With summer on the horizon, I can't help but crave a hair change, whether it's a cute cut or a more playful color. And although pretty much anyone can do the former, the latter proves to be a bit more difficult for brunettes and darker-haired girls. Still, that hasn't stopped gals like Vanessa Hudgens and Zoe Kravitz from ditching their darker-hued locks, which means it shouldn't be holding you back either. But before you commit to making the drastic transition, there are a few things you should know. Expert colorist Alex Safdari from the Rita Hazan Salon in NYC (seriously, he's a pro at lightening up strands without making them look unnatural) gave us a handful of pointers to keep in mind when planning out your hair makeover. Here are his seven best tips on how to successfully go blonde.
Do Your Research
Find a colorist based on recommendations. "Ask your friends who have a good blonde. You need to find someone that can do your hair right because if it gets messed up from the beginning, sad to say, it's hard to fix." Be sure to find a salon that's known for their color and come in with all the questions you have about dyeing your hair blonde. Safdari suggests scheduling a consultation with the person who is going to do your color, then, "if you feel comfortable, make the change."
Start Out Slowly
Don't rush. Although Sofdari says that change can be made in one day, it's healthier for your hair to take things slowly. He suggests using a few different techniques to make things look more natural. "I would do foiling and balayage, that way you can get a little bit closer to the face and lighten the ends with an ombre. That way you can transition easier and you don't have to put a lot of damage into your hair all at once."
Set Aside Time and Money
If you are interested in making the change overnight, it is definitely possible. It's just going to take some time and cost you a good chunk of your paycheck. "I think if you're adamant on going for an extreme change in one day, you could just book a couple of appointment times, but it's very doable. If you're willing to sit through and pay for a few hours of bleaching, then you can definitely do it."
Pick a Blonde Shade Based On Your Natural Hair and Skin Color
Picking the right shade of blonde depends on your natural hair color and skin tone. "The darker you are, the more golden and warm tones you'll have. If you're more of a natural dark blonde or light brown, then you should go for more of a cooler, ashier tone." Safdari says you should also keep your skin tone in mind. "If you have porcelain skin, you can take your blonde to a pale yellow, brighter kind of beige-y blonde, but if you're more tan, you might want to go more honey-toned."
Plan On Getting a Haircut After
Dyeing your hair with bleach can cause a lot of damage, so in order to keep your hair as healthy as possible, schedule a haircut following your color. "You always want to cut off your dead ends whenever you bleach them. It prevents the hair from breaking when you get a haircut right away."
Maintenance is Key
Maintaining your beautiful blonde 'do doesn't just mean regular trips to the salon — keeping your hair shiny and healthy starts at home. "When you bleach your hair blonde, you definitely want to take care of it at home with a lot of conditioning treatments. Be careful with [blow]drying because the more heat you put on your hair, the more damage you cause." Safdari suggests finding a good shampoo and conditioner to keep the integrity of the hair. As far as how often you should go back to the salon, Safdari says every 6-8 weeks if you had a base color change and 7-8 weeks if you have blonde highlights.
Don't Be Afraid
The time is now, ladies! "I personally believe that anyone can be any shade of blonde if it's done well. Anyone can be a blonde if it's placed right, if it's an nice blonde, if it's even and if the hair is healthy. Worst case scenario: you can always tone it back."