Solar blonde is the high-impact hair trend we’re loving right now
Written by Kayleigh Dray
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
From smoked marshmallow to toasted coconut locks, these are the Instagram-worthy blonde hair colour trends worth considering ahead of your next salon appointment.
Updated on 3 September: Do blondes have more fun? It’s the age-old question that will probably never be answered, but one thing we do know for sure is this; blonde hair is always in vogue. And, in 2021, there are more options for wannabe blondes than ever before.
From updated classics, like the Bardot blonde, to exciting new shades, like the solar blonde craze, to low maintenance twists on the timeless trend (we’re thinking toasted coconut, cream soda, and yellow blonde, to name but three) there are a whopping 10 new blonde hair colours racking up thousands upon thousands of likes on Instagram.
But, with so many options available (and with appointments at newly-reopened hair salons being the equivalent of beauty gold dust), which blonde is right for you? Really?
To find out more, I reached out to Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel, for his take on the new blonde hair trends.
Here’s what he had to say.
Essentially, the solar blonde trend (as demonstrated by Kesh above) is a bright white colour with a sunshine-yellow twist – which means it mimics the colour of the sun.
Now, it’s best to see a professional for a high-impact hair transformation like this, as it will require careful bleaching and toning. For those already sporting white-blonde tresses, though, you can achieve a similar look with Bleach London’s Just Like Honey Super Cool Colour (£6.50).
Smoked marshmallow (or toasted marshmallow, as it’s sometimes referred to on social media) is a lived-in blonde hair colour that makes for a seriously low effort colour transformation. Essentially, you’re looking for an intense balayage effect, one which sees your hair fade from brunette roots to icy blonde ends.
“Ask your stylist for a rooted, ashy blonde color,” advise the experts at L’Oreal. “They’ll be able to expertly place your highlights and lowlights.”
As reported on 13 July: If you want to nail the sunset blonde trend, you need to go richer and warmer than usual; think super-sweet honey and strawberry tones, akin to those seen in Adele’s enviable mop of hair, with a darker root for added au naturel vibes.
The best thing about this shade is that it can be adapted to suit pretty much anyone – and it can be a big transformation or just a subtle change; think delicate highlights, chunky lowlights, or even an all-over colour. Chat to your hairdresser to see what they recommend.
The ribbon blonde trend is, basically, a high-contrast form of balayage. This means that your hair colourist will hand-paint a brighter blonde colour directly onto your hair to create a gorgeous sun-kissed effect.
It’s little wonder this look is so popular; not only does it make your hair seem as if it has gleams of bright sunlight running throughit at all times, but it’s a low-maintenance option for people with darker hair, too. Win, win!
As reported on 28 April: “Having been away from the salon for so long, we are seeing a rise in clients wanting that perfectly kempt colour that’s really luxe,” Reed tells me.
“The Bardot blonde is a very nostalgic blonde, it’s biscuitty, soft and with caramel infused tones that are beautifully toned and natural looking. Think Brigitte Bardot and Debbie Harry, if you need an example.”
Reel blonde (aka Hollywood blonde)
“A reel blonde is a hyper modern, beautifully toned, raw blonde,” explains Reed, citing Billie Eilish and Selena Gomez’s new looks as examples. “Taking inspiration from social media, a lot of clients are looking for that insta-ready hair transformation, with a blonde so blonde, it’s not just IG ‘reel’.”
He warns: “Always have a thorough consultation with your stylist prior to any hair change and discuss how this could work for your hair. Those with naturally lighter hair may find their hair is able to lift a little easier whilst those with darker hair will need expert advice on how best to lighten their colour without putting their hair’s health at risk.”
Toasted coconut blonde
Reed says: “During lockdown, some clients who naturally have a darker base have been looking to explore options that give a natural blonde lift, and toasted coconut hair is perfect for this.
“A fresh spin on ‘bronde’ hair, it is all about a beautiful shadow root – aka dramatically dark roots – slowly melting into luminous, frosty blonde ends.
“Again, always have a thorough consultation with your stylist prior to any hair change and discuss how this could work for your hair – and, with regards to this trend, consider whether you are looking for super frosty tips or a more natural and gradual blonde at the ends.”
Cream soda blonde
“Cream soda hair could be referred to as the ‘softer’ version of toasted coconut blonde,” explains Reed.
“It’s essentially a warm blonde that creates a glow around the face – so nothing too frosty or deep – and can be the perfect transitional colour for brunettes who are looking to add in some blonde for the first time.”
Reed continues: “With beige brown and warm gold tones, the lighter hints of colour give a creamy tone that perfectly complements the natural and darker grounding roots. And this means that the cream soda blonde trend looks particularly great with tailored face-framing highlights.
“For instance, those with a heart-shaped face may look to keep the top half of the head darker and fade out, whereas those with more oval shapes might look to add highlights to the side of the face, near the ears, to add more width to their frame.”
“Ice blonde hair is a look that we have seen many celebrities look to over the years,” says Reed, describing the look as a “light, cool-toned hair colour featuring platinum tones that is sometimes paired with white, blue and silver hues that shimmers as if touched by frost.”
“If you are considering the icy blonde look, always have a thorough consultation with your stylist – consider how you normally wear your make-up, what clothes you wear, and your personal style,” he adds. “Because, when considering a colour pop like this, it’s important to take into account your entire look.”
“Yellow hair colour is an easy way to update your blonde without the staining you can get from richer colour,” says Reed, noting that the warmer colour (sometimes described as a champagne blonde) is way better for your hair than most others that require bleaching.
Rose gold blonde
Reed notes: “Rose gold is a timeless colour that many blondes love to use to freshen up their colour, swerving the brighter shades and opting for a more subtle sheer tone that’s sophisticated and punky in equal measure.”
Tempted to try one of the new blonde hair trends?
If you’re keen to sign up to the blonde hair club, Reed asks that you consider the condition of your hair before and after your appointment, and that you speak to a stylist ahead of any major colour changes.
He also urges blondes to keep their hair in tip-top condition after their appointments with deep conditioning balms and products.
His favourite? Naturally, it’s the L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Blondifier Leave In Resurfacing Balm (£18) – due to hit stores on 1 May – which acts as a leave-in conditioner, and promises up to 86% breakage reduction plus heat protection.
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