I came across this image on this instagram and immediately thought this is perfect for deciphering the difference between tones of blonde. This girl is also just amazing at blending and makes me really hopeful that one day I can be as amazing a colourist.
I think tones can be one of the most confusing parts of going blonde and it’s really good, if nothing else, when you go into the hairdressers, to have a good idea of at least what tone you like. This makes our job as hairdressers so much easier, and we can tell you if this is achievable as well as advising on what aspect of tones to play with. If it seems confusing at first, just answer the essential question, do you prefer warm tones or cool tones, are you more Jennifer Anniston or Rita Ora? Once you have decided this you can then explore more options in each category, and believe me there are many!
So to start I will outline what in my opinion are the 3 main tonal families within colour, specifically referring to blonde.
Ash/Cool tones – this is a really clean, crisp way of using blonde, it plays with tones of blue, grey, silver and mauve, but be careful with this as it can easily look quite flat and one dimensional. Extreme versions of ash take you into the cold pastel tones as seen on Kelly Osbourne and Lady Gaga. I would recommend ash if you are going for a more blocky or all over blonde.
Golden/warm tones – think Jennifer Anniston, the traditional california girl, sunkissed blonde. With warmer blondes you can play with tones of honey and caramel, it’s a really nice tone to go with if you want to enhance your natural hair colour, or create a soft sunkissed look, it also looks great in ombre styles for a natural lived in and low maintenance colour.
Neutral tones – so neutral is a happy marriage of cool and warm tones. I love to describe these shades as creamy, beige or smokey blondes depending on how light you want to go, you can even play with rose and mahogany shades. Perfect for achieving an effortless natural blend and my preferred tone over ash when doing extremely light, all over blondes. Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss is a great example of my perfect creamy, beige blonde.
I know this is all pretty overwhelming and perhaps they all look the same to you, but I really hope I have at least given you an easier understanding and vision of all the different blondes there are to be had, and perhaps even guided you into finally finding your perfect tone.
Look out for the next post in my blonde series where I’ll be guiding you through colourist terminology and techniques!
Catch up on my last post in the Blonde Series here.