See the Exact Photo That Inspired Kim Kardashian to Go Blonde

09/06/2013 at 12:34 PM ET

Kim KCourtesy Jennifer Graylock/Getty; Splash News Online

If you’ve been wondering what exactly made Kim Kardashian decide to ditch her dark strands and become a blonde, we have the answer. And no, it wasn’t because Kanye West suggested it. The inspiration was a photo in Spanish Vogue.

The stylist behind Kardashian’s new shade, Joico celebrity colorist George Papanikolas at Andy Lecompte Salon, tells PEOPLE exclusively that this dirty-blonde model wearing a Balmain top and cutoffs (see photo below) is the reason the reality star went blonde.

Kim KCourtesy Spanish Vogue

“She wanted to make a drastic change and was inspired by the Balmain Spanish Vogue models. She had wanted to go blonde for quite some time, so this was perfect,” Papanikolas explained. “We did very heavy ombré and very heavy highlights.”

And apparently it won’t be difficult for the new mom to keep up the color, good news considering she sort of has her hands full. “The style is very low maintenance because of the heavy roots,” he explains. “I sent her home with Color Endure Violet Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($16) and Color Endure Violet Sulfate-Free Conditioner ($18), along with K-PAK RevitaLuxe ($40) to moisturize her hair … and she will see me every three months for touch-ups.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time the star has gone over to the light side. In fact, she’s pulled the same brunette-to-blonde move twice before: once in 2009 after her split from Reggie Bush, and the second around this same time last year — just a few months before announcing she was pregnant with North.

Since three’s a trend, we’re thinking a hair color change may be Kardashian’s signature move around big life changes, so if you see her go back to chocolate or go even lighter, start listening for Kanye West wedding bells.

Tell us: What do you think of Kardashian’s new hue?

–Alex Apatoff

FILED UNDER: Hair , Kim Kardashian
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