We Tried It: Going Platinum Like Every Other Star This Summer

One editor's brave journey from ombré to bleach blonde

What It Is: Dyeing your hair platinum blonde (or flesh tone blonde as my colorist named it)

Who Tried It: Sarah Ball, Fashion Market Editor

Level of Difficulty: The whole process took 8 hours and considering touch-ups will be every 4-6 weeks (at 4 hours long) I’d say the commitment level is a 9. But if you have a charged cell phone, a great book and an amazing stylist (it’s the winning trifecta!) it’s totally worth it!

Why I Did It: The hottest it girls in Hollywood have been transformed into platinum princesses (from Taylor Swift to Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Stone), and I’ve been having some serious FOMO. So when I was given the opportunity to take my look to an A-list level, I didn’t think twice. Plus, the fashion girl in me never shies away from trying new trends.

Brian Nichols/People

Brian Nichols/People

When I met with colorist Aura Friedman at Sally Hershberger Salon for my consultation she explained the platinum transformation process and warned that it would require a big commitment to maintain my new look.

I wasn’t a newcomer to the hair coloring game, but I still didn’t fully understand what was ahead of me. I arrived at the salon around 9:30 am and Aura and her team (two assistants) promptly got to work (but only after ordering our lunch, of course).

The application process was a about five hours long because I already had highlights, it was even longer. Throughout the process, Aura added b3 Brazilian Bond Builder in both the bleach and toner/gloss to protect my strands.

Early on in my platinum journey, I started noticing some differences between my simple ombré highlighting color appointments and this one — my head was so heavy! Although she had only made it through the first section there were so many layers of plastic wrap in my hair. (I lost track of counting, but they must have used an entire roll.)

Several hours of singing and dancing to the Ja Rule Pandora station later, Aura finished applying the bleach. My first look in the mirror was a bit terrifying. With all of the plastic wrap and bleach in my hair I kind of looked like a sea creature of some kind, but luckily it was finally time for the first wash of the day.

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The post-rinse reveal made me do a double-take, but I was reassured that this would not be the final color. Aura referred to this state as “naked blonde” and called the toning treatment that followed “dressing the hair” or “putting the clothes on,” which also was not a quick step in the process. I took advantage of this setting time to eat my “linner.”

Once my toning was finished we washed everything out and it was time for the cut. Because obviously a girl can’t get an entirely new hair color without an amazing cut to complement it. Jae Manuel was kind enough to give my new blonde locks a fresh trim and style. This process may have been my favorite. At one point I had three handsome men blow-drying my hair, and I basically felt like Gisele Bündchen.

Almost 8 hours (and more than 50 Snapchats later) I was platinum — a whole new me! Although I was given an advanced warning about how complicated the transformation would be, the length of the process was still shocking, but worth the wait. Considering the platinum journey too? Catch all of Aura’s can’t miss tips below:

  • Always consult with your colorist before moving forward with your dye job. Be sure they are using a bond builder in the color and all glosses. This helps to protect the hair from damage and keeps hair stronger for longer. It also gives you up to two weeks longer color retention.
  • Touch ups every 4-6 weeks are VERY important. If you wait too long and your roots grow longer than 1/4 of an inch you could have an issue with banding. This means the root lifts up quickly (since it is next to the scalp and has body heat to make it lift quickly), and the hair further from the root doesn’t lift as quick, so the color is not even. If you have super thick, coarse hair, you will want to go for a touch up closer to the 4 week mark.
  • Treat your hair like a princess, and believe it is a princess. She is very fragile. You want to shampoo lightly, using the palm of your hands. Do not scrub your head and do not rub the hair together at the ends. When your hair is wet it is extremely fragile, so you want to shampoo lightly and delicately.
  • Shampoo once a week. If you have to shampoo more than once a week, try using a cleansing cream on the second day.
  • Never use a purple shampoo, but do try cool blonde conditioner (like Davines Alchemic Conditioner Silver) once a week.
  • Using the right products for after care is crucial — especially shampoo and conditioner. Try b3Brazilian Bond Builder’s Color Care line – the products offer great color protection and are formulated with bond building technology and work to fortify the hair with each wash.
  • When you towel dry your hairPAT DO NOT RUB! Rubbing can cause breakage.
  • When you comb your hair when it is wet, make sure you use a detangling product. (Aura recommendsSally Hershberger 24K Liquid Assets Daily Conditioning Remedy, which is also a great protector against heat damage.)
  • Sleep on a silk pillow case — this prevents breakage. Cotton pillow cases can pull hair.
  • Heat styling is VERY damaging, so this is another reason why you should only shampoo (and dry) once a week. Try to avoid heat styling more often than that. When you do use heat styling, use medium or cool heat. Always use product in hair before blowdrying.
  • Don’t be afraid of oils. The Sally Hershberger24K Golden Touch Nourishing Dry Oil is really great. Whatever oil you use, make sure it does not have any yellow tints. Moroccan Oil and Argan oil tend to have yellow tones.

The Verdict: I immediately fell in love with my new color. Aura is my hair hero slash color ninja slash mane magician. I’m hooked.

It even got my boyfriend’s seal of approval. Well, sorta. His immediate reaction: “Not bad. It’s better than I expected.” (I’ll take it.)

I was really impressed by how perfect the color turned out — not like the brassy yellow tones I’ve heard horror stories about. Platinum has totally changed my entire look and it’s been really fun to explore with new makeup and lipstick colors. And not to mention, I’m basically Taylor Swift now! (I wish!)

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