Sunbeam Blonde: The Low-Maintenance Hair Color that Makes Skin Glow

Sunbeam Blonde: The Low-Maintenance Hair Color that Makes Skin Glow featured image
Edward Berthelot / Getty Images | Image used for illustrative purposes only

It’s official, sunbeam blonde is the hair color trend of the summer. As reported on by Vogue, the hair color has been dominating the runways this season. The color is all about that natural sunlit look we all so covet. And the good news is it doesn’t take weeks in the sun to achieve!

Featured Experts

  • Melissa Dwyer is a colorist for FEKKAI based in New York
  • George Papanikolas is a colorist and Matrix Global Brand Ambassador
  • Lorena M. Valdes is a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago

What Is Sunbeam Blonde?

FEKKAI Colorist, Melissa Dwyer explains that the trend is all about bringing out the brighter side of your hair. “Sunbeam blonde is a mixture of equal parts sweet with a spicy twist. It brings out the hair’s underlying golden tones with brighter sunnier shades of blonde hues throughout,” Dwyer says.

According to colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Lorena M. Valdes, the color has its roots in the west coast. “Sunbeam hair is the new California blonde that everyone can get,” Valdes explains. “It can be done on anyone’s hair but is very popular with anyone who has dark blonde/ashy/mousy hair it can brighten skin without it feeling overly done.”

And that’s good news for us brunettes who want to participate.

Any hair color will gain highlights after spending time in the sun. We don’t want to get this look by way of UV-rays, and a good colorist knows exactly what your hair color would look like with sun highlights. Applying those accent colors is what gives you that sunbeam blonde look without necessarily having to be blonde.

“On black/brown hair it can be cherry brown to caramel highlights,” Valdes says. “Medium brown/dark blonde are highlighted with golden to pale gold. Red can vary from auburn to strawberry blondes.”

“This color instantly makes you feel like you are on a relaxing and well-deserved vacation giving your skin a nice healthy glow and shine,” Dwyer adds.

How to Get the Look

“To keep this look seamless, the highlight should be delicate around the root area while gradually getting thicker and heavier as they move down the hair shaft,” explains colorist and Matrix global brand ambassador George Papanikolas. “Negative space should be left behind the highlights so that the pieces framing the face give a bold pop of blonde color. 

If you’re looking to get a sun-lit glow, you’ll want a ‘balayage,’ a french word that means ‘sweeping.’ A colorist free-hand paints the highlight on the ends of hair for a sun-touched look.

“Sunbeam hair can be done with balayage and face-framing highlights to create a look that is soft but impactful,” Valdes explains. And those golden tones are what gives our skin a glowing look, too.

You’ll also want to invest in a hair-care routine that’s got blondes in mind.

“The FEKKAI Full Blown Volume Shampoo & Conditioner ($25 each) is the holy grail to keep your blonde healthy and shiny,” Dwyer says. “This duo has been a staple for blondes giving the hair 2x more volume and helps strengthen the hair.”

Ultimately, this is a straight-from-the-runway look that’s catching on for its low-maintenance and effortless look. One that you definitely don’t want to achieve through too much time in the sun.

Sun Damage and Hair

Too much time in the sun doesn’t just lead to serious skin problems and the potential to develop skin cancer. It also impacts our hair.

“Sun damage can come in the form of discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning and frizziness,” says Cleveland Health Clinic dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld, MD. “If your hair has prolonged exposure to the sun, UVA and UVB rays can damage the outside cover of the hair strand, called the cuticle.”

Experts recommend using a UV protectant on your hair when you’re out in the sun. Many heat protectants also offer UV protection.

“I would recommend using a leave in conditioner to protect the hair from the sun,” Papanikolas says. “My favorite leave in conditioner is the Matrix Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Hair Treatment ($25). The Multi-tasking treatment offers 20 hair benefits with one of them being UV protection. This will allow you to spend time in the sun without worrying about drying out the hair.”

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