How To Properly Lighten Your Hair For Summer

by Stephanie Montes

It’s only natural to crave brighter hair as the summer sun heats up. If we can’t spend our days on the beach, at least we can look like we did. But since every person starts from a different shade, the process for getting lighter tresses is not one-size-fits-all. So we’ve taken out the guesswork and teamed with Redken celebrity colorist Rachel Bodt to assemble a guide to getting it right for every hair color. Here, her best tips for lightening up this summer.


For Blondes

"First things first, bring in a reference picture so you and your colorist kick things off on the same page. Blondes should always prep the hair with Olaplex (it really strengthens strands from the inside out). This allows you to go lighter while helping eliminate breakage—your colorist can even add it right to your bleach. What you do after your salon session is just as important, so I recommend washing with a cleansing conditioner. Above all, you want your hair to look healthy."


For Brunettes

"Begin lightening at the mid shaft and focus on the ends. Going lighter on the interior of the hair gives brunettes a soft overall glow without the heavy stripes of highlights. Keeping bleach away from roots looks more natural and allows hair to be less high maintenance."


For Redheads

"There are a few key things I love for redheads in the summer: I either paint or balayage light pieces throughout the entire head to create soft strawberry and apricot tones, or I use a demi-permanent gloss to amplify the red hair so it's vibrant and shiny."


A Rule Of Thumb

"Everyone is different, so the rule of going lighter in summer and darker in the winter can definitely be broken. It's all about what looks best on you! I have a ton of clients who go darker in the summer because they hate the brassy fade that can happen from sun, chlorine and salt water. If you prefer a lower maintenance look, summer may be the right time to actually go darker."