Ask the Experts: Ways To Make Your Grey Hair Look Gorgeous August 23, 2018 11:45

Known in the industry for being a specialist colourist at Morgan & Morgan Hair Collective since 2001, Jennifer Morgan is the go-to girl with any colouring conundrum and her passion and skill set are enviable in the hairdressing community.

Her technical expertise and precision with colour work has also seen her in the roles of Artist and Educator for industry heavyweights such as L’Oréal, Redken and Schwarzkopf.

So in this blog we ask her to tell us everything she has learned about how to work with grey hair 

The appearance of grey hair strikes a weird fear of ageing in a lot of our clients and on a daily basis we are asked as colourists to hide those terrifying white hairs.
Socially and culturally we have been raised to fear the ageing process and the grey hairs are a visual sign of this....and generally the demand is to HIDE THEM!

Everyone knows someone who sports a striking shade of sterling and these gorgeous women don't lack for sex appeal, but even though many of us admire grey hair on others, we're often averse to trying out the look ourselves.

Women can do so much to keep their faces and bodies looking young — there's no need to think a few grey hairs will necessarily make you look older so learning to accept their appearance will relieve a lot of stress and pressure.

Think of your grey hairs as exactly what they are, un-pigmented strands amongst your own natural colour.
When we highlight hair, we remove the natural pigment to create blonde…and grey hairs are just that! So really they are natural blondes that you have earned through your life journey

These newly developed ‘blonde’ streaks can be utilised to create a new dimension to your natural colour, either by toning them or incorporating them into the overall look, embracing their presence and learning to work with them can take colouring away from being a chore and make it fun again

Why Hair Changes

The process of going grey—which occurs as follicles stop producing melanin—is determined by DNA, not diet or other factors. Although research on mice shows exercise may stave off the loss of hair pigment, while stress may speed up the process, these findings haven't been replicated in humans.

So even though it seems as if every CEO goes grey after a few months in office, there's no proof (yet) that stress is the cause.
Even the seemingly accelerated speed at which certain sections go white (temples first for some, the crown area for others) and the exact amount is genetically predetermined.

Your head has roughly 100,000 hair follicles, and each functions autonomously. If one runs out of melanin, even if you pluck the resulting white hair, there will be no impact on surrounding follicles—nor is your lifestyle likely to affect the colour

Ready to Embrace Your Silver Side?

Once you have over 50% of your hair un-pigmented, think about the depth of your colour. Do not colour your hair too dark as  it can age you. It also creates a fake halo effect on your head...that is noticeable within a few weeks of your colour service.

The darker the colour you use, the more the new growth will show through, so transition yourself to a lighter shade over time to minimise the upkeep…no one want to be a slave to their regrowth

Instead, try to stay in lighter shades, like medium brown to blond.
Even if you were naturally brunette in your younger years, by the time you have over 50% white, your skin and eyes will have lightened naturally as well and a lighter shade is not only more flattering but way easier to maintain

Modern colour technology creates a more multi-dimensional results. The colours available to us now in-salon allow the natural integration of grey hair into your result producing a softer less 'blanket' colour

This can be a hard one for some, but you do not have to completely cover up your grey hair. Instead, try colour blending. This technique dissolves harsh roots and makes the colour look fresh.

Highlights and lowlights are your friend when you want to have beautiful hair colour without the maintenance issues of a full cover result. Let your grey hairs be a part of the overall look!

The idea of ‘less is more’ works really well with grey blending, women shouldn’t be slaves to colouring to cover up their greys often
These techniques are not just for Boomers, we have all been guilty at times over over colouring and its time to make it simple

A good rule of thumb for highlights is less is more. Over highlighting will destroy overall dimensions and will make hair colour look flat. Few sun-kissed highlights are perfect for creating the fresh look.

Colouring your grey to too regularly doesn’t really work. Ideally we need at least  1cm of new growth to avoid overlapping and this is around 4 weeks growth.

If you overlap the colour regularly you will end up with a build up that looks darker and flatter and it will amplify your regrowth. We often see this with clients colouring their hair at home and it can take quite a bit to rectify this dense colour result

Try using a coloured powder (like the Beauty Dust range) to soften the new growth between salon visits

Let us create texture in your colour, especially if your base is darker than a blonde. This will help to discuss the white hairs as they grow through and make the lone less noticeable

If you colour your hair and are wanting more natural result, the transition to a more natural look can be a little tricky. To make it smoother, ask a pro for guidance. We may suggest colouring your grey roots as they grow in with a demi-permanent colour, such as Vibrance, an ammonia-free colour that covers up to 75% of un-pigmented hair. This will provide a more natural low maintenance result that is softer and easier to manage. The other option is to weave colour into your natural hair - colour blending producing a more manageable and natural looking effect

Texture is the biggest complaint that most clients have about their grey hair! Grey strands are usually drier than pigmented hairs, so they have a tendency to frizz and can easily look dull if you're not vigilant about upkeep. Try these tricks for a smooth, chic look—and perennial shine:

Use the right shampoos for your hair. We have three ranges in the salon specifically designed to cater to the needs of white hair (Excellium Plumping, Excellium Taming and Q-10). And because grey hair can take on a yellowish cast, lathering a couple times a month with a silver-specific shampoo like BC Color Freeze Silver, can help counteract any yellow tone.

Stay sharp. Get a modern cut with clean edges, ask your stylist not to use a razor, because it can cause the ends to fray, making your whole style seem untidy. Whatever cut you choose, be sure that you get a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. Grey hair can start to look unruly if it's not trimmed frequently enough.

Protect your assets. Environmental pollutants and UV light can make any hair colour—including barely pigmented greys—look dull. So wash at least every other day (to prevent buildup) with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner containing antioxidants, which help protect against UV and environmental damage.