8 rules to follow before going blonde

Blonde is everywhere you turn. So many trends, so much Instagram inspo, so many choices. Balayage, root stretch, platinum, pastel, sunlights and babylights. The choice is yours and any service in which the hair is lighted comes under the banner of blonde services in our books. Each service needs to be tailored to the hair and each look requires preparation to get the best out of your service.

So we have compiled a list of the 8 things your hairdresser would love for you to do before your blonde service.

1. Thou shall flip through Pinterest.

No matter what you have been told or assume, us hairdressers love photos, as long as the expectations are realistic. Pinterest is the hub where you can browse photos of colours that you like, things that make you cringe and the looks you aren’t game enough to try. It’s the place where you create the board of your Hair Inspo where you end up with a common theme, hence the look you are after. As long as the looks are realistic and the models have similar hair type, skin tone and texture to you then most looks can be achieved or a plan put in place.

2. Thou shall do my research.

So you have found your blonde icon and now you need to find the right person to help you achieve this look. Get online and research. Pick up the phone and research. Send an email and research. This will help you get a vibe for the salon, their blonde knowledge and how comfortable you feel putting your hair in their hands. Check out the salon’s Instagram. Before and afters are a great way to see how experienced the salon is with the look you are after. Don’t put your dream look in anyones hands. Make sure your time and effort is not wasted on the wrong hairdresser.

3. Thou shall save up enough cash

The golden rule here is never pick your blonde specialist on price. In this case, cheap does mean nasty and a less experienced stylist with lower quality products. If you choose to go blonde you need to be willing to spend the money. Most blonde services will cost you between $150 and $350 depending on how detailed the service is. Not all products are created equally and the colour range your stylist uses on your hair can determine how light your blonde is lifted and how well your toner works. Cheap colouring products can cause damage and leave the hair brittle and dry. Make sure the salon’s blonde colour range contains either Olaplex, Fibrelex or any other plex which helps re bond the hair back together after a lightening service.

4. Thou shall throw out my supermarket products

Supermarket and cheap shampoos, conditioners, treatments, protection sprays and oils do nothing to strengthen, repair, nourish, add shine or do whatever else the bottle promises. Again cheap is cheap and supermarket products are mostly detergent and water. It’s like washing your hair with dishwashing liquid. The excess silicon in supermarket products builds up on the hair over time and can react with the bleach. This build up can cause over heating of the foils resulting in unstable processing and it the worst cases, the foils to steam. It makes it hard for the colour to penetrate through, reducing the ability to lift the colour light enough. After care with supermarket products is not recommended either as they will strip the toner out of the hair resulting in brassiness sooner than expected.

5. Thou shall put my hair irons away….or turn them down at least.

Typically hair irons heat to 280 degrees and you are subjecting your hair to the burn of such high temperatures. Anytime extreme heat is applied to hair, the cuticle breaks down resulting in split and broken hair. If the hair has minimal cuticle then it is extremely hard to colour as the hair is so fragile. These shredded ends will also soak up toners more as the damaged hair is searching for pigment to help it rebuild. Overuse of hair irons cause alien antennas, spiky crowns and broken hairlines. They can also burn out your toner quicker, dry the hair out and give you dull, scarecrow locks. If you want long, blonde and shiny hair then we suggest not using the irons at all. If you must use them due to your addiction to poker straight hair, then we suggest turning them down to 180 degrees (if your iron has a dial), using them only once a week and running them over each section of the hair once and slowly to get maximum results. It makes us cringe when I see people ironing their hair how they would brush it. I can literally hear the hair breaking.

6. Thou shall do treatments, treatments and more treatments.

Yes people, treatments are real and they do work. They are more than a glorified conditioner. Treatments are concentrated nutrients and should only be used once a week. We suggest once a week for 4 weeks before you decide to go lighter. This fills the hair with goodness and preps it for the lightening process. Buy a good quality blonde hair treatment and if possible from the salon that will be lightening your hair. This way the product is tailored to your hair and the upcoming service. Do I need to repeat that a supermarket treatment is not a real treatment so don’t waste your time and money. Pay a bit extra and your hair, and hairdresser will thank you for it. Now if you don’t have time to do the whole hot towel, leave on for 20 min deal, just do the treatment in the shower for 5-10 min. I always say that something is better than nothing and the treatments these days are designed for our time poor society. Alternatively, put the treatment in your hair before going to bed and sleep with it overnight. Make sure to put a towel over your pillowcase so as not to make a mess.

7. Thou shall stop my purple shampoo addiction.

We are not saying don’t use purple shampoo. There is a time and place for it and it helps keep the brass at bay longer. By the time you are due to get your blonde redone, the brassiness will be hard to kick. That is the normal cycle of hair. So soaking your hair daily in purple shampoo until it forms a dull grey colour is not doing it any favours. Remember, purple shampoo is pigmented and designed to be used once a week for enhancing your colour, not changing it. All that purple build up is then a colour that the bleach needs to break through, resulting in less lightening ability making the hair throw off a warmer tone. We suggest not using your purple shampoo for a week before your blonding appointment and let the ashiness fade out on it's own. This also gives us hairdressers and indication if we need to tweak the toner and the fading ability of your hair.

8. Thou shall get a decent trim.

No, Rapunzel didn’t have 4 long, frizzy, split hairs hanging at the ends of her hair. If you want long locks then they need to look thick and shiny. There is nothing worse then when people tell us they want to keep all the length and that length is about to break off on its own anyway. If your hair just won’t grow then you need to read above and see tip numbers 4,5 and 6 to look after your blonde hair, then believe me it will grow. But until then, we cannot save those strings and they just need to be cut of. It might mean a trim or losing 2 inches but your hair and colour will look better if you let us get those ends off. This prevents future breakage, tangling and knots and preps the hair for a fresher, cleaner blonde.

No one said going blonde was easy and it takes time. The care of the hair is essential and if you are not willing to put in the hard yards, then maybe blonde just isn’t for you. You wouldn’t spend a fortune on buying a Lamborghini to then wash it with dishwashing liquid or leave it out in the elements to fade. Your blonde is the same. It is an asset to your look and can make you feel younger, more tanned and stand out in a crowd. So please show your blonde hair the respect it deserves. Follow us on Insta @birdiesalon

Why is your toner is so important?

What does a toner do?

This question definitely comes in to our top 5 questions that clients ask. All you know is your hair is lightening in those pretty little foil packets, it then gets rinsed out and your hairdresser says, “I’m just going to mix up your toner.” You smile, nod and agree, all the while having no idea what she is talking about but every hairdresser does it so it must be a thing. So peeps, it’s now time to take control and finally know what happens when we place that weird, cold solution on your head at the basin.

Basically, any time we lighten hair it throws off warmth. That’s what hair does and that’s the way it was designed and has done so since the dawn of time. It lifts through red, orange, yellow and finally palest yellow, which is where you want to be if you are wanting platinum, ash blonde or silver. No we don’t lift to white, as this is the point when hair breaks so we like it to hang out at pale yellow and remain on your head. This is where the toner comes in.

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Basically a toner is used in most cases to counteract any warmth in the hair and create a more neutral colour as this is a much nicer look on your skin tone. It can also enhance or be used to create fashion colors but in the case of this blog we will concentrate on the neutralizing part of the toning process.

Say you were wanting platinum blonde, we would have to lift you light enough to get to pale yellow. We then would ‘tone’ or neutralize the pale yellow colour with a violet based blonde toner. This is because violet is opposite to yellow on the colour wheel. Remember grade 2 colour wheel activities where you mixed purple with yellow to make brown, or as we call it in hairdressing, neutral. This colour doesn't show up as brown but a neutral, clean, vanilla blonde.

Now let's just say your hair could only lift to orange, due to tint build up or your hair being darker naturally to start with, then we would use a blue based toner creating an ash brown colour. If we used a blue based toner over yellow hair, this would create a green or murky colour as blue and yellow make green. Again see Grade 2 colour mixing. This seems to be a common problem when people get toners in their hair as a lot of hairdressers only see ash (blue) as a universal toning option. This leaves the dull blonde look where hair lacks brightness and lightness. Another common toning faux pas is called ‘breaking the base’ where the toner used has a high level of ammonia which ends up lightening the natural hair around the foils, creating a warm or orange tinge to the overall look of the hair.

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Toners can also be altered to create different tones on blonde hair. There are many ways hairdressers can manipulate toners to intensify fashion looks like greys and pinks, produce depth at the roots using a darker toner called a ‘root stretch, blend out balayage by using 2 levels of toner and using toner to initiate levels of fade when the hair is washed.

Toners should be soft, never burn and never make the hair look dull. A toner should look like a cellophane on the hair, neutralizing the colour and complementing your skin tone. They are an important part of the colour process and if done correctly, can give you your perfect blonde.

Here at Birdie we will always tone our clients blonde at the chair in front of the mirror as apposed to the basin. Firstly this is an easier process for us and cleaner to apply but we also do this to educate our clients as to what their hair colour looks like when freshly lightened and then to visually see what the toner does to their hair colour after application.

Please remember that toners fade from the hair like all hair colour does, but being a lighter tone, they are designed to last about 4-6 weeks. You may find that you need to visit your hairdresser around this time to get the toner refreshed. A violet based shampoo or conditioner will also help the colour from looking brassy.