Blonde comes in so many different shades – so where do you start? We asked an expert about everything you need to know
Thanks to the likes of Sienna, Gwyneth and co, blonde hairstyles never seem to lose their appeal. And whether you’re after Nirvana blonde, honey tones or bright white bleach blonde, there’s a style out there to suit you.
We spoke to Sally Northwood at George Northwood, AKA the genius colourist behind Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s perfectly natural-looking, sunshine hair, and Ellie Goulding’s golden locks, for the low-down on blonde trends.
Below she talks us through the three blonde hair updates you need to know about for 2020, covering everything from exactly what you need to say when in the hairdressers chair to the products that will keep your locks lustrous for longer.
Keep reading for your blonde hairstyles cheat sheet...
Blonde hairstyles: 2020 trends
This is a soft, feminine look that adds youth. It is also great at disguising greys and white hair, but Sally says you have to do it right to avoid potential damage.
'This is a colour trend that works best if your base colour is already mousy or mid-to-light blonde, as bleach damages hair,' she explains. 'So if you have longer hair, consider the damage first as you may need to go shorter to keep it as healthy as possible.'
She also says to ask for a creamy vanilla blonde, not ashy blonde as this could look more ageing, dull and grey. 'Ask for highlights, but it’s crucial not to overlap the colour; two sessions in one day will give the drama.'
Hair care: If you are bleaching already-lightened hair, strengthen strands by using Olaplex, or any bleaching agent that has a built-in bond. Then for aftercare, use a hydrating, sulphate-free shampoo like Pureology Hydrate Colour Care Shampoo, £19.95, Cult Beauty.
To remove any brassiness, use a violet shade of purple shampoo, like Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde Silver Brightening Daily Shampoo, £19.50, Lookfantastic, or Redken Colour Extend Blondage Shampoo, £8, Feelunique, twice a month.
Follow up with a deep conditioning treatment like Kérastase Genesis Masque Reconstituant Hair Mask, £36.40, Lookfantastic, to prevent hair from getting brittle and snapping.
This bright, golden shade has been a no-no in the past for fear of it looking brassy – but this warm hair colour is super-striking and flattering on people with pale skin tones. Those with olive complexions can go slightly more honey in tone.
If you are starting with naturally fair hair, ask for babylights using a high-lift tint instead of bleach. It will have a dramatic effect – though the downside is that the roots will need to be retouched every month.
If you are starting on darker hair, ask for an all-over tint or a back wash smudge that lifts the hair, and baby-fine highlights on top for a sandy, relaxed glow. It needs to be bright and glossy rather than brassy, and the micro-lights will make the blonde look like the real thing.
Hair care: Hair will need hydration and body so use a nourishing shampoo and conditioner like Maui Moisture Thicken and Restore + Bamboo Fiber Conditioner, £7.37, House of Beauty World, along with a conditioning mask, like the L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Masque, £18, Feelunique.
Use twice weekly to keep bright locks lustrous and vibrant for longer, as well as a nourishing hair oil like Kérastase Elixir Ultime L’Original Hair Oil, £43, Feelunique.
And if your roots are coming through quickly, dust through Color WOW Root Cover Up in Blonde, £28.50 at Lookfantastic – it's also available in shade 'Platinum' for lighter blondes.
This sun-streaked blonde look has a sandy root colour and softly transitions into buttery ends. The best bit? It's seriously low maintenance and doesn’t have to be a beachy look – strands can look extra polished with a smooth blowout.
Balayage is a great way to work mousy hair if you want a more natural feel. Leaving some of your natural hair colour exposed will make it look like your hair, but better. Sally says bespoke placement is what you want. 'I always add ribbons of light through the lengths - the secret is the meticulous placement.
'It needs to be light and bright in all the right face-framing places. I always add some of the tips of the hair in foils to get different tones to make the ends pop out. It also gives hair tonnes of depth and dimension.'
Hair care: This look should last you the whole of spring and summer, but if you want to go brighter during the hotter months, you can pop into the salon for a touch up or gloss at six to eight weeks to revive the colour and add shine.
As the roots can be flat due to the no colour, try using a volumising shampoo and conditioner like Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo and Conditioner, £19.50 at John Lewis, which will give hair an all-over boost of body.
Looking for more inspiration? Keep scrolling through for the celebrities who have got blonde hairstyles down to a tee.
Blonde hair and Gwyneth Paltrow is as classic a combination as any – we're not sure what we'd do if she ever went brunette.
Blake Lively is the modern muse for long, blonde tresses that are perfectly styled at all times. The key to long hair looking great is keeping it in tip-top, healthy condition at all times (which of course, Madame Lively's hair always is).
A super short blonde crop is one of the most popular styles in Hollywood of late (Kate Hudson, Cara and Kristen, we're looking at you). Big Little Lies' Zoe Kravitz has the perfect face shape and sharp cheekbones to pull it off.
Margot's platinum blonde locks look superb in this vintage wave – which is no doubt why it's the go-to style for many an A-Lister on the red carpet.
Remember this? Selena's time as a blonde may have been short-lived, but we can't get enough of this lived-in look.
In an undeniable nod to her Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen, for a while Emilia Clarke sported platinum locks – she suits both brown and blonde hairstyles but we do love this look.
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An award-winning health and beauty writer, stylist and creative director, Lisa Oxenham is one of the UK’s top beauty editors and the Beauty and Style Director at Marie Claire UK. With 20 years of editorial experience Lisa is a brand partnership expert, and a popular speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of topics from sustainability to the future of beauty in the digital world. She recently spoke at Cognition X and Beauty Tech Live and is on the Advisory Board for the British Beauty Council’s Sustainable Beauty Coalition.
A well-respected creative director she works on celebrity, model and influencer shoots with the highest calibre of photographers, filmmakers, make-up artists and hairstylists to create timeless images, attention-grabbing videos, digital events and masterclasses. Most recently Lisa has directed covers such as Lily Cole and Jameela Jamil, films such as Save The Arts featuring Francesca Hayward and sustainable fashion shoots such as Be The Change. Supporting the beauty industry over the pandemic has been a top focus, directing the British Beauty Council’s six inspirational short biographical films for their Bring Back Beauty campaign.
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