Grey hair can annoyingly creep into your life as early as your twenties and if you’re one of the lucky ladies, in your late forties. Regardless of when they show up, one thing is for certain, they're not going anywhere and once they appear, they’re like persistent weeds. I was 28 years old when I first sprouted grey hairs. After being slightly traumatised by the first stage of ageing I just had to work out the best way to camouflage it.
I’m often asked, “What hair dying method should I use to cover my grey?” I’ve had 15 years experience colouring my grey hair and I work with lots of professional hairdressers who keep me in the loop. There are three stages of grey and colouring to think about before you visit your hair salon.
This is when they first start to appear. A speckle of grey here and there or a sudden cluster on your hair-line. Firstly, try to ignore them as long as you can. Easier said than done right? The reason being, once you start dying your hair you usually won’t go back, so it’s quite a commitment. In this first stage I would advise you to use a semi-permanent colour. This means it will fade within 6-8 washes. It will disguise the grey without being too harsh and will enable you to keep close to your natural colour and you won’t have any root regrowth. It will just fade naturally. I would always advise you go to a salon if you can. Home dyes can be ok, but they're hit and miss and can be a risk – leaving your hair uneven with lots of colour build-up on the ends.
You will definitely know when you are in stage 2. The grey hairs will have multiplied, becoming more persistent and less eager to be covered by semi-permanent hair dye. Here I would use highlights or balayage to conceal your grey. This way you'll still get to keep your hair as close as you can to your natural colour without having a solid root re-growth that you will have to cover every 3-6 weeks. Ask for the highlights to be fine and a couple of shades lighter than your natural hair colour and ask for two different shades. This will camouflage your grey hair perfectly. Think honey tones if you have dark hair.
At this stage even with your highlights you will struggle to camouflage or cover your grey hair. They’re probably making up at least 40% of your hair. This is when you need to have permanent hair dye run through your hair and unfortunately there will be a trip to the salon every 3-6 week to maintain your roots. You can choose to have your hair one colour or go for highlights too, like me. If your hair salon gets this right you shouldn't look too different to stage two. I put my highlights round my hairline mostly so that when my white hairs start to grow through they blend and my white hairs don’t look so obvious, especially when I tie my hair up in top-knot which is 90% of the time. I colour my roots every three weeks but I do my highlights every three months. I've also gone much lighter over the years, adding more blonde every few years. This again will camouflage any grey regrowth but be aware as blonde doesn't suit everyone.
Some final tips on going grey
Don’t be afraid to embrace going grey. I've three friends who decided to ditch the hair dye and I can honesty say they look amazing and cool. This especially works if you have short or bobbed hair.
I would always recommend you wear a hat in the sun on holiday. Colour fades very quickly in strong sunlight and your hair will soon become dry and brittle.
Grey hair is naturally dry, add chemicals in the mix and I would highly advise you use a hair mask once a week. This way your it will help any breakage, add shine and keep your colours intensity. Here are a couple of recommendations.