All is calm, all is bright. Hand painted highlights achieved with Schwarzkopf Professional® BLONDME® Clay Lightener and 40-volume developer. Toned with BLONDME Pastel Toning Sand + Steel Blue (3:1) + BLONDME Premium 2% (7 Vol.) (1:1). Hair by Schwarzkopf Professional Artist Team Member Sam Stahl, @hairbysamstahl.

When it comes to selecting a lightener, one size does not fit all. Different formulations perform different functions and if you choose wisely, your hair color results will ascend from good to great. Not sure where to start? Well, you’re in luck. We turned to Schwarzkopf Professional Artist Team Member Sam Stahl, @hairbysastahl, for a breakdown of lightener types plus best practices for each.


Schwarzkopf Professional offers three lighteners: BLONDME Precision Lightener, BLONDME Premium Lightener 9+ and BLONDME Premium Clay Lightener. Each one gets a different job done. Start with BLONDME Precision Lightener. “Precision Lightener is great for on-scalp and/or precise applications,” says Stahl, “because it contains agents that prevent it from swelling. So I would use this lightener for an on-scalp bleach retouch.

“BLONDME Premium Lightener 9+ can be used on-scalp, off-scalp or in foils. This is the best choice for when you need maximum lift at lower developer strengths, like when you’re doing an all-over lightening application or you need more power through the mid-lengths and ends.

“And BLONDME Premium Clay Lightener is formulated to process in the open air. It creates a shell around the hair so it’s ideal for balayage and hand-painted applications. I love this lightener for my tip-outs and natural balayage clients.”

Get stunning results like this when you choose the right lightener for your target blonding results. Hair by Marguerite Hancock, @maggiemh.


The more you work with each type of lightener, the more you become dialed into the unique properties of each. With those insights come tips, tricks and hacks that make your lightening life easier. For example, “I’ve learned that when you’re using BLONDME Precision Lightener, it’s important to place it exactly where you want it,” says Stahl, “If you’re using BLONDME Premium Lightener 9+, I find it’s best to mix up small batches at a time. You’re generally using this lightener for its power, so you want to maintain its strength throughout the application. Also, remember that the power is in this lightener so stick to lower volume developers—less than 20 Volume (6%). And with BLONDME Premium Clay Lightener, saturation is the key—each section must be thoroughly saturated. If you can see hair through the product, you won’t get the lift you want.”


A post shared by Reema Jaber (@hairbyreema)

BLONDME Bleach & Tone additives come in three shades to neutralize any base. Hair by Reema Jaber, @hairbyreema


For specific tonal results on various bases, an additive like BLONDME Bleach & Tone can serve as your lightening MVP. Choose from Violet, to neutralize yellow tones on Level 7; Ash, to neutralize orange-yellow tones on Levels 5-6; or Matte, to neutralize orange-red tones on Levels 1-4.

“The BLONDME Bleach & Tone additives are best when you’re looking for a very neutralized lift,” says Stahl. “They can be used with any of the BLONDME Lighteners, and you get a clean, even lift in one application. It acts as a lightener but with the advantage of neutralizing the hair while it’s lifting. It’s like a pre-tone without the extra time! Just remember to pick the additive that is best for your client’s underlying pigment. If you pick an additive that is too dark, the hair may come out darker than anticipated.”

One of Stahl’s favorite times to use BLONDME Bleach & Tone is when a client is transitioning from a warm tone to a neutral or cool tone. “It will help neutralize the hair strand before you even rinse,” she explains. “I normally formulate 30g of lightener with 2-5g of additive, depending how much neutralizing I need.”


For most color pros, regrowth clients are your bread and butter, so it’s important to get it right! “My favorite process for a regrowth,” Stahl reveals, “is to mix BLONDME Precision Lightener with 20-volume developer in a ratio of 1:1.5. Then I add 2-5g of one of the BLONDME Bleach & Tone additives into the lightener formula. I apply it to the new growth and process with a cap for 45 minutes without heat. Then I rinse and shampoo with BLONDME All Blondes Shampoo and Conditioner, followed by an application of BLONDME Toner + 7-volume developer, formulated for the desired result, on towel-dried hair.”


Nobody owns just one pair of shoes—of course you need a variety of styles for all outfits and occasions! The same holds true for your lighteners. These products are the workhorses of all of your lifting and blonding services, so it’s important to use the right lightener for every desired outcome. Discover the Schwarzkopf Professional® lightener and additive options available to you and build a lightener “wardrobe” for all your lifting needs!



For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.