If at least two of the following apply to you, it may be time to look on the bright side:

  • You were blonde(ish) as a child. "If your hair was fair when you were small, especially by summer's end, you probably have the right skin tone to pull off blonde as an adult," says Brad Johns, global color director for Clairol (who has colored Natasha Richardson's hair).
  • You can afford regular maintenance. "Being blonde is not cheap," says Johns. "Think of blonde hair as the ultimate accessory — the one you never take off! You must keep it in excellent shape with regular touch-ups and proper products."
  • You're okay being a man magnet. "It's no coincidence that blonde is the most popular hair color in Los Angeles — where it's all about getting noticed," says Jennifer J (Cate Blanchett is a client). Johns adds, "I can assure you it's the shade men prefer."

How to be the best blonde:
1. Keep it cool when coloring at home. "If you elect to lighten your hair on your own, opt for a cool or neutral shade rather than something warm [often marked 'golden' or 'honey']," says Julia Youssef, executive director of L'Oréal Paris's Hair Color Technical Center and Product Evaluation. "Lightening naturally warms up your hair; if you choose a warm-colored dye, you may end up too [orangey] gold."

2. Avoid alcohol. "Bottle blondes may suffer from dry, dull hair, and using products that contain high amounts of alcohol can make the problem worse," says Johnathan Gale, a colorist at the Serge Normant for John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles (he's responsible for Charlize Theron's gilded locks). Common alcohol-containing culprits: hairspray, gel, and mousse; check the label.

3. Leave the whitening to your teeth. "Many women equate cool, white strands with elegance," says Johns, "but the reality is that having overly platinum hair can leave you looking tired." A better approach? Ask your colorist to create a golden base, then add cooler highlights.

4. Let a pro handle the hard stuff. "If you want to take your color more than two shades lighter than your natural hue, visit a salon," says Jennifer J. Attempting a job this delicate yourself is risky — and you may end up more banana than honey-blonde.

5. Have a few tricks up your sleeve. Inevitably, there will be times when you need to get to the salon but just can't spare the time or money. Rather than surrendering to long, dark roots, try this trick from Jennifer J: To combat visible roots, pick up a box of dark, ash-blonde hair color at the drugstore. Apply it carefully to just your roots with a toothbrush and leave it on for no longer than three minutes. This will take the edge off dark roots and will buy you a few more weeks sans salon.

Makeup tips for blondes:

  • Peach tones are universally flattering to blondes, says Dorf.
  • If you opt for red lips, keep them sheer and limit the hue to evenings, says Dorf.
  • Opt for brown mascara rather than black; it contrasts less with your hair color.
  • MC musts for blondes:
  • Frédéric Fekkai Baby Blonde Color Enhancing Shampoo
  • Pureology Antifade Complex Holdfast HardHoldGel (it's alcohol-free)
  • Phyto Phytonectar Ultra nourishing oil treatment
  • Bumble and Bumble Color Support High Shine Conditioner for Golden Blondes

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