That Grey hair issue

09 Aug


Created as a source of advise education knowledge skill experience a place to share thoughts post comments and idea’s on matters relating to hair colouring skill and techniques and anything industry related.

Grey Hair: Is it really that bad to have a little Grey?

Is society and media influence really that bigger deal or should we embrace it!

But what is it that makes our hair go Grey { husbands, Wives, Kids, work, life?}

why are some people lucky enough to bypass the Grey stage altogether?

Around the late fifties natural hair colour fades as the body’s production of melanin decreases.

When melanin production stops altogether, the hair that grows is white. The production of melanin is governed by genetic factors so the best indication of when someone’s hair will become white, look to  your parents how Grey are they?

Once the hair has gone Grey, You decide to take that leap into the world of colour! it’s important to find a colourist who is sympathetic to your issues who understands both the technical issues as well as the physiological ones some one who can suggest options explain alternatives not someone who thinks the best way to camouflage it is bye grabbing the lightest blonde or deepest brunette this is not the solution.

A very light blonde often results in a harsh yellow tone being presented, Grey hair still has pigment in many cases stylist make the mistake of using to higher volume of Peroxide.

Temporary colours can also be very useful if you’ve decided to let nature take its course – but still need a little help they can take the yellowish cast out of white and Grey and increase the ‘pepper’ component of salt-and-pepper hair.

As you get older it is advisable to go lighter, as it is softer against your skin tone. Sometimes a few high and low-lights are all that’s needed they introduce colour and texture to the hair whilst working with the Grey not totally masking it out.

This process is less harsh than all over colour and will grow out with less root issue.

Top Tips for Colouring Grey Hair

There’s no disputing that the younger generation can pull off almost any look, but for the older clients, it takes some attention to detail to get a style that’s graceful, elegant and sophisticated.

  • Avoid very warm reds, plums and coppers, these tones can be very harsh and brash against older skin tones they don’t tend to cover Grey very well { copper can look orange, Plum Pink or mauve}
  • It’s often assumed warmer colours are softer as we get older, but this is a myth. More neutral base tones look more elegant and sophisticated, and you can add warmth to the look with highlights and low-lights after the base has been achieved.
  • When you do notice the odd stray Grey hairs poking their way through don’t automatically go for a full-head permanent tint. Often a semi-permanent will be sufficient, or you can camouflage with a few highlights or low-lights. { at this stage the least chemistry the better} To some degree work with it embrace it.
  • A stylist should advise a client to opt for multi-tonal colour. It looks more natural and regrowth is less likely to show after a couple of weeks.
  • Avoid high fashion hair colouring techniques mutton dressed as lamb not a good look! who wants to look cheap! A more glamorous technique is far more attractive – think about the image you want to project a gorgeous hair colour can look amazing on older woman.

As stylist we have many things to consider when dealing with issue of Grey hair. The options available to us are many the techniques the formulations the products.

The most important tool we have have is knowledge and education this is what enables us to make an informed decision as to what might be the best way to proceed.

The choices should it be permanent or semi? or demi, you must be able to explain options.

From a clients point of view with so much hype on the Tv the choices endless what colour should it be  It really is a minefield of products shades all claiming that  home colours can change your life make you look and feel young.

The quick fix especially those 10 minute colours contain more pigment than peroxide so they oxidize really quickly and can over deposit in some cases going black!

Blogging is great way to meet and make contacts:

I have recently been swapping thoughts and idea’s with another professional hairdresser -consultant whilst discussing Grey issues he shared these thoughts with me.

I totally agree with his thinking and issues raised:


The whole Grey issue can be a real pain, I get image consultants saying “If

you go Grey you should allow the Grey to show through if you are cool toned”

and I have to explain that most people don’t get an even blanket of Grey

they have the most horrible patches of it.

Then every hairdresser under the sun seems to use 20 volume to cover Grey

and if they are dark haired it kicks up tons of warmth i try and explain another

approach and way to cover Grey is with 10 volume as it deposits colour into

the white hair but doesn’t lift the non white hair – but they seem to think you

are mad when you suggest this.

Formulation: For professional colour on stubborn Grey hair.

pre-pigment sometimes called softener: Having established the natural level of the hair select a neutral shade Mix one part permanent colour with one part water leave on for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes  mix your selected target colour with chosen volume of peroxide suggest the lowest volume possible apply directly over pre-fill.

Points to Consider rule of thumb when mix a formulation for Grey hair the formulation should contain as much of the Neutral series as their is Grey! { mistake often made poor assessment of this}

40% Grey 40% N series at desired level.

If you really have to use high volume of peroxide you can adjust your formulation to deliver more pigment to control the warm undertone you are going to expose.

Instead of standard formulation mix equal parts 1x Colour to1x Peroxide

{ normal formulation 1part colour to 1 1/2 developer}

If your working with a client who has a history of using over the counter colour then establish what the product was!

In some case a stand test might be advised. so of the colour’s now days have oil and silicone this can build up in the hair may effect deposit.

So in closing consider all options when dealing with Grey issues remember this.

A little knowledge is dangerous, total knowledge is power!

Have a consultation get professional advise before making a decision be well informed do not trust what the box says if doing home colour.

As a stylist think about all the issues and advise giving all the options including what it will take to maintain this colour.

Thank Mike B2MR


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2 responses to “That Grey hair issue

  1. Picklemonkey

    August 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Hmm… I recently went through the color portion of my education at a prominent hair school in Canada, and they taught me to use 20 vol on very grey hair (50% and up) to help “push” it into the hair more, and to “rough” up the cuticle more.
    But I can totally see why people do that and end up with a warmer/different color than they were aiming for, because they failed to account for the 20 vol lifting the hair that isn’t grey! That never even occurred to me.

  2. mikeb2mr

    August 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I was an educator in Canada teaching that method is so generic! hair maybe white at the front and only say 30% else where different formulations required!
    as a rule what ever the percentage of Grey then that percentage of N series.
    also a Demi as a pre-fill works very well leave on apply target colour directly over top remove any excess with a towel .
    always start with the lowest chemistry possible Grey hair still has pigment and will always through warmth the higher the peroxide level the more warmth you are entering into the equation.
    I taught on the west coast Vancouver island to Winnipeg ! quite an area,
    back to you thank you for sharing

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