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Going blonde: a guide for Asian hair

Nicole Vince
14 September 2018
Asian in blonde
Nicole Vince

Nicole Vince

Hair journalist

14 September 2018

Nicole is a hair and beauty journalist with a particular fondness for the latest bright hair colors. There isn't a hair trend or tip unobserved by Nicole.

Embarking upon the road to blonde is a monumental decision. It’s true that for very dark-haired girls, going platinum blonde is one of the most drastic changes you can make. Thanks to advances in hair technology, however, the risk of a color catastrophe no longer has to be added to your list of blonde anxieties – once upon a time, Asian hair was disobliging in the realms of dye, due to its particularly thick follicles and intense concentration of melanin. But those days are long behind us! Keep scrolling to color your hair in the Matthew Collins-recommended way (internationally-renowned Canadian colorist and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador) and to become an A+ student in black-to-platinum studies.

It’s time to prep

We rarely walk through the salon doors without a clue of what we want done – unless we’ve just been through an extreme breakup and have adopted a “new start, new me” type philosophy – but with a change as dramatic as this, it is imperative to really take the time to think it through.

Nicole Vince Hair journalist

Although it may be harder to identify an Asian skin undertone, cool, warm, yellow and olive tints still shine through. Therefore, you may be yearning to go as platinum as possible as soon as possible, but take a moment to consider if this is the best shade for your skin.  Hint: if you have warmer/yellow skin, opt for a honey/ash blonde; if you’re cool, choose a lighter or more golden shade. If in doubt, your stylist is an expert at choosing the right shades for the right skin tones so don’t hesitate to consult him or her!

Next, it is important to refrain from washing your tresses in the days leading up to your hair appointment. Any expert will express in a heartbeat that bleach can be very harsh on the scalp, and that the best way to fend off injury is to let its natural sebum build up. Otherwise, you could be in for quite an unpleasant shock…


Bleaching with Matthew Collins: it’s transformation time!

You’re now in the salon chair, magazines at the ready, and the next step on the journey to blonde is discoloration. This involves the application of bleach to your strands, which can often take a minimum of eight hours (yes, you heard that right!), depending on the length, thickness and intensity of melanin in your tresses. You may will the process to be over, but it’s necessary for your hair and definitely worth the wait.

When your colorist deems your hair ready, he/she will then dye it your desired color – whether it’s ash, honey or platinum – removing the yellow and red pigments that are often common in Asian hair. You can even add some depth to your new blonde mane by coloring your roots a different shade to the bulk.
Blonde tip: To avoid hair damage in the face of oxidation (the discoloration process), Matthew Collins advises to use a protective product such as Smartbond by L’Oréal Professionnel during the coloring process, in order to make sure that the health of your strands is not compromised on your journey to blonde.

Nicole Vince Hair journalist

“Something that’s very worrisome for the models I style is that their hair gets very damaged on a day-to-day basis, so I always want to make sure that I maintain 100% of the hair’s integrity”, Michael notes. “With Smartbond, when I brushed the hair of client who I recently colored, only a tiny handful of strands are pulled out - the average amount that someone loses. Her hair maintained 100% of the integrity and it lightened exactly how I wanted it to - it’s perfect. And the best part is that I don’t have to change my oxidant or processing time” – making it the perfect product for both you and your stylist.

Just like Margaret Zhang, you could also use Kérastase Réflection Chromatique, which mixes dye directly with the brand’s color care products, such as their Fondant and Masque Réflection. This combination deeply nourishes hair fibers and adds sublime texture and shine.

asian blond
©margaret__zhang - Instagram

At-home maintenance

Congratulations, you’re now blonde! But the journey doesn’t end at the salon. As we know, bleach can have punishing consequences on our strands, so it’s important to treat them with the care they deserve. 

Firstly, use a bespoke shampoo – preferably with purple tones, such as Shine Blonde Shampoo from L’Oréal Professionnel – in order to prevent that undesirable yellow-tinted glow that can often manifest after bleaching. Furthermore, to replenish your locks with the nourishment they lost during the blonde process, smooth on Kérastase’s Masque Densité on a regular basis – equipped to repair and restore resiliency, daily use of the lightweight gel can restore your locks back to their pre-bleach heyday.

Making this dramatic change can be scary, but if you do it right (and take your time), you’ll have nothing to regret!
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