How To: Preserve Blonde Hair

I’ve had blonde balayage highlights for almost two years now. I have the distinct pleasure of having hard water as well, which means two years of preserving blonde hair by navigating brassy wasters with various purple-tinged potions. Even though I decided recently to discontinue undergoing the process with the salon I was working with, the jury of one is still out on whether I’m done-done, or just done with that salon for now. Regardless of whether I continue, I still have many months of preservation ahead so I don’t look like a clown.

Step One: Squeaky Clean

Good news – clarifying shampoos can be found in the drugstore away from the premium, salon brands. I use this inexpensive one from TRESemme ($0.16 per ounce); in spite of being a clarifying shampoo, it is gentle and does not lead my scalp to mutiny. I’ve had good luck with Suave’s ($0.06 per ounce) too.

Using a clarifying shampoo is like any other shampoo. Lather up, then rinse. Done!

How to Preserve Blonde HairProducts I use to Preserve Blonde Hair

Step Two: Tone (Sort of)

No toning dye required! I gather the following:

  • Black or old t-shirt that can withstand purple splatters
  • Purple Toning Shampoo (I use this badass one from Sally Beauty’s GVP line)
  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Bowl
  • Section Clips
  • Disposable shower or color-processing cap
  • Extra Credit:
    • Purple Toning Conditioner (I’ve been working with Shiny Silver lately – it’s OK. Better than Blond Brilliance but not world-endingly amazing).
    • Gloves, if you care (I don’t)
    • Color-distributing brush

Sally Beauty’s GVP house-brand toning shampoo is awesome. It is supposedly comparable to Clairol Shimmer Lights, but I wouldn’t know because the GVP stuff is badass enough for me not to bother trying. In my bowl, I mix a cocktail of about 3-4 parts GVP shampoo to 1 part Shiny Silver conditioner and stir to combine thoroughly.

Note: If you’re buying everything first off, just get the shampoo and feel free to skip the conditioner. The conditioner won’t make or break the experience.

Then, section off your hair into manageable sections. For me, I split my hair into four sections – two upper, two lower. Starting from the bottom and using my hands or a color brush, I distribute this mess of purple. Saturate the living hell out of a section, then coat it again. You want your hair to be drenched and really freaking purple.

Next, gingerly pile your hair on top of your head, clip it, and leave that on for thirty minutes. Go harass your spouse since you will be incredibly attractive for the duration. After that, rinse – but be warned: your shower is going to be a comical purple mess. It cleans up easily!


Step Three: Deep Condition

I’ve tried several, but nothing tops Aussie 3 Minute Miracle ($0.31 per ounce; cheaper with coupons!) Seriously! I mix a bit of the Shiny Silver I mentioned above and leave in for another twenty minutes. (Three is good enough for usual days, but if your aim is to preserve blonde hair – go longer!)

Extra Credit: Install a Filter

My husband recently purchased and installed an in-line shower filter from Amazon to combat our hard water. I am still evaluating whether or not this makes a difference in my hair (either condition or brassiness), but both my husband and I can feel the difference in our skin.