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Last updated: May 03, 2023

Natural Blondes: 4 Toning Tricks to Add Depth FAST!

4 Tips For Creating Multi-Tonal “Balayage” In Just 30 MINUTES

Want natural-looking, sun-kissed results in half the time? The defined, low-maintenance look blondes are asking for takes only 30 minutes from start to finish, and OLAPLEX Ambassador Samantha Cusick (@samantha.cusick) is sharing her insider placement techniques and formula secrets that seal the deal.


Watch the video above or keep scrolling for Samantha’s process for achieving bright, blended definition in modern blondes.


1. Use this formula for quick, natural-looking blondes.

The goal of Samantha’s single-application blonde: A multi-tonal “balayage” look that’s not exactly a balayage, but has a very deep (Level 5 or 6) base. This color is meant to bring natural dimension and tonality to prelightened clients, so it’s essential that the formula runs the fine line between light and dark.


The last thing you want to do on a client that is already blonde is dye it all dark and then have to re-lighten,” Samantha explains.


Here’s Samantha’s formula:


  1. Base color: Level 5 or 6 with a gold reflect. Samantha uses Redken Shades EQ™ 05G + 06NB (1:1) + Shades EQ™ Processing Solution.
  2. Ends color: Level 9 with violet and gold. Samantha uses Redken Shades EQ™ 09VG + Shades EQ Processing Solution.


Pro tip: Save time behind the chair by combining your Shades EQ™  formula with an OLAPLEX treatment!


Swipe to see Samantha’s before and after:

close formula


Trying to achieve long-lasting, healthy blondes? Add OLAPLEX to your backbar!


2. Use this tip to blend your light & dark formulas.

Samantha adds OLAPLEX to her color formulas—specifically glosses and toners—to fight color-fade and increase the longevity of her work. The longer their color lasts, the happier your clients will be!


Here’s how Samantha uses her OLAPLEX essentials:


  1. Add ⅛ oz of OLAPLEX No.1 Bond Multiplier to both your dark and light color formulas. This helps fight fading color by multiplying and rebuilding bonds within the hair.
  2. Keep OLAPLEX No.2 Bond Perfector close by. This treatment can not only be used to create a seamless blend between the Level 5/6 roots and Level 10 ends (see below), but also gives colored hair additional health and strength.


Pro tip: Bolster your service menu with an à la carte OLAPLEX add-on—or even as a retail asset for at-home care and maintenance!


Tap the beaker for Samantha’s formulas:

open color formula
close formula
  • Formula A (base)

    Redken Shades EQ™ 05G + 06NB (1:1) + Shades EQ™ Processing Solution + ⅛ oz OLAPLEX No.1 Bond Multiplier

  • Formula B (ends)

    Redken Shades EQ™ 09VG + Shades EQ™ Processing Solution + ⅛ oz OLAPLEX No.1 Bond Multiplier


Photo Courtesy of OLAPLEX


3. Want more dimension? Take chunky sections when root tinting.

Don’t be afraid to take large, uneven sections when applying your base formula. This is the foundation of the entire look; if you take too fine of sections, the impact of your work with be disguised from the lack of dimension.


Here’s how Samantha does it:


  1. Split the hair into two sections, straight down from the crown to the nape.
  2. Begin applying your base color to the roots. Make sure each section is evenly saturated to avoid patchy results.
  3. When you reach the face-frame, don’t go as far from the root with the color. You’ll want to preserve a lot of your client’s face-framing brightness for later.


Pro tip: Kick off your color appointment with OLAPLEX Broad Spectrum Chelating Treatment. This pro-only treatment removes build-up, pollution, heavy metals and discoloring deposits down the cortex, ensuring your color services go just as planned.


See Samantha’s root tint sectioning:



4. Use Bond Perfector to create a seamless gradient of color.

Once your root tint is applied, use your ends formula and Bond Perfector for a clean, blended contrast in the midlengths.


Follow these steps to achieve Samantha’s seamless gradient of color:


  1. Part the hair as desired. This color is highly customizable, so tailor your sectioning for your client’s hair goals.
  2. Apply your ends formula with Bond Perfector from the ends to an inch or so from the edge of your root tint. This will help prevent any runaway color from going where you don’t want it.
  3. Apply Bond Perfector to the empty space between your root tint and the ends.
  4. Gently feather the base color down the section toward the midlengths to create depth without losing blonde tones. Use your fingers to blend through to your OLAPLEX application.


Pro tip: For some strands, Samantha simply applies Bond Perfector with zero color for a third, dimensional shade.


Just look at that blend!



Recreate Samantha’s multi-tonal, summer blonde with her go-to products.


This content is sponsored.


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