A blonde hair style can range from light platinum to darker shades of ash or golden blonde, even a rose/gold hue.Choosing a tone that will enhance your natural complexion can be tricky if you’re confused by the nuances of color.
This page provides photos and descriptions of different blonde shades to help you narrow down what color will be best for you. Hair coloring is a science. It’s complicated, yes. Not so complicated that it can’t be figured out.
But if you’re flying by the seat of your pants, with little or no related technical knowledge, it’ll show in your results. If you’ve had trouble getting a nice result when lightening your hair, read the tips here and on the recommended pages for more detail.
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Blonde hair color tends to change tones gradually after the initial color process. Minerals from water, products containing alcohol and fade due to shampooing/cleansing all contribute to the shift in tones. Using a pigmented shampoo and/or conditioner will help maintain the original tone of your color, whether the purpose is to enrich a dark, warm blonde or neutralize unwanted brassy tones.
When not using a color depositing product, make sure your shampoo and conditioner are safe for colored hair. Some cleansers are too harsh, scrubbing your precious pigments right out of the hair shaft! A non-lathering cleanser like DevaCurl No Poo is a great option. It maintains the shine and luster of your color by adding moisture and gently cleansing.
Aveda Camomile Conditioner deposits sunny yellow pigments onto the hair which brightens up tones ranging from light blonde to copper.
Use it together with one of the other color conditioners to enhance deeper neutral or warm dark blondes. It also works wonderfully for ridding hair of green/grey tones left by over-toning.
Aveda Blue Malva Conditioner deposits blueish pigments which will neutralize the orange tones that result in brassy color. On lighter hair, this conditioner will keep a platinum blonde bright and icy.
For minimal toning, apply to damp hair and leave a minute or two before rinsing. For deeper toning, allow more time for the color to deposit… up to 30 minutes. This is often necessary to banish a stubborn brassy orange.
Aveda Clove Conditioner enhances the depth and richness of warm brown tones. Can be mixed with the Chamomile conditioner, shown in the other tabs, to customize for your specific color.
If you have a medium to dark blonde shade that you’d like to prevent from fading or dulling, this is the ticket!
FOR BEST RESULTS
Do you color your own hair? If so, you know that achieving the blonde hair style you want can be difficult. The color you see on the box is NOT necessarily the color you’ll end up with.
Blonde is probably the most frequently messed up hair color. We’ve all seen plenty of amateur blondes with brassy roots and frazzled, white, over-processed ends. Getting a natural looking blonde hair color is tricky. Most people’s hair has a lot of yellow-orange underlying pigment. To achieve a very light blonde, the hair MUST be lightened to the pale yellow stage. That often requires bleaching, then applying toner to deposit the desired tone (i.e., ash, beige, or golden).
Keeping a consistent tone from the roots to the ends is also tricky. That’s why so many people are walking around with ‘hot roots’ (bright, brassy blonde near the scalp).
CHOOSING A SHADE
‘Platinum’ is considered the equivalent of white, without pigments, not even a trace of the lightest yellow. Off the color spectrum entirely. (Level 10 — this could actually be considered level 11 or 12, but the traditional color level system only goes to 10, so we’ll stick with that.)
This shade can only be achieved by bleaching and toning the hair. It’s best for shorter hair styles because of the damage bleaching hair to this degree causes. The ends of long hair have been around, exposed to the elements for at least a year or two. They’d look awful after being so severely bleached. So if you do have longer hair, and you decide to go platinum blonde, be prepared for the possibility of a drastic haircut being required afterwards. Fortifying beforehand with protein and moisture hair treatments can help alleviate some of the damage.
This shade works very well with a warm skin tone. Gold tones are always better when they lean toward the neutral end of the spectrum. Too much gold can look brassy and artificial. When choosing a hair color (if you’re doing it yourself) ALWAYS take into account your underlying pigment. If you choose a golden blonde off the shelf and apply it to your hair with an orange-yellow underlying pigment, you’ll end up with a VERY bright, brassy gold color.
Warm caramel blondes (which are basically dark golden) work well for natural brunettes, especially around the face where the lighter caramel shades will draw attention to the eyes. For very fair skin, a touch of gold in your blonde hair style can help to warm up your skin tone.
Ash tones are considered ‘cool’ and contain more blue pigments than other shades of blonde. This shade works best on those with a cool skin tone (usually blue eyes and pinkish complexion).
These tones are great for those who have a reddish complexion as the cool hues will help neutralize the redness. Ash blonde can be difficult to achieve because of the strong yellow/orange pigments present in hair when you lift natural hair colors to lighten.
Right in the middle of the color spectrum, between warm and cool tones, there are neutrals. With equal parts of the three primary pigments (red, yellow, and blue), shades of neutral are understated and the most natural looking of all artificial hair colors.
Olive skin tones benefit from a more neutral shade of blonde, nothing too warm (golden).
Neutral tones can be difficult to maintain because of the changes in artificial pigments as they’re exposed to the elements (sun) and cleansing products over time. This is where a pigmented shampoo and conditioner can help. See the ‘Maintenance’ section on this page (above) for details.
The lightest of red hair colors, strawberry blonde has just a bit of red pigment added to a blonde’s typical yellow, resulting in an orange tone. This shade is good on most skin tones, except olive, and can really liven up a pale complexion by adding warmth.