Mask mandates are dwindling, #vaxxedgirlsummer is trending on Instagram and salons are busier than ever before (many of them have waitlists, so think ahead and book now!). And according to the pros, the most requested shade this season is blonde—in its many iterations, though there has been a big push for platinum—which doesn’t surprise me, as blonde screams summertime and is a perfect way to brighten up a post-COVID, “spent too much time indoors last year” look.
“People are just dying to get their hair done, and as soon as the weather warms up, everyone wants to go lighter and brighter,” says Wella Professional’s chief blonding officer and North America brand ambassador Zach Mesquit, who is known as the platinum king in LA. “Lighter hair just feels happier. However, with blonde hair there are so many nuances, so it’s important for people to be educated about what to ask for when they go to the salon.”
A good colorist will be able to tell which shade of blonde will flatter your complexion, but Mesquit says usually people with warmer complexions look better with warmer blonde tones, and cooler blonde hues are better-suited for cooler complexions. One you’ve established the right shade of blonde, the first thing to make sure of is that you’re at the right level of lift, says Mesquit. “This is crucial to make sure blonde hair doesn’t go yellow. The stylist needs to use a lightener that lifts above that yellow stage without breaking the hair. Wella has a BlondorPlex lightener with built-in blonding technology that rebuilds bonds as it lifts to reduce breakage by 97 percent.” The second part of the equation is toning. “Becoming blonde is usually a two-step process of lifting and then toning,” adds Mesquit. “You lift through the phases of red, orange, yellow and pale yellow, and then you use a violet-based toner to neutralize the yellow for a pearly finish.”
Though toner is a necessary salon step, Mesquit says it can fade away after a few weeks, and actually leave the hair more yellow. (They don’t make toners for blondes to use at home because if you’re not a pro, you can really mess up your hair.) To keep blonde hair vibrant and brass-free in between salon visits, it’s best to stock your beauty arsenal with amateur-friendly toning products, like masks and shampoos that won’t jeopardize your colorist’s masterpiece, but rather enhance it.
As a blonde myself, one new product I can’t get enough of is amika’s Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Intense Repair Hair Mask ($42), which tones and repairs in one step. “It uses ultraviolet pigments to counteract the yellowing and brassy effects of hard water and environmental stressors to keep hair cool and bright between salon visits,” says Naeemah LaFond, amika’s global artistic director. “But the best part is that it actually repairs the hydrogen bonds—the most abundant, yet weakest type of bond that makes up hair—with Bond Cure technology. The clinical results show it makes hair more than two times stronger and eight times more conditioned with a 56-percent reduction in breakage.” After washing, massage it through damp hair and let it penetrate for three to five minutes, then rinse well. “It’s important to note that this mask is not meant to be an everyday treatment,” LaFond adds. “Use it once a week or when hair is in need of deep toning and moisture. It’s a salon treatment in a jar, and it makes blonde maintenance easy.”
Another at-home must-have for blondes is botanical-based davines Heart of Glass Sheer Glaze ($32), which is a next-level heat protectant that can be used on natural blondes or those with bleached hair at all levels. “Treated blonde hair is typically more sensitive due to the color process involved, which can leave hair dehydrated and brittle if not cared for properly,” says hairstylist James Abu-Ulba, international davines showcase artist. “So it goes without saying that heat-styling can take a toll without the correct protection in the hair. This is why I am loving the Heart of Glass, and when it comes to styling, my new go to is the Sheer Glaze. It gives me everything my clients and I want in a product for blondes: thermal protection, shine, elasticity and hydration.”
And for shampoo, Mesquit recommends Wella Invigo Blonde Recharge Cool Blonde Purple Shampoo ($16.50), which is great for eliminating brassiness and can really make highlights pop. “It’s the perfect of balance of violet, and you can leave it on your hair for like 15 minutes and it wont turn platinum hair purple, which can happen with some other purple shampoos,” he explains. “And a pro tip to keep in mind: Always wash your hair with lukewarm or cool water—especially in the few weeks following your salon appointment—because hot water opens the cuticle and can essentially wash the toner out.”
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