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It was only a couple years ago that if you would have told us we would soon want silver hair, we probably would have laughed in your face. But here we are in 2017, falling all over the silver dye jobs that look so amazing on celebs and bloggers. Who knew going gray could be so chic?
After the platinum hair trend started to simmer down a touch, everyone got a bit bored with blonde. For those over blonde but not wanting unicorn hair just yet, silver is the obvious choice. It’s cool and uniquely off-beat, but easy to dress around—and it doesn’t really pull your whole style in one direction or another.
Here’s the thing though. Silver, if you can believe it or not, is actually more difficult to maintain than blonde. With blonde you have to worry about avoiding brassiness (if you’re a cool-toned platinum) but with silver, any hint of brassiness ruins the whole look. A colorist will let you know that this look isn’t for the lazy—silver and light gray hair is one of the most difficult colors to achieve because there’s no silver or gray hair dye, it needs to be mixed using other colors to create the shade you desire. Because it can be a bit difficult to translate to your colorist in words your exact desired shade of silver, definitely bring reference photos. And definitely go to a hair colorist who has done platinum and gray or silver hair colors before. This is not for beginners.
You may walk out of the salon with a slight blue or maybe lavender tinge—don’t worry, those shades will fade into a true gray/silver. It’s just difficult to anticipate how this color will settle into itself after a couple washes.
As for maintenance, to keep your silver color “fading” in the direction you want, it will take some product manipulation. It’s a bit tricky because it’s not as simple as just using purple toning shampoo and calling it a day. Silver is so white it picks up what you put on it, so if you use purple shampoo and conditioner every time you wash your hair, your hair will likely turn lavender. There are other toning haircare options out there. Aveda makes a line called Blue Malva that is made specifically for silvery blondes and people with gray hair, to ward off brassiness (the conditioner is slightly color-depositing so don’t leave it on too long or else you’ll end up with blue hair). Used every once in a while, it will keep your silver from going a weird beige color. It might be best to alternate using a sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo and conditioner with a purple/blue toning shampoo and conditioner for a good balance.
Nothing will do as good of a job toning as going back to your salon for a quick toning session. It will likely be less expensive than your initial color process. If you’re confident with home hair color, you can tone your hair yourself using a white/platinum toner and a low volume developer. Both can be purchased at a beauty supply shop.
Originally published March 2016. Updated September 2017.