So you've decided to take the leap and LIGHTEN UP! Who can resist when you've scrolled through Instagram and seen a dozen drool-worthy, beachy blondes on your feed?
But wait! Before you schedule your appointment, here is some essential information you need to know and be prepared for:
- If you're going to be visiting a stylist for the first time, I highly recommend booking a consultation with them. This gives them a chance to see your hair in person and come up with a plan of action for your initial appointments. If you'll be seeing your longtime, trusted stylist, make sure they know before your next visit that you are wanting to make a big change - they can make sure your upcoming appointment is booked accordingly.
- Plan on being in the salon awhile for your initial appointments - one session of lightening can take several hours.
- Inspiration photos from social media are great visual tools to give your stylist reference for what you like, don't like, and what your goals are. However, be open to your stylists suggestions and know that your dream hair might not be realistically achieveable.
- "Instagram worthy" hair can be an expensive investment, so it's crucial to discuss with your stylist your budget and how long you would like to go in between appointments. This transparency can be extremely helpful to your stylist creating a maintenance plan.
- If you have naturally brunette or dark blonde hair, it can take multiple sessions of appointments, spread out over a period of time to replicate your inspiration photo. If you do not have any color on your hair currently, it may only take a few sessions to achieve your desired level of blonde - if you have any box or permanent dye on your hair, it could take several sessions. This article from Glamour is really helpful in visually demonstrating the number of sessions it can take to achieve a certain look while going lighter.
- For some clients, their hair easily lifts to a bright blonde. For others, especially those who are naturally dark/brunette or clients with coarse hair, they will need to embrace warmer golden tones after their first or second session of lightening. All natural hair color has underlying warm pigment within the cortex of each strand, which is exposed when lightener is applied and processed. This means the hair passes through a spectrum of warm tones while lifting - red, to red-orange, to orange, to yellow-orange, to yellow and finally pale yellow. In general, it can be difficult or sometimes too risky to achieve a beige or cool blonde with naturally dark/brunette clients.
- When going through major lightening transitions, you will want use quality, professional salon products to maintain the health of your hair (bonus points if you use a weekly masque/treatment). At the very least, invest in a sulfate free/paraben free shampoo and conditioner. You may also want to incorporate a purple or blue based shampoo and conditioner (which neutralizes yellow or brassy tones) into your cleansing routine. My favorites in the salon for bright blondes are the KEVIN.MURPHY BLONDE.ANGEL.WASH and BLONDE.ANGEL treatment.
- Depending upon your maintenance plan, you may also want to visit the salon routinely for a toner (a semipermanent gloss that adds shine, can neutralize warmth, or add vibrancy back to certain shades of blonde). Check out my article on Why a Toner Makes Your Hair Look Amazing.
- If you have hard water at home, I suggest using the Malibu Blondes Remedy or the Malibu Hard Water Remedy weekly to prevent yellow/brassiness. This 5-minute treatment removes hard water deposits and impurities.
- And last but not least, while going through major lightening transitions, be gentle on your hair with hot tools - such as blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons. Excessive heat can damage your chemically altered hair, as well as oxidize your highlights and turn them yellow/brassy.
And there you have it..! All the essential information you need to know before making a blonde transformation. None of this is meant to deter you from wanting to go lighter - we as stylists take the health of your hair, your monetary investment, and your time seriously - and we want you to be thrilled with the result! Transparency and education is key to ensure both the stylist and client are on the same page.