UNITED STATES—Winter is coming, and for many, that means that it’s time to change up your hair. While many prefer to go blonde in summer, I find that an icy blonde best contrasts with the somber aesthetic that winter provides. Having personally gone platinum myself, I can vouch for the visual reward that it provides despite all of the salon visits and upkeep. Here are a few tips to achieve a cool blonde do, while maintaining hair health.

First and foremost, understand your hair type, length, and texture all play into the process and cost. For instance, if you have dark hair naturally, expect quite a few salon visits to obtain an ashy white. For those with curly hair: proceed with caution. Bleaching causes immense damage to the hair because it lifts the follicle and removes the color from it, a process known as oxidation. Curly hair is naturally drier so is more prone to breakage and overall rejecting the bleach.

Once you are at your desired shade, (along the way as well) make sure you are doing as much as possible to hydrate your strands. Hair masks (celebs like Kim Kardashian swear by overnight coconut oil masks), rich conditioners (Nexxus Humectress is very nourishing), and heat protectant (Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer is lightweight and hydrating) are all very crucial to keeping the hair moisturized.

Hair mask users must be cautious of the different kinds of masks though. Protein masks (Olaplex No. 3) can be very beneficial to thin or insanely chemically damaged hair. An overhaul of protein though, can actually be quite damaging to already dry hair, causing stiffness and making the strands more prone to breakage.  Hydrating masks step in to save the day though, as they strengthen and provide moisture to the hair (try Coco & Eve Like A Virgin Hair Nourishing Mask).

Oftentimes, after many washes the hair begins to get brassy—the brightness wears off and the hair starts to give off more of an orange or yellow hue. This occurs because blonde hair is very porous, so it soaks all of the pollution in the air, minerals in the shower, and essentially everything else. Toning masks are brilliant at keeping brassy tones at bay (Fanola No Yellow or No Orange masks are nourishing, as well as amazing at color correcting).  Use these masks once a week to preserve the cool blonde.  

Making consistent appointments with your stylist (about every 4-6 weeks) helps maintain the optimal blonde and prevent banding (when the hair grows out too much and results in unwanted, different tones after a root touch-up).  

Last but not least, make sure your protein and biotin intake is plenty as it will help aid with hair growth and strengthening. You can also take supplements that are targeted at hair health, such as these from HUM Nutrition (a plus side is that they are vegan).  

So yes, becoming blonde is no easy feat.  Follow these steps though, and you are guaranteed bright and head-turning locks that will leave people envious.