Updated: Stroll down the hair aisle at any chemist and you’ll see box after box of dye stamped with the words ‘100 per cent grey coverage’.
For years, covering up even the slightest hint of silver has been the norm for millions of us, but now there’s a generation of women who are choosing to embrace their natural hair colour – women such as Vogue deputy editor Sarah Harris, whose stunning silver locks cascade down to her waist.
“I never really considered dying my hair,” says Ms Harris, who went grey aged 16.
“My mother spent some years dying hers and I remember her six-weekly trips to the hairdresser for touch-ups – it was a commitment that I never wanted to embrace.
“I think it’s so empowering to finally see more and more women of every age embrace their grey hair, but I can understand the nervousness around it in a society that’s largely obsessed with looking young.”
“Our hair colour is dependent on how much melanin each hair strand has,” explains Daniel Lynes, Dove lead stylist.
“As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles, which make melanin, gradually die.
“When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent colour – like grey, silver, or white – as it grows.”
The reason the shade of grey varies between each person is because it depends on how much melanin that person’s hair follicle has, Mr Lynes says: “Grey hairs occur when there is some still natural colour left in the hair. Once this colour has completely gone, the hair will turn white.”
Wherever you are on the spectrum, everyone wants their hair to look strong and healthy, and silver strands come with their own concerns, so it’s’ a good idea to consider how you’re looking after your crowning glory.
A recent study in Ageing & Society showed that even though many of us admire grey hair on others, we’re often averse to embracing the look ourselves.
So, here are five expert tips to get your grey hair looking its best.
1. Transition gradually
“People can go grey hair at any age,” Mr Lynes says. “This is mainly determined by our genes, however nutrition and health can also have a big impact.
“Caucasian hair seems to go grey earlier, however, on average most women in their 30s will start seeing a few grey hairs.”
Ready to embrace your greys? You don’t have to go cold turkey and ditch the dye overnight.
“For those wanting to go natural, speak with your stylist about what works best for your hair.
“It may be adding highlights to break up the darker tones or you could go bold and cut it all off!”
2. Moisture is a must
“Silver hair can become quite dry and wiry, because it doesn’t hold moisture,” Mr Lynes says.
“So always use moisturising hair products to keep silver hair soft and healthy.”
3. Pick the right products
It’s important to tailor the products you use to suit your hair type.
“If you have fine hair, use light products that won’t weigh your hair down, making it look dull and flat – something that fine silver hair can be at risk of,” says Mr Lynes.
“Go for light, volumising products to give your hair extra life and bounce.”
Whereas if you have medium to coarse hair, he recommends an oil-based conditioning system.
“Many people are put off by oil, thinking it means greasy, but oil gives your hair a natural softness when your hair is coarser – helping to keep your hair smooth and sleek.”
4. Combat brassiness
Just like blonde hair, grey can sometimes be prone to yellowish tones.
“To keep silver hair vibrant, use violet toning products to neutralise brassy tones, while also keeping your hair moisturised,” Mr Lynes says.
Depending on your hair type, Priceline recommends Sukin Natural Balance Shampoo and Conditioner and Sukin Hydrating Treatment Oil to relax and smooth the texture of the hair. To neutralise any yellowness that can occur in grey hair, it recommends Brite Organix Make Me Pastel Purple Shampoo and Conditioner.
5. Be gentle
While many of us neglect our scalp by lathering up and rinsing too quickly, being heavy-handed isn’t a good idea.
“There’s no need to roughly scrub your scalp or hair when washing,” says Mr Lynes.
“Massaging in your shampoo will gently exfoliate the scalp without damaging hair.”
Do you dye your hair? Do you use special shampoo and conditioner or choose whatever is on offer?
— With PA
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