Going gray is something that almost all of us have to deal with at some point. It can be a welcome site to find your first silver when you have been expecting them for years. It can also be a total life changing shocker when you realize that you are not immune to inevitable aging.
Over the coarse of my career as a hairdresser, I have encountered entirely too much agonizing over gray hair. I have spent numerous hours trying to perfectly blend grays so that they look like natural blondes. I have fretted over how to blend silver roots. I have pulled out the big guns to decimate those hard to cover resistant grays. I have gone through heads of hair picking out individual gray strands and either yanking them or painstakingly covering them with hair dye so that the world wont ever think they existed.
But let’s face it, babes. Gray hair exists. Going gray is a reality. Let’s stop making it our fearful and obsessive secret and start to have some fun with it!
I want to start by saying this. If you are a dude and you are going gray, please let it be. Don’t even consider coloring it. That shit is hot. For woman, the subject can be a bit touchier.
If you are someone who has always enjoyed playing with your hair-color for fun and you are going gray, proceed as usual. Have fun. Gray hair looks great with color added to it. Your incoming grays shouldn’t effect how high your freak flag flies. You can still be a color experimenter and be gray haired.
To begin with, honor the turning of your hair towards Silver Fox status, knowing that it may take many many years, and each new silver you have earned. Invest in a gorgeous brush to help you brush in circulation and balance to your scalp and positivity into your relationship with your beautiful hair.
If you want to know my #1 choice tool for healthy, balanced hair, look no further than the FREE YOUR HAIR BRUSH!
How to honor your incoming gray hairs.
If you have natural, virgin hair and you are going gray you have several options.
B. If embracing is out of the question, then have your hairdresser match your natural hair color and foil it in to gently blend the grays. This option will leave a very soft root line as your hair grows so it is a good one for low-maintenance ladies.
C. Another option is a demi-permanent translucent color like Shades EQ that will blend your grays into your color without totally masking them. This makes it easier to keep up with and easier to grow out when you decide to just rock your gray as is.
D. Just make it go away. Remember, covering and masking your gray hairs with an all over color is setting yourself up for years of commitment to the time consuming and costly hamster wheel of gray coverage. Gray roots do not look good on anyone, so we are talking every 4-6 weeks. But if that is your style, than go for it.
If you have been covering your grays for years and you are ready to ditch the salon trips and transition back to your natural hair color, here is my suggested plan of action.
How to grow out your gray hair
So, you are ready to get back to your roots! Pretty exciting stuff. I’m glad for you. My silver grow-out plan takes 6 months and it starts with a big cut, so get psyched up for it! You get to start with the bang of a fun new cut, and gently phase your color over time to give yourself a chance to adjust to your silver sparkles.
The first thing you will need is a good haircut that will remove as much of your colored ends as you are comfortable with. It is the perfect chance to try that great shlob you always wanted! This cut will set you on your way towards a smooth color transition.
Round one, back to roots is a haircut and a new color formulation…….If you have been getting a heavy foil, switch your foil formula to a semi or demi permanent color that is in a level closer to your natural color. Read this for more on the do’s and dont’s of DIY coloring
If you have been blending grays with a color that works your grays into your natural without masking them, (like a semi or demi- permanent translucent color) foil the color into your roots instead of all-over-coloring.
If you have been all-over coloring with permanent color, switch to a shade in a demi-permanent translucent color. If you have been going darker, switch to a slightly lighter shade that will blend better with your roots. If you have been going lighter, switch to a slightly darker shade. Shades EQ is great and so is Wella color charm semi for blending grays. Here is a good article about coloring gray hair.
Round 2….keep transitioning In 6 weeks, you will be ready for a haircut and a color touch up. Remove as much length as you are comfortable with (We really need to just get rid of all your colored hair as swiftly as we can so you can start fresh:) Repeat your same color as last time, continuing with your slightly more gray-embracing shade and technique.
Round 3…….Kick it down a notch in 6 more weeks, get another cut. leave your roots alone this time. Bare with me. This is the hardest part.
Round 4……. blend those roots In 6 weeks, get another cut. Get a light partial foil with a translucent demi permanent color to blend in your root line to your natural color.
Round 5…….Another cut. Go in for another cut, leaving the color alone.
Last round…….6 weeks later. Get another cut and have your stylist lightly foil a little more of your translucent-demi color formula around your crown to soften the grow out line one final time. You should be at a point now where you can continue growing and cutting your hair at your own rate, without having to worry about color anymore!
While on the subject of growing out your color, let’s talk about colored-hair care as you transition. The answer to keeping your colored hair healthy as it grows back into silver is to opt for a very gentle cleansing cream to gently cleanse and condition the hair, without stripping your natural oils.
We ( along with many informed colorists) Swear by the Hairstory Studio New Wash, and their line of simple, nourishing natural hair products designed and formulated by hairstylists and colorists. I swear by New Wash for my color-treated clients, and my coarser silver clients. It is so hydrating and softening.
Here is a link to their shop, and if you are an independent stylist/colorist, check out how rad this line is for you and your clients. (When making your purchase, please be sure and tell them that How-to Hair Girl referred you! We love you for it, and for being here in general:)
If you plan to DIY your color, use this safe and easy at-home color line, Madison Reed. They have plenty of on-line resources for helping you troubleshoot your color and make a plan of action from home.
Viva la silver sparkles! Free your hair! Please send me your silver-transitioning pictures. I would just love to see them.