There’s a mantra that spiritually dictates my life—a guiding light, if you will.
“The blonder the better.”
No, really. KG after getting her highlights refreshed is Peak KG®.
While this mostly indicates sheer superficiality, it also guarantees I know a thing or two about becoming (and staying) your best, blondest self. Who better to direct you in this arena than someone who considers her hair color a central tenet of her identity?!
(OK—I swear I’m just kidding—but I do think I’ve discovered the best out there through trial and error since 2011 when I started going blonde.)
These products, for the price, cannot be beaten, and that is a hill I will die on. There’s so much stuff out there and so much fantastic marketing that preys on women’s low self-esteem (tangent) that it’s hard to know sometimes what’s worth the money.
I’m big on products that deliver the most bang for your buck. Don’t hassle with me that 10-step, hair-mask, raw egg-and-avocado oil sprays. Nobody got time for that (especially someone that’s really trying not to wash on the daily).
Here’s the breakdown of your #FUNdamentals:
Shampoo • Conditioner • Leave-In Spray • A WetBrush
And bonus points, if you’re feeling spicy:
A Conditioning Wash • Hybrid Volumizing/Dry Shampoo Spray
…for days you aren’t shampooing but you’re a little greasy
I’ve talked about this shampoo before about six months ago (which should inspire even more confidence that I use and love this) in a post called “How to Make Your Blonde Look So Good that Your Straight Male Friends Notice.” Inspired by true events.
It’s the Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo, only $26 on Amazon for 33 ounces (I bought my first 33 oz. bottle sometime in February and I’m still using it, for reference).
Having used several other purple shampoos in the past, including the Paul Mitchell and Aveda versions, I know a good purple shampoo when I find it. The color payoff was so much less noticeable in the others that when I switched to the Joico product I started getting comments and compliments that same week.
If you want a cool, platinum blonde tone (vs. a golden or warm tone), this shampoo is it.
Full disclosure and caution, though, if you use this every single day and leave it on for over a minute each time, you’ll definitely start to see a violet hue (TBH, I think it looks kinda dope and Instagram filter-y, but that’s not everyone’s thing)—so be sure to use it every other day or less and wash it out as soon as you’re done scrubbing it in. ~Expectation-setting!~
Moving right along.
Color-treated blonde hair is infamously dryer and more brittle than dark hair, so a great conditioner is critical if you’re trying to grow your hair (or just want it to look full at every length).
The best conditioner I’ve ever used is the It’s a 10 Miracle Daily Conditioner. While it’s usually $20-something in stores for a small bottle, this link is for a $25 33-oz. bottle. Thank me later.
Not only does it have a heat protectant built in, but it does a really good job when paired with the purple shampoo of striking that balance where the hair has texture and volume at the roots but is soft and smooth through the middle and bottom (the ideal polar opposite of the “greasy at the top, dry at the bottoms” phenomenon).
I use three pumps of this product through the middle of my hair down to the ends (concentrating on the ends) then wrap the hair up in a bun to soak in the conditioner while I wash my body and shave (3 minutes max.). I read once that leaving conditioner on too long can actually backfire because it softens the hair shaft so much that it breaks.
OK, so now you’ve rinsed and you’re out of the shower.
Time for your leave-in spray. Whether you plan to blow dry and style or not, a leave-in spray like this one is always a good idea because it also functions as a detangler (#YUGE for blondes), a UV protectant (again, big), and adds shine.
My go-to (I don’t even want to know how many bottles I’ve purchased over the last several years) is the It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product. (Again, $24 for the 10-oz. bottle linked.)
Y’all, I was being cheap once and bought a Tresemme version instead, and was so pissed off after three days that I threw it away and repurchased It’s a 10. That’s what happens when you try to CUT CORNERS, people.
While I hate heat-styling my hair because I’m obsessed with looking and feeling like a mermaid, this pretty much takes the guilt out of it.
I use about 5 sprays on towel-dried hair, focusing mostly on the ends and middle, then brush through with my trusty WetBrush. (I always use the leave-in spray before brushing so I get the detangling benefits, and trust me, I feel the difference when I travel and don’t bring the leave-in spray).
If you care enough about your hair to have made it this far in an article about shampoo, you likely already have a WetBrush, but if not, holy sh*t—you need one. The bristles are soft and have more ‘give’ so when you hit a snag, the bristles move around it more delicately (rather than ripping out knots). If you only have $10 to spend on your hair, this will make the biggest difference for length and breakage.
Bonus points stuff
Recently I’ve introduced something called conditioning wash into my routine because sometimes my hair feels a little greasy and I want it to smell clean, but I don’t want to put it through a full, sudsy shampoo. Conditioning wash was designed for curly hair, but is beneficial for minimizing shampooing.
I like the Aveda Co-Wash product a lot. I was skeptical since I didn’t like their regular shampoo or conditioner, but I was really pleased with this one. It smells really good (in my opinion) and really does feel like scrubbing a conditioner into your scalp. I scrub it in, throw my hair in a bun, wash my body, then rinse. If you use leave-in spray and blow dry after this, your hair will look really clean. It’s kinda magic.
According to Thomas who literally washes his hair with shampoo once per week (!!), you can do this with regular conditioner too (he washes his hair with conditioner every day). I’m not so sure about this since I remember my greasiest high school days where I’d legitimately let the conditioner creep up one inch too far and then I’d be cursed with an oily mess post-shower. Whatever, Tom.
I’ve never been a fan of dry shampoo because I never really found one that worked for me. It was super annoying—I’d be a grease ball and turn to dry shampoo for respite, and it’d end up just caking more product on top of the grease that wouldn’t seem to do anything except call more attention to it. I think my hair is too thick for it? I don’t know.
Living Proof did a big push on social a few months ago about their Full Dry Volume Blast product. I’m just a sucker for beautiful blondes with big hair (shout-out Olivia Rink) and any product they push, so I snagged a bottle. And while it DOES give me volume (especially when I curl), it had a really unexpected but fantastic side effect: it works better than any dry shampoo I’ve ever used at keeping my hair looking fresh.
But here’s the key: you have to apply it when your hair is clean. Flip your head upside down after freshly blow drying and spray on your roots then hang there like an idiot for about 10 seconds so it’ll ‘set’ with all your hair upside down. Flip it right side up, brush through it gently, and you’ll be amazed at how long your hair stays clean. Even when I take a bath in my own sweat at Sculpt, it somehow stays pretty dryer and fresh.
I bet their dry shampoo works well since it appears they’ve figured out the right ingredients for this, but I’ve never tried it. Recommendations, anyone?
That’s it, folks! And now the stuff I feel you gotta say after writing 1,400 words about hair:
I think that’s it. Give this stuff a shot, blondies, and let me know what you think!
All things beauty.