How to Go Golden at Home

10 do-it-yourself steps to dazzling blond color.
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Tired of hair color disasters? Follow this painless guide and go ahead -- release your inner blonde!

closeup of woman with highlighted blonde hair

1. Pick a blond that's two shades lighter than your natural color. If your hair is medium to dark brown, choose warm shades of butter or caramel (think Jennifer Aniston). Lighter brunets and dark blondes should pick colors that are more strawberry (like Drew Barrymore) or ash-toned (like Gwyneth Paltrow).

2. Choose a formula that suits your needs. Use a highlighting kit for subtle streaks, semi-permanent dye for low-commitment color that lasts approximately 30 shampoos, and permanent dye for an all-over, more dramatic change.

3. Ensure that the color will take (and that the shade is what you're looking for) by testing it on a strand from underneath your hair.

4. Comb your hair thoroughly to detangle, then part normally.

5. Follow directions exactly, even if you consider yourself a pro with at-home color. Instructions can vary between kits and companies.

6. Start in the back of your head and work forward, saving the hair around your face for last. Since they're more exposed to the elements, and to heat from styling, these pieces are porous and will soak up color easily. Start timing from when you finish applying color to the front.

7. Since some at-home highlighting kits have thinner formulations than other types of dye, add cornstarch to thicken the product. It won't affect the ingredients but it will make the dye easier to paint on.

8. Don't rinse out color before the allotted time since the formula may not have finished its work -- running the risk of turning your hair orange.

9. When ready, rinse thoroughly and then apply the conditioner included with the kit. This seals in color and repairs any damage.

10. Repeat every three to six weeks (three for all-over or semi-permanent color, six for a natural color change or highlights).

 

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