Advice on how to embrace your silver strands.

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Concerned growing out your naturally greying hair will have you looking more faded than foxy?  If you’re tired of being a slave to hair dye, it may be time to consider uncovering your natural salt-and-pepper colour. We asked Dana Lyseng, a Wella Professionals top stylist, winner of the 2015 Canadian Colourist of the Year Award, and owner of Supernova Salon in North Vancouver, BC, and Rossa Jurenas, North American Colour Director for Schwarzkopf Professional, winner of the 2015 Master Colourist of the Year Award, and owner of Studio Rossa in Tillsonburg, ON, to explain the best ways to let your graying locks take centre stage.

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Know that you won’t look old.

Both Jurenas and Lyseng say that their clients are often afraid that going grey will age them, and that there is now way for them grow out their colour in an attractive way. Thanks to trendy young starlets (like Kelly Osbourne, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner) dabbling with silver shades, and more mature celebrities (including Jamie Lee Curtis, Judi Dench, and Helen Mirren) rocking all-over grey, this haute hue is no longer associated with old age.

In fact, both stylists say that having a haircut that flatters your face shape and hair texture is more important than your colour. “I think there’s a bit of contradiction when you see a woman with silver hair and a timeless or interesting haircut, because she looks too young to have grey hair,” says Lyseng. “Colour can be secondary. The style and shape can take the focus.” 

Find the right stylist.

A good stylist should have strong consultation skills to figure out what shade will be best for you. “It’s our job to ask the right questions and look for new opportunities and solutions,” says Lyseng.  Your stylist should be able to tell you what will be flattering and achievable for your hair type and skin tone without compromising your hair’s integrity. While you can bring in inspirational photos of colours you like, just know that huge colour transformations can’t be done in one appointment. “You can’t go from black to silver in an hour,” says Lyseng.

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Figure out a process.

If you’ve decided you want to grow out all of your colour, Jurenas recommends cutting your hair shorter so you can snip off the coloured ends and see what you will look like with all-over grey shade much faster (thereby shortening the not-so-fun growing out stage.) Jurenas does warn that “it does take awhile to get used to the change.” If you have dark hair, she suggests going to a lighter blonde shade to start, then introduce silvery highlights to let your greys subtly grow out.

Lyseng recommends modestly highlighting and low-lighting your hair as new grey roots appear. This way, over several appointments, your greys will slowly become part of your overall colour. Lyseng also does a technique she calls grey blending, or grey enhancement, where she uses a demi-permanent colour to allow the silver in your hair to shine through like a highlight, but still be on tone with your base colour below. “It’s a diffused look with a more natural finish,” she says.

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Rethink your style.

Don’t think that silver or grey strands have to be boring. Semi- or -demi-permanent colour glosses can add a subtle shot of colour on your base shade (like putting gold tones into blondes, coppers onto reds or browns, or blue hints over darker shades). If you have lighter locks, Lyseng suggests that playing with bold, trendy shades like smokey lavenders or rose gold tones complements your skin tone. Clear glosses can also be used to give your hair a highly-reflective shine.

Grey hair can often grow in frizzier and dryer than your regular hair texture. Lyseng recommends looking for products or treatments that are hydrating to give you a smoother, softer finish. Jurenas recommends using mousses or styling products that give movement and lift, as some grey hair can become flat.

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