That strand of grey hair sticking out among the rest of your colour screams out, "I'm here! I'm here!". Yes, I am starting to go grey. However, in my case its skipped the whole grey stage and has gone straight to white. But my white strands are shy, all hiding beneath the crown area. I also have a thick white streak that started in my 20's, just appeared. The white streak, no I am not a witch, is common also know as Poliosis, a lack of pigment.
As my hair hasn't exactly turned salt and pepper, I asked the experts for advice. Which products are the best for greying hair and common grey hair issues.
My hairdresser Eva Therese from Eva Therese Studios:
(photographer: Cynthia Bugala)
Q: Is grey/white hair harder to dye?
The level of difficulty in colouring grey/ white hair depends on a variety of factors. Grey, white or salt & pepper all have a variety of colour challenges. Hair that is 80-100% grey/white takes colour exactly as it is on the swatch, without the factor of the underlying pigment. This means a client has the ability to have any colour that is suitable, which may have not been so easy when their hair had pigment. Some clients have grey/white hairs that have become increasingly coarse with pigment loss, and colourists are able to formulate for this. In extreme cases where even with correct formulation and timing colour doesn’t take, colourists can pre-soften the hair so the colour absorbs and coverage can be achieved. Hair that is partially grey also has to be formulated so that the colour takes on both pigmented and non-pigmented hair strands, but usually this results in a nice colour because it reflects variation that is present in natural hair colour.
Q: Is grey/white hair thicker? As the few strands I have feel thick & stronger than no pigmented hair.
Hair tends to take on a coarser texture when it loses its protein/pigment. It is not actually thicker, but the change in texture gives it that feeling. This tends to happen more frequently in clients that have a thicker or curly texture of hair pre colour loss.
Q: Any specialty haircare products for grey/white hair? If one chooses not to dye their hair i.e there's blue/violet shampoo right?
Yes, various factors such as smoking, medication, sun exposure, and some styling products can leave grey/white hair with an unwanted yellow tone. Violet based toners and shampoos can correct this issue by neutralizing the yellow tone. If the hair is very dry, I recommend a violet conditioner instead of the shampoo. I like AG professional violet conditioner.
The violet shampoo should be used only once a week, and left on for a few minutes. It tends to dry out the hair, and doesn’t need to be used for every wash. My favourite is Shimmer Lights Shampoo for blonde & silver hair by Clairol Professional. It has a very strong Violet tone and works very effectively.
Q: Do many of your clients dye their hair purposely to cover-up white?
Grey hair is the predominant reason clients see me for hair colour. Women under sixty and many over just don’t like white hair for various reasons. They may feel it prematurely ages them, has an unflattering tone, is very patchy or it may also be right around the temples of face where they can see it every time they look in the mirror.
Some of my clients have made attempts to go au natural, to see if the grey/white they have is flattering. Some have decided to start colouring again, and some we are able to take them light enough with colour that the transition is a bit easier and they have stuck with it.
Most clients that are au natural went white very early, and with a very structured and flattering hair cut look amazing.
Natural highlights around the face are a great way to disguise grey, and prevent the skunk stripe down the middle look when roots start to show.
Thank you Eva!
Next, I asked my chic Parisian friend who has gone completely au natural, Karine Paoletti. Her tips on going grey! I know, gorgeous right? Completely unfair, French woman always look so effortless fabulous.
Q: How old were you when you started to go grey? And why the decision to go "au natural"?
Dont remember exactly..it came really early but after 30...lets say 33? it became obvious. It did not bother me..I'm quite spontaneous and being myself is part of my personality..and grey hair when you are still quite young is unusual..I like to be different and I love grey!!!
Q: Any special haircare products you use to care for you hair?
Not really, but grey hair has a different texture ...you need to care for it as is more dry ...conditioner..nourishing mask which I'm not using as much.
Q: Would you ever consider dying your hair?
I dyed it once cause I wanted a big change..then I had to wait one year to get my real colour..which I missed..since then I'll sometimes use products that make the white/grey darker..it stays 2/3 weeks maximum..but still grey is here....
grey & sexy
For products specifically geared towards greying hair.
Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo
AG Sterling Silver Toning Conditioner
from my beauty insider experts;
Matrix Care So Silver Shampoo
L'Oréal Professional Série Expert Age Supreme
Have you started to go Grey? Share your stories.
(images: cannot be used without permission)