What It Is: A personal coloring session with one of the most in-demand pros in the world: hair color genius and Redken celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham, who’s best known for painting Khloé Kardashian, Lily Aldridge, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez‘s manes.
Who Tried It: Kaitlyn Frey, Style & Beauty Assistant
Why I Tried It: Up until last fall, I was a natural dark brunette my entire life. I left my color completely untouched (“virgin hair” in hairstylist speak) because to be completely honest, I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair — I don’t even own a blowdryer.
Even as my friends started getting blonde highlights, ombré and balayage throughout high school and college, I stuck with what I was born with. I always got complimented on my color at the salon when I got a cut, so why change it now?
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But I got to a point where I needed a change. I always wondered what I would look like as a blonde, but was too much of a chicken to actually go through with it. I just couldn’t imagine myself as anything other than a brunette. Eventually, I decided to suck it up and give color a shot.
My journey started with basic balayage in November 2016 that gave me a tiny taste of what being a blonde felt like (and to be honest, I did feel like I had more fun). After that, I got the blonde bug. By February, I pushed even further, and had a full head of highlights painted on. It felt kind of piece-y, so I added even more highlights two months later. But I still didn’t feel like I reached my full blonde-tential.
At this point I felt like a full-blown blonde and my fear of going too light had disappeared. Now, I wanted to reach my ultimate blonde hair inspo: Khloé Kardashian. I loved the way her semi-brunette roots blended in seamlessly into her cool-toned blonde color, and when the opportunity to get my hair colored by her pro Tracey Cunningham came up, I knew it was time for the full transformation.
Level of Difficulty: A 10, if you’re trying to book an appointment with Cunningham. In between her growing list of celebrity clients (she was texting Riley Keogh about her next color change during my appointment), she also juggles running her Beverly Hills salon Mèche. She’s one of the most in-demand colorists in the world!
Once I got in to see the queen of color, the level of difficulty dropped to a 1. I sat there, showed her a few inspiration photos of Khloé and let the master work her magic.
The Verdict: I’m completely obsessed. Truthfully, I’ve never felt so zen while getting my hair done. But getting Khloé’s look isn’t a quick process. Plan on being at the salon for a minimum of three hours to walk away with this a similar summery shade.
We started with our consultation, which Cunningham said is one of the most vital parts of getting your color done. Her biggest piece of advice: don’t sit in the chair and dictate what technique you want done (like balayage, single process, double process, etc.) because everyone has a different interpretation of what that could look like. Instead, bring in a bunch of inspiration photos, let your colorist check them out and have them decide which techniques to do to achieve that color.
Then we got going. With her assistant by her side, Cunningham painted on highlights using a color formulation by Redken all over my hair. She told me since I’m a natural brunette, the color I came in with had a ton of orange undertones (since brunettes tend to pull more on the red side). She carefully highlighted over each brassy section so the result would come out cool, bright and glossy.
I sat with each section, and then her assistant washed out all of the color. Next, the team did something they called “rooting,” or balayaging the roots. Using Olaplaex 3 hair treatment, Cunningham glossed over from my roots to mid-strand. This blended the highlights together so they wouldn’t look stripe-y and gave me a little bit of that natural root Khloé’s known for rocking.
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After letting that sit on my hair for 10 minutes, they washed it off, blew out my hair into Kardashian’s signature tousled waves and voilà. I looked like I should change my name to Kaitlyn Kardashian.
Now that I’ve got Khloé’s bright blonde hair, it’s imperative I take care of it to avoid any brassiness. I started using a blonde-specific shampoo and conditioner (I’m sticking with Redken’s Blonde Idol line), plus protecting my strands in the sun with a UV protecting oil.
When I started coloring my hair, I assumed I would eventually go back to my natural shade. But after Tracey’s magic touch, I feel like a new person as a blonde. She made my new color look as natural as possible, and people who didn’t know my original hue are shocked to see it when I show them pictures. Maybe I’ll go back to the dark side eventually, but for now, I’ll be channeling my inner Khloé all summer long.
Would you switch up your color to a lighter shade for summer? Sound off in the comments below!