How to dye your hair blonde, according to a celebrity stylist
Whether you’re a natural blonde, a bleached blonde, a highlighted blonde, or just a wannabe blonde, you’ll understand this: Keeping blonde hair healthy takes hard work. Especially if you dye your hair lighter regularly, the chemicals used to strip the strands of their pigment can too often lead to dry, dull, and straw-like texture that is less than luxe. How you care for and treat blonde hair directly affects how shiny, sleek, and healthy it will look, not to mention how long your color will last. And since dying your hair blonde can get pricey fast, we’re all about making sure it looks its best, even between salon visits.
In an effort to demystify the key to keeping blonde hair healthy, we tapped celebrity stylist and blonde expert Justin Anderson (who is also starring on his BFF Kristin Cavallari’s show, Very Cavallari which airs on Thursday nights on E! right now) to tell us his top blonde tips. With clients like Margot Robbie, Miley Cyrus, Brie Larson, and Hailey Bieber (plus Kristin, of course), Anderson is a pro at not only making hair blonde, but keeping it that way.
He’s passionate about hair health and color longevity, so you know he means business when it comes to maintaining bright blondes in the best possible way.
Here are Anderson’s top tips for dying hair blonde, and keeping it healthy.
How to dye your hair blonde:
1Consult your stylist.
First things first: Every single time you sit in the salon chair to freshen up your color, you should talk to your stylist.
And just because you want to go blonder doesn’t mean you should book that full head of highlights. Instead, Anderson says to consult your stylist about strategically placing a few brighter pieces around the face or at the ends for a more natural, sunlit look.
“A mistake that a lot of hairdressers make is when a client asks for blonder hair they just put a ton of highlights in,” he says. “What then ends up happening is the whole color becomes muted because there’s not a lot of contrast in there. Contrast is key when it comes to blondes.”
Listen, we all want celeb-status blonde locks. But it’s important to be realistic about what your own hair can achieve when it comes to dying it blonde. If you have really dark hair, it may take more than one coloring session to lighten it up. It may also be safer to do so gradually.
While Anderson says it’s great to come into the salon with an Instagram picture for inspo, he also says that hair is not a one-size-fits-all situation. So, what may work for someone else, may not have the same result on you.
3Consider the maintenance and upkeep.
A super bright, bleached blonde that starts at your roots is going to take a lot of upkeep. Think: deep conditioning, regular trips to the salon for touch-ups, etc.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to go blonde, try a more rooted blonde à la Margot Robbie. “It’s a more modern look to keep a little bit of depth at the root,” says Anderson, who prefers using this approach on many of his celeb clients.
The goal is to make sure the grow-out still looks intentional after about four weeks post-salon visit. By keeping things soft at the root, you can cut down on color touch-ups and ease into the blonde life.
How to take care of blonde hair:
1Use a purple shampoo.
Wondering how to keep blonde hair from going brassy? Purple shampoo is your best friend. Anderson recommends looking for a shampoo with a deep purple pigment (not a light lavender), because this will counteract those oxidized, yellow-y tones.
“It’s a bummer, but in a lot of places (like LA and NY in particular), there’s a lot of minerals in the water, which puts a buildup on your hair,” he explains. “Chlorine, which is also found in water, can strip out any glosses that are done at the salon, too, so unless you have a heavy- duty filter on your shower, your blonde is just going to naturally turn yellow over time.”
To keep your tresses silvery and lustrous, use the purple shampoo once a week (no more, please!) to cut out the brassiness and extend your color’s life.
2Add back oil.
“When you dye your hair blonde, you’re pulling all the pigment out of it to make it brighter,” explains Anderson. “This ends up naturally drying the hair out and pulls out the natural oil as well.”
Because of this, one key tip to keeping blonde hair healthy is replenishing it with a quality oil. This will rehydrate the strands and make them less susceptible to breakage and damage. We know some people freak out about the idea of using a hair oil because they think it will weight the hair down or make it look greasy, but fear not, there are plenty of lightweight options out there that will do the trick. Simply take a drop or two and run it through the end of the hair to soak it all up.
3Use gentle tools.
We hate to break it to you, but flatirons are “the devil” when it comes to styling blonde hair, according to Anderson. Bleached hair by nature is going to be drier and more fragile, so you don’t need to double up on heat, which can cause the hair follicle to snap.
In the same vain, Anderson suggests staying away from any type of metal brush, since these will retain heat and add excess stress to the strands. Instead, he advises that people with blonde hair use tools that are more gentle, and won’t pull or stress the scalp or strands.
This includes investing in a quality boar bristle brush. Considered one of the golden standards in gentle, yet effective styling tools, boar bristles don’t typically stretch or fracture hair. They’re known to redistribute the scalp’s natural oils, tame frizz, and softly detangle.
Shop it! $28, amazon.com.
4Go in for regular trims.
Last but not least, don’t forget to visit your stylist for regular trims. Bleached hair is more vulnerable to breakage and damage, so even something as simple as trimming the ends can help mitigate that breakage from making its way farther up the hair shaft.
“I lightly dust the ends of all my clients who come in for blonde hair color,” says Anderson. “It’s important because when hair has a jagged end, it can get caught in a round brush or whatever you’re stying with and actually pull the hair and create more severe breakage. A clean end allows a clean line to pull through the hair when styling.”