You’re in the salon day in, day out so it will be no surprise when we tell you that blonde hair is the most popular colour. And, as a hairdresser, it’s your job to help navigate your client to the blonde that will suit them best, because there is a blonde for everyone!
From finding the right blonde for their skin tone and toner tricks to experimenting with crazy-colours and at-home care advice, keep reading for blonde hair 101: it’s everything you need to know to help your clients lighten up!
How do I help my client find their perfect blonde?
Blonde isn’t one size fits all, there are so many hues to choose! So, for starters, you and your client need to get on the same page about what will suit them and what their natural hair can handle.
“No matter what shade, and what’s hot or not, the colour ultimately needs to look right on the client,” says Rosie Binns, Matrix Guest Artist.
When taking a client blonde always have a consultation, “I like to find out about their lifestyle, work and soak up their energy,” says Nigel Kenny, Artistic Educator and founder of Nigel & Co. “For example, if she is the outspoken type, chances are she is going to want a loud blonde. If she is professional teacher, for example, chances are she will keep it classic.”
But above all else, Nigel says skin tone and eye colour are key. “I will always, always put eye colour as a priority.” Try his trick in your salon: “Rest a piece of silver and then gold paper on their shoulders, jewellery removed, clothes guarded and hair completely off their face. The paper will tell me straight away whether she is cool or warm and if I see the eye colour before the hair colour, I’ve found the perfect blonde.”
How do I explain the different types of blonde tones and techniques clearly to my client?
Nigel uses the above as a way to clearly show clients what type of blonde - warm or cool -will suit them. “The tone that works best will make the client’s skin look clear and bright, whilst the one the doesn’t will make their skin tone look quite uneven and sallow,” he says.
When it comes to technique, your client should trust that you’ve got their back. Rather than bog them down with industry lingo, “I just highlight (no pun intended) to my client the key areas I am going to emphasise and explain how passionate I feel about keeping the integrity of the hair together by avoiding taking over processing risks,” notes Nigel.
If your client doesn’t want too much blonde or their hair can’t handle it, Artistic Director for Colour for Matrix, Terry Longden, advises looking to less invasive high lift tints. “The Matrix Ultra Blonde So Colour range uses 30 or 40vol to lift the depth to the natural underlying pigment, which can then be controlled by neutralising tone within the colour. The hair isn’t compromised due the Fortibond ingredient which protects the hair’s integrity.”
How do I break it to a client that the blonde they want won’t suit their hair and skin tone?
“I keep my consultation completely fact-based,” says Nigel. “In general, nowadays a lot of looks are completely opinion based, but if you can physically show your client evidence, like hair wefts or pieces against their face they will pretty soon know the deal and understand what will and won’t suit them. I always say to clients it’s ‘our job is to make people feel good about themselves’ - if they look good, I look good!”
The Blonde Journey: How to build a plan of action for redhead or brunette clients who want to go all-over blonde.
Taking a client who is already blonde or light brunette lighter isn’t so tricky, but sometimes you will get clients come into the salon who are after a complete colour overhaul, which can be a fun challenge!
“It all comes down to how badly they want to be blonde,” notes Nigel. “First, I bring out images of the undercoat journey in human form, we can have a lot of fun going on this journey if they are patient. I keep no secrets, strand tests are a good starting point to determine the speed that the desired look will take,” says Nigel.
“I insist on home care that is going to keep the hair in the best possible condition during the journey and I also make it compulsory that we include Matrix Bond Ultim8 Step 1 and 2, for each lightening sessions.”
The Bond Ultim8 system is proven to reduce breakage by 70% during the chemical hair process and protects the bonds over time. You simply add Matrix Bond Ultim8 Step 1 Amplifier in to lightener or colour and everything else stays the same, even your processing time. Then you seal it with Step 2.
“I give a very realistic calculation of time frame and also what to expect in terms of skin tone and wardrobe changes on that journey. I explain everything beforehand so myself and the client are on the same page from the get go,” adds Nigel.
How can I take a client with grey hair blonde?
To easily disguise greys, clients often look to a blonde transformation, “for the client who doesn’t want to embrace their natural grey hair, first of all determine the percentage of white then focus on the dark in the hair’s natural underlying pigment when lifted,’ says Terry. “So, if someone is 50% white then that is your ‘highlights’, the other 50% of dark when lifted 4-5 levels could be a yellow/orange so a high lift blonde UL-N would be enough to deposit base into the white but control warmth in the lifted dark.
“Otherwise, the higher the percentage of white colour, products like 508Nw or 510G are enough to soften the white hair by depositing missing underlying warmth, giving a natural result with low maintenance.”
How to explain toners, treatments and at-home care to clients?
Some clients can be wary of paying out more money for in-salon toners and at-home haircare. Salon products are often pricier than the ones your clients can pick up during their weekly supermarket run but for good reason!
Nigel explains to his clients that good at-home products are like “taking an insurance policy out on your beautiful blonde. Client’s will respect your wisdom rather than look at it as a sale.”
Often, clients will assume all the work is done in the salon, but to keep blonde hair bright and shiny they need to take care of their strands at home.
“The best way to explain anything to clients is during their consultation,” says Ashleigh, so be sure to talk toners at the start. “When it comes to toners I ask the client what they don’t want their blonde to be like and normally that leads us to toners and getting the right tone of blonde!
“I explain that the toner or gloss gives us the desired tone of blonde we want, it knocks out the yellow, for example. Treatments and home care also come into this, when talking about how we can get that desired look it always comes down to condition, if we don’t have healthy hair nothing is possible. I’ve known so many clients to not take home-care advice and their toner washes out so quickly, so I explain it is a must for keeping their blondes beautiful,” she adds.
What are the best toners to use for blondes?
Toners are hero products. As a colour correction tool, toners have changed the industry forever and can help make you even more of a super colourist!
“With Color Sync, anything from a base 7 upwards becomes your go-to. Once you understand undercoats you can create any finish and neutralise with these formulas,” says Nigel. “The Alkaline toners, in my opinion, have a lot more control over toning as it’s a slightly lower deposit than the Color Sync Sheer Acidic range.
“With the Sheer Acidic range, I personally feel you get the best results for a blonde on a level 9 up, they tend to give you a heavy deposit and a sleeker finish which is very much the trend at the moment. A particular favourite is the Sheer Steel, for best results I prefer to apply to dry hair. As a 5-minute toner they are incredible and can also be used to pre-tone, which is really effective for even pastel fashion shades like champagne or rose.
“Applying anti-yellow beforehand on a yellow base, gives you incredible results, whilst you can use anti-brass for toning balayage.”
Ashleigh Hodges, Matrix Artistic Director UKI, adds, “Colour Sync Acidic Violet is gorgeous for bright blondes, as are the sheer pastels such as SPV or SPGV. The 5 Minute Fast Toners are best for using in colour corrections on the way to getting a bright blonde.”
How can I broach crazy colours with my clients?
Super fun colours are not all the bold, out-there choice they once were, there are subtle pastels and clever placement of colour that makes experimentation less daunting. Colour is a wonderful form of self expression but a lot of clients will dismiss the idea because they don’t know the process and how the colour will fade or wash out. Knowledge is power and could open up a whole new colourful world for your clients!
“I normally ask clients what’s the hair they’ve always dreamed of having?” says Ashleigh. “Most of them say they’ve always wished they had the guts to go creative. So I discuss how we can introduce that part of them into their hair now. It’s about tuning into that inner child, that secret rebellious teenager that always wished they’d done it. I love adding creative toners onto clients' existing balayage service because they feel like they have totally new hair.”
“First and foremost, I explain the fade process and the importance of using the Keep Me Vivid range at home,” says Nigel. “I also chat them through what to expect when we decide the colour has run its course and how, in some situations, it’s not that easy to return to a previous colour.
“Generally, it’s best to allow the colour to fade rather than force it out, but with So Colour Cult, a lot of my clients have made a lifetime choice that this is them, as it makes them feel more alive than any other colour they have worn before.”
So there you have it, have fun taking your client on their journey to blonde and, perhaps, beyond!
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