InStyle June 13, 2023



Expensive Blonde Is the Hair Color Trend Celebs Can't Get Enough Of


It's just as luxurious as its brunette counterpart.

Anyone who's ever gone blonde is fully aware that the hair color is both a time and monetary commitment. So, expensive blonde, one of the latest hair colors to go viral, is a shade that actually lives up to its luxurious name. Like its brunette counterpart, expensive blonde hair is soft and full of dimension. To learn more about this popular shade of blonde and to help decide whether it's right for you, we tapped celebrity colorists for their expertise.

Keep scrolling for our complete guide to expensive blonde hair color.

What Is Expensive Blonde?

"Expensive blonde is all about brightening our 'pandemic low-maintenance blondes' while still maintaining dimension to keep everything soft and diffused," says Amanda Lee, Moroccanoil Color Ambassador & Celebrity Stylist. "Clients are ready for a change and want to go back to the 'lighter for summer' trend without going all the way to those white-blonde highlights that used to be so common in the summertime."

This color was first named by celebrity hairstylist Tom Smith, Creative Director for Evo Hair. "It's a really soft contrast so there are fewer shadows in the hair, but it's not one set color," Smith said in his Instagram video that explains the color. "There's still dimension, there's still highs and lows," Smith explained. "Generally it's a warmer shade, but I think this is really going to do well in spring."

As for what to ask for at the salon, Rex Jimieson, Colorist & Color Educator at Maxine Salon in Chicago, says: "You want either foils or balayage highlights. It's a personal preference which you decide, but make sure you are using more than one shade of blonde and possibly lowlights as well to create depth and dimension."

What to Expect

Anyone considering this shade should expect to spend a good chunk of time at the salon to achieve it. "While this type of color is very seamless and natural, the process can be time-consuming and costly, which is where 'expensive blonde' comes from," Lee says. "To achieve the look, tons of very fine foil highlights and lowlights are done for maximum dimension and blending."

Maintenance and Aftercare

The coloring sessions will be long, but expensive blonde hair can actually be low maintenance in-between visits to the salon. "While it is more expensive than a single process blonde, the color variation and technique will be worth the investment as it will grow out with less demarcation essentially looking good for much longer," Jimieson shares. Expect to need touch-ups about every three to four months.

Jimieson recommends using repairative shampoos and conditioners, like Oribe's Gold Lust or Kérastase's Résistance Bain Force Architecte. "They have a balance of proteins and moisture so you can use it continuously to keep your canvas (hair) healthy," he adds.

A gloss can also refresh expensive blonde shades. "I encourage my clients to come in every eight-10 weeks for a quick gloss to refresh the highlights," says Lee. "The Moroccanoil Color Calypso Demi-Permanent Gloss not onlyMoroccanoil will refresh the color, but also increases shine to give you more conditioned and more manageable hair.

Our Favorite Looks

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie has become the unofficial spokesperson for expensive blonde hair since she started gradually going warmer in the past few years. In fact, her multidimensional blonde hair was one of the examples Smith showed in his explainer video of the trend.

Jasmine Sanders

Expensive blonde hair and curls are a winning combo, as seen on Jasmine Sanders.

Chrishell Stause

The Selling Sunset star transformed her caramel base into a warm expensive blonde shade for summer.

Jessica Alba

Alba proves that this hair color trend works any time of year. She went from expensive brunette to expensive blonde in winter. The actress documented her hair color journey on Instagram with her colorist Robert Ramos.

Jennifer Lopez

No one does expensive blonde hair quite like J.Lo. Her signature loose waves by Chris Appleton show off her multidimensional highlights and lowlights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What skin tones does Expensive Blonde work best for?

This shade can work for all skin tones. However, talk to your colorist about finding the most flattering tone for you. It will naturally complement those with warmer skin tones but those with cooler undertones can also pull off the shade, especially if sandy hues are also incorporated.

Is Expensive Blonde low-maintenance?

Expensive blonde may be more low-maintenance than, say, platinum, but it's not what you would call a low-maintenance hair color. Still, it will require fewer touch-ups for those with a gray or blonde base than for brunettes.

What other shades are similar to Expensive Blonde?

Expensive blonde is most similar to other warmer shades of blonde, but it's also multi-dimensional so it can be balanced with cooler hues, too. In other words, it's got it all.