For the last few years, blonde coloring has been praised to the skies by numerous celebrities: a nearly white blonde for Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga, a platinum with obvious roots for Miley Cyrus, or a tie-and-dye platinum and caramel blonde for Ariana Grande, as well as, of course, Daenerys Targaryen’s polar blonde in “Game of Thrones” and recently Marion Cotillard joined the platinum clan. FAB sheds light on this trend that is becoming even more popular this autumn. Crystal Brown, ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel Color in Canada, and blonde specialist Frédéric Mennetrier in Paris explain what shade of blonde to choose and how to create it, depending on the base you have.
Polar Blonde Has Been Fascinating People For 40 Years
Since the 1960s, coloring has democratized and a multitude of blonde shades have appeared. Worn by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot, platinum blonde has become, over time, the clear winner, before having been abandoned by the greater public for some time due to being considered vulgar or even aggressive to hair.
In recent years, platinum blonde has experienced a comeback, even in Paris, where natural colors are usually preferred. “One by one, we’ve seen Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Kristen Stewart and even top model Karlie Kloss go platinum,” explains hairdresser Delphine Courteille. At Dessange in Paris, a colorist explained to us that the platinum shade most people request “tends towards white, without reflections but, most of all, it must never stop appearing yellow”.
For Frédéric Mennetrier, manager at l’Atelier Blanc, there are as many shades of platinum blonde as there are customers. A cold, almost white blonde: polar blonde, is also the most sought after. This is the one used by Khaleesi in “Game of Thrones”. Kim Kardashian also wore it on a wig during the latest New York Fashion Week. In fact, it had already been her who started the trend three years ago. Then a muse a Givenchy, and under the influence of the firm’s artistic director, Riccardo Tisci, Kim went from black to blonde/white at the hands of Frédéric Mennetrier.
How To Get A Polar Blonde According To Frédéric Mennetrier, Hair Stylist & Colorist In Paris
Obtaining a polar blonde is the most complicated technique in terms of application, diagnostics and quality of the hair. It’s the discoloring that hurts hair the most because pigments (and thus amino-acids) are removed from the entire head. The results are often difficult to assess because it’s very rare to see hair free of any balayage, coloring or de-frizzing. Once hair has been touched, it becomes oxidised, making it complicated to obtain a white shade. A polar blonde can rarely be obtained in a single session.
For a natural dark blonde, which has never been discolored, there must be at least two discolorations over a period of one month to achieve a good result. It is better to opt for discoloration over the whole head instead of balayage, which will only discolor your hair partially. Balayage will not stand a second discoloring. Natural hair will react properly, unlike hair that has undergone balayage. You need to work horizontally and not vertically to get good results with highlights. You need several applications of lightener and care between treatments, which is long but very important.
If highlights have been done, it’s necessary to lighten what is between the highlights without deteriorating the highlights that are already there. The lightening product must be adapted to what has been done before hand. Everything depends on the base but, in general, you need to have at least four sessions over about five or six months. However, it’s difficult to preserve highlights when discoloring is being done.
If your color is not very loaded but rather made up of gloss or tones on tones, you need to have a minimum of three appointments with your hair stylist. The residue on longer lengths may become oxidised. The hair will look truly clean the day of the discoloring treatment but this should be taken with a grain of salt. The remaining pigments will continue to oxidise, creating a continuous residue that will have to be neutralised over and over. You should expect to spend two or three months and undergo several discoloring treatments before you get a polar result.
Completely colored hair, such as when hiding white hairs, will require the longest technique. You need to bleed out the color little by little, without damaging the hair. Because, to get a beautiful blonde, you need healthy hair. When it comes to going from dark to white, it can take a year or more. This means going through intermediate colors. Psychologically, it is even advisable to take your time since it can be difficult to go from black to white one day to the next and accept it with joy.
All transformations require maintenance.
After discoloring, you really need to take care of you hair. With a polar blonde, you need a hair mask every time you shampoo, a non-rinse treatment before combing and you must never let your hair air dry. You absolutely need a hair dryer! Air and moisture oxidise hair, which opens up the cuticles and fades the color away.
How To Obtain A Polar Blonde According To Crystal Brown, Hair Stylist & Colorist At Ricci Hair Co In Edmonton, Canada
We live in a world where trends are driven by supermodels, celebrities and social media influencers. Throughout mid 2017 there have been a number of these beauties that have embraced the platinum blonde life: Charlize Theron in the film “Atomic Blonde”; supermodels Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss have debuted a platinum crop and simmering blonde waves; and the ever-changing and ever-influential Kylie Jenner has joined songstresses Rita Ora and Taylor Swift in the blonde life.
The decision to go platinum blonde shouldn’t be taken lightly, pun intended. Depending on your clients hair color history it could be a very major undertaking, with a huge financial and time commitment. Maintaining the look will require frequent salon visits and the very best at-home products. This all has to be included in the conversation with your client before they commit to platinum.
In most cases it is easier to make a dark natural blonde platinum. The first visit will require what is known as a “virgin application”. Start by applying lightener to the lengths and ends, avoiding the scalp area. This step may need to be repeated. When the lengths have lightened to pale yellow, apply lightener to the scalp area. To successfully create a platinum shade the hair must be light enough. A good visual reference is the color of the inside of a banana. If it isn’t as light as the inside of the banana then it isn’t light enough and you won’t achieve a platinum shade. Once the hair is light enough I would gloss (or tone) at a depth of 10 with a blue or blue-violet tonal value.
If the hair is already highlighted transitioning to a global, or all over, blonde carries a high risk of damage as the lengths are a mix of lightened strands and natural strands. In this situation I often advise clients to stay with highlighting but to transition to heavy babylight (lots of little pieces of very light blonde hair). The result won’t be an all-over platinum blonde but you will maintain the integrity of the hair. The additional benefit to the client is that they do not have to be in the salon as often for their retouch. Instead of every three to four weeks, it would be every eight to 10 weeks.
If the client would still prefer to have a global platinum blonde rather than a highlighted blonde you will need to carefully work through the length, select the strands that are not blonde and lighten them. It is difficult to prevent picking up some of the previously lightened strands. To prevent damage I use a bond protector such as Smart Bond mixed into my lightener. After the lengths have been lightened you can lighten the scalp area. It is uncommon to get a perfectly even light base in one appointment and repeat visits may be required.
If you have a client that has been coloring to cover white hair wanting to go platinum, success will depend on how dark they have been coloring their hair. If they have been coloring blonde it will be easier than if they have been coloring red or brunette. Regardless of what they’ve been coloring, it will have to be removed or lightened prior to going platinum and that process will likely take multiple salon visits. When preparing the client for the process you will also want to let them know that they will have a warm color result while they are transitioning. The client also has to be prepared that it may not be possible.
When lightening previously colored hair with the intent to go platinum I work in paper-thin sections, apply lightener with Smart Bond to the hair, and isolate each section in foil. The foil will incubate the lightener and produce a lighter result.
If you need to retouch the base color to cover the white hair, chose a shade that will blend to where the ends have lightened to until the next session.
Platinum blonde hair is very delicate both in condition and color. Steps need to be taken at home to preserve the platinum tone as well as maintain and improve the integrity of the hair. Suggesting that clients shampoo as infrequently as possible will help. Use of violet- and/or blue-toned shampoo and conditioners as a part of their routine will help the tone last longer. I recommend Blonde Color Corrector Cream by Series Expert. To help with hair integrity I recommend Series Expert Absolut Repair or Inforcer ranges.
Delphine Courteille offers some advice for those still undecided: “Platinum is in this winter, with a slightly metallic shine between white and grey.”