I’m brunette through and through. I have latino blood and the hair colour to prove it. I’ve long been seeing ‘bronde’ shades taking over the blogosphere however, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I loved the multi-tonal effect, subtle honey hues and it’s ability to work with every skintone and (natural) hair colour. I’ve seen girls with black hair rock it, so I WAS going to too.
Having dabbled with lightening up my hair before though, and finishing up with carrot toned ends, I decided I needed an expert. Namely Victoria Beckham’s colourist (to name just one of his clients), Jason Collier, of the Matthew Curtis Salon at the Rosewood Hotel, London. Whilst painting the colour freehand into my hair (no trace of a tin-foil here), it’s not a colour change I’m going to achieve in one sitting, he tells me. I’ve now been back to the salon twice and I’m slowly going lighter and blonder. Whilst there last week, I quizzed him on how to nail this trend whatever colour you may be, and the products to keep it looking spick and span…
Can any shade of brunette go blonde?
I do think that most shades of brunette can get to blonde, but depending on your darkness, the level of blonde you will achieve varies. It is possible – Kim Kardashian has famously gone from raven hair to platinum and back several times – but it takes a long time, a lot of hard work and a huge amount of maintenance to get the right look. It’s a difficult task and you need to have realistic expectations about the level of blonde your hair can actually reach.
Is there a transitional period?
For a healthy shade of blonde, I definitely believe it should be done as a gradual transition, not an overnight transformation. Taking brunette to blonde should be done in stages to maintain the health of the hair and also to allow you to decide where to stop. Using highlights or Balayage is a great way to gradually lighten the hair over a period of a few months, and if you find a shade on the way that you really love, you can stop there and just maintain that colour instead. But to keep the hair looking healthy, it should be done slowly and carefully.
Are you a fan of bleach blonde with dark features? (eyebrows, eyes)
I know it used to be a faux pas, but I love this look! It’s no longer taboo to dye your hair, and I often think the coolest girls are rocking blonde hair with darker roots and darker eyebrows. It’s a strong look and feels really modern and fresh.
How do you make this look as natural as possible?
I like to use a technique called ‘root stretching’ or ‘root dragging’ to get a blonde colour looking more natural on darker-haired girls. What this means is using the natural colour of the roots, and gradually pulling this colour into the lengths to merge between the natural and the dyed. It looks much more natural and also makes the overall style much lower maintenance, as you can afford to let the roots grow out a little more and get a colour touch-up a little less often.
What colorant do you use?
Brunette hair is the most difficult to take to blonde, so there are a few steps I take to achieve the right colour. First of all, I use a L’Oreal Professionel pre-lightener to strip any existing colour and create a base for the blonde, and then I use the L’Oreal Professionel SmartBond System (which works in a similar way to Olaplex) to strengthen the hair and ensure a gorgeous glossy finish. Depending on the colour we’ve achieved through pre-lightening, I’ll then use a tailor-made blend of L’Oreal Professionel colours to create the blonde. As a final step, if it’s necessary, I’ll use a purple-based toner to take out any yellowish tones and create a beautiful, icy blonde finish.
Should you use a block colour or subtle highlights throughout?
I prefer to use subtle techniques rather than a block colour; depending on the look we’re going for, I like to use either Balayage or highlights to weave the colour through the hair in a natural, sunkissed kind of way. However, if you are going for a really dynamic white-blonde transformation, then a block colour will be the quickest and most dramatic way to do this.
Who perfectly rocks this look in your opinion?
Jennifer Lawrence is a great example of a brunette who pulls off blonde beautifully. She had a really rich, glossy brunette colour when she first came to our attention, and she’s gone to really bright blonde before, but the ashy, soft blonde tone she’s wearing at the moment is really gorgeous and it looks natural on her, which is key for me. It’s multi-tonal, has great depth but still looks really healthy and shiny.
How often should this be maintained?
It varies depending on what you’ve opted for – highlights/Balayage or a block colour. Block colour will need a root refresh every few weeks, especially if you’ve gone for a really icy platinum tone. Highlights generally need a touch-up after six-eight weeks to keep them looking fresh, and Balayage or a root drag can wait around eight-ten weeks. The longer you can leave it, the less stress to your hair, but of course it should still look great!
How can you make this ‘bronde’ look work for Winter?
Bronde has been such a huge trend, and I think part of its appeal is that is quite a transitional shade; in fashion, brunette is traditionally a winter colour and blonde is summery, but bronde merges the boundaries between the two. It’s a warm, luxurious colour that gives real depth and fire to your winter style.
What products best maintain the colour?
First of all, I would say you should wash your hair less often if it’s been bleached or coloured, and you should steer clear of any clarifying shampoos as they will strip the colour. And conditioning is a must – use a deep-conditioning mask or treatment once a week and use a colour-specific conditioner to keep the hair nourished. Toning shampoos are a must to reduce brassiness, and you can also look into in-shower glossing treatments every few weeks to keep the colour looking healthy and shiny.
How do you get rid of brassiness? (orange tones)
Brassiness is managed by using a toning shampoo – this is essential whatever shade of blonde you’re going. A silver or purple shampoo used every other time you wash will minimise any brassy, yellow tones and will keep the colour looking bright, ashy and fresh. Sachajuan have a great silver shampoo that really helps to keep the tone looking lovely – this is a must-have whatever kind of blonde you’re looking to go.
How do you like to style this look?
With the Balayage kind of bronde that I’ve created for you, I think loose, soft waves are the perfect style to show off the colour. The waves help the blonde sections to catch the light and it adds so much movement to the hair that it allows the colour to almost shimmer. Plus, it’s very on-trend and quick and simple to do.
Best styling tool in your kit?
I’m really loving using Toni & Guy’s Glamour Jumbo Tong at the moment; it’s a really wide-barrelled tong that allows me to create beautiful bohemian waves in seconds. It’s a look that flatters everyone and this tong makes it so simple to do.
Your top styling products…
For volume, I love Redken’s Thickening Lotion, and for conditioning the bleached hair, Kiehls’ Deeply Restorative Smoothing Hair Oil Concentrate is brilliant at smoothing the ends, reducing frizz and leaving the hair looking health and glossy.
If you could do anything with MY hair, what would it be?
Wow! Well of course I love your current colour, so I would definitely keep the bronde as it suits your skin tone so well, but if I were given free rein I’d love to look at a longer-length lob for you. Thicker hair struggles with shorter styles generally, but I think a choppy, collarbone-length lob would look incredibly chic and very on-trend. That way you could still be versatile in your style, wearing it wavy or straight, but it would be a very modern look on you – and would of course keep that bronde Balayage looking edgy!
PS watch this space for more photos to follow!