Looking To Go Brighter This Summer? We Asked The Experts How To Achieve The Perfect Blonde

Cara Croke is dyeing for perfect golden tresses.

Cara’s before and after.

Have you always wanted to go blonde but fear you’ll end up damaging your hair, or just don’t know where to start? Although they say blondes have more fun, the process of getting to your ideal colour can be a bit grim if not done correctly. Luckily, the pros know a thing or two about achieving the perfect blonde without frying your hair off – here Steve from Hair Cafe in Smithfield answers the common questions we all have about taking the plunge and going brighter.

How long does it take to achieve the perfect blonde?

This will all depend on how dark your existing hair colour already is, says Steve. If you’ve been box-dying your hair already, the process will be a lot longer.

“It usually takes four to five steps to go blonde, depending on your desired colour. From black, you’ll have to go to a light brown, then, you can start breaking up your light brown with highlights, then, you’ll be able to go to a golden blonde and ultimately, white.”

How bright you can go will also depend on the condition of your hair. Thanks to an improvement in products over recent years, Steve says it’s now possible to go blonde even with thin hair, as long as you use a treatment.

“It’s essential to apply a salon treatment while colouring, it’ll always be an additional cost but it’s so important that I actually won’t do someone’s colour without it.”

How can I get the longest out of my colour?

According to Steve, the process of back-to-back highlights is the worst for regrowth. To achieve a more natural look, he likes to leave as much of the natural root as possible.

We apply the highlights at alternative distances to the root, so rather than growing out in a straight line they’ll grow out more naturally. We’re doing less highlights, therefore less hair is bleached, and you’re still blonde but will have some contrast to your colour.”

If you switch to getting your highlights done this way, you could get as long as two months between salon visits, rather than just a few weeks. It’s friendlier on your hair and your purse!

How to prevent the dreaded brassiness

Your blonde hair can turn yellow or brassy for a number of reasons; the hardness of water, using shampoos containing sulfate (which strips colour from the hair) or from the sun/chlorine while on holiday. A good purple shampoo will prevent your hair from turning that dreaded yellow colour, but Steve recommends only using once a week because they can be drying. Blonde Angel Wash by Kevin.Murphy is one of my favourites.

How to keep your blonde hair healthy

It’s very easy for blonde hair to look dry and damaged, so a salon treatment from time to time is essential for healthy-looking locks.

What people don’t understand is that a treatment penetrates the hair further than an at-home conditioner will”, says Steve. “Conditioner only works on the surface of the hair, but in ten to fifteen minutes a treatment will get inside the hair. If you have highlights, I’d recommend a treatment containing protein for strengthening the hair.” Steve used the B3 Brazilian Bond Builder treatment on my hair in Hair Cafe and it felt amazing afterwards!

Steve also recommends using an at-home treatment once a month when you have fifteen minutes to spare. “Kevin.Murphy and Milkshake products are two of my favourites.”

What products should I be using after shampoo?

“If you use a leave-in conditioner, your hair will be healthier and therefore retain colour better and be easier to manage. I’d recommend a spray or mousse, as they are water-based and work better on fine hair.”

Lastly, a serum is essential if you want your hair to grow or if you tend to use heat often. “A serum is a heavier, oil-based product, so apply it from your jawline down. I wouldn’t recommend using a heat protectant for just a blow dry as it can leave your hair feeling heavy, only use one if you’re straightening after a blow dry.”


Pop into Hair Cafe in Thundercut Alley, Smithfield, Dublin 7 or follow them on Instagram here!


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