Whether you’re looking for a subtle sun-kissed look or taking the plunge and going platinum blonde, lightening your hair can be fickle. It’s SO damn easy to mess up, and if you’re not careful you can be left with dry, damaged hair that’s nowhere close to the colour you hoped (read: those unfortunate stripy highlights or the dreaded yellow tinge).
But when we spoke to celebrity hairstylist Michael Canalé, whose client list includes Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Heidi Klum, and pretty much every blonde bombshell in Hollywood, he told us that it’s possible to get the lighter colour you want without *completely* wrecking your hair – as long as you take the right approach.
Canalé, who was behind Jennifer Aniston’s iconic hairstyle ‘The Rachel’ (NO BIGGIE), says when it comes to colour, less is more. So, before you ask your hairstylist to go ahead and bleach your hair platinum blonde, take note from one of Hollywood’s biggest hairstylists. Come on, it’s a pretty good place to start.
Take it slow
Going lighter is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. It requires patience, experience and a colourist who knows their stuff. “My first piece of advice would be to do it gradually – as I think it’s better to take it slowly, and see how you like it,” says Canalé. “I mean, some people are all in for a dramatic statement – so for them, I say go for it. But for most of the women who walk through my door, I preach natural and gradual – as well as evolving the colour over the season and time of year: blonder in the summer, back to the more natural tone and colour in the fall and winter,” says Canalé.
Embrace your natural hair colour
Think: your hair, but better. “My favourite colour technique is highlights,” says Canalé. “I always start with a woman’s natural colour while bringing out her features: I look at the shape of the face, skin tone and eye colour. It’s like a painting – if you add in a colour that doesn’t ‘match’ or fit well with the other natural colours already there, then the colour will be jarring and won’t look right. With well-placed highlights and blended colours, it will grow out more naturally and last longer.”
“So that’s where I start – I look at skin tone and eyes. For specific trends heading into summer, I’m still sticking with highlights that bring out that natural, beachy, sun-kissed tone – or for darker hair, I like to build up shine and shimmer – just like what you were born with! Overdone, overbleached, and noticeable deep roots are out for me. I love working with what you’ve been given – and then I make it better, richer.”
Don’t blindly follow trends
While we’re all for a good celebrity hair trend, sometimes you’ve got to weigh up if it's really worth the damage – especially if you’re constantly switching up your hair. “I can’t tell you how many of my clients walk in for the first time and ask me to ‘fix’ them. Usually, these are women who either went for something really trendy, or they overbleached, or they just had a bad colour job along the way,” says Canalé.
“I love to play the ‘fixer’ – and I can humbly say that I think I’m the best in the business. Some of the trends today are also very aggressive and super damaging to the hair – and might work on Instagram for a celebrity – but they just don’t work on everyone! So, I push for the more classic look over trendy, and I recommend the most natural, sun-kissed look for the first time you’re highlighting.”
Use the right products
If you want to maintain your hair colour (read: everyone), it comes as no surprise that at-home haircare is *super* important. Not only should you avoid using too many hot tools to prevent further damage, but you need to use the right products to make sure your hair colour is kept in tip-top condition in between salon visits.
Canalé has his own haircare line, aptly named Canalé (yes, it ships to Australia!), that includes a range of products for all hair colours. “I devised each one to ensure that colour not only lasts, but hair looks incredibly healthy, shiny and strong in-between visits,” he says. “I have also just released a gloss that lasts for up to 20 washes – in blue (for darker hair tones), and sun-kissed gold (for truer, blonder tones). I created these coloured glosses to counterbalance the colour over time, and to lock it in to last longer! Shiny means healthy, and healthy looks great – and my shampoo, conditioner, foaming conditioner, vitamins, and new glosses have been researched and designed to do just that.”
In addition to using a hair treatment like Canalé Sunkissed Signature Gloss on your blonde hair, we recommend a good-quality shampoo and conditioner specifically made for blondes to help keep those dreaded yellow tones at bay while also nourishing, conditioning and repairing your colour-treated hair. Try Eleven Australia Keep My Colour Blonde Shampoo and Oribe Bright Blonde Radiance and Repair Treatment.
Want to know how to get the most out of your hair mask? InStyle Beauty Editor Bettina Tyrell just dished out her best kept hair secret.
What are your own tips or tricks for looking after blonde hair? Let us know in the comment section below.
Main image credit: Getty
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.