Getting greys may be an inevitable part of getting older, however, some clients are convinced that the process—whether it involved increased greys or forced regrowth—was fast-tracked by the COVID-19 pandemic. And we’re not just talking about the stress of it all! But with the salon shutdown, it forced many to grow out their grey hair.
The silver lining? Some women are enjoying their new look so much that they are taking the next step to go grey—on purpose! And with the holiday season just around the corner, they’ll need your help to embrace their shiny, sparkling, newly silver strands.
“Going grey should never mean throwing in the towel,” says Misael Aponte, international colour director for Oligo Professionnel. “Stylists should never feel like they’re losing [service revenue] when their clients go grey, and clients shouldn’t feel like they are giving up when going grey. Together, they should aim for the process to be as glorious as it should be. There are many envied grey-haired ladies out there, and your client can be one of them!”
During the salon shutdown, it was easier for some clients to fully embrace the idea of going grey. While many male clients were fine with this change, Aponte says fewer of his female clients happily made the switch. When returning to work in his salon, he noticed some clients had an “oh boy” moment at the end of their service, which he says was disappointing to see from his long-time clientele—so much so that he almost stopped in the middle of a service when he realized one of his loyal clients was feeling discouraged. “She kept saying that she didn’t have a choice because she is part of a demographic where there is still shame in having roots and embracing a lived-in look. She felt like taking the plunge to go fully grey was better than grown-out roots,” says Aponte.
PRO TIP APONTE SUGGESTS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CLIENTS TO FIND OUT IF THEY JUST WANT TO GO GREY AND GET IT OVER WITH, OR IF THEY WANT TO GO GREY AND CELEBRATE THEIR NATURAL COLOUR THAT’S BEEN ENHANCED AND DEFINED—PLAYING WITH THE RATIOS OF SALT AND PEPPER THAT YOU CAN INTRODUCE WITH THEIR COLOUR SERVICE.
Getting the Look
Many clients don’t realize that when they see a woman with luminous white or silver hair, it may not be genetics at play but the work of an uber- talented colourist! “If my clients point out [photos of women] who’ve gone grey and talk about how nicely the hair came in, I explain where it’s been enhanced. Having the insight that I do, I ask them, ‘What is it you love about this?’ Because I can do that for them,” says Aponte. “Not everyone gets a natural shiny or glossy white; some people get a wirey white and a chemical service of some kind is needed to increase the suppleness of the white.” Jenny Bell, a hairstylist and hair colour specialist at Headlines Salon & Spa in Stouffville, Ont., says there can be a lot of maintenance involved when transitioning to grey. “Once it is their natural colour, adding accent pieces or lowlights will give some customers the look they want while keeping it super low-maintenance,” she says. “Others need clarifying treatments and toners to keep their white or silver hair nice and bright.”
Aponte says he reminds his clients that they aren’t opting for no maintenance when going grey, but rather low maintenance—or at least “the lowest maintenance available.”
“We have to see how their white comes in— whether it’s in clumps, clusters, streaks or if it’s evenly distributed throughout. No matter the result, we can enhance it,” he says, adding that it’s up to the stylist to work with the client to create a grey or white tone that’s most suitable for them. “We must match the skin temperature of our client. If they have a cool skin tone, we’ll opt for a cool grey. There are also soft, warmish greys available as well, which let the undertone of the warmth peek through the grey.”
A CUT ABOVE
Aponte says that grey- haired clients looking to transition to something brighter and shinier for the holiday season should consider rocking looks such as high layering. “Grey and silver hair looks best with lots of movement. Round or concave layering, which increases movement, are the best layered shapes,” he says. “Also, gone are the days for white- and grey-haired salon guests to stick with short hair. Sassy shoulder length and collarbone lengths are welcomed.”
PRO TIP BELL SAYS THAT NATURAL GREY HAIR SHOULD BE CLARIFIED OR DETOXED EVERY WEEK OR TWO, AND TONED WITH A TINTED SHAMPOO OR CONDITIONER TO KEEP IT FROM YELLOWING OR BECOMING DULL.
The holiday season is the perfect time to take your grey to the next level with metallic silver tones. “If someone with [lightened] hair wants to do a silvery shiny moment, we could mix a bit of cool gold [Calura Gloss 36 / GV series cool gold] and gold violet at least five grams to every 30 grams of an ash to ensure that their greys don’t flatten out,” says Aponte. “Sometimes you can do a silver on someone and it can end up kind of flat and matte or chalky, and your guest will say it’s dark. Silver is a metallic and it needs to reflect. You have to have some warmth in there so you don’t miss out on that chromatic reflection. A little bit of [cool gold] ensures you end up with some sparkle, which will be luminous for the holiday.”
“To me, lighter equals brighter, so I would recommend some platinum and/or silver highlights,” adds Bell. “A few strategically placed highlights and/or lowlights can go a long way if you need dimension or shine.”
“SILVER IS A METALLIC AND IT NEEDS TO REFLECT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME WARMTH IN THERE SO YOU DON’T MISS OUT ON THAT CHROMATIC REFLECTION.” — MISAEL APONTE, INTERNATIONAL COLOUR DIRECTOR, OLIGO PROFESSIONNEL
It’s a common misconception that rocking grey is dependent on being a certain age, but it’s actually three factors that matter most: skin temperature, face shape and the amount of time and money required to maintain hair.
“What is currently present in the hair as well as what a client’s natural grey pattern is will dictate what process would be best,” says Bell. “For example, many people have their lightest grey or white tone around their front hairline, so going lighter in that area is usually part of the process. If my client mentions that they are thinking of trying to grow out their natural grey, I will sometimes suggest going lighter with their overall look first or transitioning to highlights and lowlights to allow the greys to slowly start to appear. The point is, the process is different for every head of hair based on many things—none of them being age.”
“It’s mostly about specific face shapes, skin tones and making sure the temperature is on par,” adds Aponte. “There are also many intensities of grey you can do that may work better for a particular client. There are quite literally 50 shades of grey.”
JOICO COLOR BALANCE PURPLE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER THIS DUO CONTAINS A MULTI- SPECTRUM DEFENSE COMPLEX WITH TONE-CORRECTING PIGMENTS TO REMOVE BRASS AND YELLOW TONES.
FOR CLIENTS WITH CURLY HAIR, APONTE RECOMMENDS USING HIGH-LIFT COLOUR ON THE ENDS AND COLOUR THAT LIFTS WITH COLOUR EVERYWHERE ELSE, SUCH AS OLIGO PROFESSIONNEL’S BLACKLIGHT POWERSHADES.