The French Blonde works with natural tones, where you can’t detect the transition between natural hair colour and professionally coloured hair.
As Brian Leo McCallum, owner of Roar Hair and Beauty Salon Group, explains in an article for HJI: “This is such a versatile look, so my first thought would be to create it with our signature freehand balayage technique, coupled with our shadow root service to create a seamless colour. However, I’ve also seen some French Blonde looks that would involve a scalp bleach, in which case we would use our light dimensions lightening services to create an impactful lift.”
Working with natural tones was something that came up time and time again with colourists. Simon Tuckwell, owner Tuckwell & Co says: “I'd use gloss and shine to work with the client's natural tone.”
Softness is key with the French Blonde look, though it can be created using a variety of techniques. ‘If you're using a balayage technique, make sure your sections are soft and you're using light hand strokes. For highlighting, make sure again that sections are small and soft, using glosses and glazes to blur the line between the colour and the client’s natural tone,” advises Simon.
For colourist Siobhan, it's babylights all the way when it comes to creating French Blonde. “It feels like a sophisticated progression from balayage where the build-up of blonde is more prominent,” she says. To really finish the look off to perfection, “tone down the roots by two shades and tone the ends to either a champagne blonde or a cool beige and you’ve got the perfect French Blonde.”
In case you need a go-to celebrity to look at for inspiration or want a heads up on which famous faces your clients might cite as their French Blonde idols, the experts shared theirs. Brian says: "French blonde is very Kate Moss or even Billie Eilish blonde, but what makes it a French for me is really the softness of the colour against the skin. That’s how you achieve that ‘French chic’ feel." Siobhan cited Dutch model Daphne Groeneveld’s luxe baby lights with a lived-in root as her perfect example of French Blonde. Simon says: If we're thinking classic stars that everyone knows it's Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron – more up to date would be the likes of Billie Eilish or Margot Robbie.”
French Blonde can be a real money maker. Leo says: “The services needed for a French Blonde are all double application services and for most guests it will take time to achieve that softer look, so French Blonde is definitely a money maker for us in the salon! Maintenance including toners and treatments will also be required to ensure the colour looks best between applications and of course there is room to upsell on retail too, which is always vital for blondes.”
A thorough consultation is required for this bespoke service. “If a client has a naturally lighter base, obviously it's a bit easier to soften the hair and keep that lightness. If they have a darker base to work with, we would use glosses, glazes and toners to blur the line slightly. With this in mind, depending the outcome the client desires, the charge may differ based upon what base we are dealing with,” Simon explains. "But if we're able to use the usual balayage technique, we'd charge the standard for a balayage. However, if there is a naturally darker base, we'd likely have to revisit the client at a later date to achieve the desired level of lightness. If this were the case, we would always ensure clients are aware that it would require more than one sitting, right from the consultation."