blonde hair, bob, hair color, hair salons, how to

How To: Go Platinum Blonde

Most people tend to gravitate toward darker hair colors in the fall and winter months, but there’s something totally brilliant about flipping it and going platinum instead. Michelle Halpern turned herself from a self proclaimed mousy brunette into an absolutely stunning platinum blonde and took StyleCaster along for the ride! Check it out…

Michelle headed to ION Studio NYC for her hair color transformation, but first she needed her grown out bob updated. Sara Lynch, one of the salon’s top stylists, used a point cutting technique on Michelle’s naturally thick and curly hair. This technique thins out the hair’s weight and helps the finished cut retain its shape in between salon visits by allowing the hair to lay into itself rather than on top of itself.

After the initial dry cut, Michelle was off for her color with Lena Ott, ION’s color director. Lena mixed the platinum blond color formula and proceeded to paint on a double process.

I love that when you mix up blonde hair color, it’s blue.  😉

After the first round of color was applied, Michelle’s head was wrapped in plastic to help hold in the heat, and she was sent under the heater for about 20 minutes.

Michelle’s hair was rinsed and then Lena bleached it for the second time.

A toner was added to shadow the roots and a lighter toner was applied on the ends to give the hair color a more believable look. Just think: If Michelle’s (light) hair had to be bleached twice to get it to a platinum level, just imagine how many times dark hair would have to be bleached to get it that light? Platinum hair color is a process and a commitment, especially if you’re not naturally fair haired.

Helloooo, gorgeous! Michelle’s newly platinum hair was now ready to be blown out. If I was her at this point, I would be dying of joy because it looks incredible.

More of Michelle’s platinum adventure and Lena Ott’s color tips after the break.

But she’s not done yet. After Michelle’s hair was dry, stylist Sara put the finishing touches on her cut. Sara angled it from back to front with more length at the front.

After five hours, two cuts, two bleaches, several rinses, and a blow dry, Michelle was finally done. This color is real-deal platinum, but beautifully executed with just enough contrast. It looks soft, shiny, and healthy. I’m totally impressed. If you’re thinking about going platinum this winter–or even just going a few shades light–check out Lena Ott’s color tips!


Wait To Wash: After you go platinum, Lena advises you refrain from washing your hair for at least 48 hours to let your hair’s natural oils sink back into your scalp, since the double process is extremely stripping.

Touch Up: Lena stresses the importance of getting your roots touched up at least every four to five weeks. And not just because dark roots look bad with platinum hair. Dyeing the roots actually makes the coloring process much easier. “The first half inch of hair growth is soft, so it lifts easily,” Lena explains. “Once it gets past that half inch of regrowth it starts to harden, so when your colorist puts the bleach on your roots, the first half inch will easily get white, but the remaining length will stay yellow causing a band. Bands can be corrected, but it’s a very long, tedious process making it very expensive,” she says.

Go Violet: If you go super blonde, use a violet shampoo and conditioner once every two weeks. It will brighten your hair color and keep it the correct tone. But be sure not to use it more than that. Overuse will actually dull the hair color and over-tone, says Lena.

And Go Green: Lena recommends using products by Davines, which is a high quality line and environmentally responsible line. Lena says they use as many natural ingredients as possible and 30 percent less paper and plastic in their recycled packaging. (I’m currently obsessed with Davines Wizard No.10 Universal Polishing Coat. I couldn’t live without it, when styling my long, side-swept bangs!)

Also, in my opinion it’s a good idea to do a protein treatment the week before you go into the salon for your color to minimize damage. Also, deep conditioner is your BFF! Use something like Wella In-Depth a few times a week before and after coloring.

ION Studio NYC
41 Wooster St.
New York, NY 10013
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 8 PM

All photos by Joseph D’Arco for StyleCaster.