By Kim Wickerham
Over the past few months, I’ve seen a new trend emerging on social media. From the pages of Facebook to the colorful pics on Instagram, women are proudly sharing their latest fad, gray hair. All over social media, these silver foxes are popping up and rightfully so. They’re beautiful women in their 40s and 50s, maybe a co-worker, teacher, family or friend. Regardless of the woman, they all have one thing in common.
They are fed up with coloring their hair.
Perhaps this trend was provoked by the pandemic. Salons had shut down abruptly, leaving women to take to their own devices. Some chose to purchase box dyes, while others decided to wait it out. As weeks turned into months and roots began to surface, women began embracing their natural color, proving that gray hair is beautiful no matter what the age.
Now, you might be thinking this sounds oh-so-wonderful but have no idea where to start. That’s where I come in. I’ve done enough research for the both of us and am happy to share. Besides, I’ve had a few of these silver foxes in my own chair and can dish the dirt on the entire process.
So, let’s get started.
First, you need to find the right colorist. You’ve taken years to build up all that color, right? So, let’s take some time searching for a skilled colorist to remove it. Look for someone that specializes in gray transformations and has a substantial color portfolio. Get a handful of consultations, gathering information as you go. Consider questions such as, how long have you been coloring your hair? And, why are you choosing to embrace your gray now? All of this information gives the colorist insight to your lifestyle and helps determine if you’re a good candidate or not. Be patient with the vetting process, it could take a while to find just the right colorist.
So, it’s transformation day and you’re more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Relax, it’s going to be a fun day! The key word being day. Remember when I mentioned the plethora of color that has built-up on your hair? Well, it’s going to take some time to get it all out, roughly eight to 10 hours. The length of time can vary depending on your hair color, texture and condition. It’s important to remember that going gray is a tedious process and will require a little patience and a whole lot of time. Be sure to pack a lunch and wear something comfortable, it’s going to be a long day.
If your hair is on the darker side, the process will begin by decolorizing. This process eliminates a fair amount of artificial color from the hair and decreases the amount of stress and damage that would otherwise occur during the lifting process. As the color is lifted, the hair’s natural undertones will be revealed which can range anywhere from reddish-brown to orange. This part might seem a little daunting and have you second-guessing this whole gray transformation thing, but don’t. Decolorizing is necessary to the process and I can assure that you won’t be leaving with hair the color of a fruit bowl.
After the decolorizer has done its job, the hair is prepped and dried for highlighting. My color of choice is always bleach mixed with a low volume developer and a protein bonder for protection. Leaving out the gray roots, the hair is foiled in small sections to lift faster. When highlighting the hair, it’s important to match up the highlights with the hair’s natural color. This process will take a few hours as the hair lifts through the orange and up to a level 10 pale-yellow. If you were to peel a banana, the inside color is what we’re looking for.
Once the hair is lifted, it’s time to rinse and tone. I use an acidic, semi-permanent toner to condition and seal the cuticle. Remember, the goal here is silver-gray hair, so working with colors such as violet or blue will eliminate unwanted yellow or orange tones. If you’re one that totes a full head of silver, this could be your last step of the day.
But oftentimes that’s not the case. Guests will have more salt around the hairline, with salt and pepper scattered throughout the back. When this happens, the colorist will need to go back through the hair a second time and re-create the look by matching the dark hair. For those that have grayed prematurely and still have some darkness, this process will be a simple one. Perhaps a few strategically placed strands will do the trick, or something to showcase your new streaks of silver. If you’re thinking Diane Keaton or Jamie Lee Curtis, you’re on the right track.
Ten hours later, it’s time for the big reveal. The chair is turned and you see an enhanced version of your gray for the very first time. If you’ve been coloring your
gray for years, this transformation could be a drastic one evoking all sorts of emotions. Be sure to give yourself some time to adjust. You’ve come a long way baby!
Want to learn more?
Parasol Salon is located at 9949 E. Independence Blvd., Matthews. Follow on Instagram @thebalayagebelle or call 704-608-7594