It's a new year and a brand new look for the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star

By Kaitlyn Frey
January 13, 2021 12:13 PM

Kim Kardashian's kicking off 2021 with a fresh look.

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, 40, and her go-to hairstylist Chris Appleton decided to switch up her hair colors during the holidays. Now, she's showing off the shoulder-length style and blonde highlights on social media.

With her hair pulled in a half-up ponytail hairstyle, Kardashian revealed her cool-tone, blonde highlights blended throughout the lower half of her hair. And while the star's known for rocking extensions to quickly change her hue, Appleton tells PEOPLE this new shade is the real deal.

"I took Kim's color a lighter bronde over Christmas," Appleton says. "[The] secret to keeping it cool is adding the darker base at the root. 💫."

Appleton tells PEOPLE that the process of going lighter has been a "collaborative" effort with Kardashian, which actually began around the time of her 40th birthday in October.

"We went away for her birthday and did it lighter," he tells PEOPLE. "Then we gradually made it lighter from there. I like that it's really soft, but it also has the darker root which works with her skin tone. I love a cool brown which is a harder shade to get but has a really nice shiny vibe to it."

During the holidays and going into the new year, Kardashian's been focused on maintaining an upbeat attitude for her kids amid her potential split from husband Kanye West, a source told PEOPLE.

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"December was a rough month for Kim. She has been living separately from Kanye. Over the holidays, it was hard for her to stay positive," the source said. "She has been trying her best, though, for the kids. She stayed in Los Angeles for New Year's [Eve]. Kourtney and Khloé [Kardashian] were around to support her. She is very grateful to have her sisters to lean on."

For more on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

A source told PEOPLE that the couple have been "in counseling and exploring their options," but Kardashian is still struggling in her decision of whether or not to end her nearly seven-year union to West, on the heels of an exceedingly difficult year.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West with daughters North and Chicago and son Saint
| Credit: Kim Kardashian Instagram

"Kim and Kanye's marriage is beyond repair," a family source tells PEOPLE in this week's issue on newsstands Friday. "Kim is over Kanye's chaos, and at this point she just wants to focus on the kids and her own life."