The Ultimate Guide to Blonde Haircolors: Warm vs. Cool Blonde, Tone, & Maintenance

Ultimate Blonde Guide THUMB


It goes without saying, but we will say it anyway: not all blonde colors are created equal. Forget 50 shades of gray, it’s more like 50 shades of blonde. Whether you’re a natural blonde looking to subtly change up your shade, or are a brunette planning a total transformation, it’s important to first figure out which hue is right for you. Here, all of the blonde basics, plus lots of inspo to help you find your best blonde.


“Colorists separate blonde haircolors into three categories: cool, warm, and neutral,” explains Redken Artist Celene Dupuis. The super light, pale, icy shades—think platinum blonde hair—are cool. Golden, strawberry blonde, or honey blonde hair is warm, while neutral shades fall somewhere in the middle, think those wheat-y or buttery blondes, says Celene.


The easiest way to determine which blonde is most flattering for you is to consider your skin tone. As a general rule, you want a little bit of contrast, meaning those golden, warm tones are great for those with paler skin, while darker, olive skin tones look good with cooler blonde hair. (Neutral blonde shades are universally foolproof, as they flatter pretty much any skin tone, notes Celene.) Still unsure? Take a look at the jewelry you wear. “If you don’t love how gold looks on your skin, you probably won’t like golden blonde hair,” says Celene.

Regardless, it’s still important to incorporate both cool and warm shades. “Dimensional blonde always looks more expensive, so you want a little bit of a mix in tones. Even someone who wants strictly warm, honey blonde hair needs a few neutral pieces running throughout, or some deeper colors at the root,” Celene shares. The key: consult with your hair colorist to understand the depth and color options to determine which will flatter you best.


Blondes may have more fun, but their hair also requires a little more TLC. “The biggest challenge with blonde hair is that it can easily turn dull and dry, so be sure to speak with your colorist about the best at-home regime for you,” advises Celene. She recommends using moisturizing All Soft Heavy Cream Super Treatment Mask as a weekly treatment. Another good move: Start treating your hair even before you go blonde. Try Extreme Cat Protein Reconstructing Hair Treatment Spray once a week for at least two weeks prior to your blonding appointment. The spray-on, rinse-out treatment strengthens the hair and prevents breakage.

All blondes should also keep Color Extend Blondage Color Depositing Purple Shampoo and Color Extend Blondage Color Depositing Purple Conditioner in the shower. Don’t worry, the violet-hued formulas won’t turn your hair purple; what they will do is keep the cool tones in your hair and neutralize any unwanted brassiness or orange tones. If you’re rocking a cooler blonde color, Celene advise using the duo every time you shower, leaving it on for three to four minutes to let the purple pigments do their job. On the flip side, if your blonde is warmer and you don’t want it to turn too cool, use the shampoo once a week and don’t let it sit on your hair for more than a couple of minutes.

For more blonde haircolor inspiration and tips on how to maintain your haircolor between salon visits, follow @Redken on Instagram!