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Go Blonde or go Home!

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

How many of you blondies struggle with turning brassy, yellow or orange? Being a hairstylist for 8 years, I feel that although I have not "seen it all," I definitely have seen A LOT! I absolutely love creating a beautiful blonde on a guest, however, no matter how blonde I make my guest, how they maintain their blonde at home determines the longevity of their color. I want to educate the importance of quality products and proper at-home care that anyone can use to maintain that beautiful blonde hair that is created in the salon.

Understanding Your Hair Color

When I meet with my guests, whether they are new or I have been seeing them for years, I always make sure to do a thorough consultation to ensure they are getting the color and service they are coming to me for. Some come in with unrealistic expectations- unless they plan on being my only client for the day and want to drop $1,000 on their hair, but most come in saying "I want something like this, but obviously I know it will be a little different than this picture" I love both types of these clients, one that challenges me, and one that understands that this is a process that takes time and is an investment. Since this blog post is about blondes, I want to touch on a few factors that play into creating that perfect blonde.

This is the first thing I learned about hair color when I started Cosmetology school. You NEED to know this to know what you're doing with color. As you can see, the colors on the left represent natural hair colors and the colors on the right represent the underlying pigment or tones that are in the corresponding natural hair color.

Notice how at a level 10 (lightest blonde) the underlying pigment is a pale yellow? Blondes, it is physically impossible to lift your hair to a cool tone blonde, because the underlying pigment in blonde is still yellow. We cannot lift your hair to a platinum, ash, champagne, silver, or beige blonde. To achieve a blonde other than one with yellow tones, it requires a "toner." What is a toner? Some might disagree with this, but let's just agree to disagree. A toner is NOT a specific color, it is a SERVICE. It is a word used to describe what us hairstylists are doing, not what we are using. There is not a one size fits all when it comes to toning the hair. Usually I use a Demi-permanent color for my toning service, but you can use semi-permanent or permanent, however permanent could slightly lift the natural hair at the roots. Toning services are used to neutralize, enhance or brighten your hair and are not subject to only blondes. Reminder, all color is temporary, even "permanent" color is temporary. Hair grows and fades, so expect your toners to fade as well. The healthier the hair is, the longer your color and toners will last. The more damaged the hair is, the more temporary it will be and will require more frequent maintenance. I usually say that a toner will last about 4 weeks, this does not mean that it can't fade sooner. Keep in mind that the amount you shampoo your hair and what products you're using at home all play into how long your color lasts.

At Home Products

Purchasing a high quality purple shampoo and conditioner is CRUCIAL. Yes, I said high quality, that doesn't mean that it needs to break the bank. I do caution you on a few things when choosing a purple shampoo and conditioner: some may not be pigmented enough to tone and neutralize the unwanted brassy or yellow tones, look for a more pigmented one, but just be careful not to leave it on for longer than a few minutes or you may get out of the shower with lavender hair. I have heard this claim to many times to count, "I use purple shampoo, but my hair is so dry after using it." Yes, some purple shampoos can be drying 1. because they have pigment in them and 2. You might be using it too often. I recommend you use your purple shampoo 1-2x a week and follow with a moisturizing conditioner. I'm a firm believer in "it takes two to tango" so if you're wondering if you need both the shampoo and conditioner, my response would be a "Heck Ya!" Who's Bonnie without Clyde? Who's Jekyll without Hyde? Who's Thelma without Louise? You catch my drift. If you're trying to avoid having too many shampoos and conditioners, I would recommend getting a purple conditioner before getting the shampoo. Yes the shampoos tend to be more pigmented, but they also are more drying on the hair, therefore, you can let the conditioner sit on longer without risk of drying your hair out. One of my absolute favorites is the Amika Bust Your Brass cool blonde shampoo and conditioner $24( I have found that the shampoo does not dry your hair out like many others do. The conditioner moisturizes without being too heavy and also deposits color to keep your blonde as cool as you are. A few other great options are the Joico Color Balance Purple shampoo and conditioner $17 ( Pulp Riot Barcelona Shampoo $32 (this one is HIGHLY pigmented, but there is not a conditioner for this one, so I would recommend using a moisturizing conditioner after using it).

What is hard water and what does it do to your hair? Hard water is water that is high in mineral count- especially calcium and magnesium- which when dissolved into the water, leaves a film or residue on the hair strand. This prevents moisture from getting into the hair and can cause tangles, dryness, and undesirable color changes. It can also cause buildup on the scalp, giving the impression that you have dandruff. Although this can be frustrating to deal with, there are a few thing you can do to save your hair from hard water:

  1. Invest in a water softener

  2. Shower filter, this is a cheaper alternative to a water softener

  3. Using a Clarifying Shampoo or Hard Water Shampoo once a week such as, Kenra Clarifying Shampoo $15 Drybar On the Rocks Clarifying shampoo $26 Malibu C Hard Water shampoo $16, can be found on Amazon or search some of your local salons.

Shampoos and conditioners are huge components in making sure your blonde hair doesn't get dull, but making sure you protect your locks from heat damage is also very important. Think of when you iron a white dress shirt and leave the iron on too long, what happens? That nice white shirt is left with a brownish burn mark on it. The same applies to your hair. If you put a flat iron or curling iron to your hair without a thermal protectant, you run the risk of it dulling and turning brassy much quicker. A few favorites are: Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum $25 Drybar Hot Toddy Heat Protectant Mist $26 Bumble & Bumble Hairdressers Invisible Oil Primer $28

Most of these products can be found at Sephora or Ulta. All Amika products can also be found at my studio- Ashley Blair Hair & Beauty Bar in Woodbury, MN.

Happy Blonding, loves!

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