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How to Find Your Perfect Blonde Hair Colour Once and For All

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Jul 112019
By Amy Lawrenson
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We’ve called on Matrix colour experts to reveal everything you need to know about going blonde before you even step inside the salon.

Blonde is so hot right now… Did you know it’s officially the nation’s most requested hair colour with 47% of us wanting to lighten up?. But, this year, going blonde isn’t a one size fits all look, “we’re seeing pure diversity in blondes this year,” says Ashleigh Hodges, Matrix Artistic Director UKI. “Gone are the days of just cool, cool, cool. Balanced blondes and more tonal blondes are back.”

The secret to going blonde with ease is to find the colour that suits you, because there is a blonde for everyone… honest! Blonde can be seriously high maintenance so it makes sense to find a look that works with your lifestyle—love being in the salon and want to be seriously blonde? Then an all-over peroxide could be for you. Time-poor? Subtle balayage might be more your thing.

Below we’ve called on Matrix colour experts to reveal everything you need to know about going blonde before you even step inside the salon.

Will blonde suit me?

Blonde is so versatile that everyone can try it. “Even if it's just a few highlights around your face,” says Matrix Artist Ria Kulik. “It's also about finding the right tone or shade for you with advice from your colourist.”

Finding the right blonde starts with your skin tone. If you have a cool complexion then icy platinum and ash tones will look fab on you, but if your complexion is warm complexion then golden blonde will be the perfect match. Neutral? Then you’re lucky because, like a Love Island contestant, you can flit from cool to warm!

During the consultation with your hairdresser, chat through the end result and how much money and time you want to spend on your hair. This will help your colourist to guide you to the perfect blonde for you.

“For the natural brunette or dark box colour client, who wants to start the salon journey of going lighter, gold, caramel, toffee, mocha and rose tones are the best stepping stones,” notes Matrix’s Artistic Director for Colour, Terry Longden. “If you have fair hair there are now a multitude of natural ash, silver, violet, cooling tones to choose from that will give the look of newborn baby blonde to ice-white platinum blonde,” he adds.

Natural redheads are lucky and can usually go brunette or blonde. “Just avoid the cool ashy tones as they are hard to maintain and can clash against the natural red base making the hair appear khaki,” says Terry. 

Highlights, balayage or all-over blonde?

“Choosing your technique and placement for being blonde depends on the level of maintenance you are willing to put in, as well as your budget for salon appointments and aftercare,” explains Terry. The salon menu can be daunting, so we asked Terry to break it down for you…

  • Blonde Highlights:
    A high maintenance blonde. Even if you’re naturally fair it you can look like you have dark roots after a couple of weeks.
    Service: ££. Upkeep ££.

  • Blonde Balayage:
    Super low maintenance because the multi-tonal highlights are placed away from the root with no harsh lines. You can get away with popping to your salon for a top-up toner between colour appointments to keep your balayage looking fresh. This is usually higher on initial cost, as you can be in the chair for up to five hours, but it can last 3-6 months before a top-up is needed. 
    Service: £££ for initial appointment. Upkeep £.

  • Full Head Scalp Blonde:
    The highest maintenance look! Especially if you hate it when your roots show, but low maintenance if you like the lived-in look. Either way, you need regular re-toner visits and professional haircare is a must.
    Service: £££. Upkeep: £££.

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Do I need to prep my hair to go blonde?

When going blonde, a consultation is key. You should have a patch test and sometimes your colourist will want to run a strand test, too. It’s a bit of a faff but it’s so important! This is where a strand of your hair is dyed to ensure it can withstand the lightening process because the last thing you want is frazzled, broken ends.

Some hair can be quite weak, especially if it has been processed with colour a lot in the past, so you may need to prep your hair to bolster it before going blonde. “A bond protector such as Bond Ultim8 Step 3 Fiber Protecting System Sealing Treatment, which is an at-home treatment can strengthen your strands,” says Terry. 

Start with strong, healthy hair and you’ll get a great end result.

Do you have to use bleach to go blonde?

The short answer is no! Bleach isn’t always needed to turn you blonde but it is seriously effective. “Bleach travels deeper into the hair removing natural and unnatural pigments leaving a raw canvas. This is then toned to get you to the end result you desire. This is the best option when a client has had a history of colour or they want to reach an ultra light, cool-toned blonde,” explains Terry.

“There is also high lift tint, which is kinder to your hair and causes less damage. But it can, in some cases, be just as powerful as bleach,” says Ria. “It all depends on your natural hair colour and how much warmth is in your hair.”

How can brunettes and redheads go blonde? How about grey hair?

Essentially, everyone can go blonde! If you’re brunette look to darker blonde or multi-tonal highlights, which look natural and won’t require as much upkeep. Redheads look beautiful with warmer strawberry blonde tones scattered through.

Greys are easier to disguise if you go blonde. "An all-over blonde helps keep your hair looking young,” says Ria. Depending on how grey your hair is, your colourist will likely use a combination of bleach, high lift tint and toners to take your hair blonde, you’ll then need to book in for root touch-ups and toning every 6-8 weeks.

Can I go blonde in one session?

“Most clients can go blonde in one session,” says Terry, “but if you have dyed you hair a lot in the past, a ‘blonde journey’ may be the way forward.”

This is why a consultation is key before going blonde. “Working with your colourist and understanding the steps to going lighter is a conversation to be had so you know what to expect and how many visits it may take to get to where you want to be,” notes Ria.

Do I need a toner or treatment in-salon?

“Absolutely, yes! Toners are a must in my eyes, they ensure you get the desired blonde hues into the hair that suit your skin tone,” says Ria. Essentially if your blonde hair is left untoned, it won’t look as glossy or expensive. Enough said.

And while you may well look to save money by swerving an in-salon treatment at the back wash, according to Terry, “treatments address the lack of moisture that the blonding process can cause.”

Matrix now has the Bond Ultim8 treatment, which allows colourists to push the boundaries of the colour process or change up your hair colour more regularly. “It works on the inside of you hair whist the colour is processing to help with the result of the colour and keep your hair strong and in the best condition it can be,” explains Ria. So it’s well worth asking your Matrix colourist about this in-salon treatment.

How do I look after my blonde at home?

When looking after blonde hair at home you need to focus on hydration and shine—the last thing you want is for your blonde hair to give people scarecrow vibes.

“To keep the dryness at bay, a conditioner especially targeted to blondes like Matrix Total Results So Long Damage will help to lock in essential lipids and smooth the cuticles for a high shine finish,” says Terry.

If you opt for the Matrix Bond Ultim8 in salon, you can use the Step 3 Fiber Protecting System Sealing Treatment at home to keep your newly blonde hair strong. Otherwise, the Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond system will keep the hair feeling just like new.

How can I avoid my blonde turning dull or brassy?

It’s inevitable, blondes do go dull over time. So grab yourself a toning shampoo like the violet-hued Matrix Total Results So Silver Color Obsessed. “It will brighten up your blonde and keep your hair looking fresher for longer,” explains Ria, “I love this product!”

If you are dealing with stubborn warm tones then look to Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo to keep your hair looking cool. “With its heavy blue/violet pigment it will control any orange or yellow tones in the hair. For an extra boost of tone, double down and leave it in the hair for 10 minutes before rinsing and conditioning.”

Using heated tools can also turn blonde hair brassy (who knew?), so chill out and avoid using heat higher than 150 degrees to prevent the pigments in the hair from oxidising and turning brassy. “Use heat protection products like Matrix Totals Results Brass Off Blonde Threesome or Matrix Totals Results Keep Me Vivid Color Velvetizer,” adds Terry.

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Can I add crazy colours to my blonde hair at in-salon or at home?

If you experiment with rainbow hues blondes really can have more fun. “You can go pastel just for a festival weekend,” says Ashleigh Hodges, Matrix Artistic Director UKI. “Try playing with different toners. I say have fun with your blonde.”

If you’re new or nervous of colour experimentation try it in salon. “Playing with the Matrix Color Sync Watercolors range gives you a low-commitment hit of colour,” says Terry. Want something more vivid and long-lasting? “Matrix So Color Cult Vibrant Hair Color with its deep condition feel and true-to -one fade should be your go-to.”

See, there really is a blonde for everyone!

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