also live your life. If you’re heading to the Bahamas this summer it’s inevitable that you’re going to be in water, so it’s really important to do Olaplex no. 3 once or twice a week which will help strengthen it. Before getting your hair wet coat it with conditioner—this will help keep it protected. Once you get out of the water, immediately rinse out the chlorine or saltwater.
#12 What are some new blonde hair trends you’re seeing this spring?
I’m noticing a ton of my clients coming in and requesting more warm and natural tones as opposed to the icy blonde shade that everyone was going crazy for. Another popular one is rooted looks (natural hair at root blending with blonde throughout the rest of your hair). I think this low-maintenance look will be around for a while.
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