How to Go Gray at the Salon
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This is a guest post by blogger & author Willow about how to go gray at the salon.
For many women there comes a point in their lives where they are faced with a major decision:
The choice to either grow out their natural gray hair and embrace the freedom that comes from not being tied to a hair salon every three weeks, or to continue to color their hair because they prefer the way it looks.
Not all women choose to let their natural gray grow out at the same point in their lives, but for the majority, there is a point where they’ve had enough.
As a stylist, I’ve performed quite a few color transformations taking women from old outgrown color to a more believable blended color to make the process a little less painful.
But what does that look like from a consumer’s perspective?
It is important to understand that no two heads of hair are the same. Two women starting with the same length and color hair will need two very different color processes to achieve the same end result.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GRAY BLENDING?
Growing out your gray hair naturally (i.e., cold turkey) entails so much more than just a long process to change your color.
It relieves you of rigorous color upkeep in the salon, gives you a completely unique color pattern that is unable to be recreated in a salon, and automatically grants you access to a special club of women with gorgeous silver hair.
It also can be emotionally taxing in ways that people don’t really discuss or even understand.
Growing in your gray cold turkey is a long process, which can feel even longer when you have to look at a hard line of demarcation every single day (pictured above).
Imagine that you have a shirt that you cannot stand and you have to wear it every day for the next 2-4 years. THAT can be what it feels like growing in your hair color.
For some women, they simply won’t start the gray transition process because they cannot imagine making it through the first year of having “roots” that look unintentional.
The above picture shows a fairly dramatic line of demarcation on a woman who was READY to embrace her natural silver foxiness.
Lightening her extremely dark hair with a full head of fine highlights to blend out her harsh line of demarcation was what she needed to be able to commit to the process.
When we were finished, she had immediate results that she could live with until her hair color was completely her own, rather than looking in the mirror every day unhappy with what she saw.
WHAT ARE THE DOWNFALLS OF BLENDING MY HAIR COLOR?
Just as not all hair is created equal, not all color lines are created equal either.
Even if you have the best hairdresser, depending on your hair and depending on the color line that is used, you can end up with damaged hair.
In addition to risking damage, oftentimes it takes multiple applications to achieve a true gray reflection from blending out your colored hair which can become pricey quickly.
Blending gray hair is no easy feat, and many hairdressers will just tell you “no” if you ask them for this color service. The ones who are confident enough to say yes usually come with a larger price tag.
When gray blending is done properly, it can leave women more confident, closer to their overall end goal immediately and allow them to “try on” what it feels like to be lighter and more silver.
When gray blending is not done properly, it can leave you with damaged hair, brassy hair color and odd color placements that do not replicate what natural gray looks like.
This is taking steps backward rather than forward.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO GO GRAY AT THE SALON?
To give you an accurate idea of costs associated with a gray color blending service, I’m going to break down the costs and continued upkeep that the women pictured above encountered when they chose to move forward with their services.
Full Highlight $140
Tone every 6-8 weeks $20
With this initial application, we were able to achieve enough of a blend that we felt comfortable moving forward fully growing out her natural gray!
The only upkeep required was toning her colored hair every 6-8 weeks to keep it appearing gray rather than yellow and, of course, regular haircuts.
Full Highlight $145
Tone & Blow Dry every 8 weeks $95
With this initial application, we were able to get her hair leaps and bounds farther than I had originally thought.
This beauty badly wanted to go completely gray and felt overwhelmed thinking of the 4-5 years it would take to get her natural gray grown out to her current hair length.
After we blended her, she cried happy tears!
Her follow up regimen was to tone her hair every 8 weeks. We only needed to do this twice before purple shampoo was enough to combat any warmth coming through.
My favorite toning products for silver hair are Davines Alchemic Silver Shampoo & Conditioner.
They leave your hair in amazing condition using plant-derived ingredients, contain no sulfates or parabens and pack a pigmented punch! Use these together whenever you feel like your silver needs a pick me up.
WHICH WAY OF GOING GRAY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
When it comes to going gray, what the process looks like really comes down to your emotional connection to your hair.
Are you going to remain confident, undistracted and happy through the whole process, or are you going to feel insecure about your hair and constantly check your reflection in the mirror?
If you feel that you can rock the cold turkey grow out, then do it! Embrace the natural process.
Blending is an expensive process when it goes well, and a small fortune when it takes multiple lightening sessions to get your color to that pastel white tone. BUT for some women, it’s the best option to get them on the right path to their end goal of gorgeous natural gray hair.
If you’re considering going gray, then weigh your options and pick the path of least resistance. There is all the support in the world for you online, and hopefully, you have a friend or two cheering you on.
The Formulation Files & Dreaming In Color
Master Artisan / Davines Educator
Note from Katie: Make sure to check out my Directory of Gray Friendly Stylists so you can find one in your area! And if your stylist is not supportive of your transition, make sure to check out my post about how to deal with an unsupportive stylist when you are going gray.
Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our Silver Revolution! And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Pinterest Feed for more gray hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!
Check out my Amazon Shop for all your gray hair needs!
How to Go Gray From Colored Hair
How to Make Your Cold Turkey Gray Transition Fun!
these hair transformations are beautiful but I would love to see this with dark hair?
Thank you for writing this article Willow. I naturally have medium to dark brown hair. I’m 66 and for years have used over the counter permanent color to take care of grey roots. Finally, about 5 yrs ago I started going to the salon for high & lowlights which has resulted in much lighter hair than my natural color. My fresh growth is about 4″ now and mostly salt & pepper with some areas around face all white. Do you have any examples or suggestions for transitioning from darker hair colors? My hair length is below shoulders and really don’t want to shorten. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
I am 56 and have been going grey since my early 20’s.I started this process of embracing my silvers at the beginning of the Lockdowns here in Melbourne Australia. I had dark brown dyed hair which I was having to have coloured every 5 weeks maximum to cover the grey. Been thinking about it for a while, lockdown sealed the deal. I have now had two half head highlights done and after the last one 8 weeks ago I will have a full head of highlights this week.
I have been very happy with the results so far. It enabled me to emotionally deal with the drastic change by going lighter gradually.
I have had so many positive comments from friends and family. My husband is very supportive which helps.
Hi, I am finally ready at 57. Growing up I never seen my mom with colored hair and she received so many compliments. I just want to be natural. My concern is the cowlick I have at the crown. It seems like I have thinking hair but when it is colored I don’t see it. Also where my part is seems so pink. My hair will be white not silver. Has anyone else dealt with this and how was it handled? I pray I look half as beautiful as all of the silver sisters.
I have literally just come back front the salon having handed over £160.00 for my stylist to turn my purple dyed hair into grey as after 6 weeks growth I’m left with more than a sizeable natural grey ‘axe mark’. I now have a head of warm ‘chestnutish’ brown with ‘blondish’ and ‘silverish’ streaks.. my husband hates it and tbh it’s not as grey as I’d’ve liked.. I’m now thinking, after making another appointment for six weeks, that she’s seen my hair as a bit of a cash cow!! I just wanted to get to silver/grey, and get it over with, and now I don’t know what to do!!
OMG, Deborah! So sorry to hear this. It can be difficult to find a stylist who is super-experienced at transitioning hair to gray. It sounds like your stylist didn’t know what she was doing 🙁
Sorry to be a blabbermouth but comment for Catarina. You might consider going all out silver. An absolutely incredible colorist named Jack Martin from California showed one particularly complex case of how he transformed a woman from part silver, part dyed to all over silver. He was generous enough to give the products used and how so my daughter and I are taking me silver. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas.
I do wonder where you live that a haircut is $80. Granted I’m from Oregon (and everyone knows we’re hicks) but my stylist charges $95 for a full head of highlights with cut included (I do have short hair so I imagine it’d be more the longer your hair is) and just a cut costs me $40 (that’s with tip). See, there are reasons to consider moving to Oregon. However to be fair these prices aren’t Portland prices either.
Hi, Lauren! I need to add an update in the post: Willow is from Davenport, Iowa.
Prices vary so much depending on region, for sure!
Thanks for the story. It goed me some confidence for the future. My hair is going to be less full by all the coloring for many years. My hairdresser says she cannot make my brown hair lighter by dyeing.so how to go further .how to do this grey blending. I have a short bob. My hairdresser use the organic colorsystem without peroxide. I woud be heet happy with some advice.
Hi, Catharina: I asked Willow for her advice, and here’s what she said:
“I would recommend for her to call around to local salons and ask if they have any stylists who are confident with grey blending, and to schedule a consultation with them. It is important to let the stylist see their hair in person to accurately gauge their starting color, as well as feel the natural texture and recommend the proper hair care to prep her hair for the service! ❤️”
Tell her no more coloring. She should have done a full head of fine highlights/silverlights. The whole idea of continuing to add the chestnut colored pieces, seems counter productive to what your trying to achieve.
Don’t be afraid to ask your stylist how much she estimates it’s going to cost you to get where you want to be and how much it will take to maintain it as well. A good stylist would have told you this up front.