Hilary Duff has never been afraid to play with hair color: She's gone from the requisite clip-in streaks of the '90s to icy platinum, and even had a short stint with steel-blue waves. But now, with the much-anticipated Lizzie McGuire reboot in the works, the actress is back to a bright, sunny golden blonde that's as close as possible to her color as a 17-year-old.
That begs the question: Fifteen years after the show's final episode aired, how did she bounce her color back to its teenage glory? The answer lies in the hands of Nikki Lee, the actress' colorist and co-founder of one of L.A.'s most in-demand hair salons, Nine Zero One. Lucky for the rest of us, Lee just broke down her full process, including every product she uses to get Duff's lived-in blonde color.
"Never in a million years did I think I would be doing Lizzie’s color," Lee wrote in her most recent Instagram photo caption, showing the 31-year-old star with freshly highlighted hair. "Well dreams do come true — Thank you @hilaryduff for trusting me to create the perfect blonde for the next chapter of Lizzie McGuire."
"When creating Lizzie’s new blonde it was important to Hilary that it was different from what Lizzie had in the past, and also a little different from what Hilary would normally have," Lee explained via email. "Lizzie’s next-chapter blonde is a burst of sunshine — lighter throughout the ends and around the face, with some dimension throughout the top."
Lee partnered with hair-care brand Joico for the process, and laid out a step-by-step formula guide in her caption. If you're not a trained colorist, it's a little technical, so here's the CliffsNotes version: Lee started with a full-head highlight using Joico's Blonde Life Powder Lightener, then used the brand's cream-based LumiShine Developer in three different shades — 30 at the root, 20 at the shaft, and 10 at the ends — to further lift the hair to a dimensional pale yellow.
The tricky step was to "tap the root," which creates the natural shadow from a dirty-blonde root tone to a lifted blonde at the ends — some colorists call the process "gloss smudging." For this part, Lee used Joico LumiShine Demi-Permanent Liquid cocktailed with the LumiShine Developer, which she also used as a toner around the hairline and through the mid-shaft of the hair — with different shade concoctions — and left to process for fifteen minutes. Lastly, to keep the lifted hair healthy, Lee used her own brand's In Common Mended Sea Treatment Enhancer combined with the Velvet Cloud Mask.
In the end, Duff hair walked out of Nine Zero One with the perfect believably bright-blonde color and a mini topknot to boot — a style that also feels very Lizzie 2.0.