Going Blonde? What to Consider Before You Take the Plunge

Proof that going blonde might very well be the right choice for you.

Have you been thinking about going blonde? You’re not alone. Women all over are considering a lighter hue and testing the waters when it comes to golden locks. There are many variations of blonde hair and a range of intensity as far as color goes too. Some opt for a full head of bleach blonde hair, while others go for more subtle highlights.

Guide to Getting Different Shades of Blonde

Here are a few things to consider before you take the plunge:

blonde hair tips
Learn the secrets to score blonde hair. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Step 1: Evaluate your hair.

In general, achieving blonde hair can take multiple bleaching sessions. If you have virgin hair (strands that have never been dyed) you will have the easiest experience with the hair color experiments. That said, if you do have virgin dark hair, you’ll still have to go through quite the rigorous bleaching process to achieve the exact level of lightening you want.

Step 2: Prep your strands.

When you decide to go for blonde hair, your tresses are going to go through a lot of stripping as you remove their natural pigments. You can start by preparing and nourishing your tresses with a hair mask at least two weeks before you start. Some stylists may also recommend getting a trim so you can get rid of split ends before you start.

Step 3: Time to bleach.

Bleaching is the first step in the dyeing process. Your stylist will use tons of important tools like a developer, gloves, and a coloring comb/bleach brush. This process generally takes 40 minutes so be sure to bring something to read or snap pics for your Instagram feed as you document your hair adventure.

Step 4: Work in sections.

During this phase, your stylist will work in sections, starting with a small portion at the front of your head. They will apply the bleach as close as possible to the roots and then work the bleach brush down the strands for an even distribution of product. Spoiler alert: This step might sting a bit, but be careful to check your roots periodically to see that you’ve achieved the desired lightness, whether it’s full-on platinum or a subtler, paler blonde. Rinse off after you’ve gotten the lightness you want. Pro tip: Open the window during this process and make sure pets and kids aren’t in the same room, as fumes can be harsh.

Step 5: Apply hair toner.

If you want to go platinum, you will need to apply toner to your hair. This process minimizes brassiness and ensures that your hair looks more white than yellow. Your stylist will use a semi-permanent or permanent dye that develops on your hair to achieve the perfect shade of blonde.

Step 6: Wash it out and treat it.

Next up is getting the powerful formulas out of your hair. Your stylist will wash the toner from your strands and treat it with a rich conditioner. At this point, you’ve essentially zapped pigment from your hair, making it prone to breakage. At home, you will follow up your wash-and-care treatment by using a shampoo for color-treated hair that works to gently cleanse as it enhances your color.

Step 7: Maintain the look.

While your hair will look awesome for a long time (thank you, hairdressers!), bleached hair tends to show regrowth pretty quickly at the root. To maintain your newly blonde color, you will have to touch them up every six weeks or so. Be sure to keep your strands healthy in between treatments by using a hair mask that can soften and boost your processed strands with moisture.

37 Shades to Inspire if You’re Thinking About Going Blonde

If you’re considering going blonde then these 37 shades are sure to give you major inspiration.

1. Natural Blonde Hair

going blonde black hair
Create a striking contrast between your hair color and your skin tone.

Offset your deep and beautiful skin tone with a light bleach blonde shade of hair. This style will require multiple rounds of bleach to get your hair to this glimmering hue of light blonde, but it’s well worth it. The results are bold and striking in the best way.

2. Bleach Blonde Babe

going blonde bleach blonde straight bob
The lighter the better.

Lighten up with a bleach blonde color and enjoy the life that comes with a head of shockingly bright blonde strands. Be sure to use a shampoo and deep conditioner duo like Suave Professionals Deep Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner to offset the damage done by so many rounds of bleach.

3. Brassy Blonde

going blonde brassy long waves
Minimal damage, please.

If you’re not here for the inevitable damage that comes with exposing your hair to multiple rounds of bleach then you’ll want to opt for a slightly brassy hue. A pro stylist will blend this color seamlessly with your natural color for a polished and trendy look.

4. Grayish Blonde

going blonde gray blonde medium length hair
Proof that blonde works for all ages.

Looking for a trendy hack for masking your graying strands? A light shade of blonde will help create a seamless transition from your gray roots to the rest of your hair.

5. All Grown In

going blonde grown in roots
Have fun with a balayage style.

If you’re worried about keeping up with grown in roots then embrace that stage from the start. By choosing a balayage style, you won’t have to worry about keeping up with frequent salon appointments and you can rest assured that your hair still looks on point.

6. Strategic Highlights

going blonde highlights long straight
A glowing vibrant shade of blonde.

We can’t think of anyone who would say no to a built-in dose of glimmer. Strategically placed, super light highlights add a touch of striking shine to your strands. Keep your strands smooth and vibrant by applying TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Color Smoothing Serum regularly.

7. Yellow Blonde

going blonde long waves yellow blonde
The classic of blonde hair colors.

This very classic shade of blonde is a breath of fresh air. A bright shade like this is eye-catching and has us considering going blonde ourselves.

8. “Natural” Blonde

going blonde natural looking blonde
Fake it till you make it.

Worried about your blonde strands looking fake? We get that. Opt for a natural shade of blonde and be sure to leave a little brown at the roots for a natural-looking shade of blonde.

9. Rooted Blonde

rooted blonde going blonde twisted back
A low-maintenance style that grows out beautifully.

This golden shade of blonde has all the movie star associations while still being super easy to keep up with. That means that it will work for you even if you don’t have a regular glam squad available.

10. Warm Honey Blonde

going blonde warm honey long waves
Just a few shades lighter than your natural color.

Considering going blonde in the winter months and worried about rocking such a light hue? Opt for a warm honey blonde as a winter-appropriate option.

11. Platinum Blonde Hair

bangs blonde hair bob
A bold hue to try when you want to go blonde.

Turn heads by going platinum blonde. If you have naturally dark hair, you’ll need to go through multiple steps as you bleach, tone, and color your hair. If you are up for the process, maintenance, and of course love the blonde hair colors, then this is probably a great option for you.

12. White Blonde

white blonde hair
Go for an icy blonde look this season. Photo credit: Dvora

White blonde hair is one of the trendiest light hair colors to try out. This is a shade lighter than platinum with a heavy concentration on overall root coverage. A similar process to going platinum blonde, white-blonde hair can involve a variety of shades of white, including ivory white, wall white, or plain white. So, be sure to know exactly what shade (and how light!) you are willing to go.

13. Sun-Kissed Blonde

blonde hair colors sun-kissed hair
The look of summer is sun-kissed hair.

The quintessential look of summer is sun-kissed blonde hair. This looks especially stunning on those with light brown hair to dark brown hair as you slightly lighten up your hair.

14. Dark Blonde Roots

grown-out roots on blonde hair
Rock the roots with this on-trend look.

Or maybe you want blonde hair but don’t want to deal with your roots! We totally feel you and if you are feeling grown-out roots, then you should totally go for it! Dye your hair blonde as you normally would, but instead of the upkeep, leave your roots natural and dark. Touch them up when (and if!) you want to.

15. Honey Blonde

blonde hair colors honey blonde
Sun-kissed and ready for the warmer months.

Slightly darker than sun-kissed blonde, all-over honey blonde hair is a stunning color to try if you want a natural-looking style. We love this as a transitional shade for lighter blondes where they can test going darker if even ever-so-slightly.

16. Lighten Up your Braids

blonde hair braids ponytail
Lighten up your braids with blonde hair.

Do you have braids and are trying to figure out how to change up your hair? Why not add some blonde hair color to the mix. We have seen this on a few strands of braids or as an all-over style (seen above) that looks gorgeous on braids.

17. Sandy Blonde

blonde hair colors sandy blonde
A sandy blonde with lighter, face-framing tones.

Another awesome shade of blonde to try is sandy blonde. This color combines dark and light shades of blonde that you can wear all over your hair or simply in the front for some gorgeous hair highlights.

18. Blonde Hair Color on Natural Hair

blonde hair colors natural hair
Enhance your darker hair with hints of blonde.

We love the contrasting look of blonde hair on those who have naturally dark hair. This look is especially stunning on those with natural hair. Go for a darker blonde like apricot or butter blonde to compliment your skin and natural hair color.

19. Balayage

blonde hair colors balayage
Enhance your hair with balayage. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

If going for a completely new look isn’t your thing, why not lighten up a bit with balayage. This highlighting technique involves the sweeping of blonde hair color onto your hair. You’ll love how this technique looks natural as it blends with your hair and can easily grow out since the color isn’t concentrated on your roots.

20. Ginger Blonde Hair

ginger blonde hair trends
A darker blonde hair color that’s great if you don’t want to go that light.

For a darker shade of blonde, we love ginger blonde hair. This look combines elements of light brown and dark blonde, resulting in a warm and healthy-looking tone.

21. Golden Blonde

honey blonde hair
Golden blonde gives your features a natural glow. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Colder months can sap the warmth out of our complexions, so consider this shade your 24K upgrade. This rich, warm hue is a quintessential blonde, but with just enough of a yellow undertone to enliven a wan, sallow complexion. Ideal for women with warm undertones—peach or yellow skin tones, whether light, medium or dark—golden blonde hair is also particularly hot in the form of balayage highlights.

22. Caramel Blonde

blonde hair strawberry
Expertly applied caramel highlights impart a luxurious depth to blonde hair. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Forget that pumpkin spice latte: caramel blonde hair is the way to go if you’re looking to heat things up this season. It’s a happy midway point between bright blonde and medium brown and works wonders bringing out the flecks in both light and dark eye colors. This angst-free orangey blonde is sultry in its full-shot potency—as a one-process shade—or, for the slightly fainter of heart, as an ecaille (tortoiseshell) sombré.

23. Icy Blonde

icy blonde hair ponytail
Icy hair is Scandinavian-cool against Fall’s all-black-and-leather everything. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Yes, you heard that right—the trendiest blonde is still going strong this year. Ladies with cool tones are lucky, as a platinum hue pops the best when against pinkish skin tones (which the crisp, blustery autumn breeze will take care of, we’re sure). Pair this ice-princess hue with a shoulder-length cut to keep it healthy-looking. Lastly, keep the orange on the trees and not your tresses: Don’t forget the gloss and a toning shampoo to banish any brassiness.

24. Reddish Blonde

blonde hair reddish
Strawberry blonde hair is a pretty yet subtle upgrade for those who want to keep it quiet. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Injecting a fair amount of reddish tones into your blonde hair helps warm up your skin as well. Cool undertones glow against strawberry and champagne, while those with warmer complexions are flattered by light coppers. These overachieving shades also act fabulously as highlights, so don’t be afraid to ask your stylist to blend in a few reddish tones into your regular bright blonde for an autumnal upgrade.

25. Bronde

blonde hair bronde
An ashy medium brown, or a “bronde,” perfectly transitions your blonde into the end of the year. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

If you absolutely, positively cannot part with your ashy tone, then a color that lives somewhere between brown and blonde is your safest bet. Bronde—which is, in reality, akin to a medium-beige color—is in its best and brightest as a single process, as the neutral shade brilliantly offsets most complexions, as well as darker brows and makeup (not to mention your awesome Fall outfits!). As ashy tones wash out quicker, don’t forget to switch out to a lower-sulfate system to help prolong the grayish tinge in your shade.

26. Ash

ashy blonde hair wavy
The budget babe’s shade of choice when you want to go from full-on blonde to grown-out ombré.

This shade is what we like to call a bottle-blonde’s BFF. An ash-toned (or greenish) shade that also incorporates some dark roots, balances out dark brows and ensures that you won’t look washed out. Upkeep is not a problem with this particular hue, because you can just hop onto the grown-out roots trend. Minimal maintenance is always a plus. At home, a lower-sulfate wash and care system can help prolong the integrity and brightness of your blond hair, too.

27. Subtle Rooty Blonde

rooty blonde hair
How to amp up your glow and achieve instant volume at your roots. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

This whiter shade of blonde hair color creates a glowing effect on your skin, giving your countenance some radiance. Another pro of this look is that dark roots contrasting with an ash-based white-blonde can make your hair look fuller and thicker (not to mention hair naturally swells up when bleached). This is the best option for women with finer hair, as it adds some depth and the appearance of thickness.

28. Neutral Bronde

bronde blonde hair
Ultra-soft shades mean you never have to worry about harsh tones. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

The neutral tones in a brown-blonde look combined with darker roots give an overall effortless effect, while still achieving a lighter feel overall. This is another perfect option for someone on a budget, as it won’t evolve into that dreaded yellow or orange brassiness that requires revisiting the salon for a touchup.

29. Dirty Blonde

dirty blonde hair waves
Dirty blonde features a tighter dark root and streaks made up of ash or gold and bronde tones. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Sometimes referred to as “dishwater blonde” because of its slightly streaky look, dirty blonde (not the prettiest name either, we agree) is a shade that’s a mix of ash blonde, golden blonde, and dark blonde or brown. Overall, it’s a shade that’s similar to a “bronde” (brown-blonde) but is streakier. Think of it as a notch higher than light brown—it’s definitely a shade you go for when you’re toeing the line and want to see how you look with lighter hair. It’s also a great transition color, as it’s a pretty midway between brunette and true blonde. A lot of people that want to go lighter and start with a dark base sometimes pass through a phase of having dirty blonde hair.

30. Blonde Ombré

ombre blonde hair
A blonde ombré can be anywhere from subtle (as pictured) or chunky, with ends that are high contrast. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

The difference between dirty blonde hair and a blonde ombré look is the highlights. Whereas in dirty blonde hair these can start anywhere from tightly close to the root to a few inches below, with a blonde ombré they’re usually done way lower on the head, almost midway to nearer the ends, even. In other cases, blonde highlights can be done via balayage in a dirty blonde color, with the results still being somewhat natural. Depending on how contrasted a blonde ombré look is, however, highlights are usually done via a foil method (for a lighter “lift” of color) and can even take on a dip-dyed effect.

31. Very Rooty Blonde

deep roots blonde hair
Take the over-grown roots to the next level.

If the grown-out roots look isn’t edgy enough, opt for the very root blonde look. We love this contrast on black to blonde hair ombre hair that accentuates both of these tones.

32. Wheat Blonde

shades of blonde 2017 wheat blonde
A wheat blonde is a must-try for 2020.

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.

33. Subtle Blonde Ombré

shades of blonde hair Subtle Blonde Ombré
We expect to see tons of variations on ombre hair in 2017. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

We think it’s just about the time that gals with naturally lighter hair wore ombré ends. Ombré hair reads as especially beachy on blonde hair (something that some of us natural brunettes would kill for). Keep your ombré on the subtle side by only lightening your hair a few shades.

34. Buttery Blonde

shades of blonde hair buttery blonde
Go for an all-over shade of blonde for 2020.

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.

35. Beige Blonde

shades of blonde hair neutral blonde
Neutral tones are perfect for someone who wants a natural-looking hue for 2020. Photo credit: insigitalimages.com

We’re expecting the coolest shades of blonde hair to rest in the beige category. It’s just light enough to keep from being a dirty blonde shade and just warm enough to keep from being silvery. We also love how it’s edgy but still ultra-feminine.

36. Strawberry Blonde

shades of blonde hair strawberry blonde
Rock a little bit of blonde in your red hair for 2020.

We’re a little bit obsessed with strawberry blonde shades at the moment. We especially love this color that is almost ginger! Strawberry hues are much more flattering than you may think. But, because red tones tend to wash out quickly, stock up on dry shampoo to help you make it another day or two in between shampooing.

37. Bright Dirty Blonde

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

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 do go blonde, be sure to share the results with us over @AllThingsHairUS!

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