Michelle Williams’ polished brows and pale platinum crop featured in the Louis Vuitton fall 2013 ads have become the beauty reference of the season. It’s an elevated ladylike take on the strong brow/light hair trend that’s captured the imaginations of women because well... it’s just perfect. Celebs like Rita Ora and Miss Miley have twerked punkier versions on the red carpet as well.
We went straight to the nicest and most sought-after blonder in the business, Marie Robinson (who is a killer blonde herself), to get the scoop on how to realize your blonde ambitions without setting a wrecking ball to your hair.
If you aren’t familiar with Marie’s work, her buzzing salon in the Flatiron District of NYC is where Anne goes from brunette to platinum, Natalie maintains her shimmering brown and yes, where Michelle gets her creamy white blonde.
We also interviewed up-and-comer Meg Sanchez-Hartigan who cares for Marie’s own platinum locks, because if Marie trusts her, she must know her stuff. We threw in a round of tips on brows because they are such an integral part of the look.
Q: Everyone is obsessing over the dark brow/light hair look—but do you have to go platinum to make it work?
A: Going platinum is always fun and being extreme is not for the faint of heart as it requires maintenance and time. You don't have to be as platinum as I or some of our clients in order to have Rita Ora's look. You can simply brighten your natural color a little bit and then deepen your eyebrow one shade darker to create the same contrast and effect.
Q: You've been a beautiful redhead but now you've been blonde for a while. How do you care for your own platinum hair?
A: I use clear and/or white shampoos that are meant for color-treated hair so it doesn't discolor my blonde. I'm not fussy with shampoos and change often between Pantene, L'Oréal and Wella. One product I never stray from is my once a week conditioning treatment ColoristCure. It's an intensive treatment that removes product buildup on my hair shaft, coating my individuals hairs with essential oils. The result is bright, shiny hair!
Q: Are you in the camp that anyone can go blonde?
A: I do think anyone can go blonde and should try to at least once. There is a simple rule to follow: If cool tones or silver jewelry work on your skin then keeps tones cool; if you wear yellow gold and warmer colors that are autumnal, stick to warmer blondes. If you have very dark or olive skin tone, very light hair can be sexy and dramatic. However, leave your natural root or have a colorist create the natural root in your hair to keep your skin looking good.
Q: My friend Sara is devoted to you, and since she's been coming to you her hair has become much healthier, yet you still manage to take her to a level of bright blonde that other colorists couldn't. What's your secret?
A: I don't think I have any special secret! When coloring, I take care of the hair by not overlapping on hair that has been previously highlighted or lightened and I just retouch it to add brightness. I take care to add lightener to the new hair that hasn't been colored yet. I also don't over-process the hair and when it's that perfect lightness, I don't risk leaving it on. Another trick: Leave a little gold in the highlight and don't lift to maximum whiteness because warmer blonde reflects more light than cooler blonde.And Meg...(Meg Sanchez Hartigan, colorist at the Marie Robinson Salon and Marie’s current colorist)
Q: Describe the technique you use to do Marie's blonde.
A: On Marie I apply a concentrated bleach straight to her salt and pepper regrowth. Using a little bit of low heat I lift her roots to a pale-yellow and rinse in sections to assure evenness. We use toner, but only on her roots to shadow them just a touch and leave the rest bright and creamy.
Q: Besides Marie, where do you derive your inspiration?
A: The waitresses that work at Samurai Mama in Williamsburg always inspire me with their Japanese street style. They are such a treat to look at. Not only are they super sweet but their hair/makeup/outfits are always killer. I've never seen a cuter staff!!
Q: And do you think anyone can go blonde?
A: I think if you're itching to bleach your hair out, everyone should try it once! However, the darker your natural hair, the harder it will be to bleach it to white blonde. Also, double processes don't always have to be white blonde! A pale "paper bag" blonde can look beautiful on women with darker skin tones. Another factor to consider is the current state of your hair. If you've been coloring your strands midnight black you will have to cut it off and start from scratch. Bleaching out your hair can be a damaging process; the texture of it will permanently change until your natural grows out. It is A LOT of maintenance, but if you're dedicated to taking care of it, it will be a head-turner!And finally, brow tips from Landy Dean, makeup artist at the Marie Robinson Salon and for this shoot!
"I love a full, straighter brow. For shape reference think Audrey Hepburn and Lily Collins." Follow his tips below to darken your brows the right way.
- For a platinum blonde, use a brow color that is ashy or smoky.
- Use a very fine-tip pencil to fill in spaces and or sparse areas. I love Vincent Longo Everbrow Micro Pencil in Black.
- Then darken the hairs with a darker shade of brow gel or pomade to keep the dimension. Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep adds volume and is a great neutral shade with a precise applicator.