Is Grey Hair the New Black?

Janell M. Hickman
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For decades women have been masking their grey strands to conceal their age and appear more youthful. Now, thanks to celebrities like Nicole Richie, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Dascha Polanco, the movement toward grey tresses for younger women has picked up speed. Teetering on taking the plunge into this hair color abyss? Read on to find out if this hot hue is for you!

Find The Right Stylist
“The very first thing you should do when choosing to go with a silver or grey shade is to consult with a professional colorist,” advises Jim Markham, Founder & CEO, ColorProof Evolved Color Care. “Know that drastic color changes such as grey shades involve bleaching the hair, which can be damaging if not done correctly.” Your colorist will likely recommend that you don’t make the change all at once, but rather achieve your desired shade over several visits to minimize damage.

Know Your Starting Point
“If you’re already a blonde, you’re half way there!” explains celebrity hairstylist and founder of the @thegreyglammovement, Cynthia Alvarez. “[The process] is less damaging since the lightening process doesn’t have to be as intense,  however dark haired girls are in for a lengthier process,” she says. “After the hair is lightened to the desired undertone, your stylist will then need to neutralize that undertone with a demi-permanent toner,” adds TIGI Technical Creative Director Richy Kandasamy. “This ensures consistent results as well as adds to the longevity of your color.”

Select The Right Hue For You
“Cool grey tones are the most flattering,” shares Alvarez. “Whether you have a medium or dark complexion, the high contrast and golden undertones will go well with a blue or violet based grey/silver hue.” Markham agrees, “Despite your skin tone, highlights and low-lights are great for adding dimension to your hair color and helping to avoid it looking flat.”

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MORE: Pastel Hair Color: The Truth Behind the Maintenance

Treat Your Color With Care
“Color fades quickly if you don’t properly care for your hair,” shares Kandasamy. “I wouldn’t recommend using any type of clarifying shampoos–it can strip your hue. “Hair needs a bit more TLC after a color treatment, I’m a big fan of the Catwalk by TIGI Oatmeal & Honey Mask.” What happens post-shampoo is equally as important. “Remember that color care doesn’t stop when you step out of the shower,” says Markham. “Make sure your leave-in treatments, styling, and finishing products (like WickedGood Weightless Shine Spray) contain full spectrum UVA/UVB color and heat protectants.”

Schedule Touch-Ups in Advance
“On average hair grows about a ½ inch per month, therefore you will likely need to touch up your color every 4-6 weeks,” explains Markham. “If your grey has faded a bit, I recommend touching up with a semi-permanent color like  Silver by Pravana Vivids at-home,” adds Alvarez. “Using a purple shampoo tint will also prevent you from having to touch it up as often,” she adds.

Minimize Heat Styling
“Heat styling should be kept at a minimum once your hair is grey,” says Alvarez. “The heat from the tools can fade the color prematurely and your hair will need a lot more TLC after processing.” Another option is forgoing heat styling as a whole. “Air-dry hair whenever possible and try testing out different types of braids and topknots that are so hot right now and do not require heat styling,” shares Markham.

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Spruce Up Your Wardrobe
“With your new sophisticated shade, the temptation may be to wear black, white and grey,” shares Markham. “But grey paired with a pretty pink or vivid red hue can really set off your style.” Alvarez is a fan of jewel and metallic tones as well as monochromatic looks. “Avoid ivory or green, [these colors] can actually make your hair appear a greenish tint–not flattering!”

Grey Isn’t Going Away
“Greys and pastels have actually been on trend for years – the rise in popularity is just because it’s becoming more of a norm and more publicized,” adds Kandasamy. “No one expects grey hair to be sexy and chic,” shares Alvarez. “Grey is the new black. The color has taken on an entirely new life and meaning–today grey is beautiful, sexy, chic, fabulous!”

Returning to Your Roots Isn’t Easy
“When your hair has been lifted to such a high level, trying to re-pigment can be tricky,” explains Alvarez. “[Your new] color will need to be touched up often since it will fade much quicker due to porous strands.” While time consuming, the process is possible. “Your colorist will likely advise darkening your strands over the course of several visits to eventually achieve a shade close to your natural color,” adds Markham. “By using a variety of extremely thin highlights and low-lights your colorist can add dimension and begin incorporating your natural hue.”

MORE: Pastel Hair: Everything You Need to Know About the Trend

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