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Few hair colors are as eye-catching as pure platinum -- and few colors are as high-maintenance. If you're ready to make the leap from basic brown to dazzling white-blond locks, know that you're making a major commitment. Platinum locks require major upkeep to look their best. Going platinum is also tricky: Misapplied color or bad timing can make your perfect platinum a hot mess. Unless you're an experienced hair coloring pro, it's wise to enlist an expert to help you transition from brown to platinum, but if you don't mind practicing a little patience, you can go platinum without professional help.
Prep your hair for major change with a conditioning hair mask a week before you plan to color. An extreme hair color change can damage your hair and works best when your hair is in tip-top condition.
Choose a hair color one shade lighter than your natural shade, and apply it to your hair, following the directions on the box. Opt for a shade that's cool or neutral rather than a warm shade to reduce your risk of unwanted brassiness.
Wait four to six weeks, then repeat the process, taking your hair one shade lighter than its current color. Stick with neutral or cool shades, and repeat this process every four to six weeks, going one shade lighter each time, until your hair is one shade from perfect platinum blond. How long this process takes depends on how dark your hair is and how well it picks up color.
Choose a platinum blond shade -- since platinum is a naturally cool color, you don't have to worry about avoiding warm undertones.
Mix the color according to your package directions, then apply it to the ends of your hair for 8 minutes before applying the color to the rest of your hair. Because your scalp is warm, the hair around it processes color more quickly, so your ends need time to catch up if you want an even platinum shade, explains hair color expert Sharon Dorram in "O, The Oprah Magazine."
Leave the color on for the time indicated on the package and rinse it as directed. Follow with an intensive conditioner.
If you don't want to wait a few months for your hair to lighten, enlist a stylist to lighten your hair to a medium blond, then proceed with the DIY method. Alternatively, you can have a stylist do the whole transformation; but be aware that it may be a two-appointment process, depending on how dark your hair is.
Use a blue- or purple-tinted shampoo and conditioner to keep your platinum locks looking their best. You'll need to touch up your roots every four weeks.
Always do a test patch to check for sensitivities before applying color to your entire head.