I’ve had several hair colors throughout my life. All through adolescence I was a blondie. As my hair began to get darker when I was a teenager, I got highlights. Deep down, I always wondered what I would look like with darker hair. While I was in Cosmetology School, I couldn’t help but change my hair color multiple times! I went from extremely blonde, then colored the bottom section of my hair a purplish-red hue, then to brunette, then darker brunette, then brunette with highlights, all the way back to blonde again with some ombre in between! Having experienced several different shades, I can honestly say that being blonde is my favorite! Today I want to talk about a few things to consider before going blonde – all the way from highlighting virgin hair to coming back from a dark shade!


The Science:

To begin, one thing you need to understand is no matter what, if you want to be blonde, you will have bleach applied to your hair. I realize this is a scary thought, especially for those who have never done it before. Yes, it is damaging, but you can avoid mass amounts of destruction by going to a colorist experienced in blondes. One question I’ve received several times is, “Can I have blonde hair without bleach? For instance, by using a permanent color instead?”  The answer is, unfortunately, no. Think of it like this – if you have a piece of wood that is already dark, you can’t just put a lighter stain on it and expect it to be that color. Bleach is used to remove the pigment from your hair so it can become lighter. On the flipside, you can’t wash out bleach and expect to return to your natural color. Similar to if you get bleach on a black t-shirt. Washing the t-shirt won’t make the bleach spot go away. While it can be invasive, if you have a good stylist you should see minimal damage. My advice is, if you’re going for a dramatic change, take it slow.

What to expect:

As you become blonder, it is likely that you’ll have a bit more damaged and dry hair. It’s an unfortunate side-effect, but isn’t all that bad if you take it easy and use good products. One effect you won’t be able to change is the texture and volume of your hair after bleach. For instance, my natural hair is pretty wavy and curly in certain spots. As I’ve highlighted my hair, my new blonde pieces tend to lose their curl, and are instead more frizzy than anything. If you have pretty dark hair, you will more than likely experience copper or brassy highlights in the beginning. Your stylist should be applying a toner (or glaze as some call it) to calm down those orange-y hues, and instead turn them into a more natural looking color. A toner is a semi-permanent color applied to wet hair, and will eventually wash out. While all these things seem scary, most blondes will note that they have better volume, and a slightly thicker texture to their hair after highlights. If you have super fine or thin hair, highlights might just be the thing you need for a bit more lift! See, it’s not all bad!



Blonde, I would say, is certainly the most-high maintenance color. You see roots more easily, you’re a bit more encumbered by deep conditioning treatments, and you’ll definitely need to take it easy with heating tools. Blowdrying and flat ironing/ curling, creates twice the amount of heat on already dry hair. Be sure to pick up a few styling products that protect your locks against the heat, or have your stylist show you a few round brushing tricks so you can cut one of them out. It doesn’t hurt to give your hair a break once a week and let it air dry – I call this braid day! I deep condition about once a week, and try to schedule my appointments ahead of time to eliminate those pesky roots!

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I know going blonde can be scary. I’ve done it several times and usually find myself a bit nervous about highlighting. The thing is, if you have a trusted stylist, you’ll be okay. Ask them questions! They know what’s going to be best for your hair, and what route to take in order to get you to the shade you want to be.

And, truthfully, blondes really do have more fun. Even if it’s just a few peek-a-boo highlights!

breann bowman