’90s Blonde Is Trending For Summer and It’s Way More Low Maintenance Than You Think

’90s Blonde Is Trending For Summer and It’s Way More Low Maintenance Than You Think featured image
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No matter what hair color you are born with, something about warmer months makes us all want to book an emergency appointment with our colorists or sometimes even reach for the bleach ourselves. 

That being said, no two shades of blonde are exactly the same, and every season, from mushroom blonde to a rooty strawberry blonde, a different one goes viral. This summer, the blonde on everyone’s lips, or roots, harkens back to beauty’s favorite decade: the ’90s. 

Supermodel blonde, or ’90s blonde, conjures up images of some of our favorite beauty icons like Princess Diana and Claudia Schiffer. Their honeyed shades have transcended both decades and color trends. 

“During the warmer months, there’s a preference for a relaxed, low-maintenance blonde shade that feels organic and sun-kissed, reflecting a desire for a more carefree appearance amid weather changes,” explains Rachael Thomas, professional colorist and manager of education and product development at Madison Reed. “The trend includes opting for a golden blonde, whether all over or in strategic pieces, as it is universally flattering and offers an effortlessly chic look with minimal upkeep.”

Read on to find out what our experts said about the ’90s blonde trend, what to tell your colorist to get the exact shade you want, and the top tips for maintaining your color after you leave the salon. 

  • Rachael Thomas is a professional colorist and manager of education and product development at Madison Reed
  • Tracey Cunningham is a celebrity colorist and Redken ambassador

What Is ’90s Blonde?

pamela anderson breasts
Eddie Sanderson / Getty Images

According to Thomas, warmth is still king when it comes to color. “Across the board, we’re seeing a move away from the ashiest-as-possible blonde and into these warm, sparkly blondes and brunettes infused with gold, copper and champagne colors,” she explains. 

Think golden, buttery strands. “90s blonde is not so lightened that all the pigment is removed, so not platinum,” she describes, “Instead, these are blondes that remind us of sunshine and beachy, youthful vibes that were really popular in the ’70s, along with those awesome textured cuts.” 

However, for others, the definition of ’90s blonde can vary.  

For Tracey Cunningham, a celebrity colorist and Redken ambassador, nineties blonde is brighter and bolder. It conjures up images of Pamela Anderson sunning herself on a beach and Cameron Diaz in all her California coolness. 

According to Cunningham, it is no surprise the ’90s are back. “From starting my career in the ’90s, the world of color, especially blonde color products, were evolving, and one could really get and achieve great and healthy results despite using vibrant shades,” she says. 

What to Ask for if You Want ’90s Blonde

cameron diaz 1990s blonde
Mikel Roberts/Sygma via Getty Images

Despite the trend’s popularity on social media, there is no guarantee your hairstylist will be familiar with the terminology, so come prepared to give a deeper explanation of what you want. 

Thomas recommends resisting the urge to go as light as your highlighting service will allow. “The purpose is to have blonde (either all over or highlighted pieces of this color) that still has some natural pigment to it so that it appears as a deep, rich blonde with complex tones,” she says. “Tell your hairdresser you want to be a warm blonde—not ultra-light.”

According to Thomas, ’90s blonde is a colorist’s dream. “Warm blondes are way easier to achieve than icy, cool blondes because your hair already contains this color within it.  It’s really just a matter of not over-lightening it past the point of golden,” she says. 

When all else fails, Cunningham suggests bringing an inspiration photo. This helps eliminate any confusion on the exact shade of blonde you are looking for.

How to Maintain Your Blonde

Claudia Schiffer 1990s blonde
Frank Hempel/United Archives via Getty Images

Blonde is notoriously one of the toughest shades to keep up with. Before going blonde, colorists often stress that this color requires regular salon appointments. Cunningham’s rule of thumb: the lighter the color the more work it takes to maintain. However, when choosing a warmer tone of blonde, the burden of upkeep is lightened. 

“Blonde hair always naturally has some warmth to it,” Thomas explains. “Blondes are most high-maintenance when trying to keep them overly ashy, because it takes constant toning. Embracing some golden warmth means less constant upkeep to cancel out warm tones.”

In order to extend time in between appointments, Thomas suggests using an at-home gloss like the Madison Reed Semi-Permanent Color Reviving Gloss in Prosecco or Miele ($25) to revive faded shades. 

Cunningham also suggests replacing your regular shampoo and conditioners with sulfate-free options. The Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner ($26 each) both maintain and protect your blonde. 

If at-home hair color isn’t your cup of tea, she recommends scheduling an appointment with your colorist for a gloss in between your regular color appointments to keep your color looking as fresh as possible.

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