Sophisticate's Hairstyle Guide April/May 2018

sophisticate's Hairstyle Guide

April/May 2018

It's so blonde, it's white.

Taking platinum-blonde to the next level is a hot haircolor trend, with runway models and celebrities wearing manes of white, and Instagram pages filling up with the absence of pastels in favor of snowy shades. To get the details on this hot hue, Sophisticate's Hairstyle Guide spoke with Matrix Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas and Chicago's Maxine salon Color Specialist Stacie Dybala, who shared the key factors in deciding if the white haircolor trend is right for you. Start with the quiz...

Quiz Time!

Answer Ture or False to the following questions...

  1. My natural haircolor is somewhere between Vanessa Hudgens' brunette Kendall Jenner's black. __T__F
  2. I consider myself to be fashion conscious, but not fashion forward. __T__F
  3. I never worry about the health of my hair; you can always hide a bad hair-day with a hat or cut off a few frizzy ends. __T__F
  4. I'm a big fan of DIY! I cut and color my hair myself-I never go to a salon. __T__F
  5. I have not patience when it comes to changing my hair; I live for instant makeovers! __T__F
  6. My schedule is really hectic, and I don't have a lot of time for more than two or three haircolor appointments a year. __T__F
  7. I'd like to try a white haircolor, but only for a month; I'd want to go back to my natural haircolor after that. __T__F

If you answered mostly FALSE, then step into the white zone! If your answers were mostly True, here's why you may need to skip the trend all together...


1) your natural haircolor

While it's not impossible for darker shades of hair to go completely white, it's not really advised if you value the health of your hair even a little bit. "There are 10 shades of hair color (1=Black, 10=Pale Blonde), and hair can only safely go 7-8 shades lighter before it gets compromised, dry and damaged," says Papanikolas. "That means black hair will break by the time it reaches a pale blonde. White haircolor is really only recommended for light-brown hair or lighter; anything darker will have high potential for damage." Dybala also adds that the density of your hair can also be an issue. "Really fine hair can get dried out very quickly and it can't handle as much as thicker hair, so I don't usually recommend someone with really fine hair go platinum."

2) fashion forward all the way

White haircolor is really noticeable, so if you prefer to stay on the the conservative side of trendy, it may be best to avoid the statement-making shade, which tends to look best with a cut that matches. "This is a very bold color," confirms Dybala. "It's very strong, so you need a strong hairstyle to go with it." Papanikolas' recommendation? "Edgy modern cuts pair best with platinum."

3) Healthy hair is a must

If your hair isn't in a healthy state right now, it's best to hold off on that white haircolor until you give it a little extra TLC-not to mention that once you've achieved the ultimate lightened mane shade, you'll have to work a bit harder to keep your locks in good shape. "Hair needs to be healthy to be able to evenly go white," shares Papanikolas. And if you have previously highlighted hair? "You need to be okay cutting it off, as that hair will most likely not evenly lift." 

"It is very drying when you go really white-it's so important to have a good foundation to keep the hair healthy before you start," says Dybala. "The perfect condition is if you don't have any color on your hair at all; if you sit in my chair and you have old highlights in your hair that are really dry, I probably wouldn't recommend going white. If you already start with dry, damaged hair, you can make it worse." If you really want to go white, get regular trims and work toward a healthier hair condition. "Once the dry, damaged parts grow out, then you can start going brighter," concludes Dybala

4) salon pros are immprtant

Some things are best left to the professionals, and using bleach and lighteners, which are a necessity for going white, definitely falls under this category. "The potential for damage, breakage and an overall undersirable result is very high," stresses Papnikolas. "This is one of the processes that requires meticulous application, timing and toners."

Dybala agrees. "When you are lightening hair to that level, you have to use bleach or a lightener, instead of just a regular color, and a lot of times the at-home kits are extremely harsh and can cause a lot of damage to your hair. I do not recommend doing a white haircolor at home at all."

5) The process of getting there

The lighter, brighter and whiter you want your hair to be, the longer it takes to get it there. If you're looking for instant glam, this is definitely no the hue for you! "One of my professional opinions if you're going to go really light blonde is to be patient," offers Dybala. "Patience is a huge thing because sometimes people expect it to happen all ini one sitting and, depending on what your hair is like before you start, it might not happen in one day. It can take a couple of appointents, becuase you want to keep the integrity of your hair as much as possible."

Papanikolas explains the process: "First, your colorist needs to apply a bleach lightener like Matrix Light Master to the hair, and I highly suggest using a bond protector like Matrix Bond Ultim8 to preserve the integrity of the hair during the lightening process. Your hair pro needs to stay about 1/2" off the scalp to lift the rest of the hair first; the heat from your scalp will make the first 1/2" of your hair lift faster, which will leave an uneven band and cause the hair to break if the roots are left on too long. Once the hair has reached a yellow tone, then your colorist can go back and hit the roots until it's all an even blonde. Most likely, the first time there can be unevenness in the color, which requires them to go back in and spot-treat those areas. Once it's an all-over pale yellow color, your hair pro can apply a pastel toner like Matrix Color Sync to neutralize the pale yellow tones into the desired platinum shade; toners will not neutralize yellow or yellow orange hair. Hair has to be pre-lightened to a pale yellow, like the inside of a banana." Phew!

6) Touch-ups and Maintenance

Regular salon appointments are a must when it comes to maintaining a white-hot hue. "Platinum requires a mandatory four-week touch-up schedule," relays Papanikolas. "At four weeks, the regrowth easily lifts with the help of the heat of your scalp. Waiting any longer will result in uneven lift and yellow bands in the hair, and will require the lightener to sit longer which can cause damage and breakage."

As for at-home maintenance, you'll need to spend a little extra time treating your hair very, very nicely. "You want to do a conditioning treatment once a week or a mask. And don't wash your hair every single day, becuase that can dry it out a lot," shares Dybala

7) Going back from white

White haircolor is a bit of a commitment-not just in maintenance and touch-ups, but also in the lenghth of time you're going to be wearing it. Returning to a brunette, red or any other shade is going to take a little bit of work. "It's challenging, as you have removed all the pigment in going white," explaines Papanikolas. "First, you need to add back the warm undertones, and then add the desired color." When you're going back darker, you have to do it in a couple different steps," says Dybala. "Generally, your colorist will have to put some color on two or three times. When you try to put a brunette back on, it can look muddy, so it takes a couple hours to get it to a rich color. And the maintenance will be a little high for a while-you might need to come in once a month or once every 6 to 8 weeks to refresh it until the new color sticks."