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Balayage hair
Original photo by Lainey Ngo

A Guide To Your Blondest Dreams

With 2am boredum or feeling inspired by trending hairstyles on social media, I’m sure all of us have considered doing something drastic to our hair. We all say we want “just something different.” However, there are a few things to consider before delving right into new hair so you are leaving the salon refreshed and confident. 

If you have been thinking about change and want to lighten your hair- consider this your ultimate guide for achieving the blondest blonde you desire! With my full experience of going from dark brown hair to blonde, I have curated a list of all the things you should know before you start the process. 

First things first, I highly recommend seeing a professional hair stylist to do your hair service! A salon comes with professional products and trained hair stylists that will help maintain the integrity of your hair and the desired outcome will more likely achievable. 


  • Balayage, full/partial highlight, ombre… What is the difference?

When you sit down in the chair, it is going to be extremely important to communicate what you want and don’t want. Don’t be afraid to speak up for want you want so your hair will not be compromised! There are many types of blonding services to choose from and possibly be confusing. So, what are the differences between all these terms?

A balayage is a technique that will create a soft seamless blend with natural sunkissed highlights to enhance your natural hair color. As your hair grows out, it will have very soft lines and no harsh blends. This is great for girls that desire low maintenance, and you can go about 4 months between services.

Traditional highlights are lightened all the way from the roots to the ends and creates more visible color. Typically, there is an option to do a full highlight or a partial highlight. A full highlight is lightning every section of your hair. A partial highlight is only half of your head, usually the front framing pieces, and be used for subtle brightening. Your roots may not blend in with the highlights as your hair grows, so this may require high maintenance. The suggested time between sessions is recommended every 6-8 weeks. 

An ombre is a melt of colors and tones between the roots and ends. Typically, there will be a darker root color with bright ends. However, there are no rules when it comes to ombre and you can experiment with all types of colors. The maintenance for this style will depend on the colors chosen, however it is mainly low if you are only coloring the ends.  


  • Tones Matter

Your skin tone and hair tone is going to determine what type of blonde looks best on you. There are generally three main tones: ashy, golden, and beige. These are all different shades and will be adjusted to best fit your skin tone. Ashy tones will be more likely recommended to cooler toned skin, as golden will be more likely be recommended to warm toned skin. Beige may be great for neutral toned skin. The tones will be adjusted with a toner or gloss after the lightning process. Something to consider is if your skin tones change during different seasons! 


  • Trust the Process!

Depending on how dark your natural hair is and how light you are trying to achieve, it takes some time. We all want it done within one session, however it can take multiple sessions over a span of a year or more. Going slow and gradually is going to be the best way to help maintain the strength of your hair. 

My personal process took almost 2 years to achieve my brightest and healthiest blonde. No one wants the “brassy” orange and yellow hair, but it was the reality when going dark brown/black hair color to any shades lighter. Maintaining your toner will greatly aid in removing any unwanted shades. 


  • That Morning Hairdo Though….

Your friend may have that always perfect blonde hair when you see them, but have you seen the way it looks in the morning? Or the second, maybe even third day hair? The struggle is real- dry frizzy ends and breakage everywhere. To get great hair, we have to style it in some way either using heat or styling products. But when leaving it the way rolled out of bed, it definitely can look a bit crazy. 

With the dryness and frizziness being said, it is so important to know that it is impossible to achieve brighter hair without some type of damage. When you go lighter, your hair cuticle and pores are jeopardized. This is something to definitely think about. It won’t always look perfect, but you can care for it with products. 


  • Salon Products vs Drugstore Products

When I tell you that investing in salon professional hair products is the key to great hair, I mean it. Financially, you are going to save money because you will be booking less sessions when you maintain the color at home. Also, your hair is going to thank you for keeping it strong and vibrant.  

Drugstore hair products usually contain many chemicals that will strip your hair color and natural oils. This will result in unnourished hair and a higher amount of breakage. The main ingredients to look out for in drugstore hair products are silicone, sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens and more that will damage your hair follicles and lead to destructing your ends

The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds at the salon and not take care of it. There are so many salon products with a vast price range that can find to fit your budget- always ask your stylist for recommendations since they know how to work your hair! Natural and organic products are always going to be a great option. 

Blue/purple shampoo and deep conditioning treatments are going to be your bestfriends during the process! A really good one will will help remove any orange or yellow tones at home and maintain your best blonde without constant trips to the salon. I highly recommend Fanola shampoo and Aveda Damage Remedy conditioning masque. 


  • Lighting and Photography 

There are so many different shades, colors, tones of blonde hair. No blonde was created equal. It makes it even more difficult when pictures will look completely different in person when you are comparing shades. Even in person, the shades may look altered due to differnt light bulbs and whether you are out or in doors. This is highly important to know if you are comparing your hair to pictures or to different people! 

The best way to explain what you want is through pictures, but remember that pictures and videos could be edited or enhanced through filters or photoshop to look better on social media. 


  • Do Your Research 

So now that you know what hair you desire and know the expectations, where do you go? How do you know that you will trust your service provider won’t butcher the job? It is so important to research on the salon or stylist before you get there! There are different type of salons and sometimes your stylist may have their own space in a suite. The cost is going to differ at every single place, so be sure to do your research to plan for proper budgeting. Many salons will post pictures of their work, make sure to view through them!

It is highly recommended to get a consultation at the salons you have in mind. Getting a few opinions from stylists and price quotes will help you decide what you want to do and you can go with the best one you like.


  • Self Love Always 

Change is scary, but somehow always ends up being a good thing. When you are trying to go blonde, it could possibly be a process of trial and error, but that’s okay because it can always be fixed or adjusted. It’s a journey between yourself, your hair, and your stylist. It’s always worth the wait! 

Maybe your mom is rolling her eyes at the thought of you coloring your hair, but always remember that if you love it, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!  Experimenting with our hair is an awesome part of self expression and self love. It is showcasing the person you are in that exact moment when you decided you woke up one day and wanted “just something different.” 

Figuring her way through her 20's through inclusive beauty, lifestyle, and fashion. Loves immersing in new cultures and foods. Empowering and empowered by women.
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