All About Blondes
Blonde hair holds a special place in American history. For years, the beauty standard was having long, straight, bright blonde hair from root to tip. In 2022, the standards have evolved and changed to be more diverse and inclusive of people of color. Yet, we still see transformation posts on Instagram of the girl who went from dark brown to platinum blonde hair in one (albeit day-long) session. The allure of being blonde is still present in today’s day, in all genders and ages- but why?
A Condensed History of Blondes
Blondes have been around in popular culture, from movie stars to Barbie dolls, for decades. Growing up, I remember watching Miley Stewart throw on her blonde wig and transform from plain wavy brown-haired high school student to internationally famous pop star Hannah Montana. The wig was reflective of the style of the times- the blonde was in chunky highlights, the bangs were blunt, and it was everything to me and thousands of other impressionable young brunettes watching the Disney Channel. I owned countless pieces of merchandise, but I never owned that wig. Every girl who owned the wig was the one to envy, even if it got ratty and matted over time. It was the accessory for young girls who liked to play pretend.
Marilyn Monroe, 1953 Debbie Harry, 1978 Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana, 2006
The blonde influence isn’t only for girls, though. Male celebrities now more than ever are going bright blonde, sometimes paired with a buzz cut. Modern examples of this are comedian Pete Davidson and soccer star Neymar, both sporting a blonde look every now and then inspiring countless others to do the same. A few years back, my older brother went into a salon while we were on vacation one summer with curly brown hair and left with over processed, straight, platinum blonde sticking out the top of his head. He claims that he liked how it came out, but the beauty of it all was that all he had to do to get rid of it was buzz it as short as it could go at the end of the summer.
Sisqo, Feb. 2000 Pete Davidson, Sept. 2021 Neymar, Jul. 2018
For those with longer hair, it’s a bit more complicated than that. To go blonde is a lengthy process that usually involves coming back to the salon several times to get the desired look, whether it be a golden honey or an icy platinum. After one’s dream blonde is achieved, it requires maintenance and upkeep to make sure the hair stays healthy and stays looking the way it did right out of the salon- at-home moisturizing treatments, purple shampoo and conditioner, and coming back to the salon for toning treatments and trims are just the start of it. Not everyone can commit to the schedule that having a full head of blonde hair requires, so what’s come up to remedy this? Enter: the lived-in look.
The “lived-in” blonde look has been trending for a few years now, but blew up in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, comfort reigned supreme and loungewear became the hottest new trend paired with a heavy root. Once it was safe enough to return to the chair, many were choosing to forgo the upkeep to instead keep their natural roots and blend the existing blonde, and their schedules changed from coming in every 4-6 weeks to coming in every 8-12. Some celebrities who have embraced this look include model Hailey Bieber and actress Sydney Sweeney. Once it hit Instagram and TikTok, it hit salons around the globe.
Hailey Bieber, Oct. 2020 Sydney Sweeney, Feb. 2021
3. The Trend Cycle
There’s a common saying that fashion has a cycle of coming back every 20 years for a new generation. This was true for the 2010s, where the 90s started to come back into style, and it’s been proving true so far in the 2020s with the 00s revival. Some style icons of the time were socialite Paris Hilton and supermodel Kate Moss, both blondes who set some of the most notable trends of the time. In today’s style icons of Instagram influencers, both blondes and non-blondes, we’re seeing trends like the micro-mini skirt and low-rise jeans slowly come back into our lives after being banished to the back of our closets. Looking back in there, you might even find some hairstyling tools that have come back in style.
Miu Miu S/S 2022 Paris Hilton, 2003
Crimping has been creeping its way back into our lives under a different name- hair wavers. Modern-day
crimpers are a lot larger than the ones of the late 90s-early 2000s, and usually consist of three large
barrels instead of the traditional flat iron with little grooves. Like its name suggests, it provides a more
beachy, wavy texture to the hair different from a traditional curling iron. The first ones started popping up
in the latter half of the 2010s, but really started picking up steam within the last few years due to the rise
of a more natural yet still put together look- much like the lived-in blonde trend previously mentioned.
via @mermade.hair Rita Ora with the Mermade Hair Waver
Blondes have never necessarily gone out of style. Over time, as the world changed, blonde trends adapted to them as well. More people went and kept going blonde because it became even more achievable for all hair types, colors, and textures. With the advancements made nowadays to protect hair when going brighter, it seems that it’s easier than ever to take the first step into doing so. So this spring, why not take the plunge and have some more fun?