Light Done Right: Going dark to blonde

Summer is on its way! (And for us Houstonians it was practically here two weeks into March) This is time many of us long to take our deep, dark winter color to a light and bright sunny blonde. But what does it really take to get your hair that incredible blonde without your hair falling out of your head? (Or for those of us that tried to DIY, to prevent your darker hair from turning an undesirable yellow/orange).

More important than anything else, blonde is a commitment. Most people do not take into account the cost, the upkeep, the necessary products and the irreversible damage. Keep in mind that you will regularly purchase products and touch ups.

Another key point is to consider whether or not blonde is really for you. Think about Kim Kardashian’s hair. She went platinum overnight from her dark brunette. As a result, she lost a LOT of hair. Come to find out, her drastic change might have been regrettable because it didn’t complement her skin tone. A month later, she was back to dark hair again.

When most people decide to go light they want it NOW, which is not good for your hair. Something a lot of clients don’t recognize is that a good colorist will not allow you to fry your hair by bleaching all the way in one process. If it will take a couple times to get the desired results, you should be prepared to walk around with a color that is darker than the goal and sometimes even orange-y until your next appointment.

We understand you are excited to change it up, but to preserve the integrity of your hair we recommend these tips to prepare your hair for the damage it may undergo.

  • Fight the urge to dye your hair for as long as you can before the bleach. This will help your hair to lighten more evenly.
  • DEEP CONDITION like there is no tomorrow. Use it at home or, if possible, get a treatment before your appointment. Bleached hair has a weaker cuticle that struggles to hold moisture and is very susceptible to damage even by day to day styling. (Read more: Philip Kingsley on Bleach and Damage ) We love our Oribe Moisture and Control Intense conditioner and the Gold Lust Transformative mask. The Moisture and Control conditioner does exactly what it sounds like; it quenches the hair and makes it tamable. Gold Lust repairs and revives lifeless hair and creates a softer, healthier feel. Another wonderful product we recommend is our Goldwell Blondes and Highlights masque or the Goldwell Rich Repair 60 second recovery treatment.
  • Try to not to shampoo a day or two before your appointment. Your scalp will be more protected by the oils in your hair. But please, do wash your hair before the 2 days previous. (No need to have stinky hair for unnecessary protection)
  • Be emotionally willing to let go of some length. We know. You have worked so hard to grow it out, you love the length. But if you already have dead ends, it might be necessary to trim ‘em off.

Now you’re ready for your first process! What to expect:

A cost around $200 and it will take roughly 2-3 hours. Additionally, we personally believe anyone having serious chemical services done should consider Olaplex. Olaplex is a not a conditioner, but a “bond perfector”. It has been called the Holy Grail for chemical treatments. It reforms the broken bonds in your hair and essentially counteracts the majority of possible damage by reconnecting broken disulfide sulfur bonds in the hair. (Check out for a more scientific look at what Olaplex does for your hair)

You won’t necessarily know how your hair will react to the bleach until stylist takes a look at your current shade, knows all your hair history and physically tests the hair to see how light it can go. Try not to assume you will have the perfect fair-haired shade you want in one go, and be clear as possible what you are looking for. Not everyone’s hair is the same! A picture can give your stylist a general idea of what you want. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean it is immediately attainable or that your hair will turn out identical to the idea you have. Always feel free to ask questions. Hairdressers, especially our team, are very enthusiastic about education and helping clients understand what is possible and how you can get there.

If you have previously colored your hair, even color can become problematic. You may notice the parts that have grown out will lift much lighter than the parts that have been colored. Toner is used (and included with no charge at Feather Salon!) to even out this contrast and to avoid the orange tone.

So now YOU ARE BLONDE! Since you’ve spent all that time in the chair you need to take special care of your locks at home.

To help repair any damage we recommend either:

  • Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner.   If your hair is heavily damaged you can also use the Gold Lust Masque.
  • Alterna Instant Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner.  Alterna’s Fill and Fix Masque is also a good solution if your hair has a lot of damage.

To help control any unwanted yellow tones you should use a purple shampoo.  We recommend either:

  • Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Goldwell Blondes and Highlights Shampoo and Conditioner

Both of our purple shampoos are mild enough for everyday use.

It is also important to maintain the new growth every six weeks to avoid “banding”. If you let your roots get too long, the lightener will lift differently in spots, causing bands of darker blonde away from the scalp.