Ask any blonde and they'll tell you that being fair-haired is hard work. Not all blondes are created equal and the full spectrum spans from Scandi to shortbread with a whole host of honey tones in between. Here's how to choose the right one for you...
The key is to really find out what suits you and what’s achieveable with what you’ve got. Which is why we’ve edited it down to five fail-safe colours to pick from and enlisted Nicola Clarke, Creative Colour Director at John Frieda, to explain exactly what to ask your colourist for.
The Blonde: Sunkissed St Tropez (aka virgin hair that’s been very slowly and gently lifted by the sun)
Best Sported By: Lara Stone
Who It Suits: Mousy types. Those who were little blonde angels in their youth but now have a blonde that looks rather drab and in need of a lift.
Who It Doesn’t: Brunettes. With all the bleach and best wishes in the world, you still won’t be able to lift the hair to this extent to look natural. It’s the hair equivalent to the no-make-up make-up look.
From The Pro: Nicola says, ‘Natural blondes will pick up the light easily. Ask for a full head of highlights all over and refresh the colour every 3-6 months.’
One Product Wonder: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Enhancing Shampoo, £5.59, will keep topping up the blondeness without altering it. Follow with a silicone-free conditioner to keep the hair weightless and natural looking.
The Blonde: California Gold (aka the traditional bright, clean, all-over blonde)
Best Sported By: Gwyneth Paltrow
Who It Suits: Fair skin that tans easily and if you’ve got freckles all the better. Fine hair, blow-dried straight will reflect the light well.
Who It Doesn’t: Anyone with red undertones in their hair because unfortunately will always look brassy and just a little cheap.
From The Pro: Nicola says, ‘Ask for your base to be lightened with a caramel toner for a few minutes to lift natural warmth then a full head of blonde highlights.’
One Product Wonder: Josh Wood Blonde Glossing Mask, £12.50, from Marks & Spencer, is loaded with quinoa protein and shea butter to deeply nourish and retain the vibrancy of the coloured hair.
The Blonde: Clotted Caramel (aka beautifully blended rich toffee tones)
Best Sported By: Blake Lively
Who It Suits: Any length of hair, especially hair that’s thick and has natural waves to it. An easy step to make for darker blondes and redheads.
Who It Doesn’t: Pasty skins with a rosy complexions. The boldness of the colour will clash with any redness and emphasise it.
From The Pro: Nicola says, ‘If your hair is already highlighted, you need to apply a toner all over to warm up the colour. If you’re starting from a darker colour ask for a combination of light and caramel highlights with a gloss finish. Roots will need touching up after six weeks.’
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One Product Wonder: L’Oréal Professional Série Expert Taming Gloss Serum, £14.99. This colour doesn’t work with frizz so make sure you work in a good amount after every wash and learn to be a smooth blow drying expert.
The Blonde: Grunge Kid (aka dirty blonde roots blended into golden mid-lengths and platinum tips)
Best Sported By: Lauren Conrad
Who It Suits: Laidback girls who love their fashion and, actually, damaged hair is good here, because the more matte the texture, the more the style looks roughed up and lived in.
Who It Doesn’t: Anyone who works in an office. Sorry, not great to hear but this is for the young, carefree and creative. Not to be teamed with skirtsuits or taken into the boardroom.
From The Pro: Nicola says, ‘Ask for balayage with additional highlights to add some lighter tones. The great thing about this it that dark roots are part of the look so you can wait 8-12 weeks in between dying your hair.’
One Product Wonder: Trusty tongs for beachy waves to break the locks up and give them movement. Our favourite is the Trevor Sorbie Keratin + Argan Magnetic Multi Wand, £44.99, from Boots. The trick is to leave the ends out when you tong so you get messy waves, not prom curls.
The Blonde: Nordic Ice (aka a creamy platinum shade, so blonde it looks like a unicorn’s mane)
Best Sported By: Devon Windsor
Who It Suits: Weirdly enough, anyone with bold brows and a strong features to balance out the starkness of the colour.
Who It Doesn’t: Sun-tanned skin (Donatella Versace this is not). Also anyone not prepared to maintain it or with a tendency for dry, brittle ends. Hair needs to look healthy to work this look.
From The Pro: Nicola says, ‘This process will take several visits to achieve depending on your starting colour. Ask for bleach from the scalp with no highlights. You would need to use a toner every other wash to ensure the colour remains bright and touch up the roots every 3-6 weeks as they will start to show up after two weeks.’
One Product Wonder: Touch Of Silver Violet Shampoo, £3.09 from Boots. You might have to wrestle a granny for it but it takes all the yellow out and leaves the colour looking crisp.