Whether you’re looking to colour your grey hair or embrace it in all of its beautiful glory, it’s wise to brush up on the fact and fiction surrounding those silver strands. We spoke to the experts to get the low-down on plucking, enhancing natural shine and the most flattering highlights. Here are your grey hair questions answered…
What is grey hair?
Guess what? Your ‘grey’ hair isn’t really grey; it’s a colour caused by a combination of your normally pigmented hairs and white hairs that are sapped of all pigment. These white hairs occur when hair pigment cells stop being produced, though you won’t usually notice them until quite a few of them begin to appear.
How can I transition to grey gracefully?
“People grey at different stages and different ages and I have seen a number of my clients want to transition from all over tints to start to embrace some grey,” A-List hairdresser and colour guru Josh Wood. “The most important factor here is not be afraid of grey, this is not about somebody exiting having colour it’s about somebody who wants to colour their hair in a different way to celebrate their grey.
We have developed several techniques including Laser Lights to add paleness to areas without any tone, which in some ways mimics grey hair. We have also developed Micro Charcoal Lights, adding tiny threads of the darkest of charcoal to add another dimension and a 3D effect to finer grey hair. Now with the addition of the new Redken Graydiant range this gives a way to be able to keep grey hair shiny, subtle and to be able to retain grey tone in the hair.”
Since going grey, my hair is brittle, wild and unmanageable.” Help!
“Good hair, like good skin, starts from the very beginning in how you care for it”, says Charles Worthington brand ambassador Ken O’ Rourke. “Using a leave-in conditioner will give hair the elasticity it needs to prevent breakage and avoid damage during heat-styling. Charles Worthington Hair Healer Leave-in Conditioner, £5.99, is like magic. it provides all the benefits of a deep-conditioning mask in seconds.” You can also avoid heat damage by choosing a hair dryer that’s gentle on locks too (you can see the w&h.com edit of the absolute best hair dryers here).
W&H also loves:
Trevor Sorbie Smooth & Hydrate Protect & Shine Spray
If you have fine hair and worry that a traditional leave-in conditioner will be too heavy, try this Vitamin A and E infused mist instead. It has all the softening powers of a far rich treatment, won’t weigh hair down and has solid heat protection into the bargain.
Klorane Nourishing Leave-In Cream with Mango Butter
Aside from smelling like heaven, this super moisturising leave in cream helps smooth over frazzled ends and prevents breakage during brushing and drying.
Is the darkest dye best for concealing greys?
Think a blanket a dark of dark dye is your only option for hiding greys? Aveda’s Advanced Master Creative Director of Colour, Marianne Hayes says otherwise. “I see a lot of clients whose immediate reaction to going grey is thinking they need to dye their hair a lot darker straight away,” she told us. “It is always best to have a consultation and really talk about the change you are looking for and the maintenance required.”If you do decide to go dark, Marianne warns that those with lighter hair could face a bit of a slog. “If you go for a darker colour, regrowth can be really evident whereas on lighter tones it can be much more subtle.
I like to cover my greys, but can’t afford the time or money for salon colour every few weeks. What’s the best advice?
“We try to have frank conversations about upkeep and many of our clients (especially those outside of London) go for low-maintenance colour that will look expensive for longer, such as balayage,” says celebrity hairdresser Paul Edmonds. “You could do a salon visit every four to six months to get the colour right then do in-between root touch-up.”
No time for an appointment? W&H loves Colour Wow Root Cover Up
The original root covering product is still the best in our opinion, the densely packed powder applies with control, completely covers roots or rogue wiry greys and stays on come rain or shine. Lots of shades too, which is a bonus.
What are my hair colour options?
It depends if you want to enhance your grey hair or blend it with your base tone. “If you want to embrace your greys and enhance them, brighten or lighten using tones from the blonde spectrum to warm the colour and give it some dimension,” advises Marianne. “But if you want to tone down the grey you can use darker hues, or blend the colours to offer a more multi-dimensional feel. “Of course, you can also opt for maximum coverage with a global colour though this does require quite a bit more commitment and maintenance.”
Will colouring my hair make it go grey faster?
In a word: no. It is a myth that colouring hair will lead to premature ageing, though it can make hair look dull and more prone to breakage and loss. Will plucking a grey hair lead to three new ones? Another myth, Marianne assures us that “One hair follicle cannot have a direct effect on other hair follicles”. Still, it’s a pretty laborious way to tend to grey hairs, no?
How can I boost shine in my grey hair?
Looking to enhance your natural greys and correct any yellowing tones? Marianne says that, ultimately, the health of your hair will determine how shiny it is. As well as using a weekly hydrating mask, she advises harnessing “a colour shampoo like Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo, £31 for a litre, to help add a silvery brightness to grey hair”.