Okay, so whilst we don’t necessarily agree that blondes have more fun (read our counter-argument here), we will always have a soft spot for a killer blonde hair look. What’s more – there’s a tonne of options to choose from when it comes to shades of blonde hair – from ash to caramel; from platinum to strawberry blonde – the list is pretty much endless.
But, whether you’re a seasoned blonde hair pro, or a relative newbie (in which case, welcome to the gang), knowing which is which – and what exactly to ask for at the salon – isn’t always easy. Spoiler alert: that’s where we come in.
Going blonde can be a big step, and can also be kind of high maintenance (emphasis on*can* be). So, when considering a blonde hair transformation, there are a few things to think about that can better tell you which shade (and colouring method) to go for.
First off (and this might seem obvious) but have a think about your personal preference. Take a look around at some inspo (see below, or there’s always Insta), and think about the kind of look that you really like.
Secondly, you’ll want to think about your natural colour and texture, and whether it’ll be possible to reach that shade you’re after. It’s not always possible for super dark shades to reach the lighter and brighter hues of blonde hair, and it’s certainly not always possible in one sitting. Also, the further the shade is from your natural colour, the more high maintenance it will be, and the more touch-ups you’ll need (depending on the method – more on that below). Make sure to speak to your stylist about this – they’ll be able to give you the best advice on what is and isn’t possible.
It’s also useful to keep in mind that an all-over blonde hair colour is by no means your only option. In fact, there are a tonne of colouring techniques to choose from depending on the result you’re after, how much time you’re willing to spend in the salon chair, and whether you prefer a low-maintenance look. From balayage and ombre to babylights and highlights – these techniques are great for adding dimension and lightness to your hair. Again, speak to your stylist about your needs and they’ll be able to tell you what best suits them. Inspo pics are always handy here.
Finally, make sure you’re au fait with the intricacies of looking after blonde hair (Olaplex and toners will be your new best friends). And that’s it – you’re officially initiated into the cult of blonde hair lovers. Now all that’s left to do is pick your shade, and head to the salon.
By Beth Ryan
1 Honey blonde hair
Honey blonde is a warm, sunny shade that incorporates hues of amber, yellow, gold, and brown – kind of like (you guessed it) honey. Unlike the orange-y, brassy tones that come from a bad dye job or lack of toner (IYKYK), honey blonde hair is filled with ‘intentional warmth’, which gives your look just the right touch of sunshine. Think of the perfect hues of golden hour, and you’ll have an idea of the effect this blonde hair has. Just like honey, there are plenty of hues within the shade, from a more yellow, buttery nectar colour, to darker amber – each as sweet as its namesake. It’s flattering on almost any skin tone, and can be incorporated into balayages, highlights, babylights (and so on). We’re drooling already.
2 Ash blonde hair
On the cooler end of the blonde hair spectrum is ash blonde: a light blonde shade with silvery, grey, and violet undertones. It’s effortlessly cool (in more ways than one) and gives us super smoky and sultry vibes. It’s achieved by bleaching hair and adding a silver-grey tint or toner, and can be maintained using a purple or silver shampoo to keep those brassy tones away (seriously, they’ll be your best friend). Ash blonde hair is also a great way to enhance, disguise, or blend naturally greying hair. Ash blonde can suit anyone, BUT the ashy hue *can* wash you out if it clashes with your skin tone, so it’s really important to get the undertones of your shade right. Make sure you speak to your stylist first about what will suit you best.
3 Strawberry blonde
Halfway between auburn and blonde sits the oh-so-pretty strawberry blonde hair: a warm tone that’s usually achieved by combining copper-y red with golden blonde. Strawberry blonde is one of our all-time fave shades – perfect for those who want to stand out from the crowd a little. It’s also great for natural red-heads who want to lighten up their hair colour – ask for some subtle blonde highlights for the perfect strawberries and cream look. It looks great through all seasons and works on every skin tone – we’re sold.
4 Bronde - brown blonde hair
What do you get when you add brunette and blonde hair together? Bronde, that’s what. It might not look too complex, but bronde hair is actually a pretty technical colour to get right (in other words – don’t try this at home). There’s a few techniques that can be used to achieve bronde hair, including highlights and balayages, as well as lifting the hair to a blonde shade and then toning down after. If you’ve got brown hair and fancy going blonde – bronde hair is a great ‘in-between’ shade to try before going lighter. Bronde hair is also tried, tested, and approved by Hailey Bieber (this very year). Just another reason to love it.
5 Caramel blonde hair
A true blonde hair classic and another of our faves – caramel blonde is luxurious, rich, and effortless. It’s a warm, golden blonde, usually mixed with a darker base – resulting in a natural blonde hair look. It looks great combined with an ombré effect or balayage for a natural sunkissed look that says ‘straight off your hols’, or add in a money piece for a 90s-inspired vibe.
6 Vanilla blonde hair
Vanilla blonde hair is a soft but sparkling bright blonde. It balances some cooler and warmer undertones – with all the intense brightness of platinum, but with the warm goodness of more honey-toned shades. Overall, the colour is super creamy and luxe, and gives us major 90s supermodel vibes. Vanilla blonde hair can vary in warmth, so can look great on any skin tone. With the lightness being akin to platinum blonde, the same haircare rules apply (yep, say hello to Olaplex again.) You may need a different shampoo though, as purple toned ones can add too much coolness and take away from the creamy colour.
7 Shades of blonde: 'dirty blonde'
Aka – mushroom blonde (one of this year’s biggest hair trends) – dirty blonde hair is actually a much prettier colour than the name suggests. Dirty blonde is a dark blonde hair colour with cool undertones, similar to a light, mousy brown. It’s the ultimate blonde hair colour for the lazy-girl, as there’s much less maintenance required than a traditional brighter blonde hair colour. Go for a darker root, as this will mean growth will be less obvious and more blended. Overall the result is super natural and effortless – we’re definitely loving it.