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Last updated: July 12, 2018

What Would You Do: Is Your Client Too Tan To Go Blonde?

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Your client wants to be blonde. Like, BLONDE. Ash or golden? How do you work with her skin and eye color? What if she is seriously spray tan addicted? One of your fellow stylists asked BTC if clients can be too tan to go blonde, and we had to ask our loyal fam for their input—and you all turned OUT (5,000 likes and hundreds of comments!). Check out the question below!


“Clients frequently ask these questions, ‘Am I too tan for super blonde color?’ or ‘What is the right shade of blonde for my tan?’ Should I suggest they ease up on tanning if they want to go blonder? Or the other way around? I personally feel these ashy-toned blondes look weird with tans…but is it just me? What is the correct type of blonde for tan skin? Help!”


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It’s the client’s choice…


“I feel that society tells us we’re ‘too this for that’ or ‘not this enough for that.’ Trends are amazing, but I personally think it is about the individual and how they wear it and maintain it. What one person thinks is the right skin tone for blonde is a matter of opinion because there are so many different shades of blonde that are so versatile amongst so many skin tones. If you love it, take care of it and rock the heck out of it, then do what makes you happy and confident!” @jessica_superheart


“For the most part, I think anyone can rock just about anything they want to if they believe they can. Yeah we can make professional suggestions based on color theory, lifestyle, head shape, etc., but really, a client’s look should be whatever ultimately gives them an extra pep on their step.” – @eliseofhouseclifford


There IS a right blonde for everyone…


Use skin tone and eye color to determine what shade is best

“There is no such thing as ‘too tan’ for a blonde. As for the type of blonde, it is all about skin tone. Cool versus warm. Take a look at their eye color. Another good trick is to use a silver and gold foil. Reflect each color near their face and see what looks more flattering. If silver looks more flattering, cool tones are better. If gold looks better, use slightly warmer blonde tones.” – @colorbyry


“I use eye color to match warm or cool. If I see flecks of gold in their eyes, I know they will look better warm. If I see cool, then they can go platinum. I use this to advise them on what will look the best on them, but in the end they choose. In either case, I hope they’re not making their skin orange because that looks bad on everyone!” – @ws_1731


“There is a right blonde for everyone. I have clients of all nationalities and a majority of them are blonde. You have to go off their skin tone! And, adding a shadow root adds depth and realness to the look. Also, they don’t have to be COMPLETELY blonde! They can have pieces of it. Each girl has her own tone, eye color and freckles…so choose wisely!” – @melanniemillan


“I have to agree, it’s just general color theory—ashy tones are going to accentuate the orange/copper look of a tan. When studying hair and fashion design, I learned a lot about why certain colors don’t look good on specific skin tones. Warm skin tones are supposed to lean more toward warm whites (like cream/egg shell), beige tones and warm colors such as yellows, oranges and reds. These tones help balance the appearance of the skin and bring interest to the eyes and face when used correctly. That’s not to say warmer-toned people can’t wear cooler colors—just know that the cooler the color, the more contrast between the color and the skin.” – @androgyny_over_mis


Look at their veins and eye color! If their veins on their wrists appear blue, more than likely ashier tones will suit them better due to the porcelain/pinky undertone. If their veins appear more green, it’s likely due to the stronger amount of olive pigmentation in their skin and warmer tones would be better in that case. Now, I’m not saying that clients can’t pull off vice versa, some people may have neutral veins, a mix of both blue and green, but it’s just a great guideline to use! Blue, green, grey and dark (almost black) eyes follow suit with ashier tones. Hazel, amber, or deep warm brown eyes look great against warmer tones. Hope that helps! It helped me.” – @hairbyalexsloan



Add dimension or a shadow root

“It’s all about the root blending and dimension! If you do a blockish blonde on tan skin, then it could look weird. If you do a nice shadow root and keep some dimension (you can even contour the face and go very light or ashy), it will look really nice!” – @l.atypique


 “They can definitely still be blonde, but it’s important to match the tone of the blonde to the skin tone. Also, a little dimension I’ve found works better than ‘Barbie blonde.’ A shadow root helps too! That’s what I do. My skin gets very dark in summer and the shadow root helps a lot.” – @tiff_jenn_the_rn


“You don’t have to go with a total bleach out! Dimension is always way prettier. Tie in some of their natural haircolor which will most likely be darker and balance out with the brows and skin tones.” – @lovehairbynubia


Embrace the warmth

“There is definitely the right kind of blonde for everyone. It’s not about how deep your skin tone is—it’s about choosing the right blonde based on your skin undertone. We need to educate our clients because ash blondes don’t look great on everyone. But I also feel like our mentality as colorists has been, ‘ash blonde is prettier,’ and so we have created a stigma around warmer shades of blonde as being ‘unattractive.’ In reality, warm shades can make hair look healthier and add luster, and it can definitely suit someone’s skin tone better than ash blonde.” – @danielmbeauty


I agree with everyone saying it’s the tone you are matching not necessarily the level of brightness. Super tan Caucasian skin is typically very warm and golden and wouldn’t look great with white blonde or very ash blonde hair. So if my clients were coming in very golden from vacation, I would probably be doing some glosses to add a bit of gold to the hair or adding a root shadow to give depth while still maintaining lightness. Leave the super icy looks for fall/winter.” – @ericafelixstylist


“Some people can pull off both. For example, I can tone myself to silver or keep the warmth, but I do look like a completely different person depending on the tone! Also as a blonde, I think in the summer it’s so much easier to just embrace the warmth! You’re going to the pool or the beach and are therefore showering more frequently. Plus, you’re in the sun! Ashy toners just aren’t going to last as well!” – @malloryhbeauty



BONUS! Whatever you do, avoid this😂


“For years I always liked going ‘blonde’ but it was always a honey blonde. After getting into this industry and ash/cool blonde being the thing, I tried it. Yikes, nothing worse than olive skin with ash blonde hair. Pictures made my hair and skin look like I had a slight green-on-green hue. Skin undertones are something to look at when consulting with a client about blonde color.” – @natalie_noel_82