Get The Perfect Blonde

Getting the perfect blonde hue can be a bit of a struggle. No matter how many photos of Carrie Underwood you flash before your stylist, there's always a 50/50 chance your hair will come out looking brassy, bleached, bright yellow, or just plain fake.

We asked celebrity colorist and blonde expert Rick Wellman of Patrick Melville Salon in New York what it takes to get the perfect blonde hair color -- and he should know! He's worked with two of the most sought after blonde manes in Hollywood: Heidi Klum and Blake Lively. Here's what he says are the 10 things you need to know before going blonde.


What is your blonde budget?

Going blonde requires maintenance. If you are going to do it, make sure you can afford the upkeep every four to 12 weeks, depending on the desired blondness and your existing natural color.

Be aware of your natural level of color

Imagine hair color range to be from one to 12, one being the darkest level of black and twelve the lightest blonde. It may be a long time before you see your natural hair color again or even remember it. It is rare that anyone over the age of 16 actually has a natural level lighter than a seven.

Be ready to upgrade and change your shampoo and conditioner routine

Typically, going blonde requires higher levels of ammonia or bleaching products. You will notice a texture change in your hair that most likely will require less shampooing and more conditioning. I recommend finding a gentler sulfate free shampoo and a reconstructive treatment mask.

Find a blonde color specialist

Be on the lookout for someone whose color you admire. Approach them and inquire "Who does your color?" Don't be afraid to ask someone that same question whose color you think is hideous, so you know where not to go. If your colorist pulls out a crochet hook and a plastic cap, reschedule with someone else.

Know how blonde you want to go

There are many different shades of blonde to choose from. Be aware of cool and warm shades and which one compliments your skin best. Bring pictures of blondes you like (and even you don't like) to your colorist. Make sure they are realistic and not in black or white. Keep in mind, blondes will look different depending on the surrounding light.

Be ready for a makeup change

Your hair color is the frame for your face. Going blonde will directly affect your current shade of lipstick, which most likely will need to change. Visit a near by make up counter directly after your blonde session and get some make up tips from someone who has never seen you before.

Know if you need highlights, a single process or both

If you are a level seven or above, you most likely can become a blonde with highlights only. Any darker and you may require a single process, even a base breaker (which is bumping up your natural color slightly one level) or both if you are a level five or lower. You will need to learn this lingo to ensure your future blonde appointments are scheduled with the appropriate time needed.

Ask for a glaze

After going blonde, a glaze is a non peroxide treatment with sheer shade options that help achieve that perfect blonde tone and seal in an extra four to six weeks of shine.

Be ready not to be taken as seriously

Blondes are stereotyped as intellectually handicapped. Be prepared to hear some stupid blonde jokes from some idiots.

Know the reason you are going blonde

Is it because you heard blondes have more fun and you're bored or maybe you spotted your spouse eyeballing up a blonde bimbo? Either way, have fun with it! Hair color is the easiest thing you can do to dramatically change your appearance without going under the knife.

For more on Rick Wellman, go to


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Comments on "10 Things you should know before going blonde"

maxine dowson January 14, 2014 | 4:13 AM

hi ive just turned 50 and have plum hair color with short bob. nut would like to go blonde what blonde do you sugest thank you.

Kerri December 26, 2013 | 11:04 PM

I have natural medium blonde hair. Ive only been teased a few times. I had a teacher when I was 11 who cracked jokes about blondes to the class,whatever I have a since of humor. Im back to blonde now. When I dye my hair dark I have to dye my hair every month. Blonde roots with dark hair looks crazy & too much maintenance - lol

liliana December 19, 2013 | 6:16 PM

hi ,i have a dark red color and my natural hair was dark brown and now i want to do a super BLOND color for all my hair will the blond fit in good ? like i want it and i know i would have to bleach it because my hair is a little dark any suggestions on how it will look and will it ruin my hair completely .?

alicia November 27, 2013 | 1:54 AM

Hi I have natural dark red hair and im getting blonde highlights done in january but i was wondering what would be the best type of blonde highlights to go with as past hair colourists have turned my hair green

Laura November 12, 2013 | 3:21 AM

I want to dye my curly hair blonde from red-brown but I don't want to loose the curly texture.

lucy June 25, 2013 | 7:47 PM

So in one point you say to be prepared from "blonde stereotyping from idiots" and in the next point, you call them bimbos. Very nice. I might not dye my hair after all. If I get to deal with a passel of idiots like you.

Mel Heflin May 16, 2013 | 8:33 AM

Going blonde for a movie role. Thank you so much for the wonderful article!

BACH May 03, 2013 | 3:42 PM

@QUINN...NOT REALLY he said "stereotyped as" and its true."ignorant" lmao you live a peaceful life if thats ignorant to you.

Antonina April 11, 2013 | 2:22 AM

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Lisa February 18, 2013 | 4:36 PM

Thank you Jody for your coment that helped me alot. Like you, I'm 45 and I used to be blond for years and started dying my hair dark and loved it, but now at this age I find it makes me look a little witchy instead of hot. I think as we age we need to go lighter to soften our features. My issue is that at 30 I felt washed out with the blond that's why I went to the extreme, so now I'm not sure what I should do....brown, blond, red...who knows. I guess I'll have to figure this out any suggestions??

Quinn November 24, 2012 | 4:22 PM

"Blondes are stereotyped as intellectually handicapped." This is the most ignorant thing I've read in a long time.

Shannon October 30, 2012 | 3:38 PM

Interesting that you will need a makeup change, I never would have thought of that. I'm debating going blonde but it's way more expensive to keep it up since I can't do it myself. Currently my hair is dark and I can color that myself from a boxed dye to save money!

Jody February 10, 2012 | 12:09 AM

My reason for going blonde (#1 thing to know on this list) is because I miss it, mostly. I used to have blonde hair for 2-3 years (from 1995-1998). I miss it very much and it was fun to have. Yeah, the maintenance wasn't great, but I'm thinking of just sticking with dark blonde and don't go no lighter. That way my roots will make it look more natural when they grow back. So I have picked out a dark beige blonde shade so I don't have to bleach/color it as often (maybe just 2 times a year). And also another reason is I am getting older (36 years old right now) and going back to blonde will be better for me (can't go darker anymore, that's for sure!). And it helps me to wear less makeup too, which is a plus in my book.

Allison May 05, 2010 | 9:19 PM

Hi there! I am a licensed cosmetologist and I will be frank with you, bleaching your hair is never "good" for it. A lot of different factors play in how much damage your hair will incurr such as; the amount of damage already present, the texture of your hair, how light you decide to lift your hair etc. Yes, you most definitely can change the color of your hair after it has been bleached. I'm sure you are aware of all this by now since you posted this back in January but incase you haven't been told by someone else, all you need to do is replace the color with another permanent of demi-perm. color. How your color will turn out depends heavily on the already present undertones that your hair has naturally and the undertones present in the hair color. Choosing the appropriate color is determinded by color theory using the color wheel. For example, if your hair tends to pull very brassy yellow tones, you would want to pick a color that has more blues (ash tones) or violet tones to counter act the yellow. Green tones are also very useful in combating cool red colors and so on and so on. Anyway, I hope that was at least somewhat helpful! :)

katie-mae elizabeth January 23, 2010 | 11:22 AM

Is it bad to bleach your hair and if so can you change your hair to a different color if it has been bleached ??

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