What you need to know when you’re going grey

Whether you’ve just spotted a silver hair or are tackling a whole head, here are your options…

Thank goodness we’ve stopped shunning grey hair – no longer do silver strands mean running for the nearest and darkest box dye. Nowadays there are countless ways to either embrace or disguise your greys, while minimising hair damage and making your hair the best version of itself.

As we get older, the cells in our hair follicles called melanocytes begin to lose steam and produce less melanin; this is why our hair can become grey,” says Kevin Paul Finnell, Creative Director, F&M Hairdressing. “Unfortunately there’s no magic wand, pills or surgery as of yet to halt this process but Hair colour techniques and products have evolved so much in the past few years and there are constantly new hair colour innovations being launched.”

When you’re just noticing a few greys and want a quick fix, don’t be tempted to pluck them, says Kelly May, senior stylist at Neville Hair & Beauty in Belgravia. “I would advise not pulling out the grey twinkly hairs that appear, even though we don’t want them. By pulling them out you are causing damage to the scalp”. Instead, opt for a spray-on colour that matches the rest of your hair – in seconds they can mask your greys without creating mess.

If you find using a spray a bit too much effort on a daily basis, you can also ask your hairdresser for a gentle, semi-permanent colour. “I usually recommend any client with 50 per cent grey or less (who isn’t ready to fully embrace grey hair) to use a semi-permanent colour and blend the grey so it has the appearance of natural highlights,” says Sophie Gibson, colourist at Hooker & Young group “This means when the roots come in, they fuse out and don’t have a definite harsh line of regrowth.”

Permanent colour is more of a commitment and can ironically leave your greys looking more pronounced when they grow back in. However, it also provides stronger coverage and colour. “Celebrities that rock a fuller high grey coverage include Andy Macdowell, Anna Wintour and Julianne Moore and Jane Seymour,” says Kevin Paul Finnell, Creative Director, F&M Hairdressing. “This service suits them as their chosen colour enhances their skin tone perfectly, but needs to be maintained every 5-7 weeks.”

But more and more people are deciding that they want to embrace their greys and sport a whole head of silver. “I suggest working with your colourist and opting for a grey camouflage service such as the Russell Eaton Deluxe Regrowth service,” says Robert Eaton, Wella Professionals UK and Ireland technical director and creative director at Russell Eaton salons in Leeds and Barnsley. “This technique involves your colourist applying colour to your hairline in a lighter shade to help disguise the re-growth line of your natural hair colour that has lost its pigment. This will help make the transition into the rest of your hair colour more seamless and natural. This can be continued until you’ve transitioned to a full head of your natural grey. There will be no appearances of any harsh re-growth lines throughout the process.”

And once you’ve transitioned to grey, keep it looking dazzling rather than dull with proper maintenance. “To maintain grey hair it’s best to try and refrain from washing it too much to avoid the colour rinsing out, therefore, where possible try to use a dry shampoo,” says Suzie McGill, owner of Rainbow Room International’s Uddingston salon, Schwarzkopf UK ambassador and international artistic director at Rainbow Room International. “When you do need to wash your hair, keep brassy tones at bay by looking out for blue or violet toned products that will wave goodbye to yellow undertones and ensure your hair colour is super shiny. If you need to use heated styling tools, ensure you use a heat protecting spray, which will preserve grey vibrancy and keep hair looking smooth.”