How To: Go Blonde

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Ever since I changed my hair, I run into someone at least once a week who looks in astonishment, reaches over to feel my hair that still feels like hair and asks “how did you do that??” Here’s the thing: there is no magical answer to blonde except to find an expert stylist who knows what he or she is doing and can work with you to get the color you want with a routine that fits your life and budget.

This is the color I was when I sat in Jayme’s hair and decided I wanted to be Marilyn Monroe blonde, a natural medium brown with some red undertones that I had put in with box dye:

When I went in to the salon that day, I thought it would be a one and done, I fully expected to walk out a blonde bombshell. Little did I know that going blonde (and still having hair at the end of it) is a time consuming process.

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One: find an expert stylist and ask to see pictures of their work, ask if they have experience lightening people to blonde, bring in pictures of what you want, and work together to come up with steps and a timeline you can both agree on.

Two: start with highlights, increasing the amount of hair you highlight each time. With Jayme, I started at about 20% highlights, then around 40%, then 60%, then 80%: you can see my process in these pictures:

Three: time for a full bleach blonde! The best color comes from a two-step process: first bleaching and then toning. Until the toner goes on, your hair will be a strange orange-yellow color, take the Hitchhiker’s Guide approach and don’t panic! Plan to make this appointment an all-day event: my process took about four hours to go from ultra-highlighted brunette to full-on blonde.

Four: take better care of your hair than you ever have. I use Garnier Fructis Three-Minute Undo once a week and a hot oil treatment once a month. I also limit the amount of heat tools I use on my hair and go for trims once a month to keep the ends healthy.

With some careful planning and a great stylist, even the darkest brunettes can find a blonde that works for them. Here’s my end result, a level 9 blonde:

Have any questions about going blonde? Want to share your experiences? Post in the comments below!

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9 responses »

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