There’s no such thing as just going blonde. As anyone who’s ever made the move to the light side knows, blonde hair comes in every shade imaginable. Some hues lean towards red, while others have icy blue undertones made for cool-skinned ladies.
While the wide world of blonde might be intimidating, the upside is that there’s a shade of bleached perfection fit for every single person. From deepest brown tones to palest white, going blonde will make you feel like a whole new woman—one with gorgeous platinum locks.
Ready to find the blonde that’s best for you? Take a deep dive with us.
Who should go blonde?
The age-old question: Is a blonde born or can she be made from scratch? It’s a hotly contested issue among ladies of all skin tones and ages. According to Papanikolas, blondeness isn’t a simple issue.
Anyone can be a variation of blonde, but not everyone can be a specific shade of blonde...Your starting level will dictate what is possible. Darker hair will need to accept the reality of being a caramel-honey blonde. Naturally lighter hair can opt for an icier tone.
To avoid damage, it’s important to realize that even the best colorist can only take you so far from your natural shade. Papanikolas recommends no more than seven shades lighter or darker, maximum.
Another aspect of a color change to consider is the identity that goes hand in hand with blondeness. Without a doubt, blondes stand out in a crowd. That’s part of the draw to the color.
“Natural blondes are a rare breed, especially in adults,” Papanikolas. “Being a blonde has a sense of youthfulness, and being part of a rare group. It's also a color that’s associated with getting a lot of attention.”
If you’re prepared for all eyes on you, it’s time to pick a shade.
With a bright orange hue and a hint of sunny yellow underneath, strawberry blonde warms up the complexion immediately. We find it extra flattering on women with medium skin tones, particularly those wanting to take a step away from honey blonde.
Honey blonde seems to be one of the most popular shades of the color, and with good reason: It looks good on everyone. Like the perfect pair of jeans, honey flatters women of pale, medium, and very dark skin colors. What more could you want?
Warm and reflective, golden blonde hair is most frequently spotted on light and medium to medium-dark skin tones. It’s truly stunning, bringing effortlessly rich notes to honey hair. If you go golden, friends will undoubtedly shower you with compliments.
In the longstanding tradition of Hollywood starlets with blonde hair, platinum signifies a true diva. The high-maintenance color is icy and pale, making a statement just as loud as neon hair ever could. Make like your favorite bombshell and take a walk on the platinum side, especially if you have cool undertones to your skin.
Dirty blonde hair is the cool girl’s version of the shade, one that just barely qualifies as part of the blonde family. The hue is ashy and brown-influenced, falling right on the spectrum between the two colors. This shade looks incredible on medium and dark skin.
Like dirty blonde, dark blonde falls somewhere in between blonde and brunette. Still, this shade has undertones of ash that flatter medium and dark complexions, making it a versatile pick. If you’re not quite committed to blondeness, dark blonde is the way to go.
Beige blonde holds a special place in our hearts because it’s an incredibly unique shade. Whether your stylist mixes the shade with warm or cool undertones, the color retains ashy, near-silver influences that make our hearts beat a little faster. For light and medium skin tones, beige is a stunner.
We like to call ice the blonde’s favorite blonde, especially since it’s a high-maintenance shade that takes some experience to keep bright. White blonde practically glows with intensity, a kind just you can’t replicate. The frigid color is a fantastic choice for very pale ladies, taking the color to the next level.
Papanikolas, for his part, recommends this look for ladies with naturally fair coloring and cool-toned skin tones. For the ultra-pale shade to work, it must be at least somewhat believable. Otherwise, passerby may assume you’re just wearing a pricey wig.
“There are different ways to approach it,” he says of the shade. “[Your colorist] can do a double process bleach and tone, or it can be done with lots of highlights.”
When it comes to icy blonde, your biggest challenge will be managing yellow undertones. Papanikolas recommends purchasing a color-protecting hair care system that starts with a violet shampoo like Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver.
Somewhere between beige, silver, and platinum lies ash blonde, a color that’s tailor-made for the commitment-phobic. Why choose just one shade, when you can have the all at once? This creamy, soft shade is a fantastic choice for women of all skin colors. Just make sure your stylist takes it warm or cool, according to your undertones.
What, you thought we were going to mention beige once and then roll right on past it? Not the case, especially considering we have a serious crush on this shade. Beige blonde is best when it’s very cool and sandy. The tone is sophisticated, especially on ladies with particularly fair skin.
Champagne blonde is a color meant for summer. Its toffee tones and hints of red bring this color much closer to copper than many shades of blonde, which makes it feel very special. Whether or not you get to laze around the pool all summer, champagne-tinted hair will make you feel like an heiress—no matter your skin tone.
According to Papanikolas, the unique facets of this color are due to the way it’s created. Your colorist will not only lift color from your strands, but also apply a round of highlights.
The real challenge of champagne blonde isn’t at-home care, but the regular touch ups you’ll need to keep the shade going strong. Mark a regular salon date on your calendar, and stick to it. You’ll need to refresh your highlights more often than your base tone, so be prepared.
“To keep hair in optimum condition, I recommend highlighting every second appointment, Papanikolas says. “Do the base color every six weeks, and do base and highlights every 12 weeks. That way you are highlighting every other appointment, but lifting the dark root to carry you over until your next highlight appointment.”
Ready for all the fizzy splendor of champagne blonde? We bet you are.
Calling this shade blonde is something of a misnomer since Venetian blonde is a color that’s very close to copper. The warm shade is an ideal fit for those with very pale skin, especially because the hue brings extra color to lifeless complexions.
If you’re aiming for ultimate beach babe status, sandy blonde is the way to go. This shade isn’t too bright or dark—instead, it falls directly into the beige category. If you’re particularly proud of your tan or have naturally olive skin, sandy is the right pick.
Like platinum hair, silvery blonde is not for the faint of heart. The delicate grayscale shade has seen an enormous jump in popularity, one you can probably chalk up to social media. We recommend this shade for ladies of all skin tones. Rather than making you look like a grandmother, silver hair will truly make your look even more youthful.
Speaking of youthful, pastel-influenced hair, we have to talk about pink blonde. The shade is a very washed out version of the cotton candy blonde, one made particularly popular by social media influencers. This shade is summery and unexpected, perfect for women of all skin tones—particularly since your stylist can start with any shade of blonde.
Blush blonde is a ladylike hair color, one that skirts the division between pastel pink and golden blonde. It’s versatile, looking just as popsicle dreamy on long waves as it does on a pixie cut.
“Blush blonde best on fair skin and lighter hair, as the hair needs to be pre-lightened to a very pale blonde first, “ Papanikolas says. “This is a high maintenance color, as regular root touch ups are needed.”
High maintenance color isn’t for everyone, certainly. But, for ladies who like a challenge and love a statement hair color, blush might just be a match made in hair heaven.
Like pink blonde hair, blue blonde is something of a novel approach to bright hair. Whether you choose an ombre into full turquoise or an all-over silver-blue wash, the stunning take on pastel will certainly be a crowd pleaser. We love this look for ladies of medium and light skin tones.
On the golden-brown end of the blonde spectrum, we have butterscotch. The deliciously rich color blends notes of chestnut and honey, resulting in a very warm take on blonde that’s almost good enough to eat. Ladies of with medium and medium-dark complexions, this one’s for you.
Are you a brunette who’s always wanted to change sides? Chestnut blonde is the way to go. The shade incorporates notes of auburn and caramel, making it a nuanced take on “bronde” hair. Even better: This shade looks fabulous on everyone.
Not so much of a pink girl, but like the look of whimsical hair color? Try lavender, the cool girl’s version of baby blue or blush. Its cool violet tones are the perfect anecdote to a case of the hair blahs.
Papanikolas agrees, adding that nearly any woman can wear this look. Because it’s a fantasy shade, it all amounts to personal preference. That’s exactly what we like to hear: Free yourself from ideas about what blonde can and cannot be! Have fun with it.
When it comes to lavender, Papanikolas says you’ll want to place an emphasis on caring for hair that’s been through the salon wringer.
“Hair needs to be pre-lightened to a pale blonde first, he explains. “Protecting the hair during the lightening process is very important.”
For strands that feel moisturized and strong, invest in a moisturizing hair mask formula to keep your ‘do looking as healthy as possible. Your new blonde will thank you.
Interested in going blonde? Use our salon locator to book a color consultation with a stylist near you.