“I am inspired to let my hair turn gray. I have no idea where to start, though. What are my options for making the transition? “—Silver Curious in Midtown
Gray or not gray is a big question right now. I look with admiration to friends and colleagues who have taken advantage of the isolation offered by the pandemic, taking the opportunity to overcome the embarrassing phase of regrowth of going gray in private.
I truly love and wholeheartedly support the movement of gray hair, even if I myself remain firmly in place: because freedom of choice is the real problem. I feel comfortable being at the forefront of certain things (I had younger children than my group of friends; I also had more than my share of marriages when only Liz Taylor did), but as far as my hair is concerned, I’m remained the same for all these decades.
Going gray shows a tremendous amount of self-confidence and comfort, both of which I admire and aspire to. So, Silver Curious, I am pleased to accept your question, because examining how things could work is the first step in making any important decision in life. I reached out to the stellar colorist who “made” the gray transition for an editor whose look I love. Luis Pacheco is the founder of Medulla & Co and creator of the hair care line TO112 (pronounced “two one two two”).
“There are many different options, the first being to grow gray,” says Pacheco. “If you’re ready for the journey, it can be pretty awesome.” Or you could cut your hair very short and, as he puts it, “explore the whole pixie and short hair look”.
The third, which is a big investment in time and money, is to seek out a hair color expert (and you want an expert here – this is a high-strand color job, so put the money into someone whose job you researched. and revered). For most hair lengths, Pacheco says, that means removing “three or four years of hair coloring, so you can mimic your natural regrowth.” So you can start playing with the dark to white aspect ratio, but we’ll talk about that in a bit.
“Different people go gray in different patterns,” he says. “Sometimes it starts at the hairline, sometimes it condenses in the back, sometimes at the temples, or in that big white streak down the front; there are so many ways white grows ”.
A colorist, he says, must let the regrowth pattern guide them, to figure out how much of the darkness to re-enter and how much light to re-enter. This is what Pacheco calls the mimetic approach, and aside from the initial time and money, it has the distinct advantage of meaning your “upkeep” is much less.
Because here’s the hard truth: yes, going gray means less maintenance, but don’t get me wrong, says Pacheco, there will be some maintenance! “Gray hair still needs care,” he says. And sometimes he needs a color adjustment. “Not everyone fits an ash color. If you’re growing gray, sometimes it’s not flattering to your skin tone and accentuates under-eye shadows and wrinkles. “It’s all about the complexion:” Sometimes we need to make the color a little warmer , softer. Gray hair is not gray: it is white. Adjusting the color gray, in addition to preventing it from turning yellow, is what Pacheco calls “a filter effect for your face. I’ve seen unpleasant colors do unpleasant things, and fantastic colors do magic too. “
So, let’s get back to the camouflage process. Let’s analyze it with Pacheco. Remember, warn, everyone is individual and balancing the most flattering transition will mean different things for different heads of hair. “You must first remove the white areas (under the color). I hate using that word, but it’s a tough process; remove the artificial pigment you have applied all the time to create a white base. This means you lighten it in layers, removing first the red, then the orange, then the pale orange, then the yellow, the pale yellow, and finally you get to white. “Once you reach that point, your hair will probably be pretty As Pacheco says, removing all the pigment is equivalent to “removing all the proteins”.
“Once you’ve got your hair up to that point, go into whatever is left in the middle, adding the dark portion of the ration to match the tips to the roots,” she says. Essentially, the idea is to use artificial color to recreate what the root is telling you. These lowlights reflect off the white and give the “overall color impression,” says Pacheco. For example, with male clients walking in this “camouflage balance,” he leaves some artistic gray where you’d expect it, like at the temples like a classic male reporter. (If only the same were applicable to female journalists, right?)
If you are a woman who takes a “camouflage” approach, expect to spend about four hours in the hair color chair for a transition date. “It depends on what you’re walking on,” Pacheco says, and it helps if the colorist knows you and has been able to observe some regrowth over time. “There would have been numerous treatments along the way, from removing buildup to removing pigment, adjusting high and low lights, plus a final shine.” With a senior colorist of Pacheco’s stature, that process would be $ 450. Add a senior stylist, because that new hair is going to need an upgrade and it’s another $ 250.
At that point, yes, you could probably wash up and go, but to continue like this, you’d probably need an appointment every six to eight weeks. (Trust me, this is far less than the four-week mechanism needed to keep up with the elimination of all grays; many clients walk into salons every three weeks, especially if they have dark hair.)
The tasks are also key, Pacheco says. This is a major transition in life and a considerable investment of time and money. “Clients who are very serious about hair health get the most out of their investment,” she says. “It’s like buying an expensive garment and dry cleaning the silk shirt that says ‘dry clean only’.”
Pacheco describes the whole process as a little bit of science, a little bit of guesswork, a little bit of prayer and a lot of trust, on the part of the client, that is. In making that decision to go gray, “you are part of one category: the gray-haired person. You are proving that you are confident in wearing it, as opposed to the color it brings you. You’re saying, ‘I’m fine in my natural state.’ “
A good hairdresser should help you get to that point and feel like the best version of yourself, whether it’s cheating on your natural dark / light ratio or tweaking your gray to better suit your skin tone. “Nature doesn’t always work well,” says Pacheco. But an experienced colorist can.
Buy the board
Hair products to keep your gray color at its best
Oribe Silverati Shampoo, $ 57, sephora.ca BUY HERE
Pacheco recommends this salon formula from Oribe to keep your gray and silver shiny.
Matrix Total Results So Silver Deep Conditioner, $ 24, amazon.ca BUY HERE
The purple of this color-depositing conditioner neutralizes the undertone, eliminating brass from blonde and yellow from gray.
TO112 Collagen Hair Mask, $ 74, ca.to112.com BUY HERE
Strengthens strands in just three to five minutes after each wash. The Hero product from Pacheco’s hair care line is formulated to revive damaged hair.
Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream, $ 50 (250ml), sephora.ca BUY HERE
This silicone-free formula is great for gray hair, which can tend to be rough and bristly, as it smooths the cuticle without weighing the hair down.
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