Is Block Blonde Out Forever?

by chloe / last updated February 15, 2022

block blonde babylights

Since lockdown, we’ve seen a lot of hair trends float in and out of the limelight. From colourful semi-permanent colour, to the return of the early 2000s zebra-esque highlights, to bold money-pieces. As clients flooded back into the salons to right their wrongs, for most there’s been an obvious gravitation to more natural looking colour. So, is block blonde out?

Recently, we’ve been hearing the term ‘expensive brunette’, which describes the technique of using multiple deeper tones to create a dimensional and natural brunette effect. And so, we see your ‘expensive brunette’ and raise you an ‘expensive blonde’.

Which blonde techniques are becoming more popular?

Dylan Brittain, international artistic director at Rainbow Room International, explains that “many clients are now stepping away from highlights and an all over block blonde and instead, are looking for their blonde to be more natural and also more low maintenance”.

While the darker root reduces the demand for regular salon appointments, it still has financial benefits for the salon. “This doesn’t necessarily mean we are losing out financially, however, as the kind of service to create a more lived in blonde usually takes longer, with it also being a multi-process service, with the potential to earn more,” says Christabel Legrand, Pulp Riot artist.

The babylights technique lightens fine pieces of hair scattered around the clients natural parting, with a predominant focus on framing the face. There should be a seamless graduation of colour that is darker at the root and lighter at the ends, as authentic blonde hair is.

“Natural hair is never one solid colour, so it just isn’t realistic. Clients love to see multi-tonal nuances as their hair moves and areas of depth and light that show off their hair texture”, says Sioban Haug, British Colour Technician of the Year at TONI&GUY. Chiara Ferragni, international brand ambassador of ghd, showcases a perfect example of a natural-looking, maintainable blonde. Her darker root colour makes the creamy, golden strands framing her face pop. And yet, this money-piece is still subtle and blends backwards into the creamy lengths of her hair, imitating a sun-kissed appearance that lasts all year.

Rosie Huntington-Whitely is a fab example of a stronger money piece, with a greater contrast to the root of her hair. Effective in framing the face and blending into the lighter ends of her hair.

Why are babylights so popular right now?

“Lowlights and babylights are great for breaking up the block colour of the hair and adding depth and dimension for a more natural hair look,” Dylan clarifies.

Hair icon Jennifer Anniston prefers an even subtler blonde than Chiara Ferragni. With delicate strands that catch the light against her rich base colour and accentuate the amazing volume she’s known for.

Siobhan confirms that this is one of the best techniques for creating natural blondes: “Capture the areas that the light would naturally bounce off. Weave them, tease them.” Which is completely obvious as Jennifer wafts her hair from left to right in her Instagram video.

How can colourists create the perfect blonde?

“Becoming much more client focused, the blondes will take inspiration from warmer climates, opting for sun-kissed colours and warmer tones. The key to achieving this look is to work with the clients’ complexion, ensuring the colour compliments it and allows it to glow”, says Darrel Starkey, owner of Taylor’s Hair Studio.

Celebrity Stylist Tracey Cunningham lifted Priyanka Chopra’s heavenly locks with babylights last week, weaving some warm, golden blonde through her deep brown hair. These warm tones complement her skin tone completely; it’s clear that Tracey takes unique approaches to her clients.

So, is block blonde out?

“In short, I definitely don’t think blondes are falling out of fashion. However, I do think the all over, one shade of blonde is outdated for 2022,” says Brian Leo McCallum, owner of ROAR Hair and Beauty. Despite some clients still opting for block blondes, lots of clients are reaching for techniques such as balayage, babylights and highlights/low lights. And Siobhan agrees: “I think, for now, block blondes are a thing of the past. There’s just too many options to stick to one shade”.

However, Safy Burton, owner of Safy B salon, makes the point: “Hairdressing is very similar to the fashion industry, as trends always make a comeback at some stage. We’ve seen it so many times and it’s great to see them evolve when they do come back”. We’ve definitely seen stranger things happen!

What’s on the cards for 2022?

Mark McCarthy, owner of MARKDAVID salon, predicts that “ashier shades of blonde like mushroom blonde” will be most on trend for 2022, whilst Niall McNulty, Matrix artist ambassador, is seeing the return of the pastel blondes, with special mention to Pantone’s Colour of the Year Very Peri.

Check out HJ’s other hair trend predictions here!


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