Nordic white hair is going viral

In the past few months, we’ve seen some exciting hair looks take off on social media— like “glass hair,” a color called “mushroom blonde” and even a color inspired by butterbeer from the Harry Potter universe.

Now, a blinding shade called “Nordic White” is the hottest new tress trend on Instagram.

What’s Nordic White, You Ask?

Let’s take a closer look at this bold new hair color. You can see an example of it below in a post from an Italian salon called Cinzia Anteprima. The salon evokes the idea of snow here, which is a pretty apt comparison to make.

Why Nordic?

Nordic White, which makes blonde hair look brunette by comparison, seems like the kind of steely look that would be better suited for winter months — but it’s taking off just in time for spring weather. The name of the color was inspired by the Nordic countries of Northern Europe. Places like Sweden, Denmark and Norway are included in that group.

Blonde hair is more common in people from those countries than in other Europeans — but Nordic White takes light hair to a whole other level.

Polish hairstylist Paulinka Klimaszewska recently showed off her talents at giving a client the Nordic White look on Instagram.

Who Started It?

While dyed white hair and even platinum blonde locks have been popular for a while, this exact hue has been credited to American hair colorist Daniel Tetreault, who goes by the fitting name @hairlikeaboss on Instagram. Tetreault and his stunning creation were featured in an article from Allure in March that broke down what exactly makes Nordic White different than other white dyes.

You can see one of Tetreault’s many Instagram posts about Nordic White below. This one references an article on the trend. The white he was able to pull off for his client below is super brilliant.

Showing Some Love

After shots of Nordic White hair started popping up all over Instagram and Pinterest, other professional hairstylists and colorists started giving Tetreault some serious love over their admiration for how clean the shade is. Showing that style and beauty know no language barrier, even international salons have been giving him credit.

The professionals at Púpura Studio, a salon in Mexico, took to Instagram on April 8 to highlight the beauty of Nordic White hair. The post, which was written in Spanish, mentioned Tetreault by his Instagram name and called Nordic White “the clearest shade of platinum we’ve seen so far.”

How Is It Done?

When talking to Allure about Nordic White, Tetreault revealed that it takes some serious patience to pull off a color that’s so bold. He said the color is perfected after five to eight hours of work, “depending on the client’s starting point and the condition of their hair.”

You can see how fine and delicate the color is after all that waiting in the post below from Ohio-based stylist Hair by Braxton. She wrote to her followers that “Nordic White is all the rage right now” and if they wanted to join the trend, they should simply come see her.

Patience Is Key

Other stylists agree that the process of going from any color to a stark white like this will take some serious time in the salon. One even compared the process to cooking!

“Just like a pot roast, low and slow is the way to go,” wrote Michigan-based stylist Danielle Fitch on a recent Instagram post showing off her own results in giving a client the Nordic White look. If you scroll right in the post below, you can see that the client started at a more typical, yellowish blonde. Fitch said it took longer than four hours for her transformation to be perfected.

No Guarantees

Even for colorists as talented as the ones you’ll see posting dazzling shots on Instagram, turning a client’s hair from one shade to something as drastic as Nordic White is never a sure thing. For some people, bright, white hair might just not be in the cards.

According to Tetreault, who teaches classes on coloring hair, less than 40 percent of hair will actually be able to become white or transparent. “The first thing I teach my students is NEVER GUARANTEE WHITE,” Tetreault wrote. He said the transformation below was one of his more impressive pieces of work, turning strawberry-blonde hair into Nordic White.

The Smoothest Transition

It probably goes without saying the people who have naturally dark hair — like medium brown to black — likely won’t be able to get to this shade of white without totally killing their locks. Colorist Nikki Ferrera told Allure that people who have hair that ranges from light brown to the lightest shade of blonde are best suited to get the Nordic White treatment.

You can see in another post from Tetreault that Nordic White also looks slightly different if the wearer is inside or outside. The difference comes down to how much shadowing can be seen in the hair of his client, a fitness model named Lana.

‘Lighting Is Everything’

As Tetreault pointed out, the environment in which hair color is viewed can drastically change the way it appears to others, especially if you’re interested in showing off your new locks online. Missouri-based hairstylist Sarai Speer, aka @theplatinumgiraffe to her 41,000+ Instagram followers, recently showed the difference lighting can have on a color like Nordic White.

Speer showed the same client’s hair in three different photos, taken in different environments with different lighting types.

“Lighting is everything,” Speer wrote in the post, which racked up more than 1,200 likes. Scroll right to see all three!

Keeping It Bright

As anyone who’s ever dyed their hair blonde knows, keeping it looking great can be a serious pain. Fighting brassiness, keeping your roots in check and avoiding damaged hair are jobs that require constant diligence! So you can only imagine how much work goes into keeping a color like Nordic White looking its brightest.

Los Angeles-based hair colorist Jessica Jewel believes “consistency is key” when you’re maintaining a shade like this. She wrote on Instagram that clients with hair this color need touch-ups every six weeks, as well as at-home care that includes toning shampoo, heat protectant and even the use of a silk pillowcase. “High maintenance — but worth it,” she wrote.

Purple Magic

As Jewel suggested, a toning shampoo is often a must-have tool for anyone with dyed blonde hair — even if it’s not Nordic White. There are plenty of options out there when it comes to purple toning shampoos, which include pigments designed to keep brassy undertones at bay. No matter what shade your locks are, you’ll find hair care options ranging in price from budget-friendly to professional-grade.

According to reviews from actual users, collected by Influenster, the best budget options for anyone looking to keep their blonde hair brilliant are Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo ($16.99 from Ulta) and AG Hair Sterling Silver Shampoo ($20 from Ulta). If you’re looking to spend more on your toning shampoo, Influenster users recommend Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo for Beautiful Color ($39.99 from Zulily).


To Tone Or Not To Tone?

Toning shampoo may be recommended by virtually every professional hair colorist — but Tetreault, the creator of the Nordic White look, has stopped giving that advice. He recently said that when a blonde dye is done correctly, it will continue to look great without purple shampoo.

In a post to Instagram that got nearly 2,000 likes, Tetreault said he only recommends toning shampoo for any clients that get less than a “level 10” blonde shade, which would be at platinum and Nordic White levels. His post showed a client with bright, blonde hair that he claimed hadn’t used toning shampoo in three months.

Kim Gets It

Regardless of whether your colorist recommends using toning shampoo, regular touch-ups will be a must for anyone who’s dying his or her hair an ultra-light shade like Nordic White. Just ask Kim Kardashian!

The style icon has tried many hair colors and styles over the years, including platinum blonde. She switched to that stark, nearly white color in 2015 and quickly figured out how much upkeep is needed when your hair is naturally dark. That year, she posted a salon snapshot of herself getting a touch up from renowned French colorist Frédéric Mennetrier.

Before It Was Cool

Like Kardashian, several other fashion-forward celebrities tested out platinum-blonde hair that was closer to white in the past few years before the Nordic White trend took off. Model and actor Cara Delevingne drastically changed her color to that hue in 2017.

At Paris Fashion Week in March of that year, Delevingne showed off her new locks, which looked even more stunning when contrasted with her signature dark eyebrows. Her look drew rave reviews from fashion writers at the time, helping push the trend forward.

cara delevigne 2017 paris photo
Getty Images | Victor Boyko

Another Star Goes White

More celebrities started showing off their white hair later in 2017 — especially ones who clearly never earned that color naturally. Actor Vanessa Hudgens was one of them, testing out some bright, white hair in August 2017 on Instagram.

In-demand stylist Chad Wood posted a shot from his own Instagram account showing Hudgens with her new color. “Thank you @VanessaHudgens for always letting me play!” Wood wrote. The post racked up more than 8,500 likes and showed the raven-haired star in a very different light.

Nordic White On The Red Carpet

A major star who went to level 10 more recently was Lady Gaga. While her shade wasn’t specifically called Nordic White, the musician and actor’s normal shade of yellow blonde was cranked up to something closer to snow on her big night at the 2019 Academy Awards.

When Gaga walked the red carpet — which is always an event, no matter what color her hair is — she showed off an ultra-light shade of blonde that looked brilliant against her black dress. That high-profile public appearance happened in late February, just weeks before we’d start seeing Nordic White all over social media.

lady gaga oscars red carpet photo
Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian

Hair Inspired By The Mother Of Dragons

In many of the posts on social media that show off hair that’s Nordic White, or similarly bright shades of blonde, there are a couple of fictional characters that are referenced constantly. One of them is Daenerys Targaryen, the beloved character from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

In the series, actor Emilia Clarke’s white-blonde hair has been a signature of her character since the first episode. The fact that such a powerhouse character from one of TV’s most popular shows has hair this shade has to have helped its popularity with young women in the past eight years.


Another Royal Reference

Along with Daenerys from “Game of Thrones,” the other character that’s constantly referenced in posts about Nordic White hair is Queen Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.” It makes sense that the icy heroine would be linked to something Nordic, since her fictional kingdom of Arendelle is based on traditional Scandinavian cultures.

Elsa’s stunning white hair has proven to be an inspiration to many who are looking to change their look. If you’re looking for some characters to boost your confidence and try a new color, you could do a lot worse than Elsa and Daenerys!

Neil Patrick Harris Hosts The Disney Christmas Day Parade TV Special
Getty Images | Handout

A Cool Comparison

Speaking of Queen Elsa, it’s pretty cool when someone compares your beautiful, white locks to that powerful character. Jacquie Anne, a hair stylist in Pennsylvania, made such a comparison when posting a shot of one of her clients recently on Instagram.

“When Elsa meets Jamie Lee Curtis,” Anne wrote in her post highlighting a client’s white hair and stylish cut. She even tagged it with #elsahair and several products from Redken, showing what she apparently used to achieve the color.

It Works Short …

Nordic White hair, like all great colors, looks great no matter what length it is. For instance, take a look at this woman who tried the new shade with a super-short haircut. She looks awesome!

The shot was posted by LoveHair by Ana Garcia, an account that regularly posts great hairstyles on Instagram. “White Nordic and fresh cut,” the post states, along with the image of the shortest hairstyle we’ve yet found of someone rocking this new color.

It Works Pixie …

Another way to wear Nordic White hair and look amazing is with a classic pixie cut. Just take a look at the model in the shot below, which was posted to Instagram by the Italian salon Compagnia della Bellezza.

The beautiful photo shows a model rocking short, Nordic White hair and has a caption that translates to, “Style is the image of personality.” It takes guts to go with a color and a cut that are each so bold.

It Works Medium …

In case you haven’t realized, Nordic White hair can be worn in virtually any style and length. While we’ve shown how great it looks at very short lengths, some people have also shown off how perfect it looks at a more conservative length — even if there’s nothing conservative about the hue.

Instagram user Sandra Joan (@moonlightermermaid) showed off her own Nordic White style recently and she seemed thrilled about her choice to change it up.

“New color I absolutely love,” Joan wrote. She also included the hashtags #blondeshavemorefun and #isthisevenconsideredblonde, which is a legitimate question!

It Works Long …

OK, you probably get the point by now, but there are plenty of examples online that show this color working at all lengths. A super-long mane of Nordic White hair might be the boldest look of them all. It’s by far the style we’ve seen the most of in the first weeks of this trend taking off.

The salon Chy Blew Hair LTD, which is located in the United Kingdom, showed off one client’s look with the hashtag #nordicwhite all the way back in November 2018. The salon said this shot had no filter on it, showing exactly how striking the color is to the naked eye.

It Even Works For Men …

Don’t let a silly thing like gender keep you from trying out a color as awesome as Nordic White. Plenty of men over the years have shown how silver or even white hair can look incredibly handsome.

One such guy was model Lucky Blue Smith, who flashed a color that looks an awful lot like Nordic White all the way back in September 2015. It appears Smith was ahead of the curve in this case. Fans apparently loved the look, giving his Instagram post more than 127,000 likes.

Is Nordic White Here To Stay?

Hair trends tend to come and go in a flash these days, especially given how quickly things fade from our consciousness in the days of endless social media posts. But Nordic White hair is similar enough to classic hair colors like platinum blonde and basic white that it could have some serious staying power. It’s not as gimmicky as some trendy hairstyles we’ve seen in years past. But it does require some intense upkeep, so you should only give it a shot if you’ve got the extra time and money to devote to your hair.