It’s no coincidence that the coolest girls on the planet share the same icy blonde hair colour right now. Celebs like Karlie Kloss, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence have all dyed their hair white blonde— and it looks amazing. The pale, cool-toned colour has quickly proven to be the coolest hair trend of the season.
Celebrity hairstylist and Nexxus creative director Kevin Mancuso says the trend is an ode to strong but simple grunge hairstyles from the ’90s and golden blonde hippie hair from the ’70s. “You almost imagine someone running through a field and their hair matches with the wheat that they’re running through.” But unlike the golden tones of wheat, this season’s blonde has hints of edgy silver that glimmer in the sun, a la GoT’s Daenerys.
Even though the bleaching process required to achieve this season’s coveted white blonde can leave anyone’s hair in bad shape, people aren’t holding back, says Mancuso. “Even if they end up shaving their head afterwards, they’re gonna do it.” But luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case; there are ways to prevent damage and even bring damaged hair back to health. If you simply can’t resist the urge to go white blonde from dark hair, here are some tips on how to maintain luscious, healthy strands when you do.
The Bleaching Process
The healthiest way to go white blonde is to lighten your tresses is over a number of sessions; depending on your hair colour, this can take up to a year to go platinum (the healthier way). But if you’re short on time and can’t wait to sport the colour, there’s a quicker fix. Kim Kardashian told InStyle she turned her dark hair icy blonde after spending 17 hours in a salon chair. It took a week of wearing yellow hair followed by two salon sittings — the first took 12 hours and the second took five — to transform her tresses from dark to platinum.
If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it can be — if you go with the wrong colourist. If you’re in the wrong chair your hair can start to feel more like “wet noodles” than hair. Mancuso says this is because some colourists use higher than recommended levels of bleach to speed up the bleaching process. He recommends bleaching in stages and using a deep conditioning treatment between sessions to prevent hair breakage and damage. It’s a process that’s definitely best left to the pros. But remember to do your research beforehand, go to a trusted colourist and always go for a consult first, so you’re in good hands.
White blonde hair calls for extra gentle care. Taking a second to finger-comb your strands from the ends up before and after showering can prevent your hair from becoming tangled or matted. Mancuso recommends using a deep treatment such as the Nexxus Emergencée Reconstructing Treatment ($12.99) weekly in the shower to strengthen your white blonde locks and restore them to their most “virgin look and feel” (FYI, this is the treatment Kim K used after dyeing her hair white blonde recently). Look for super hydrating shampoos and conditioners to rejuvenate your fragile strands, and at any cost avoid, aggressive, stripping shampoos (i.e. shampoos for medicated scalp conditions).
Mancuso says to think of your white blonde hair as if it were precious fabric, “You wouldn’t carelessly twist and pull on your hand-dyed silk or cashmere.” To help prevent hair breakage, blow dry your hair on low heat using a gentle brush with flexible bristles like the Verb Detangling Brush ($18). Heat styling tools aren’t completely off the table, but you’ll need to move fast with curlers and straightening irons, and never (ever!) use them on damp or wet hair. If there’s anything you can do to reduce damage, it’s to avoid going over your fragile strands more than once with hot tools, because crushed and burnt hair is never a good look.
If you’re going platinum and plan to stay that way for a while, you and your colourist will be on a first-name basis in no time. Mancuso says you can visit the salon as frequently as every three weeks to get your roots retouched, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If your hair colour is naturally dark, you’ll be tempted to make this visit a lot sooner because your roots will start showing within days of your first appointment. This isn’t the best idea though; going in for touch-ups too soon can do more harm than good. It’s harder for colourists to lighten shorter roots and the overlapping of bleach on your hair can leave your strands worse than when you came in. Ideally, if you can go in for a touch-up every four to six weeks you’re golden (literally).
Keeping It Bright
Maintaining the colour and vibrancy of white blonde is no easy feat. To keep your colour looking its best, applying toner between touch-ups is the best option. But if you’re not looking to spend any more money on this pricey, high-maintenance ‘do, there are other things you can do. For starters, keeping your hair in healthy shape is the best way to preserve your hair colour, says Mancuso. You’ve heard this next one again and again, but it stands true: wash your hair less often (think of dry shampoo as your new go-to). And when you do wash your hair, use a light purple shampoo like Drybar Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo ($34) to add depth and tone your hair (also check out “The Best Purple Shampoos For Your Shade Of Blonde“). Finally, Mancuso says to keep away from coloured conditioners, staining oil treatments and natural or dyed oils to avoid discolouring your blonde hair — because you didn’t go through all that trouble to go golden blonde.