Being here must mean
that you either "gone grey" or started to find the "odd grey".
So what now?
Why is it happening
As we age, the amount
of hair pigment (melanin) that we produce lessens, turning the
hair clear or 'grey'. As to how grey you will become and at what
age the process begins, is all down to your genes, so take a close
look at your parents for a clue about what will happen. For the
guys reading this: Mum has probably been colouring her hair for
years without your knowledge so she's probably not a good reference
Most people go grey
from the front back, but again this is inherited. It is common
too to get a streak of grey and a few people get a condition where
the hair goes grey then natural colour alternately along its length
every millimetre or so. This is nothing to worry about as your
body is just deciding to produce then not produce melanin.
Ever heard the one about
the guy that went grey over night? Strictly speaking this can't
happen, because once the hair has grown, it can't just 'go grey".
The colour molecules are formed below the level of the scalp and
then proceed to grow, therefore it would take the same length
of time as your hair takes to grow to see a major difference.
What can happen though, is that the person may suffer some form
of shock or illness that causes them to lose a lot of hair. The
majority of the hair left behind can be grey and not the original
natural coloured hair and new hair that grows after that may be
only grey, possibly also as a result of the illness or shock.
It is not scientifically
proven but large amounts of the vitamin PABA, found in health
food stores, is said to slow down the process of going grey. Also
the supplements taken to improve the strength and growth of hair
can help (biotin, tyrosine, B vitamins, cystine, inositol and
Oh No! I've
got Grey Hairs! What do I do?
Grey hair can look everything
from sexy and sophisticated to ageing and draining depending on
you. The following list of options will disguise grey hair in
varying degrees or enhance it. This information is designed to
help you choose the most suitable options for your needs and lifestyle.
Once you think you know what you want, go armed with your new-found
knowledge, to your hairdresser and discuss it further. A consultation
will cost you nothing and will probably not even require a booking.
Call first and avoid the busy times (Saturdays and late nights)
to ensure prompt attention.
Love your greys
and want them to look their best:
you suit grey hair it really can look fabulous. Smooth, sleek,
classic styles like the bob work really well to give an air of
sexy sophistication for women. Men often suit grey hair, women
are not just being kind when they say 'it looks distinguished'
think George Cloony or Richard Gere. Also personally I hate to
see men that look dyed!
keep it in top condition do regular treatments (once every couple
of weeks) and condition your hair every time you shampoo. It's
not just our skin that needs added moisture as we age.
hair does tend to suffer from yellowing, often linked to smoking
but this is not the only cause. The yellowing is due to pollution
in general in the air, so use a purifying shampoo, every once
in a while to remove build up. A shampoo with a blue/ash or silver
tone to it will also help to naturalise any yellow tones and enhance
the white or grey hairs. Don't worry, you won't end up in the
'blue rinse set' unless you use it way too often. Evenly distribute
this type of coloured shampoo though or you will get a patchy
result, see our section on good shampooing for tips.
Hate those greys
and want them gone without a trace:
Besides painfully plucking
grey hairs out one by one (never an option), permanent hair colour
is your only way to go. It's important to remember that "permanent"
colour is not forever, it is until your hair grows and it will
also fade a little, especially over those stubborn greys, which
are difficult to colour. If you choose this option it means a
5 to 6 weekly visit to the salon for your roots to be "touched
up". The re-growth and how obvious it is will depend on the contrast
of the colour chosen. So, if your hair is greyer than natural
colour, go for a lighter look. If your hair is more natural colour
than grey, go for something closer to your own natural colour.
You can do a combination of highlights and all-over colour to
make it look less of a contrast but you may need to think about
what you are committing yourself to financially as it can become
expensive to maintain if you get lots of highlights. This could
be something you may want to discuss as part of your consultation.
If you already get your
hair coloured and are not getting full coverage there are several
things that your hairdresser can do to rectify this problem. One
of the simplest is to change brands as different manufactures
products will give different results. They could also try some
tricks like softening the greys first or pushing the product in
more firmly for just a couple of examples.
Permanent colour can
cause an allergic reaction on very rare occasions, so ask for
you are worried. After colouring, the condition of your hair will
change and feel a little coarser. This is not damage but the way
coloured hair feels and using specially designed shampoos and
conditioners will help. When damage
does occur, it is usually after the process has been applied over
a previous one for the third or fourth time, so don't be tempted
to change the colour too often.
If you are thinking
of doing this for yourself at home we would strongly recommend
against it. Firstly, grey hair takes colour differently to the
rest of your hair and can ends up with tell tale pink hues if
not applied by a trained professional. Long term build up of colour
incorrectly applied will cause dark areas and condition problems.
Just a few grey's
at the temples or on the parting:
DON'T pull them out!
You will end up with short grey bits sticking out all over the
place. Ask your hairdresser about "combing on" a little colour
which will not cover all the grey but will blend it into the rest
of your hair. This method is also a great introduction to colour
without commitment as if you don't like it you won't notice it
growing out. Other advantages are that it is cost-effective and
will not cause allergic reactions as does not touch the scalp
nor take long to apply. It can also be used in combination with
non-permanent colour to get a little extra coverage on those grey's.
This technique is however only suitable for small areas of grey.
Got a good spread
of grey's and would just like to blend them in?
Don't want to have
a major re-growth.
Don't have the time
to be in the salon every 5 to 6 weeks.
What about considering
having low-lights? These are simply highlights that are darker,
rather than lighter than the rest of your hair. This means that
you can choose a colour that is the same as your natural colour
and use it to blend out some of your grey's. You can even get
adventurous and try several different colours together. Check
out our more detailed
to discover more. Because this type of colouring will only be
on 30 to 50% of the hair, the re-growth will not be as strong
and will only require touch-ups every 8 weeks plus. Remember the
more contrasting the colour you chose is the more often
it will need to be done.
Don't want to put
strong colour in my hair. What else can I do?
(these are a cross between a semi and a permanent colour and will
be more effective than a semi-permanent on grey hair) will give
you up to 70% coverage with certain brands. They gradually fade
out over a period of weeks or washes, although a slight re-growth
will be visible as they fade more slowly than your hair grows.
If your hair is very fine or if you repeat too often (before the
last one fades out) you will however get a re-growth. Demi-permanents
may also require an
you are worried. There are many different types of "demi's" on
the market and a consultation with your hairdresser will be the
way to choose the best one for you. We would suggest that if you
have never tried colour in your hair before that this is also
a great introduction without commitment.
There is the option
of one-wash coloured shampoos and mousses that will tone grey
hair. This means that they give the grey a hue of colour rather
than any coverage of grey. We are not talking the purple rinse
set though! These days you can buy silver/blue based ones will
make the hair look whiter and less yellow or others that give
the hair anything from a slight champagne or beige hue to a soft
If you are interested
in finding out more about colouring in general, visit our
For Grey Hair When Trying To Find A Colour To Suit You.
We have a whole section
that suit certain
but before you check out that area more specific considerations
for grey hair are:
- The re-growth and how obvious
it is will depend on the contrast of the colour chosen. So,
if your hair is more grey hair than natural colour, go for
a lighter look. If your hair is more natural colour than grey,
go for something closer to your own natural colour.
- As you get older your skin tone
tends to fade and this effects how dark you can wear your
hair. No one ever wants to acknowledge this but the colour
(and that includes natural colour) we had at 20 does not suit
us at 50. Another example of this is make-up. You often see
women who's foundation or lipstick looks fake or the wrong
colour, the cause in many cases is staying with their favourite
colour for too many years.
- Grey hair is often a different
texture to the rest of your hair and if your grey is in a
patch rather than throughout your hair, you may want to ask
your hairdresser to use different products on that section
to the rest to get an even result.