Olivia Wilde Goes Blonde, Gwyneth Sits on the Hair Colour Fence with Reverse Balayage

Fri, 20 April 2012 2:55PM

Olivia Wilde must have read our article on making up for your haircolour and got all nostalgic for her blonde-haired days. Because – ta da! – look at her now:

The colour is for a film role – Rush, with Chris Hemsworth – and I’m sure she’s getting paid well, but I’m still a little sad for her. She was simply born to be a brunette.

Let me jog your memory of her darker side:

Just gorgeous, huh? I mean, if you looked like this, you wouldn’t want to change a single thing.

Especially haircolour, you’d think, seeing as the blonde-brunette-switch is so drastic (as our lovely intern, Rikki, knows).

Nevertheless, in recent times, a number of blonde stars have flirted with dark haircolour.

Leighton Meester, like Olivia, has also done it beautifully (so much so that she should be locked up if she ever tries to go back to her roots).

But for the most part, these bottle brunettes have gone back to blonde because it either a) suits them better or b) the brunette-specific hair and makeup upgrade and upkeep can be lumped in the too-hard-basket (Mother Nature usually knows best when it comes to affairs of the hair). Cases in point …

Cameron Diaz


Reese Witherspoon (although, granted, she did look super-cute in chocolate)


Ashley Tisdale (who, granted, may have tipped too far back on the blonde scale)

Nicole Richie (although she’s so damn cool she can do any look well)


The moral of the story: Some of us are just meant to be blonde. Even if we have an inner brunette. You might recall that I have one. I’d darken my ‘do in a heartbeat if I thought it would look even semi-okay. But alas.

However, I think I may have come across my compromise: reverse balayage.

You may have heard us mention the term here recently – it’s basically dark-dip-dyed ends, where a coloursist paints lowlights through mid-lengths of hair. Poppy Delevingne has been rocking the look lately. And guess who else just jumped on the backwards balayage bandwagon? None other than Gwyneth. Now, we all know that Gwyneth rarely ever changes her haircolour, so this is some big beauty news.

Still a little subtle for you? Okay, if you do want to try flitting between blonde and brunette, here’s what you need to know:

  • The candidates who can most successfully make such a switch have a natural base of dark blonde hair – this is the colour that will show regrowth the least. A medium skintone is most adaptable, too.
  • Never attempt such a drastic colour change yourself. It’s an extremely complex process and you risk ending up with a shade anything from green to orange. What’s more, a professional colourist will be able to tailor your blonde or brunette specifically to your complexion and give you the right maintenance advice.
  • Naturally Dark? The least damaging way for you to lighten up is to have several sessions of foils, so you build up to a blonde look. Avoid bleach and go for tints that will give you highlights of honey and caramel tones.
  • Naturally Blonde? Your colourist will need to apply a filler, followed by a demi-permanent. Most colourists recommend a demi over a permanent, as it will mean less build-up over time. A finishing gloss is highly recommended to help seal the colour in.
  • To boost brunette at the end of a colour cycle, look for colour-enriching shampoos and conditioners, or glazes, which also boost hair shine. Or else, buy the professional products your colourist recommends. To care for lightened hair, use a mix of protein and moisture treatments (Joico and Redken have great ones), and lots of shine-enhancing products.
  • If you’re wanting to return to your natural blonde looks, accept that it won’t be an overnight transition. You need to let the brunette fade out before your colourist can get to work on creating your ideal blonde shade. Brunettes also need a few steps to get back to their dark side. Whichever way you’re going, expect a month or two of an in-between colour – you know how orange, reddish colour you sometimes see celebs with before they’re back to their old look?

Phew! It sounds like hard work, huh Primpettes? Have any of you gone blonde to brunette – or brunette to blonde – and lived to tell the tale? If so, any tips?

And what do you think of Gwyneth’s reverse balayage? We’re liking very much, chez PRIMPED.

Kat x

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  • Posted by: Coconal Master Fan // Fri, 20 April 2012 03:26pm

    I still think I prefer the ‘original’ balayage over the reverse one, but I do see how it would work better on naturally blonde ladies.

    For some reason, not especially fond of Gywn’s look.

    I really miss Olivia’s brunette looks, the blonde is cute but brunette is way more flattering on her!

  • Posted by: Jensta Master Fan // Fri, 20 April 2012 04:25pm

    Firstly I love Gwynnies hair I think it looks awesome, I dont however like Olivia in blonde it really washes her out. I love all of the other lovely ladies as blondes though.

  • Posted by: myff // Fri, 20 April 2012 10:39pm

    Gwyneth’s reverse balayage to be honest is so subtle I can barely notice any difference .

  • Posted by: Ms Jelena Master Fan // Sat, 21 April 2012 01:05am

    I’ve seen reverse balayages and they looked good, but not really a fan of Gwyneth’s look…

  • Posted by: strawbsundae Master Fan // Sat, 21 April 2012 03:29pm

    Olivia Wilde looks very elegant in blonde, though I much prefer her natural hair colour in bruntette.

  • Posted by: Bantam Master Fan // Sat, 21 April 2012 10:33pm

    I’m a hair dye virgin. I would say everyone looks better blonde, except for Leighton Meester.

  • Posted by: Tina-1291133452 Master Fan // Mon, 23 April 2012 04:53am

    lol leighton looks SO different when blonde, i wouldve never recognised her! i am in LOVE with Olivia’s eyes <3

  • Posted by: beautybee1 Master Fan // Mon, 23 April 2012 02:45pm

    I have never been much of a balyage fan really but it can look ok if it’s subtle. I quite like Gwyneth’s reverse balyage for that reason.

  • Posted by: p3charmed Master Fan // Tue, 24 April 2012 11:59am

    I love gwynnie’s hair, she just rocks it like no one else! and out of all of them, only nicole richie can do both dark and blonde hair effortlessly and so prettily :)

  • Posted by: Karen-1298334769 Master Fan // Tue, 1 May 2012 12:13pm

    Olivia looks gorgeous as a blonde! Not sure I like Leighton’s look though, she looks much better as a brunette.

  • Posted by: Britty1 Master Fan // Fri, 6 July 2012 03:42pm

    i waited 24 years to go from my natural colour of medium-dark brown, to a blondie! you would think that my long dark shiny hair would cope fairly well with the transition, due to its super healthy and untouched state going into the change. alas this was not the case. although i did get to the desired hue and kept it that way for about 8 months, my fine hair split and snapped…. resulting in layers which i didnt have before and basically a fringe – which wasnt desired. now ive dyed my hair back and its ok…. but i have to grow out all the breakage to thicken up my hair again, get rid of the whispy ends. its also not quite as shiny as it used to be due to the damage beneath the tint!

  • Posted by: Knyholm Master Fan // Sat, 13 October 2012 07:52am

    Olivia looks great both as blonde and brunette….Reece is better as a blonde though!

  • Posted by: beautiful87 Master Fan // Sun, 23 June 2013 09:05pm

    I love Reese Witherspoon’s looks, she’s cute :)

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Fri, 19 July 2013 07:52pm

    I am loving the changes with hair colour, it’s just a matter of getting used to one or the other because the women look good both ways.

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Thu, 27 February 2014 07:52pm

    Its amazing how hair colour can change the way we look.


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