Has the cool factor gone too far? “I think we’ve taken the silver ash blonde trend to the point that over-toned hair with tinted shampoo and conditioner is a recognizable colour,” says Crystal Brown, a L’Oréal Professional colour ambassador and technical director at Ricci Hair Co. in Edmonton, Alta. Looking forward to Spring/Summer 2020, Brown says there’s a strong prediction of gold being an “it colour” and so it makes sense that we may start seeing richer blondes this year.
“Clients sometimes don’t realize it, but icy blondes are actually darker than a sunny blonde, which can make their complexion sallow,” explains Roch Lemay, an international educator for Davines and master colourist at Pure Salon in Montreal. “These new buttery blondes are much more luminous and create a softer skin tone.”
To achieve a beautiful and luminous blonde, hair lightener is your bestie. “It really is the lightening process that’s going to create the base for that rich buttery blonde,” says Lemay. But you need to make sure you’re lightening hair to a level 10 slowly, using a 20-volume developer, and letting it work its magic for 30 to 40 minutes. “If you go faster you’re going to burn the oxygen too quickly, which will make the colour have an orange pigment and will ultimately burn the hair,” he cautions.
“With all good blondes, these shades are best achieved when you’re working with multi-tones,” reminds Brown. “Typically, this means a base shade with lighter and brighter highlights when all-over colour is required or when working with someone’s natural base, it means adding highlights or balayage.”
The Right Tone
“We shouldn’t talk about toning without remembering to first talk about lightening,” says Brown. There is a big difference between lightening enough to produce a shimmering white-gold blonde, and lightening to just undercoat yellow and trying to tone that. “Your visual cue is to lighten hair enough so that it looks like the inside of a banana. Not lightening far enough will leave you and your client unhappy with hair that has too many yellow undertones.” Lemay agrees and adds that to create warmer blondes you’ll need to “move away from anything that’s too ashy or icy.”
“Warm beige toners are also a great choice,” says Brown. “Something that’s a very light soft gold (or golden violet) blonde, and using a deeper intense gold before sheering it out quite a bit with a clear. The result is a pale, pure, shimmering golden blonde that looks lush and expensive.”
Don’t forget that you’ll need to choose a toner to cut out the ash, so that rich, buttery blonde comes out. The idea is to have just a hint of violet that will softly subdue natural warmth, creating a slightly neutral-warm result.
Do it for the ‘Gram!
To educate your client and make yourself known for the gorgeous rich blondes you’re creating, use words like “gold,” “golden,” “warm,” “bright” and “sunny” when describing your summer 2019 array of shades. “Avoid the word ‘yellow’, as it’s not something your client typically wants.” — Crystal Brown, L’Oréal Professionnel colour ambassador and micro influencer @colorbycrystalbrown
“For my clients to take care of the perfect butter blonde I’ve created for them, I customize an Alchemic Conditioner from Davines that they can take home. These are direct pigments with a conditioner base that I mix and I add just a touch of violet to give a hint of light to their new rich blonde hair. The great thing about customizing a colour-protection conditioner is that you’re the only one who can mix it for them.” — Roch Lemay, Davines international educator
(Credits: Hair: Jessica Neil & Mary Geoghegan, KH Hair, U.K., Makeup: Maddie Austin, Styling: Clare Frith, Photo: Jack Eames; Hair: Nikita Fisher for Jamie Stevens using Matrix Haircare, Makeup: Doey Drummond, Styling: Jamie Stevens, Photo: Jens Wikholm)