Sunny Side Up: Your Best Shades of Blonde Hair Guide

Eunice Lucero | 31 May 2016
what haircut should I get short

Color yourself happy with our biggest blonde hair bible ever.

Ready to have more fun? Hotter weather gives us an indescribable, irresistible need to lighten up and sport that covetable head of the best shades of blonde hair that we can get. Maybe it’s wanting to enhance the natural sun streaks we get after a day on the seashore, or maybe that simply nothing comes close to showing off a tan other than butter-hued tresses.

Whatever the reason or the season, there’s no denying the sunny sex appeal of the best shades of blonde hair out there (rumor has it, gentlemen prefer them too—shhh!). And regardless of what you’ve been told, there is a blonde out there for everyone—and all that stands between you and your new, head-turning hue is a bit of research and color know-how.

Scroll down for your quick cheat sheet to getting the right hue for your skin tone, because Mother Nature’s palette is the most foolproof after all!

Best Shades of Blonde Hair For Different Skin Tones

shade of blonde hair cool tones
Cool undertones look best in ashy blondes. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

COOL

Cool undertones, regardless of whether you have a fair, medium or dark complexion, are skin tones that have more pink in them. People who sunburn easily, look better in crisp white tops, have bluish veins, and as well as natural redheads, usually fall under this category.

The shades of blonde hair that flatters cool undertones has a lot of ash in it. The greenish tones of ash shades such as baby blonde, true ash, flaxen, beige, khaki and bronde can help balance out the redness in your complexion, giving your countenance an even-toned, delicate, sophisticated glow.

shades of blonde hair peach platinum
Peachy undertones? Try platinum—it works! Photo credit: Dvora

NEUTRAL

Neutral undertones are, you guessed it, neither cool nor warm. A relatively new category, neutral undertones came from more and more people having a peachier tint to their skin—in particular, they’re flattered by both gold and silver jewelry, can either tan or burn in equal measure and have veins that are bluish green. Their white of choice: a pretty ivory.

Neutrals can play with whichever shades of blonde hair they want, as they manage to pull of the tones of their favorite hue with little risk of looking washed out. A good rule of thumb is to choose warmer tones, like beach blonde, honey and champagne in the summer, and cooler blondes, such as nude blonde, ash blonde or even platinum for the winter.

shade of blonde hair yellow warm
Bright, sunny blondes flatter warm undertones. Photo credit: Dvora

WARM

Warm undertones have a lot of yellow and olive in their skin—a lot of Asians and Latinas fall under this category. They can tan easily, usually have darker eyes and look great with gold jewelry and bronzy makeup. Cream and off-whites go with their complexion marvelously, and they have greenish veins.

The ideal shades of blonde for warm-toned women are hues with some orangey or reddish tones, as this counteracts the olive in their skin. Dark honey blonde, sunny blonde, caramel, and strawberry blonde look divine against warm undertones and can also set off a tan perfectly. These shades can also bring out the lighter flecks in dark eyes, making them great options for highlights around the hairline or fringe area.

Now that you’ve figured out what shades of blonde –warm, cool,  or neutral work best for you, read on  to discover the full spectrum of the most iconic shades of blonde that will work best for you:

The Best Blonde Hair Shades and How to Wear Them

best blonde hair white blonde
White blonde hair has both a futuristic and fashion-forward appeal.

White Blonde

Completely bleached-out strands are not for the faint of heart, or for those scared of upkeep. Popular in Europe and Scandinavia (and Hollywood, and maybe those early adapters on the Lower East Side), this shade of blonde—which is almost completely white—pops with those with rosy or cool undertones and requires the most frequent touch-ups if you want to keep the look immaculate.

best blonde hair platinum blonde bob
Bring Old Hollywood charm into the new with an immaculate platinum bob.

Platinum Blonde

Perhaps a baby-notch lower than white blonde, platinum is the go-to shade of bleached blonde for most men and women. Equal parts Nordic-cool and evocative of Old Hollywood, platinum blonde hair is for those with a more neutral undertone but still requires the same level of touchups. Pro tip: Don’t wash your hair before you bleach, as your natural scalp oils provide a protective barrier for the chemicals (no sting!), and try to rinse with a toning purple shampoo such as Bed Head Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo at least once a week to help counteract brassiness.

 

best blonde hair silver white hair
Sexy light silver blonde hair—what hotter accessory is there? Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Silver Blonde

A more recent take on platinum, superlight silver blonde (or gray, if you’re Pinterested), also belongs on the high-level blonde spectrum but with a silver or gray tone. Not to be mistaken for salt-and-pepper or ash, this is edgier and, we must admit, harder to maintain, due to its blue pigments. It’s also a current fave of some social media and street style superstars who consider gray to be the best blonde hair kind, or those who are all about the #GrannyHair trend.

shades of blonde 2017 wheat blonde
A wheat blonde is must-try.

Wheat Blonde

For that stage in between silver hair and a truly warm blonde, we expect to see a lot of women wearing wheat blonde shades. This natural looking blonde is such a gorgeous color! It’s just yellow enough to read warm, but has ashy undertones to keep it from getting too buttery.

 

best blonde hair flaxen blonde
Clean, bright angel-blonde hair is the ideal for most wannabe blondes. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Flaxen Blonde

The most neutral überblonde of the bunch, flaxen is a light blonde that has no traces of warm shades like red, brown, copper or gold. A flattering shade for those with a pink to neutral undertone, flaxen blonde is the closest shade to a baby’s blonde and gives a bright, childlike, youthful look.

 

best blonde hair ash blonde waves
The green pigments in ash blonde perfectly balance out a pink or peaches-and-cream complexion. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Ash Blonde

A popular request is ash blonde, a combination of grayish-green tints that can neutralize a ruddish complexion. The tone can work as a darker or lighter blonde as well, and is a classic, sophisticated shade worn by those who want a blonde that’s not too bright or “comic-book yellow.”

 

best blonde hair beach blonde
Beach blonde hair, equally stunning on both surf and turf.

Beach Blonde

Beach blonde, or sandy blonde, as some would call it, has a distinct yellow tone to its highlights, therefore working well with those with warm undertones. It gets its name as it’s the closest version to being naturally bleached out from a day outdoors. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to have surfer-girl highlights, check out this variation, which can use different color levels for a more natural, sporty version.

 

best blonde hair yellow gold
From LA to the Bay, what can we say? These sunny Cali-girl strands are undeniably hot. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Golden Blonde

Warm undertones also grab the spotlight when rocking a golden blonde hair color, as the tones complement the reddish pigments in their skin. Golden blonde is another trendy, rich-looking blonde (the color of molten bullions!) that can adjust to both darker and lighter skintones.

shades of blonde hair buttery blonde
Go for an all-over shade of blonde for 2017.

Buttery Blonde

We know it’s been a while, but we’re confident that you’ll see more buttery shades of blonde hair in 2017. A buttery blonde shade doesn’t need to be bright yellow, the modern take is much more creamy. Make sure you wash your hair with purple shampoo to keep it from getting to that orangey yellow shade. You could also go for the Catwalk By TIGI Fashionista Violet Mask for a toning moisture boost.

 

best blonde hair dirty blonde
The laid-back cousin of a blonde sombré, low-maintenance dishwater hair is a busy everywoman’s BFF. Photo credit: Dvora

Dirty Blonde

Dirty blonde (alias: dishwater blonde) is a darker level of blonde with bits of brown or some darker golden ribboning. Seen especially at the roots, dirty blondes require less upkeep than other versions due to their more “lived in” characteristic. However, the roots are still kept relatively tighter and closer to the hairline than in an ombré.

 

best blonde hair strawberry long
A distinctly younger, feminine vibe is almost always evoked by a good strawberry hue. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Strawberry Blonde

This pinkish blonde is an easy transition blonde for natural redheads or those with a lighter ginger base color. Used interchangeably with reddish blonde by some stylists, this shade is definitely on the lighter color level. Strawberry blonde shades are flattering on those with a neutral to warm skin tone. Don’t confuse this shade with cotton-candy pink hair, though—this still carries with it a blonde/yellow undertone. Pinkish blondes can help keep pigment from fading by investing in a color-safe wash and care system such as Suave Keratin Infusion Color Care Shampoo and Suave Keratin Infusion Color Care Conditioner.

SUAVE KERATIN INFUSION COLOR CARE SHAMPOO
SUAVE PROFESSIONALS KERATIN INFUSION COLOR CARE CONDITIONER
best blonde hair beige blonde
Beige and khaki: the cool-girl blonde, if there ever was one. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Beige Blonde

Somewhat cutting-edge and more thoughtful than its peers, beige blonde is a neutral medium blonde that carries quite the alternative feel. It’s suitable across the board, but comes to the fore in women with cooler complexions or those with a light, natural tan.

 

best blonde hair champagne
Like its namesake, its light, meringue-like hue is a slightly pinker take on the mid-neutrals. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Champagne

The faintly warmer cousin of beige blonde, champagne blonde hair is characterized by a slightly pinker, more coppery tint, making it the go-to neutral blonde for medium to darker tanned skins.

 

best blonde hair honey blonde
Queen bee: Honey blonde hair is usually rooty and luscious. Its darker streaks can run the spectrum from babylights to a bronde ombré.

Honey Blonde

Honey blonde and its darker subvariation, amber, are particularly fetching on darker and warmer undertones. It’s the poster exotic blonde hue usually seen on tropical bombshell babes, due to the darker streaks of brown woven in which are typically more prevalent at the root.

shades of blonde hair ash blonde
A gorgeous shade of blonde that’s mixed with red.

Bright Dirty Blonde

We’re definitely seeing darker blonde shades in the future. We like this bright dirty blonde color because the darker tone looks more natural but the bright highlights keep it nice and light. If you’re going to bleach your hair to get to this gorgeous shade, keep some TRESemmé Botanique Damage Recovery Oil Elixir on standby to help repair and hydrate your strands.

TRESemmé BOTANIQUE DAMAGE RECOVERY OIL ELIXIR

Need more inspirational shades of blonde hair to look into for 2017? You’ll like blonde hair with lowlights. 

 

best blonde hair bronde
A celebrity favorite, this shade nails that weekend-luxe vibe. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Bronde

This brown-blonde hybrid got so famous, it needed it’s own celebrity portmanteau. This color fusion can go two ways: First, as a sombré (or subtle ombré), from a luscious, oftentimes warmer, shade of medium brown at the roots that transitions gradually to golden blonde (or lighter) towards the tips. Others use it to mean an actual shade itself, somewhere—you guessed it—between brown and blonde, which some argue is a more natural-looking option for darker-haired girls to lighten up over the summer.

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