Grey or not?

This is another one of the ultimate questions I am asked as a hairdresser.  It is a debate I love having, and a challenge I love tackling even more.  In this post I’ll discuss the pros and cons of stepping away from hair colour and embracing your natural grey.  And help you decide whether it is the right time to do so or not.

It's becoming fashionable.

You may have noticed an increase in silver haired women walking the streets.  Young or old, the desire for perfect grey is becoming more obvious.  As a hairdresser the popular ice white/silver hair colour trend does not seem to be going away.  With it, more colour manufacturers are creating new cool and ash tonal ranges.  It is an incredibly hard colour to create artificially, and an even harder colour to maintain. With toners washing out after a few washes.  Please take this as a word of warning if you are considering colouring your hair grey, it does require a heavy amount of maintenance.

How to maintain grey hair (when it's not natural).

Keeping any artificial colour to stay put can be a challenge.  To get your hair to the perfect shade of grey/silver will be a very long and expensive process.  Regular appointments with your stylist to have toners put on is a great way to keep your tresses bright.  Purple shampoo is also great to use to help neutralise any unwanted yellow tones that may start creeping in.  Your environment can have a huge effect on your colour.  Living in London, or any heavily polluted area can cause yellowing of your colour.  The same is the case for hard water areas.  Smokers are also more likely to see their white hair going yellow.

It can be less aging.

This is often a hard one to swallow.  I get it, but grey hair is not only associated with the older age group now, as I’ve just said.  This is often a hard argument for me to make when talking to older clients who are very quick to point out I may be nearly half their age.  Regardless of this, I started going grey at the ripe age of 24 (thanks, mum).  My view on it is this; find a striking cut that flatters you and your natural grey and it will look far less aging than if you had grey roots every few weeks.  There is definitely something to be said for being seen to be embracing your natural colour, as opposed to trying to hide it.

It's better financially.

Obviously.  Colouring your hair isn’t cheap.  Regardless of whether you do it at home or in a salon.  It’s a huge expenditure that anyone could quite happily do without.  On the other hand, I would recommend keeping to a good hair cut regime.  Every 6 weeks, make sure you are trimmed and tidied.  As I said, sometimes a flattering hair cut can take years off, regardless of the colour of your hair. 

It looks unprofessional/untidy.

This again, comes back to making sure you have a good hair cut that is well maintained.  I understand the professional world is full of millennials all fighting their way to the top.  But use your age to your advantage! You are wise, not old.  I understand however if you are young and feel it is too soon to let go.  If you have what I like to call a ‘sprinkling’ of grey, then it may be worth just finding a way of colouring that blends them out softly without being high maintenance.

Colouring when you only have a few greys.

Those few wiry white hairs, that spring from the top of your head and dance about in the light?  They can be hidden in a plethora of ways!  Sometimes the hardest situation to be in is this one, and you don’t want to dive straight into a colour trap.  Don’t immediately book in for a full head of permanent colour.  Or, heaven forbid, reach for the box dye. 


A demi-permanent colour is a great way to ease into colour.  It is mixed with a low developer and only has the power to lift a shade or two.  It is generally used to deposit colour.  It only lasts up to 24 shampoos, and will gradually fade over this time. 


Using the same technique as when highlighting hair, your stylist can weave out an area of grey hair and cover it with a colour that matches your remaining natural.  This will cover some, but not all of your grey and help blend it out.  As they progressively creep in more and more this is a great technique that means you can achieve as much or as little coverage as you want.

Going grey gracefully.

Do you find yourself already caught in a colour trap that you are either struggling to maintain or want to get out of?  This is the challenge I am faced with most often, and the only way out of it is perseverance and trust.  You have a few options available.

Let it grow.

This is the cheapest, and most obvious option.  It’s also quite hard if you have long hair.  Bearing in mind hair grows on average 1cm a month. 


The foiling technique is designed to give lower maintenance coverage than an all over tint.  As I said earlier, you can use it to apply as little or as much colour as you require.  An option to start is to add some blonde pieces, alongside a darker shade.  This will help blend the grey hairs in as they grow out.  If you are 75% grey or more, then this is the best option.  I highly recommend you ask your stylist for babylights.  They almost need to be invisible.

Unfortunately, I can’t make the decision for you or whether to embrace your grey or not.  Neither can I wave a magic wand and undo years of colouring.  Nor can any hairdresser for that matter.  Hopefully this post has helped you in your thought process and understanding what your options are.  If you have any more questions, or any other topics you’d like covered – get in touch.

For more advice, refer back to my previous post on everything you need to know about hair colour.

The Hair Bones.

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