Health and Wellness

A Guide to Going Gray

Beauty

3/2/2011

Gray hair is in. It’s hot. It’s now. But embracing your silver side isn’t as simple as letting it slowly take over your head – unless you want to spend some time looking like Cruella Devil. You just need a little help from your favourite stylist.

Going GrayIs it right for you?

The quality of your gray is important when deciding whether to let it be. While some gray comes in silky and beautiful, coarse and wiry hairs can be dull and lifeless. And sometimes the gray simply isn’t a nice shade. Says Stefania Fortino of Salon Allessandro in St. Catharines, Ontario, “Too much iron in the diet can make gray hair come in slightly yellow or orange, which isn’t attractive.”

The transition

Stop using colour over your entire head, and opt instead for highlights or lowlights. Happily, both techniques are safer for you than all-over dyes. “Adding strategically-placed blonde highlights can look more like streaks than salt and pepper hair, and it works for most people,” says Fortino. Foil highlights give chunkier streaks, while pulling sporadic hairs through a plastic cap gives natural, all-over highlights. Hair should be lighter at the front, gradually becoming darker at the back to mimic natural highlights.

If blond doesn’t appeal to you, use lowlights to camouflage the transition to gray, by adding streaks of a darker tone of your natural colour. Just be sure the lowlights aren’t too dark. Says Fortino, “Not only do we lose pigment in our hair as we age, but we lose pigment in our skin, too. If hair is too dark, it won’t look natural.” As your hair grows, your stylist will gradually phase out the treatments until you’re a silver fox.

The kindest cut

Your hairstyle will determine whether your gray makes you look chic and stylish or old and haggard. Fortino has clients in their 20’s with beautiful gray hair who look their age because of their cut. The classic bob is a sleek look for silver hair, but many styles work depending on your hair type.

Polishing your silver locks

  • Use a build-up remover regularly to remove stains caused by pollution, styling products and minerals in water
  • A deep-conditioning product containing proteins and oils hair every few weeks will help to soften hair, along with conditioner with every shampoo
  • Have your stylist apply a toner when you get a trim to add shine to gray

Lisa Petty ROHP, nutrition expert and health coach. Lisa is author of Living Beauty: Feel Great, Look Fabulous & Live Well, and host of Lisa Live health radio that walks the talk on 820 CHAM, Saturdays at 10AM. Originally published in Alive magazine.

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