Lighten Up!

It’s almost impossible to open a magazine or turn on the TV and NOT see how blonde hair has become bigger and more important than ever. And if clients are going to take the plunge, it’s in the sun-drenched summer months, when blonde seems somehow safer and sexier.

Whether they’re looking for just a subtle splash or are ready to go full-on platinum, there are a number of ways you can take clients to the lighter side…



Bravery level: low

Impact: Significant yet still natural

The trick: Beth Minardi Signature’s new 11 Tan “Candlelit”

Nothing welcomes the warmer months more that suggesting a sun-brightened look created by cleverly weaving random shots of lighter strands throughout the hair. I like to focus around the face, throughout the crown, and toward the top/back of the head—precisely where the sun would naturally lighten. When creating this look on very deep brunette hair, there are two ways to go. Either: Slightly lighten selected strands with a rich, ash-blonde shade to create whispers of soft, caramel-toned light throughout the hair. Or: Really go for it by painting strands with lightener and creating true blonde streaks. (You can then leave these “as is” or take the edge off by gently glazing with Beth Minardi Signature 11 Tan in “Candlit” for a luscious, pale butterscotch against a field of deeper brunette. Just gorgeous.)



Bravery level: moderate

Impact: Subtle but stunning

The trick: Joico’s Base Breaker

At Studio B, I sometimes see clients whose hair is dishwater blonde or light brown with an Ombré effect that’s been growing out. The answer is Joico’s Base Breaker—a gentle, non-ammonia hair brightener, applied liberally and evenly from the scalp all the way through the ends of the hair lengths. Leave it in for only 15 minutes and the final effect with blow you away: a shiny glow that’s truly sunlit…like having spent a month at the beach. Though, technically, you’re only taking the hair several shades lighter than the client’s natural level, you’ll see just the right amount of lift …the kind that gives clients that summer “blondish” feeling so many of them desire at this time of year.



Bravery level: high

Impact: Super glam

The trick: Joico Crème Lightener plus Beth Minardi Liquid Demi Color

Thanks to Taylor Swift, Christina Aguilera, and Gwen Stefani, women across the country are coveting that icy, allover blonde…intensely glamorous, very feminine, and the most dramatic way to embrace the lightest of light. Any client wishing to take the plunge must understand that this is one of the truest color art forms around, and achieving/maintaining the look means significant time and financial commitment; the best pale blondes are professionally retouched at the salon every two-to-four weeks. As I like to tell my clients, “The shorter the root, the better the blonde!”  To get there, I prelighten the hair, taking away any natural brown and red undertones with Joico Crème Lightener. This amazing blonde product must be applied carefully, and in tiny, exacting sections, and I always follow up with a deep conditioning treatment—Minardi Pre-Wash Therapy—on the hair lengths. After a second shampoo and conditioning, it’s time to partially dry the hair and apply an acidic, gentle blonde toner, like Beth Minardi Liquid Demi Color. This covers the hair for anywhere from five to 20 minutes, depending on texture. The result is the most ambitious, luscious “Angel Hair” blonde…dramatic at its best. (If your client can’t take on the commitment of this look, you might suggest allover highlighting, which offers some of the drama with a longer stretch—up to ten weeks—between appointments.)

Frankly, there has never been a better time to go blonde…and the definition of the look has become broader and more inclusive. There IS a shade of blonde for virtually everyone, and those shades are no longer limited to white or yellow; this summer, bask in tawny, caramel, or deep golden strands and give your clients—even the brunettes—that kiss of sunshine.


Here’s to a warm and wonderful summer. Feel free to reach out to me at, and tune in to Periscope and YouTube for your very own Minardi tutorials!