Whether natural or otherwise

By Patricia Shannon
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Woman with Blonde Curly Hair on the Beach
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No-fuss natural blonde? More-is-more highlighting queen? What about a go-with-the-flow balayage fan? No matter your blonde personality, there are certain tips, techniques, and products designed to make the most of your golden strands.

We would never say that blonde is a low maintenance hair color, even if you come by yours honestly (remember that chlorine-induced green hair of your childhood summers?). Here we're sharing a cheat sheet for busting brass, finding the perfect shade, and protecting your strands from all that they go through—even if it doesn't involve sitting in a salon chair for two hours every six to eight weeks.

Find the Perfect Shade

If you have naturally dark hair, platinum might not be the best choice for you. A good rule of thumb is to stay within two shades of your natural hair color. You'll also want to pay attention to the tone of your blonde—warm or cool—and it all depends on your skin tone. Warm-complexions will do better with, you guessed it, warm hair colors. And cool tones should stick with cool. A nifty trick for determining skin tone made a lot on noise on the interwebs a few years ago. The secret was to look at the veins on your wrist. If they appear blueish, you have a cool skin tone. More greenish? Then it's warm undertones for you.

Women with super fair skin can take advantage of some of the lightest hair tones in the spectrum, while still looking relatively natural. At the same time, warm complexions sparkle with strands in shades of honey and gold.

One more quick trick for finding the perfect blonde—go back to your roots. That envious color you were blessed with as a child will likely still work wonders for bringing out your natural beauty, albeit now with a salon tab to go along with.

Give Strands Lots of TLC

Going blonde isn't all fun and games, there's a certain amount of care that must be taken, not to mention the maintenance. If you want to extend the life of your highlights or color, find a toning shampoo that works well with your hair color. Your stylist will be your best resource, but feel free to ask her for a less pricey option if the in-salon offerings are a bit too steep for your budget—we're sure she'll be happy to oblige.

You'll want to take care that the daily shampoo and conditioner you're using are gentle enough for color-treated hair. Look out for labels that give an indication that the formula is color-safe. A color-safe shampoo and conditioner combo will ensure your color doesn't get stripped away and that it's putting nourishment back into your strands while it cleanses.

The process of lightening hair is taxing on strands. For that reason, taking extra precautions like the ones mentioned above will go far. In addition, a good heat protectant for use prior to styling and masking at least once a week will keep hair in tip-top shape.

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Don't Try This At Home

Whether you're a natural blonde or want to spruce up your tresses with a few expertly placed highlights, it's best to leave things to the professionals when it comes to shades such as these. We're not talking a rich chocolate brown here—blonde can go so wrong, so quickly. Unless Mama trained you in the art of the kitchen sink color job, this is one times it's definitely best to pull out your purse and hand over that credit card.