Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron, hair colour by Lorri Goddard. Image by: Getty
What I learned from 3.5 hours with Lorri Goddard, the "blonde whisperer" behind Reese Witherspoon, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Charlize Theron's hair.
Lorri Goddard is known as Hollywood’s “Blonde Whisperer,” and I now know why.
Our first encounter is at a recent party in New York for the launch of Moroccanoil’s five-piece haircare regimen, Colour Complete. The range is the brand's first new collection in a decade; it uses ionic attraction—hair is negatively charged, which attracts the positively charged particles in the formula—to push argan oil deep into the hair cortex, helping hair colour last longer. (In a clinical test, the brand found that human hair washed with the line retained the depth and vibrancy of its colour twice as long as the control group.)
Goddard, the decades-spanning hair colourist who has worked on everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Farrah Fawcett sees me from across the crowded room and comes rushing over, arms outstretched, like I’m the one who’s famous. “Helllooo! I’m Lorri Goddard and I’ll be doing your hair tomorrow; it’s a pleasure to meet you!”
Goddard recognizes me from a ‘before’ photo she’s been sent because I’m scheduled to sit in her chair at the Moroccanoil Academy tomorrow, to experience the new products and her famous “foilyage” (foil + balayage) technique first hand.
Touching my grown out, slightly brassy strands, she eyeballs my black roots peppered with grey as I tell her my hair story. “Ok, so what I’m hearing is: ‘My fantasy is to have more natural-looking hair that’s easier to upkeep with my super busy life, but still looks cool and reflects who I am and my style, and shows off my skin and my eyes, correct?'” she asks. Correct! She calls my forthcoming, blended transformation 'punk-surf,' and I'm in.
The three and a half hours I spend in her chair are illuminating. First, I infer that one of Goddard’s clients, Kirsten Dunst, will soon give birth (I had no idea she was even pregnant).
I also learn why Moroccanoil’s new ChromaTech Prime treatment could be revolutionary.
“There are so many brands out there that want you to add their colour protector to the colour, but no matter what anyone says, it does dilute the result,” explains Goddard, combing the professional mousse formula through my hair to optimize pH for the perfect pre-colour canvas. Applying the treatment directly to the hair, instead of putting it into the colour at the mixing stage, prevents this dilution from happening.
Perhaps most shockingly, upon walking away with a headful of unicorn-white highlights blended with baby-brown lowlights, I realized I’d been getting a few things wrong in the way I colour and treat my hair since I dyed it Blondie-platinum from black-brunette nearly two years ago.
Here are five misconceptions that many of us blondes might want to re-evaluate.
Delusion #1: ‘Warmth’ is evil
For many of us platinum-chasers, warmth is thought to be the enemy—I couldn’t use enough purple-tinted shampoos to keep what I perceived as brassiness at bay. But to get to the more natural look I desired, I was going to have to let in some sunshine. “Our skin changes as we age and as much as we love ash, it really is aging in many ways and it can be hardening on the face," explains Goddard. Lately, her L.A clientele have been moving away from icy blonde in favour of warmer tones.
Delusion #2: Washing your hair is bad
The quest to hold onto hair colour has many a blonde washing her hair just once per week (that’s because hard water contains heavy metals like mercury, minerals such as calcium and oxidizers that alter the tone). Nevertheless, Goddard recommends always washing your hair within 48 hours of a colour appointment. “It’s the sebum,” she explains. “I’ve literally had to go over spots again and again and I’m sitting there going, ‘Why is this not taking?’” One particular no-no: hitting the salon straight from the gym, when your scalp is at its oiliest. Instead, the colourist suggests investing in a good water filter and washing with cool water to maintain your colour’s richness.
Delusion #3: Your brows are fine
This one’s optional, but if you’re a born brunette with dark eyebrows, you might want to think about lightening them along with the hair on your head. “If you would permit me, I would love to ask you to do something,” says Goddard, about halfway through processing my colour. “Let me tint your brows, just for like 30 seconds, and then I’ll swipe it off.” I had never considered it in the past, but I tried it, and really noticed how much softer my look was overall.
Delusion #4: Sunscreen is for skin
Sunscreen is for your skin, but it’s also for your hair. Ever notice how your fresh bleach job can start to yellow within days of your appointment, even before you’ve washed your hair? That’s due to oxidation, a chemical reaction that turns red hair orange and blonde hair paler and brassier. “UVA and UVB rays, and pollutants in general, damage colour the most,” says Lavinia Popescu, vice-president of product development at Moroccanoil. And while it’s not the first of its kind, the brand's Protect & Prevent Spray—designed for use on wet hair after using the at-home Colour Continue shampoo and conditioner—neutralizes free radicals with antioxidants from sunflower extract and adds a lightweight shine.
Delusion #5: Coconut oil is good for everything
Goddard has often been quoted regaling the hair-softening benefits of organic coconut oil, particularly as a post-swim-and-sun hair elixir. But the night of your hair bleaching is not the time to break out the coconut oil—just ask Kim Kardashian, whose icy tone shifted after she slept in a coconut mask of her own concoction the night before flying to Paris for Fashion Week back in 2015. “It pulls the colour up from pores,” says Goddard, shaking her head from the memory, which is something to avoid if you don’t have a colour guru in every major city. Of course, some people actually do: a new client recently flew to L.A. to see Goddard when she discovered she was behind Reese Witherspoon’s colour in Big Little Lies. Who says hair fantasies have borders?