You know what they say, there are three unavoidable truths: Death, taxes and grey hair. What, you haven’t heard that? Well tell me it isn’t true. Some get grey streaks, some only a few, but most of us won’t be so lucky and eventually one by one, will end up with a head full of fifty shades.
I consider this a hair type, mainly because we are all going to experience the infiltration at some point and chances are we’re not going to be embracing it. Going grey is unfortunately not quite as low-maintenance as we think, unless, of course, you like it that way. It may be trending as a hair color, but for those who actually have it coming out of their scalp, it is anything but trendy.
Grey or white hair is the result of our hair no longer able to produce melanin, and somehow, it seems, not being able to make it directly affects our hair’s ability to absorb it. Grey can be very resistant to color, it doesn’t want to hold on to the added pigment. Very few people get soft grey hair that mimics the hair we once had, and even then it is rarely the same. I have yet to meet a person who is happy with their natural silver highlights, mainly because most of us cultivate coarse, curly, wiry strands that stick up all over the place.
Not only can the hair be resistant, but anyone with brown or black hair will have high-contrast roots. Which means coloring every four to six weeks, and the darker the hair, the more often it needs to be colored. I recommend gradually going lighter. That doesn’t mean platinum, and it doesn’t even have to mean blonde, but the lighter your hair is on those ends, the less noticeable that grey will be as it starts growing back out. Highlights are a great start, just ask your stylist to lift the hair to a light brown or a caramel for starters. After you get used to a few lighter pieces you can lighten to a caramel or a light blonde depending on how brave you are and if the lighter colors flatter your skin tone.
As they come one by one we just want to start plucking those suckers out, right? Please don’t! Not only can plucking eventually lead to a bald spot, but the distress can cause the hair to grow back deformed and will make those already wiry grey hairs worse. But if you’re anything like me, and you’re tempted to tweeze those bad boys out, instead, I recommend cutting the hair as close to the scalp as possible to eliminate any trauma to the follicle by pulling.
Now, another option if there is so much grey that tweezing or cutting would definitely give you a bald spot, is to color just the grey. For those with 20% or more grey but not entirely grey, coloring just the greys will give a highlighted effect. Just be sure the color is a demi-permanent and cannot lift (cannot go lighter). The reason you don’t want it to lift is that you don’t want it to affect your natural colored hair. So say your hair is brown with grey streaks, staining that color from grey to say, a golden blonde, will give the effect of paid for highlights, when in fact, it is a quick one process all over color.
If your new growth is out of control, going lighter isn’t an option, and you have too many greys to tweeze or cut, there are a variety of products designed to blend in your roots, grey or not.
1. For instance, a root spray like Conceal by Style Edit. It comes in four colors that are designed to blend with your natural hair color. Simply spray at the roots and it covers grey seamlessly. I love this spray and it is one of the best options I’ve seen.
2. Another root blending option is a pigmented dry shampoo powder called Cleanse & Cover by Cover Your Gray. Not only do you get blended roots, but it will absorb oils and give volume at the same time.
3. Because grey hair can become coarse and curly, I recommend a curl cream like Curl Defining Cream by Moroccanoil. Curly hair may be new territory for people going grey, and to keep that newly discovered frizz from becoming an issue, a cream will keep those hairs in check while keeping a softer texture. Gel and mousse can be too crunchy (not always), so for a softer, touchable curl, I would try a curl cream. Just because you are coloring it now doesn’t mean the texture hasn’t permanently changed so it will be an adjustment.
4. For those looking for a stronger hold and maybe some volume, a mousse like Whipped Creme by Sebastian. It has a soft hold while providing curl definition and volume. It also smells fantastic.
5. Eventually when the upkeep has just become too much or maybe you’re a free spirit and don’t care about being grey, you may notice an unwanted, uneven yellow tint that is a result of mineral build up. For those without a water softener or if you have well water, prolonged exposure to minerals such as rust can build up in the hair and stain it yellow or orange. I recommend either a Malibu Treatment or Malibu also makes shampoos and conditioners that are designed to rid hair of these minerals. But beware, they can also strip color so they may not be recommended for color treated hair unless used immediately before a color service. Otherwise a purple tinted shampoo such as Blonda by Unite, will neutralize these tones.