Slow ‘n’ low – why the Billie Eilish blonde transformation matters

More than a million likes in six minutes. That’s how fast the world reacted to THAT Billie Eilish blonde transformation on Instagram. Hairdressers will likely be inundated with requests for the look – but there’s more to this transformation than meets the eye…

Billie Eilish has become known for her vibrant hair choices since she shot to stardom, but this sharp left-turn from the Ocean Eyes singer for her latest blonde transformation left everyone well and truly shook. It’s no mean feat to go from acid-green roots and black lengths to a light and airy blonde shag.

Eagle-eyed fans had already been discussing a potential new hair colour, after noticing that Eilish had changed her hair habits in her social media appearances, opting for bandanas and hats, and much-replayed videos on TikTok which appeared to show her hairline lifting, hinting at a wig.

And they were right! As it turned out, her appearance at the Grammys only days previously had been a total red herring. Eilish admitted after the reveal that she’d been wearing wigs for two months to hide her colour transformation. In a swiftly-deleted video, her colourist Lissa Renn revealed the stages they’d undergone to take her to bombshell blonde.

While everyone’s raving about the shocking transformation, we’re fixated on this process from Lissa Renn which got the chop. Because everyone who knows even a little bit about hair knows that you can’t go from neon green and black to blonde overnight.

In her deleted video’s caption, Renn explained how the look had come to be: “The process is real when you’re doing it right. Six weeks to get all the black out of her ends without damaging it, along with her following my strict haircare regime. We actually loved all the stages of lifting the color too but the end result is [fire emojis].” The process is just that – a process. It requires weeks, sometimes months, of appointments to transition from previous colours to blonde without compromising the hair, and this shouldn’t be ignored.

“Everything takes time,” says Nella Pastore, a freelance colourist and Wella Professionals Passionista. “Boring to hear, but it’s so true. I book in a minimum three-to-four hours for each service, and I will decline appointments if they’re in a rush or need to get out. I’m just not prepared to put my name to a half-hearted colour.” Nella always creates a plan with her clients, including at least two appointments for any major colour change. “I don’t book them in unless I already have them re-booked in six weeks time,” she adds. “And appointments include a take-home shampoo/conditioner to keep hair fresh and strong for next time too.”

“With any dramatic change you can do things faster with more time and money, but by ‘faster’ I only mean ‘X amount of weeks’ rather than ‘X amount of months,” says Ashleigh Hodges, global colour ambassador for eco-super brand Davines. “Either way, going from anything heavily pre-coloured will need time for the hair to rest. When doing large changes you need to make sure that everything you take out you put back in again. So condition is key.”

In between every process Ashleigh reaches for rich conditioning treatments without fail. “Each time might be a different one: to start with you’ll need something strengthening, but by the end you might need something moisturising. You can’t achieve anything like this without those treatments to nourish the hair back to health.”

When dealing with a vibrant colour like neon green it’s more important than ever to go into it knowing the change will be done step-by-step. “When we colour hair we are doing an experiment with nature; our knowledge and craft will only ever get us so far,” she adds. “The hair will always show us the rest of the way. Doing it step-by-step you can see what the hair is throwing back at you and adjust your formulas and plans to suit.”

There’s no rushing a transformation like this – which is why we’re so glad Billie clarified that the look had been months in the making. “Time is always the important factor in anything like this. We need to allow space for the hair to show us the way rather than force it,” Ashley concludes.

Looking to go blonde like Billie Eilish too? Here’s our holy grail guide.