Get the Look: Guide to Blondes

We've all been there: A brand new client sits in the chair she's booked as a traditional full foil and she pulls out a picture of icy blonde hair that would make Elsa herself jealous! Panic sets in, but if you're lucky you've got an awesome team around you to help you pull off a miracle that really only seems possible with Hermione Granger's time turner.

So, I sat down and brainstormed. How can I make this a smoother process? Not just for myself, but for my clients and my team at the front desk. A little while later this handy blonde chart was born! My clients have a much better idea of what to ask for when booking their appointments and my receptionists have a great reference for taking the first consultation steps on the phone.

Any client who isn't sure what exactly they want/need should come in for a short chat. In just 15 minutes you can talk about maintenance, cost, sessions and tones, all while managing expectations about what is possible in a single visit. The blonde they desire might not work with their skin tone. Do they have box color on their hair? Henna? Blonde is not always an option for every client. Going icy blonde from dark is a journey, I tell my clients to embrace it and enjoy the in between stages!

Everyone's blonde is different and may require maintenance in between lightening sessions:

Shadow root: A demi permanent color applied at the root and emulsified or painted down to blend regrowth lines while still allowing for dimension at the root.

Toner: Typically a quick 15 minute appointment where a toner is applied at the bowl with the option to leave damp or add on a blowout.

Root retouch: Gray coverage and some base colors will still require regular 4-6 week maintenance even with an Ombré.

Haircuts & Treatments: Even with all of the incredible bond building products and at home treatments available to us lightening and daily life still take it's toll on the hair. Make sure to follow up with routine trims and treatments as needed!

  • Highlights & Base

    This is the highest maintenance blonde option (next to on scalp platinum) this is a heavy full foil with a base bump. The bump is applied in between your foils if you get gray coverage, if not it's a bump at the bowl.

    Maintenance 4-6 weeks

  • Highlights

    Traditional foil highlights and or lowlights.

    Maintenance 6-8 weeks

  • Foilayage

    Foilayage is a combination of traditional foils and balayage, typically with a shadowroot at the shampoo bowl.

    Maintenance 8-12 weeks

  • Color Melt

    A soft balayage of the whole head that gradually melts from dark to light.

    Maintenance 12-18 weeks

  • Sombré

    Hand painted highlights blended to perfection, the ends are optionally all lightened or just highlighted.

    Maintenance 3-6 months


Melanie is a hair stylist at Darren & Co Salon in Cincinnati, OH. She specializes in blondes, balayage and vivids. A fierce caffeine addict with a love of all things pink and sparkly! When she's not creating at the salon she's spending time with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. Find Melanie on Instagram: @the_balayage_mermaid [Images by Melanie Scheel]

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