My Shades of Gray

Color fatigue or trend? No idea. Even women who are subject to strict protocols like Queen Letizia of Spain suddenly show gray hair. Gray is no longer nothing, but a color. Switching from full color to beautiful silver streaks is not quite as easy as many women imagine. I did it and I admit in times of Corona and the closed hairdressing salons, I have a clear advantage.

“I envy you. You no longer have this constant fuss about the tiresome re-dyeing.” I hear this sentence more and more from women since I switched my hair from allover black to gray. Salt and pepper are called the mixture of light and dark. That’s right, I don’t have to colorize my my regrowth anymore. But the rest of the effort that I have now to do with my hair is in no way less time consuming to what I used to do before.

Going grey

Just let the gray hair grow how they like it and the new style is ready. It would be nice. But unfortunately that doesn’t work in most cases. Only women are lucky who have never treated their hair with color before. And if they are even more lucky, they really get a nice gray, a gift from nature. But unfortunately this is extremely rare. The rest of us need a good hairdresser who is at your side and also a lot of personal effort so that the gray looks really good and is not just gray. Unless you cultivate a shaggy look, which is somewhere between the shepherd dog and the storybook witch. Whether it looks cool or old also always depends on the gray. There is a friendly ash-barrel gray and also a noble gray, as you often see it on Italian women. It is said that the former black-haired get the most beautiful gray. Such a cool shade of gray that gives it that salt and pepper look. In some cases, it looks like it has been treated with silver. But it is naturally so with the southerners. Not at my place.

A very long year

It took a good year. The Chinese philosopher Confucius claims “the way is the goal”. But to be honest, I would have preferred a shorter route and a faster destination. But the way to my dream hairstyle was actually long and arduous, which of course was also due to the extremely dark starting point of my hair. Nevertheless, I would never have dreamed of how complex such a change would be. I thought I would just go to the hairdresser I trust and have silver-light strands bleached into the dark rest. Wrong! First of all, the grays must have grown four to five centimeters before a hair expert can lend a hand. I tried to cope with the transition period with starting powder – with more or less good success. Incidentally, I managed better when applying with a brush than with sprays. The brush simply reaches the roots much more precisely than if you just sprayed the paint on. But with the next wash, of course, everything was gone and the tiresome beginnings clearly visible again. If I was too annoyed by this, I tried an intensive tint with a light oxidant from the drugstore. That worked quite well because the tint doesn’t cover evenly, but is more transparent. So certain parts of gray remain visible. But be careful if someone has very fine hair. “Then an intensive tint covers much more, and you almost have a colored effect again,” says Munich celebrity hairdresser Manfred Kraft.

Big disappointment

I was already happy when my first “mutation” appointment at the hairdresser’s was just around the corner. That is why I was particularly disappointed when, five hours later, I was back on the street with yellow and orange streaks on my head instead of the cool strands of silver I had dreamed of. I could have cried. “Quite normal,” my hairdresser reassured me. “In the beginning there is still a lot of the previously dyed color in the hair.“ Got it! The darker the hair was previously dyed, the more difficult and tedious it is to get a nice clear gray shade.

New hair, new clothes

With black hair, I could just wear (almost) any color. At first with the yellow and orange streaks, I only dressed in black. With every other color I felt like carnival. Much too colorful when the hair was already colorful. I also reduced my makeup, which was already minimal, to almost zero, just a little mascara and no noticeable lipstick. This color phobia has only subsided since I achieved the hairstyle I had imagined this year: salt and pepper. But that also means that I have to be careful when choosing colors for my clothes. Fluffy tones and oldie’s beige make me pale and sallow, spinach green and mustard yellow make the silver strands appear yellowish. And completely without a contour on the face is also not possible. This is also confirmed by my expert: “If you let gray grow out, you have to be ready to put on a little make-up. Even a lipstick and a little eye make-up will help. If someone is very pale and then lets the gray grow out and perhaps doesn’t have a good haircut, then it quickly looks old.“ My solution: A hint of lipstick and now in Corona times a dark eyeliner that emphasizes the eyes over the mask.

Speaking of cut

Last year I sat on the hairdresser chair every ten weeks to trim and once every three months to do my hair. In order to achieve a smooth transition, strands in the roots are colored from the previous color, but also lighter ones. Manfred Kraft explains it like this: “I take a step back, so to speak, by adding a few strands of the old color again and lightening the grays that have already grown out. This blurs the approach.“ A millimeter of work for the colorist, because the strands have to be extremely fine, especially for subsequent bleaching sessions. One thing is clear: bleaching is an ordeal for your hair. My colorist therefore mixes an additive with the bleaching substance that protects the hair fiber from the aggressive chemicals. And after that I get a glossing every time, which intensifies the color and brings shine. I needed a total of four color deprivation treatments until I was finally really happy with the result. But work at home continues …

Anti-brass strategy

Gone are the days when I always used a shampoo that I had on hand or a new product that I wanted to try out. To counteract the yellow tinge, I only use silver shampoos. And then more often a hair mask with blue-violet pigments. You do something for the care at the same time and get a nice shade of gray. If the brass effect is noticeable again, I leave the treatment on for 20 minutes or longer, under a plastic cover and a towel. On the other hand, you shouldn’t cure too often, otherwise the light strands will take on an intense purple tone. I also use a top-quality serum that wraps around my hair like armor and prevents it from breaking off after bleaching. Now someone should say again, gray hair doesn’t require any effort …

photos: @up_n_co

gray hair

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