What you should know before you go platinum

What you should know before you go platinum

Blonde ambition

Text: Renée Batchelor

It used to be that gentlemen preferred blondes. Now they're not afraid to be blondes themselves. Find out how to attain and maintain this striking shade

Guys, perhaps it's time to give blonde hair a re-think.

Pure platinum tresses have gone from looking kind of trailer park-esque — think Ryan Gosling's character in The Place Beyond the Pines — to being edgy and oh-so fashion. Though perhaps she was the original blonde icon, Madonna was not the only one to use shocking, white blonde hair to make a statement. Think Miley Cyrus' reinvention and more recently, Zayn Malik's blonde buzz cut when he left One Direction and showed up at the recent men's fashion shows. 

Zayn Malik

One of the freshest blondes of late is 17-year old male model Lucky Blue Smith, whose platinum locks seem to only emphasise his arresting gaze and defined features. In fact, when he first moved to Los Angeles, it was Smith's agent who suggested that he bleach his hair to look more edgy and less angelic. 

Lucky Blue Smith

So can a mere mortal pull this look off? Men, we say, give it a go. It's just hair after all, and if you don't like it, you can always shave it all off.

We asked celebrity hairstylist Angeline Tan, creative director of FDP Prestige Hair Care and the woman responsible for some of Singapore's most famous blondes, to give us her tips:

1. Pick the right stylist
Creating blonde hair for Asians (who have naturally dark tresses with red undertones) and Caucasians is a whole different ball game. Tan recommends visiting a stylist who specialises in creating blonde hair as an inexperienced colourist can really ruin hair and harm the scalp. Do make sure your stylist is used to working on your hair type — whatever it is.

2. Avoid washing your hair 
Before visiting the salon, keep your hair unwashed. The natural oil content in your scalp and hair will act as a protective layer as you go through the multiple rounds of bleaching.

3. Be prepared to spend the entire day at the salon
Yes, you heard us right. Unless you original hair colour is already close to blonde, you will require several sessions of bleaching. "To go platinum, it usually requires at least four rounds of bleaching for coarse hair and three rounds of bleaching for fine hair. It can be done in a day, over a spread of four to eight hours (depending on the length and thickness of hair)," says Tan. "It also depends on each individual's hair texture and condition, and whether the hair is strong enough to withstand breakage." Also the bleaching process can hurt, though at FDP Prestige Hair Care, Tan makes sure her customers are as comfortable as possible by applying a pre-bleaching herbal application to protect the scalp and hair shaft.

4. Choose the right shade
While platinum is easy to carry off on very fair-skinned individuals, those with darker complexions — like Zayn Malik — can still work the look. While you should consult with your  stylist, Tan has a general recommendation for different skin tones: "Those with fair, Caucasian skin work platinum blonde the best because it's so close to their complexion. Fair, Asian skin tones can also carry off a pale, platinum shade like an all-over ashy blonde tone. Medium skin suits honey-based blondes while darker skin tones look better with a buttery blonde that is more chalky and matte."

5. Be prepared to maintain you 'do
There's a reason blondes are considered high-maintenance. This high-impact shade is not for the lazy, and missing an appointment or two can make you look unintentionally tacky. Tan says, "You will require a salon visit every two to three weeks to touch up the roots. Be sure to ask your stylist to use a violet toner, as it will help give your blonde a rich look and minimise any brassiness."