Kim Kardashian, Michelle Williams and even Jared Leto have all gone Gwen Stefani platinum, and whether or not you like the look, super blonde hair could just be the new grey (Rihanna, Kelly Osbourne and Nicole Richie all tried silver). But before you race to the salon, there are a few things you should know, says L’Oreal Professionnel Colour Ambassador Kelly Betty Toms, who works at Toronto’s Mosaic Salon. If you follow the rules, you could really pull off the look. But without them, you’re looking at a disaster in the making. So, please, follow Toms’ easy rules for going platinum:
Do not DIY
While going from a natural blonde shade to platinum is definitely easier than going from brown or a darker shade, Toms warns against trying it at home. “You absolutely need a consultation so a professional can assess the state of your hair and the necessary process. Also, any overlap of colours or treatments (like keratin treatments) can cause breakage and you won’t know this on your own.” Getting the colour and tone right takes a pro and could also take many, many hours and multiple applications of dye. Toms says that a first appointment will take a minimum of four hours.
Mermaids need not apply
You simply can’t have below-the-bra-strap hair that is bleach-blonde. “Anything below the bra strap is essentially four-year-old hair and likely has previous colour or treatments,” says Toms. So prepare to cut your hair into at least a lob (or long bob) cut before getting bleached.
Your complexion dictates which blonde will work for you
Toms outlines which super blonde shade works for different skin tones:
(Links are for colour reference, only. Remember to seek professional advice before bleaching!)
- Icy/Ashy: Works best on olive or porcelain skin.
- Platinum/White: “This will work for all skin tones but is extremely high-fashion!” says Toms.
- Creamy: “This colour works best with slightly darker skin tones (Gwen Stefani, for example). It would make porcelain skin tones look yellow.”
- Violet, like Lady Gaga’s hair at the 2010 VMAs (minus the blue): “The light pink hue is best for cooler/porcelain skin tones. This slight pink hue makes more yellow skin tones look softer and creamier,” says Toms.
Your hair must be in good condition
The best candidate for platinum colour is someone who’s never coloured or professionally treated their hair before. Next is someone with minimal colouring or damage. Dry, damaged hair will only break — and look even worse — after going blonde. Toms adds that coarse hair (even if it’s naturally coarse) isn’t a good fit for platinum colour.
Platinum blonde must fit your lifestyle
Be ready to stand out in the crowd. “This is a striking, attention-grabbing colour,” says Toms. It’s a high-fashion look and you should be ready to pull out the makeup and clothes to match.
Do you work out a lot or swim regularly? Bleach-blonde might not be for you. Lots of sweating and washing can affect hair colour and can mean more visits to the salon. Chlorine can discolour and damage very processed hair.
Platinum blonde must fit your wallet
Keeping up your super blonde locks will mean very regular — and costly — salon appointments. “Commit to being in [a] salon at least every four weeks. Never more than five weeks,” says Toms.