Blonde Ambition, Still Alive And Well For Fall
As the Fall shows came to a wrap in March, the season’s clear hair color winner was brunette, which inspired a neo-goth renaissance (and our Fall Beauty Guide). But the dark moment on the runways, which saw blonde beauties like Patricia van der Vliet and Dempsey Stewart adopt espresso dye jobs, left blondes—myself included—a little adrift; how do we, the golden-haired masses, make seasonal color adjustments without committing to a deliberately dark ‘do? “I don’t think these trends need to apply to everyone,” Redken creative consultant Tracey Cunningham assures me. Cunningman is an expert on brightening (she’s the mastermind behind Emma Stone, Kate Bosworth, and Jessica Biel’s lightened locks), so we’re ready to take her at her word. Here, Cunningham weighs in on fall-ifying honeyed hair, why ombré highlights will never go out of style, and the one must-have hair product for flaxen folk.—Kristin Studeman
Brunette is obviously a big trend for fall. But what if you’re blonde and you aren’t quite ready to take that plunge?
Please be careful with trends when you are blonde! I have so many brunettes who show me some blonde picture and it just isn’t going to work—and the same goes for blondes. They are so easily tricked into going brunette and it totally messes up their hair. You can lowlight your hair, make it have a little more depth, but don’t go crazy. If you have been a blonde your whole life I think you should embrace it. You just are blonde.
What if you have been experimenting with lighter shades for summer? Is it necessary to tone down the platinum and add in some amber notes so you don’t look so washed out as your tan fades?
Add some depth, which means going from what you are now to what your root color is—or maybe even a little more of that if you are not a base blonde. It doesn’t mean you need to be as dark as your natural hair, just a little darker. If you ever want to go a shade darker or lighter, always bring a photo. That is one of my main rules.
Will we see some of your blonde clients going darker for fall?
Sarah Paulson just went dark for her role in American Horror Story, actually. Who knows about Emma [Stone] though!
You have been doing Lily Aldridge’s hair—such a nice ombré!—for years. I noticed she is looking pretty dark these days. Is ombré—gasp—over?
[Lily] didn’t dye her hair once when she was pregnant, but she just went lighter (to her signature shade). I don’t think ombré is ever leaving; people still love [it] because it is a natural highlight for brunettes. Brunettes are always going to want highlights and we have finally figured out a way they can do it and not have light streaks coming out and look crazy. It is such a grounded look; you don’t look like a victim of bleach.
So what differentiates good highlights from “crazy” ones?
It is really like art, you know? It is what you like. Some people are happy with their hair the way it is and that’s how it should be. I have seen people with hair colors I would never ever do but they seem to love it, so who am I to say that it’s wrong?
Do you have any blonde maintenance products you are especially loving right now?
The Redken [Blonde Glam] purple shampoo—amazing!
Are there any other big fall hair trends you’ve noticed coming through your salon?
I love a bang, if you can rock [them] like Jessica [Biel]. Her bang is really heavy, though. I remember when she was getting them done, she said she was 100 percent committed. You really have to commit to a bang.
Photo: Getty Images