An Ode to Keith Urban’s Buttery-Blonde Highlights

arrives at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California.

I mean… (Getty Images)

On Saturday night, I had a mini epiphany, and it involved Keith Urban’s hair. It was during the SAG Awards, and my colleagues were having a collective instant-messager laugh about his mass of stick-straight, precisely placed blonde streaks (“OMG Keith Urban’s hair … tha fuuuuuck??” one wrote.) Making cracks about Urban’s hair is all fun and games, sure, until you realize the dude has the exact color you’ve been chasing most of your adult life.

I’m a brunette who started coloring her hair in eighth grade—a semipermanent potion that imparted a quintessentially late-’90s auburn tint that I applied in my friend Elisabetta’s Upper East Side bathroom—and since have experimented with almost every shade in the book, at least those that could conceivably be God-given: Black, Debra Messing-red, mousy brown, light brown, espresso brown, and DIY ombré among them.

Eventually, I realized that the best and most flattering color for my skin tone is cool medium brown with a few blonde highlights. Easy, right? You’d think, but it’s taken me years to pin down a colorist who understands the exact science of working with brown and blonde without depositing any warm tones whatsoever (shout out to Julie at Pembley!)

Still, my hair does tend to pull red after my color’s faded, and my highlights do tend to get brassy with time but somehow it appears Keith Urban doesn’t have this problem. For real: His blonde always manages to read as beige and buttery, rather than the color of a Sex on the Beach before the ice melts, and his base color is the true brown I’m always after—no auburn, no gold, no orange.

Is his middle-parted shag a poor-man’s version of the magic that Sally Hershberger worked on Meg Ryan in the ’90s? You bet. Is it silly for a 48-year-old man to be a slave to keeping up his peroxide steaks? No comment. But looking at it for what it is, Keith’s hair is pretty damn good. In fact, I’d go so far as to bring photos of the country singer next time I need a single-process with highlights.


LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 07: Musician Keith Urban arrives at the 48th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

(Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Slaying the dark-on-bottom-super-light-on-top thing I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life striving for.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Keith Urban arrives to "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on September 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

(Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

Ugh, you know it’s a good blonde when it looks this beige in daylight.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Recording artists John Mayer (L) and Keith Urban perform onstage during "The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles" at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

(Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

If Kate Gosselin got lowlights. In a good way!

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Recording artist Keith Urban attends the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)

(Getty Images)

Party in the front, a little ombré in the back. Into it!

attends the 49th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 4, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

(Getty Images)

Behold the luminescent power of a few face-framing highlights.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 15: Keith Urban attends the Winter TCA Tour - FOX Winter TCA 2016 All-Star Party at the Langham Huntington Hotel on January 15, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

(JB Lacroix/WireImage)


NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Keith Urban attends Meet The Musician at the Apple Store Soho on September 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

(Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Getting a little brassy dude, might be time for a toner.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 30: Musician Keith Urban attends the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage) *** Local Caption *** Keith Urban

(Dan MacMedan/WireImage)

Keith’s clearly on his way to becoming a full-fledged blonde, as he proved at the SAG Awards, but when the color’s that good, why wouldn’t he?