With the change of the season, everyone from your BFF to your favorite celebs are switching up their look (we鈥檙e looking at you, Jared Leto and Hilary Duff!). And why not? It鈥檚 the perfect time to debut a new look to go along with those new, on-trend duds. We turned to expert colorist Joseph Mullen of ION Studio, who has done hair for Chanel and McQueen fashion shows, along with spreads for Vogue, Elle and Harper鈥檚 Bazaar. Heshared his advice on taking the blonde plunge.

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Finding the right shade and tone is key.

When it comes to choosing a shade of blonde, picking one at random is never a good idea. Just because ash blonde might look good on say, Cara Delevnigne, doesn鈥檛 mean it鈥檚 going to work for you. 鈥淎nyone can go blonde,鈥 says Mullen, 鈥渂ut for it to look natural, you need a shade and tone that goes with your coloring.鈥

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Commitment-phobes beware: Gorgeous locks take dedication.

If you鈥檙e dyeing your hair more than two shades lighter, you鈥檙e going to need what鈥檚 known as a 鈥渄ouble process,鈥 where hair is first stripped of its natural pigment with bleach and then a new pigment is added to achieve the desired shade. Depending on how dark or light your hair is, that can result in some serious upkeep.

As Mullen explains, the amount of time and effort you鈥檙e going to need to put into your hair after taking the plunge is directly related to how drastic of a change you鈥檙e making. 鈥淭he further away you go from your natural color, the more the maintenance,鈥 he tells us. 鈥淭he blonde needs to be touched up every four to five weeks. The hair at the scalp processes faster than hair further out because of body heat, and if the color doesn鈥檛 lift evenly, you will get bands of different colors.鈥

This shouldn鈥檛 deter you from switching up your look, but it鈥檚 important to know what you鈥檙e getting yourself into, especially if you鈥檙e not comfortable showcasing your roots. Not ready to commit? Try balayage or ombre instead. You鈥檒l get the lighter color you want, but without the headache of dealing with roots.

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Processed hair needs extra love.

Anything you do to your hair, whether drying, styling or dyeing, will undoubtedly have a damaging effect. Mullen shares, 鈥淲hen you color hair, the chemicals used in the process open the hair鈥檚 cuticle, the protective, outside layer of the hair. Once this happens, it鈥檚 difficult for the cuticle to close again.鈥 He explains, 鈥淭his causes [your] hair鈥檚 texture to feel rougher and to become more frizzy looking. It also causes dye molecules to escape more easily, which makes maintaining the tone a chore as well. To keep it looking its best, it is important to adhere to the aftercare regimen prescribed by your colorist, as everyone鈥檚 hair is different.鈥

While damage might seem envitable, Mullen says you can actually prevent it straight from the get-go. 鈥淭here are products available to professionals now that actually prevent breakage and damage, like Olaplex. If you opt to use this, you should expect to pay a service charge, and it usually takes a little bit longer to lift, but the payoff is hair that is far less damaged and in better overall condition.鈥 There is hope!

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A drastic 鈥榙o isn鈥檛 something you want to DIY.

We love a good DIY project as much as anyone else, but some things 鈥 like a drastic dye job 鈥 are better left to the professionals. 鈥淗air color is not magic; there is an exact science to it. Hair color products that are sold to consumers are not the same as professional products, which are stronger and require a license to use,鈥 says Mullen. 鈥淣ot only that, but so many things can go wrong, i.e. orange or Big Bird yellow hair. And sometimes the hair needs to be lifted multiple times or needs to have several toners added.鈥

If you do decide to go the at-home route, Mullen recommends managing your expectations. 鈥淚f you do lighten it at home, understand what color you will pull at the desired level of lightness, and then you can chose a toner to counteract that tone, because it might end up being an undesirable one.鈥 To avoid any catastrophes or that trip to the salon you tried to avoid in the first place, it鈥檚 best not to go more than one to two shades lighter on your own.

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Timing is everything.

If you鈥檙e looking to make a bold statement, busting out a dramatic new 鈥榙o at an unexpected time is the perfect way to grab everyone鈥檚 attention. If you like things more on the subtle side, going lighter (or darker) at the start of a new season is the way to go.

Are you planning on taking the plunge and lightening up those locks in time for the warm weather? Tell us about it in the comments!

(Photo via Pascal Le Segretain, Alberto E. Rodriguez, Larry Busacca/Getty Images)