At some point in your life, you might wonder if a blonde transformation is possible. While the idea of it sounds easy, caring for blonde curls is actually a bit more complicated. Without an expert colorist and proper maintenance, you may risk damaging your hair’s texture and causing breakage. For that reason, we contacted Anna Wiles (@annawileshair), a professional hair stylist that specializes in blonde hair color to get her expert opinion on the many ways to care for blonde curls — plus a few tips for first-timers.
Why Does Blonde Hair Need Extra Care?
Wiles explains, “Chemically lifted blonde hair needs extra care because it has been processed and the pigments have been removed. This removal of pigments (and underlying pigments) will expose a blonde, or in some cases a bronde (caramel blonde), shade.” She continues, “In addition, this process opens up the cuticle — causing damage, stripping the moisture, and making the hair drier.”
How Going Blonde Can Affect Your Curls
Because curly hair is naturally drier, the process of going blonde can make the hair more fragile. Going blonde can also loosen the curl pattern. To treat this, Wiles recommends pacing yourself and being realistic when lifting shades. “Outside of finding a great stylist, staying on top of your hair color appointments and the at-home maintenance is important.”
Blonde Curl Care
When we asked Wiles about the particulars of at-home maintenance, she explained that caring for blonde curls is just as important as the blonding process itself. Here are the must-have items she recommends for her clients.
Olaplex No. 3
“I kind of have some non-negotiables that I go through with my clients. Olaplex No. 3 is hands down a non-negotiable for me and my clients. Disulfide bonds are broken down when you color hair. When these bonds break down, hair becomes brittle. Olaplex No. 3 goes in and actually rebuilds those disulfide bonds. So that is a game-changer and super important if you are a blonde person.” Wiles states. She adds that following up with any moisture-rich hair mask will also balance the dryness.
The Wet Brush
Gentle detangling is always advised when it comes to curly hair, but even more so when color is involved. “The Wet Brush is good because it passes over any knots until it brushes the knot out as opposed to having a brush that has really rigid bristles. Those types tend to rip out the knot on the first pass.” Wiles states.
Although this is considered a staple item for many with curly hair, Wiles also recommends a silk pillowcase on blonde curls because it eliminates friction and doesn’t wick away the hair's natural oils.
Using a sulfate-free, paraben-free shampoo is a given in her eyes. With no particular brand loyalty, she believes addressing your next biggest hair concern is important. For example, if you have scalp issues, use a moisture-based sulfate and paraben-free shampoo.
What About Purple Shampoo?
Although a purple shampoo can help tone down the brassiness that may occur, Wiles weighs in on her love/hate relationship with it. “...With no fault of the client, I think that it is overused and there needs to be better education on how to use it.”
Her suggestion is to check your hair color about a month or two after your blonde session. If it appears to be a bit warmer, then it’s time to try a purple shampoo. She advises mixing it in with your regular shampoo to dilute it. “I always tell my clients to do this twice for a shorter amount of time, rather than one time for too long”, she adds.
The theory behind this is based on yellow being opposite purple in the color wheel. Overuse or unnecessary use of purple shampoo can make certain blonde shades appear dull, or even take on a purple tint. “When your hair is so light that there isn’t any yellow in it, the purple is starting to be deposited because it doesn’t have anything to cancel,” she adds.
Tips for First-Timers Going Blonde
“If you are about to have a blonding session with a stylist, treat your hair as if your hair is already blonde,” says Wiles, suggesting again to use Olaplex No. 3 as a treatment leading up to your session. Adding that will help prevent any damage from previous heat styling or keratin treatments.
More importantly, she preaches that it is important to be transparent with your stylist. “I always say that your hair history won’t necessarily prohibit you from getting to the goal. But we as stylists might need to know something because we’ll take a different approach. Without that knowledge, the result might be a surprise and the integrity of the hair could be compromised.”
So whether you are a first-timer or dedicated blonde enthusiast, the bottom line is that caring for blonde curls is essential. If they are delicately managed, the overall look is stunning and can transform your entire look.