How to keep your blond blond this summer
In the popular imagination, summer is almost synonymous with blond hair. Makes sense, since the sun naturally brightens strands…and if it doesn’t get your hair quite as light as you want, well, that’s what salons are for.
On that note: When it comes to going blond, less is more, says Tabitha Dueñas, a master colorist at Nine Zero One Salon in West Hollywood, California. That means getting more partial, face-framing highlights (as opposed to full) and refraining from coloring every square inch of your hair. “Let your natural color play a part and give you dimension,” she advises.
Once you’ve achieved your dream blond, you’ll need to take care of it—especially during the hotter months, when the elements conspire to make light hair brassy or even green (thanks a lot, chlorine in pools). With a little attention, though, your color will stay true, whether that’s golden, icy, or somewhere in between. Here, a few useful tools that can improve any blonde’s regimen.
Summer means plenty of time in the sun and water—either of which can mess with your color. Prevention is key. Dueñas recommends using a leave-in conditioner with UV protection, like Unite 7Seconds, to shield strands from the sun's rays. And if you're going for a dip? "Protect your color from salt and chlorine by getting hair wet before [diving in] and rinsing immediately after exposure," she says.
Sun and fresh air can cause your hair color to oxidize and fade, leaving you with brassy, overly warm tones. Counteract them with a purple toning shampoo and/or conditioner. The violet pigments within will cancel out any orange hue, restoring your blond to its proper place. Dueñas swears by Unite Blonda shampoo for "brondes" and brunettes. "Wash and rinse for subtle results," she says. "Or to get stronger toning results, drench hair in shampoo, do not lathe, and let soak for five minutes." For a drugstore option, try Kristin Ess The One Purple Shampoo. Either way, you'll be looking cooler in no time.
Or maybe you're a control freak when it comes to color maintenance. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) These toning drops allow you to choose exactly how much purple you want to use to fight brassiness. Add a few to your styling product of choice and you're done.
The same color-balancing concept applies to silvery blond and platinum hair, too. If purple-tinted treatments have left you looking lilac, consider a formula designed for gray or white hair. Oribe's Silverati shampoo uses blue and silver pigments to brighten and restore your desired color to sterling perfection—with no risk of leaning lavender. Another option: the classic Clairol Shimmer Lights shampoo and conditioner, which removes any yellowish cast from strands.
Sun-In, but make it chic. Superstar stylist Jen Atkin developed this sun-activated spray-on lightening spray, and it just might give you the perfect sun-kissed highlights. Spray it on damp hair, style as usual, and see brighter, lighter hair. (FYI: Blondes will go a shade or two brighter, while darker tones will become more bronze.)
This weekly home hair treatment isn't just for blondes–it works wonders on any type of chemically treated, brittle, or otherwise compromised strands. (But boy, does it work wonders on blond hair!) One of RHW's go-to products, Olaplex creates smoother, shinier, stronger locks by repairing broken hair bonds. Basically, if your hair is dry or in danger of breaking, you need this. Now.
Color photograph: Aleksandra Kovac. Black and white photograph: Yoann Boyer.