Achieving — and maintaining — icy blonde hair like Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually quite simple. The trick? Keeping damage control at the top of your hair care priority list.
From prepping your hair for bleach to keeping brassiness at bay, find out how to achieve the white blonde hair of your dreams, ahead.
1. See a professional colorist
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First and foremost, see a professional. If done incorrectly, bleaching your hair — especially to a shade of white blonde — can cause serious damage. A professional colorist can help you achieve icy blonde locks like Emilia Clarke with as little damage as possible.
2. Be prepared to ease into it
While you may want to go head first into bleach, chances are, your colorist won’t allow it. This isn’t because they want to prevent you from achieving Khaleesi-level blonde. It’s because it could cause serious damage, and they won’t take that risk. When going from brown to white blonde — or even dirty blonde to white blonde — be prepared for it to take a few salon visits.
3. Don’t wash your hair before bleaching
Another helpful tip to avoid damage? Don’t wash your hair before your appointment. Since shampooing your strands can strip them of their natural oils, it’s best to go into the salon with hair that hasn’t been washed in 3-4 days. While it may feel greasy, your strands will actually be protected by natural oils, resulting in less damage.
4. When bleaching, use a strengthening conditioner to avoid damage
When lifting hair to its brightest color, L’Oréal Professionnel Artist, Johnny Ramirez likes to use a strengthening conditioner — such as L’Oréal Professionnel Smartbond. The product enables him to lift color as light as he can “without damaging the clients’ hair.”
While your colorist may have a different technique or way of protecting your strands before lifting, it doesn’t hurt to ask them how they plan to keep your hair protected during the process.
5. Try a purple shampoo and conditioner
When maintaining icy locks, it’s important to keep the brass out. How do you do so? By counteracting it with purple shampoo and conditioner. Once a week, give your hair a good rinse with toning purple shampoo and conditioner to help maintain the whiteness of your blonde strands.
6. Use a nourishing treatment
When it comes to bleach, one of the biggest downsides is the damaging effect it can have on your strands. That said, you can breathe life back into your hair by incorporating a nourishing treatment into your weekly regimen. Try conditioning your strands with Virtue Labs Recovery Conditioner ($40). Formulated to reconstruct frayed cuticles and restore the overall health and manageability of strands, the color-safe conditioner can help promote stronger, more healthy-looking hair with every wash.
In addition to using a repairing conditioner, you can also try a deep conditioning treatment once a week (or whenever you see fit). We like the amika Nourishing Mask ($28) for its ability to deeply condition strands and deliver beneficial nutrients deep into the hair’s cortex. To apply as a treatment, simply run the formula through damp strands and wrap hair in a plastic wrap or a shower cap. Wrapping it will allow the strands to heat up and soak in all the nourishing goodness.
7. Use a color correcting treatment
Another way Ramirez likes to care for Game of Thrones-worthy blonde hair? Through color correction. Ramirez recommends using a color correcting treatment — such as L’Oréal Professionnel Anti Yellowing Rinse Out Color Correcting Cream ($27) — once a week to keep brassiness at bay.
8. Minimize the heat
In addition to color correction, Ramirez says to “limit blow drying and curling to once or twice a week.” This can help avoid any additional damage caused by heat styling.
9. Tone it up
If you notice your hair start to turn brassy — even with your purple shampoo — it may be time for a toning refresh. You can either book an appointment with your colorist for a toner, or try a temporary color conditioner, such as Tinge Temporary Pastel Conditioner in Silver ($18), to tone down the brass.
10. Avoid oils and serums with a yellow tint to them
While oils and serums can be beneficial to the overall health of your hair, be cautious of the ones containing a yellow hue. The warm tones of some of these treatments can actually reverse all of your hard work and give your strands a golden glow.