Should I let my hair go gray? We all face that tough decision sooner or later. We can let nature take control all along, or when gray first appears, we can punt and color our hair “for the time being.”
By age 60, it’s no longer the time being. I find that women our
age talk a lot about whether it’s time to stop coloring and find out what we
really look like.
We might find out that our hair is a soft and beautiful white. Or
it could be a shiny silver. Maybe it’s not even completely gray yet. But it’s
likely to just be either dull or white.
A Brighter Gray
Since I write for the hair industry, I asked for guidance from a
couple of hairdressers who love their clientele in this age range.
Frank Shortino, a Wella artist and owner of Shortino Salon and Spa
in York, Pennsylvania, says his “gray reduction” is a popular color service for
women who want to cover up the years without exactly covering the gray. This is
much less time-consuming and costly than keeping up with full gray coverage.
“I just put a little gold into the hair,” Frank tells me. He says
the warm tones light up not only the hair but also the face. “It’s like putting
a pinch of salt into your food,” he explains. “This is just a pinch of color in
Recapture Your Rich Color
Despite any vision of plucking out gray one strand at a time,
going gray typically begins as a gradual loss of vibrance. If you’re a
brunette, for example, one day you might look in the mirror and realize that
the brown is more taupe.
Youth’s vivid color fades, which you notice if you have long hair
because you can contrast the top with the ends that grew out of your head perhaps
years earlier. With short hair, you may not pick up on this evolution.
Often, highlights are the first solution for women who just want
their hair to look the same as it used to look. Highlights add brightness and
disguise what’s going on up there.
But highlights do not restore brilliance. As the fading deepens,
the next step tends to be single-process color. You choose a shade that’s as
close as you can get to the color your hair was before it began losing its
luster. Photos from your earlier adulthood can help with this.
Once you get used to a maintenance schedule for single-process
color, your stylist may circle back to highlights – not instead of the color but on top of it to give your hair
dimension and get closer to natural-looking hair color, which is never exactly
the same color.
In the photos of Frank Shortino’s client shown below, the
difference from “before” to “after” is the vibrance. The shade is similar but
bolder and more youthful, aided by golden highlights. The cut further helps by
bringing out the wave, which builds additional dimension and movement.
Similar to Frank’s client is the chestnut look below designed by
Maria Mello, owner of Hair Ninja Salon in Brandenton, Florida. Caramel strokes
like these are a popular addition to many shades, acting as lowlights for
blondes and highlights for brunettes and reds.
For Maria’s client with longer blonde hair, a soft rose color
defines the accents. Highlights in rose, violet or blue are opening up more
choices for women of all ages.
Ready for Fashion Color Extravaganza?
Some of Maria’s clients really want to stand out, so she fills
that request by going full-speed with fashion color. Maria says she’s become
known in her area for these dramatic cherry, purple, magenta, and rainbow
“I always joke that it’s a great transformation and cheaper than a
sports car or plastic surgery,” Maria says. “I admire these women so much. One
told me that she’s done everything to please other people her whole life, and
now it was time to do something that makes her happy.”
Hair makeovers have Maria smiling, too.
“I love my job and especially this clientele, because I get to see
a woman’s face light up when we’re finished,” Maria says. “She finally sees
what I saw when she walked in the door – that she’s
did your hair turn with age? What are you doing about it? What hair color do
you enjoy most? Please share with our community!
credits: Images courtesy of Shortino Salon and Spa and Hair Ninja Salon.