First of all, Daenerys’ hair is a wig. So, step one, buy a wig. You’re done!
But for those of you who have achieved (or are born with!) that very pale blonde, you have other more temporary options available to you. There’s a handful of different toners on the market, and they can be quite confusing to navigate. Below, I’m going to touch on three different toners and my experience with them.
A couple tips before we get started (that may or may not differ from every other tutorial out there)
- There’s a lot support for the idea that toner will apply more evenly if your hair is damp, but I don’t agree with that, especially if your hair already has bleach damage. Chances are, if the porosity of your hair is high, the fact that it’s holding in more water than usual is going to cause your color to distribute more unevenly.
- I do, however, highly condone coating your dry hair in oil — specifically, coconut oil (although I will admit I’ve tried Paul Mitchell’s Skinny Serum as well and that helped me a lot as well). This minimizes damage, and also, in my experience, allowed the color to spread more evenly. Here’s my usual schedule: bleach roots (if necessary) -> rinse -> wait until hair is fully dry -> apply oil -> tone on 20 volume for 25 minutes -> rinse.
- If your hair is currently darker than medium blonde, then a toner won’t get you to white hair. But anything higher in level than that, you can probably achieve it by playing around with the different colored toners, and what counteracts your hair color on the color wheel. For example, I’ve been able to achieve white while my hair was still bordering on orange — I just had to use T-14 instead of T-18.
Wella T-18 – $6.99 at Sally’s Beauty Supply
I’m reviewing this toner first because Wella T-18 is, in my mind, the standard for how a toner should produce color, and even then, there are still a lot of issues inherent in the product. It is extremely harsh, and will more than likely create extra damage to your hair. The smell is borderline intolerable. All that suffering and the longevity is still pretty darn short — maybe a week of nice color, at best.
But the color!! Assuming you’ve done a good job of making sure the toner is fully saturating every single strand of hair, the color will deliver as promised. T-18 will make your hair white. If your hair isn’t quite pal yellow yet, mixing T-14 and T-18 will also make your hair white. Want to go slightly silver/gray? Pop some 050 violet additive into your T-18, and, voila, silver!
For a beginner, I would definitely try out the Wella line before veering into anything else, just make sure you have some sort of protecting oil over your hair before you apply it. Overall Wella Score: Color: 4 out of 5, longevity: 2 out of 5, healthy for hair: 1.5 out of 5.
Blond Brilliance Toner: Platinum – $5.99 at Sally’s Beauty Supply
There were a lot of references to Blond Brilliance being the less harsh, and better smelling alternative to Wella, with just as good of color payout. I agree that this absolutely does smell better, in fact, it’s a little floral-y. I did notice a little less breakage in my hair with this product compared to the Wella toner (although, at the end of the day, if you’re using 20 developer, there’s bound to still be at least a little breakage).
The color payout is… weird. The application is all well and good with the toner turning the expected purple, but after washing, you may notice that your light blonde hair is now stained green and blue and gray, particularly the finer pieces of hair. Ugh! Better not leave the house for a few days and bust out the clarifying wash, you might think. I advise you to wait until the third day: you may find the whitest white hair you have ever seen in your life. And it lasts for over two weeks!
This toner does not excel at saturation or spreading color as evenly as Wella does. Also, the nasty bruise-color your hair acquires in the first couple days after application makes this almost not worth it. I’d recommend this to anyone prepared to wait a couple days to see the true results, and someone willing to do the legwork in making sure every single strand is coated fully. Overall Blond Brilliance Score: Color: 4.4 out of 5, longevity: 3 out of 5, healthy for hair: 3.5 out of 5.
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Virgin Snow White Toner – $10.99 at Sally’s Beauty Supply
It is really tempting to just use semi-permanent dye in between touch ups of toner or bleach, since it’s far less damaging than toner. You don’t even need to use developer, and it’s super easy to saturate your hair with!
But I’m convinced you need to have level 12 hair to even think about using this — and yes, I said 12, not 10. At which point, you probably already have the level you want… anyway? I think there was a bit of a white tinge to my super-fine and light pieces in the front, but other than that, there was nothing. Even if I could see the color, it would have washed out very quickly, since Manic Panic is not intended to stay around — two or three days, if I was lucky.
Some users swear this is also good for conditioning your hair, but I don’t really think that that’s true. Regardless of whether or not there’s conditioner in this product, Manic Panic still contains concentrated dye which, like all dye, is not great for your hair staying hydrated in the long run. Honestly, I would probably tell most people to skip Manic Panic in their quest for white hair, especially at it’s price point. Overall Manic Panic Virgin Snow Score: Color: 0 out of 5, longevity: 0 out of 5, healthy for hair: 3 out of 5.
The quest for Daenerys’s hair is a difficult one, and a damaging one as well. But with a little patience, conditioning treatments and a lot of trial and error, it can be done! ~A