With summer right around the corner, we are excited for warmer days, bronzer skin and sun kissed locks. Depending on your specific hair composition your hair may naturally lighten in the sun, but we love to give it a little help with a few highlights and bright pieces around the face.
When it comes to lightening your hair, we do so with the goal of preserving the integrity of each strand and keeping hair healthy and hydrated. This is why we often have to have the conversation with clients as to why you can’t go from brunette to blonde in just one visit. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the science behind going blonde and why it takes time to go from Belle brown to Barbie blonde.
The Science Behind Lightening Your Hair
When you lighten your hair, you’re essentially dissolving the natural melanin within the hair shaft that creates the natural color in your hair. Depending on the darkness and unique composition of your hair strands, your stylist may choose to use a lifting color to lighten your hair, or a dissolvent like bleach.
The lightening agent penetrates the hair shaft and then reacts with the pigment molecules, dissolving the color and ultimately lightening the hair. While the lightening technique is great to help you achieve your desired color, the use of these lightening agents also causes the natural fatty acids of your hair to break down, weakening the hair. In addition to this, lightening your hair will also affect the texture, making hair more porous or open- making it difficult for hair to maintain moisture and ultimately more brittle. That’s why it’s important to understand your hair texture, thickness, and history before making any lightening alterations.
Who Shouldn’t Go Blonde
As one of the more damaging treatments you can do to your hair, there are some important things to think about before committing to a lighter shade. If you’ve never dyed your hair before and are looking to take your brown locks to a new blonde, your hair will be able to handle the lightening better than hair that has been colored before.
Every time you process your hair, you’re changing the color and composition of the strands at a molecular level. For those of us who have dabbled with a variety of colors, shades, and looks, don’t let your current color fool you; your hair has history and the shaft holds it. This means if you went blonde, then red, then dark brown, and now you’d like to go back to blonde, that red color still exists deep within your hair as well as the damage from originally going blonde.
Severely damaged hair is prone to breaking, and lightening it will only further weaken your locks. If you’ve noticed your hair is breaking or brittle due to prior damage, going blonde will only make this worse. An easy way to tell if your hair is damaged is by how quickly the ends dry compared to your roots.
In addition to damaged hair, some natural hair colors may have undertones that will not accomplish your desired color without severe damage, resulting in a reddish or orange result that will need time and multiple treatments to accomplish. And for those of us with naturally fine hair that is already prone to breakage, lightening may be too harsh on hair, causing breakage and making already-fine hair look finer.
Things to Consider
While going blonde may sound like an exciting new change, there are a few things to consider before doing so. First, going blonde is high maintenance. Not only will it affect your hair health and composition, resulting in the need to use additional/different products than what you’re used to, but if you’re naturally dark you’ll need to keep up with pesky roots. This brings us to our second point - more frequent salon visits will lead to higher hair maintenance costs, and make sure to account for additional treatments and trims to keep hair healthy.
Another thing to consider before going blonde is your typical hair styling and routines. If you love your flat iron and high ponytails, you’ll need to remember that lightening hair causes damage, as does these styling efforts and will likely lead to more damage and ultimately breakage. As always, we recommend using a leave-in hair protectant with any styling tool use, which can help to alleviate some of this damage.
The Multi-Visit Approach
If you walk into a salon with dark hair and ask to go platinum blonde, you’ll likely be told that these results will take multiple visits and time to achieve. This is because lightening natural hair and removing color pigments takes time to avoid too much stress on the hair at once. For those who have never colored their hair before, you may be able to achieve your desired look in one visit, but we’d advise against this as an expectation.
Depending on your hair history and texture, your stylist will be able to make a plan to help you achieve your desired blonde. This is why it’s important to start with a consultation where you’ll be asked your hair history and your stylist can take a closer look at the texture of your hair. Our greatest piece of advice here is to be completely honest about your hair history; even if you haven’t colored it in a few years, your ends will still hold color which will affect treatment.
Your stylist will also likely factor rejuvenating treatments into your coloring plan to help restore the protein and moisture to your hair between visits. This may include in-salon treatments like custom Fusio dose by Kérastase or other recommended services by your Tease Hair Boutique Stylist.
Our Favorite Blonde Products
With all of these things in mind, going blonde can be an exciting change that can brighten and change your look. Fortunately, some of our favorite hair product brands like Kérastase have created products that will help to rejuvenate blonde hair and keep the icy undertones you’re looking for.
Kérastase Bain Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo
When you lighten your hair, red undertones from your natural color or past colorings can shine through, giving your hair a warmer or orange tint. To avoid this, stylists usually follow up lightening treatments with a tone to help turn your blonde the popular, ashier blonde we all know and love. Using purple shampoos and products can help to keep hair toned and orange undertones at bay.
This shampoo by Kérastase uses hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidant rich edelweiss flower, and ultra-violet neutralizers to remove brassy undertones and replenish hair’s moisture.
Kérastase Cicaflash Conditioner
Follow use of the ultra-violet purple shampoo with a hydrating conditioner, like the Kérastase Cicaflash conditioner that uses hyaluronic acid and edelweiss flower to restore moisture and antioxidants to hair shafts, working to prevent breakage and soften hair while hydrating at the same time.
Kérastase Masque Cicaextreme Hair Mask
When it comes to lightened hair, you’ll want to add a deep conditioning mask to your hair regimen, like this one by Kérastase. Using intensely hydrating edelweiss flower and hyaluronic acid, this mask should be used at least once a week in place of your conditioner. To use, simply apply to damp hair and leave on for at least five minutes. Rinse thoroughly and style as usual.
Kérastase Serum Cicanuit Hair Serum
For added nourishment and moisture overnight, Kérastase has created a leave-in hair serum that will restore hydration and nourish hair, reducing breakage and damage. Add this serum to your nightly routine and wake up with noticeably softer, more hydrated hair. Before bed, massage 2-4 pumps of the Cicanuit hair serum through lengths and ends, pulling hair into a bun or braid to avoid morning frizz. No need to rinse in the morning either!
Kérastase Cicaplasme Hair Serum
Our list wouldn’t be complete without a hair protectant. While we’d recommend cutting back on heat styling lightened hair, we understand that this is not always realistic. To protect hair from added damage, use this ultra-hydrating hair serum daily on washed and towel-dried hair. Blow dry or air dry to follow before styling.
While changing your look can be exciting, we want to make sure we’re setting realistic expectations to help you achieve your desired look. These insights will provide you with the information needed to decide if going blonde is right for your hair history, routine, and wallet. However, most importantly is to discuss your goals with your Tease Hair Boutique Stylist so they can create a custom coloring plan and recommend products that will work great with your specific hair composition.