Getting the perfect blonde hue can be a bit of a struggle. No matter how many photos of Carrie Underwood ( and now Kim Kardashian) 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.