Blonde Boosters to Avoid!

Summer’s coming, and, despite all the craziness that COVID-19 has caused, a few of us may be thinking that this is still the season to upgrade or maintain their blonde color. In your quest to achieving this, I wanted to namedrop a few dishonorable mentions to the purple-toning list.

Headwear Blondastic Leave-In: What is this leave-in conditioner even doing? Sure, you can’t expect miracles in brass-cancellation with just a leave-in, but this just… does… nothing. Find your brassiest section of hair, spray it on, and watch as the color stays exactly the same!

Not to mention this “conditioner” does anything but add moisture to hair. Of course, there will be some product limitations when the intent is to tone hair, which is naturally drying by itself. It’s not a guarantee that conditioner is going to cancel all of that damage out. But this just seems to add to the problem instead of keeping it, at minimum, the same.

There’s not a ton of product in here, although it is only $10, so I suppose that makes sense. Also, it smells nice. But that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it.

Redken Color Extend Blondage – Conditioner: Speaking of conditioners that don’t condition, here’s another one! Amazingly, this conditioner damages my hair more than a shampoo, or even toner itself. I don’t get it.

It is extremely concentrated with purple dye, which you would think helps lend to a more even spread. But the formulation is very slow-moving and seems to absorb very rapidly during application. This can cause some sections of hair to become bright-white, and other sections the same brass you had before. Not a great look. It’s an even worse look when you realize your hair is breaking at twice the rate it was than before you used it! (full disclosure: my hair is already fried. But still! This was bad.) For $20 — skip this one.

(Redken is notorious for having imitator products that sneak into the market — I picked this up at Ulta, so here’s to hoping this was the real deal).

That’s enough complaining from me — I’ll tell you what I think actually works! If your hair is strong and ready to withstand a little toughness of a super-concentrated formula, try One N Only’s conditioner. The formula is runny, which helps to give a more consistent color. And despite having a lukewarm start with Pravana’s purple conditioner, I’ve been loving it, these days. Subtle color boost without the extreme damage? I’ll take it! ~A

Pravana The Perfect Blonde Conditioner

For the next couple days I will be running a mini-series on products for blondes! I’ve gone through a smorgasbord of shampoos, conditioners, toners and leave-ins to figure out what will get my level 10’ish hair to silver or white, and I’d like to be able to share some of newfound blonde knowledge (or maybe lack thereof…) with my readers.

Before I jump into this review, I wanted to note that this conditioner will only really “work” if your hair is already at level 9 or 10. Even darker pigments of yellow won’t get cancelled out by this toning shampoo, which, given the strength of this conditioner, is sort of disappointing. If your hair is more a golden or orange tone than light yellow, I’d recommend a blue conditioner instead (which Pravana also carries).

I also had to learn the hard way that just because it’s a purple conditioner, doesn’t imply your hair is going to come out softer or more hydrated! Purple conditioners, while not as stripping and concentrated with dye as the shampoos, can still cause damage, just to a lesser degree than a flat-out toner would do. I would definitely follow up the use of a purple conditioner with another non-toning conditioner, and possibly a hair mask the next day.

Onto the review of the product itself! It’s about $12 for a somewhat smaller-than-usual bottle of shampoo. Although this conditioner is a bit thicker than other toning conditioners I’ve tried, the product still gets absorbed by the hair pretty quickly, so I feel as though I keep needing to go back to the bottle to get more. Fortunately, since you should only really use this conditioner once or twice a week max, the bottle will last a long time.

This conditioner gives better results if your hair is wet to begin with (also it’s SO freakin’ hard to saturate your hair with this conditioner when it’s dry!), so I’ll rinse my hair first, and then apply the conditioner. I’ll wait two minutes before rinsing again to remove the product.

The color payout of this conditioner is, as expected, a little less dramatic than using a purple shampoo. The lightest pieces of blonde will have less of a yellow tint, and reflect a bit more white/bright than before — but I don’t think this product completely masters the art of cancelling out yellow. I’d recommend avoiding this around your root area, or anywhere where you have level 7-8 bits of hair, because it will turn those areas a somewhat putrid yellow-potato color.

Again, you don’t completely avoid damage by using this conditioner. It’s very rough on the roots of your hair, or anywhere where you have fine pieces of hair. I have experienced breakage from using this around those areas, or areas that were already weak to begin with (keeping in mind that I bleached the daylights out of my hair — if you have stronger hair than mine, you might not experience this issue to the same degree).

I think this conditioner is really great anyone with brunette hair, and bayalage (level 9+) highlights around the base, since this doesn’t seem to play well with the different colors around the root level. I was impressed by how “bright” the lightest pieces became, so I know it does work, but this conditioner is way too temperamental around the slightest shade of gold. The longevity is ok for a conditioner — up to four days of “bright” blonde — but I’m not really sure it’s worth the damage to my hair. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.5/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3/5