From black to gray. I started my exciting hair experiment already last year. It is a long way, but now step by step each appointment at my Milan hairstylist brings me closer to the desired result. My friend Barbara calls it „salt and pepper“.
How everything startet? I’ve been tired of coloring the roots of my naturally black hair for a while. Also I hated to mess with the black paint in the bathroom now and then, when there was no time left to make an appointment at the salon. But I only came to this decision to let the gray strands grow out after a long struggle with myself. I always thought by myself, that gray hair makes everyone looking old. Some years ago when „granny hair“ became trend, I couldn’t get excited about it. Well, a young face without lines and blemishes cannot look old per se. But so far, I’ve only found gray to be good for my grandmother Elsa, and she always wore a shade of blue because of her Spanish ancestry. I myself immediately tore out the first, still isolated, gray hairs in front of the bathroom mirror. No solution, as I soon found out. New ones were added. Even worse, the temple contours became light and lighter. As soon as the hairdresser had recolored it, new grays appeared, nearly happening on the way home. In order to always have a perfect contour, dyeing would soon have been necessary every 14 days.
My hairdresser said no
At some point I got tired and asked my hairdresser, a good pal for many years, if I shouldn’t let the gray strands grow out. He waved it off and said: „No, that doesn’t suit you!“ We experimented briefly with brown strands, which barely stood out in my dark hair. Uncertainty and dissatisfaction continued on my side to be colored black on a regular basis. Then something decisive happened last summer. Through a friend I met in Munich a hairdresser from Milan. His name is Armano. He cut my hair and asked rather casually, if I had thought about to let the gray strands grow out. It was as if he had read my mind. He said the solid black hair would look very hard, like a dark helmet. We arranged an appointment in his salon in Milan for my next trip to Italy. I was a little queasy. In order not to confuse myself even more, I did not discuss the hair topic with friends and family.
My adventure in Milan
When I made my way to Milan in mid-September, I still heard the words of my hairdresser friend in my head: „That doesn’t suit you!“ The gray strands had grown out five centimeters by now, as Armano had asked in order to be able to start changing the color. When I got to his salon in Via Senato, I sat on the chair, nervous enough. How would I look with the change? My black hair and red lipstick had been something like my trademark for years. And as when visiting the dentist, the toothache is blown away, I found my hair the way it was that day especially cool. But I didn’t want to act as a coward either. So I kept quiet. Armano discussed the procedure with me. He said: „To harmonize the gray strands, especially on the temples with the rest we do need a bleaching.“ It removes the color pigments from the hair and forms the optimal basis for subsequent colors, especially with light gray shades. However, the procedure means a lot of stress for the hair and also damages in some way. If you have problems with split ends, you should carefully consider the treatment. I was happy that my hair always has been healthy and lush.
What a procedure!
The hair was divided into passées and each single strand was coated with the bleaching on aluminum foil. In the mirror I saw tangling black hair and silver foil on my head. Overall impression: still black. After hours and even more espressi Armano opened some of the foil packages to check on the progress of the bleaching. He shook his head every time. Not yet finished, was the expression on his face. The darker the hair color, the more difficult it is that the color does not turn yellowish. „And black hair likes to take on a red cast, which we don’t want either“, so he had said already upfront. Then finally it was done.The best possible bleaching result was achieved for this first session. Finally, all of the foils were removed above the sink. The bleaching was washed out thoroughly, and the hair was treated with different haircare products.
The first glance in the mirror. OMG! The bleached strands hung like pale spaghetti in my hair. In this moment I could not share Armanos’ enthusiasm for the result in any way. Haircut and blowdry followed. As natural as possible, please. Just nothing artificially. In the dry state, the pale „spaghetti“ mixed harmoniously with the rest. But overall my hair seemed much lighter than I had expected. When I sat in my train compartment back home a short time later, it was already dark outside. I saw my reflection in the windows and was completely foreign to me. Haircut and color were really great. But was that really me? Big question mark. This feeling was with me for many months. The reactions of the people in my environment were much more positive. I got comments like „the light hair looks much friendlier“, „great color“, or „much better than the hard black hair“ and also some meant „you look years younger“.
A new look was needed
With the changed hair color, my look also changed. I recently found my red-painted lips too pushy, many of my previous favorite outfits now seemed too color-intensive. My hair seemed colorful enough to me with all its various shades of blonde to light orange. Instead of my beloved Tilbury orange-red, I felt more comfortable with rosewood to purple on my lips. Close to the face I only wore monochrome. My hair also needed more care than before. The bleaching had put a lot of strain on it. I now regularly use hair masks to keep them hydrated and to avoid breakage. So called silver shampoos reduce the yellow hue. The new “roughness” of my many and therefore heavy hair has one advantage. They have an enormous volume and the hair becomes never greasy. Dry shampoos are taking a break for the moment.
Second bleaching session
Three months later, just before Christmas, Armano was visiting Munich again. We arranged another bleaching appointment. And what should I say: I am really overwhelmed. The yellow and orange tones have disappeared. The back of the head is now less black. The strands on the forehead finally have exactly the silver tone that I had wished for. Now I’m curious to see what it looks like when my own gray streaks have fully grown out and I wear gray with black instead of the black with gray before. “Salt and pepper“ – as Barbara calls it.
Photos (4): @up_n_co
CultureAndCream Author from Munich
To travel during my profession as a beauty journalist was never enough for my. Also my six month on a world trip didn’t do it. It always attracts me to other cities, foreign countries, on roadtrips and places I don’t know yet. But I am not only interested in “culture” and “cream”, I am also fascinated by people who have stories to tell . Such unique experiences I want to share with you.