“I have always thought that if women’s hair posed so many problems, God would certainly have made us bald.”
I’ve always thought that Satrapi’s quote from Persepolis was one of the best responses to women being required to cover their hair in different cultures. What is it about a woman’s hair that makes it so devious and seductive? I’ve yet to understand why our locks are seen as catalysts of lustful thoughts, but perhaps it’s the fact that they’ve acquired this forbidden nature that’s made them all the more alluring. But in truth, the thing I love most about my hair is that it grows. Literally, anytime I get a bad haircut that deserves to be hidden beneath a paper bag, or more likely a beanie, all I can think about is that thank the heavens it’ll grow back.
It’s because it will always return to its original state that coloring my hair has never been a scary thing. Whatever happens, I can just color over it, cut it, or have fun playing with the awkward stages of growing-out. One hue I’d always wanted to try was gray. Yeah, there’s something about that shiny, metallic style that made me want to be a silver fox, at least for a bit.
But as I scoured the internet looking for images, I realized that there were plenty of details I needed to consider and think about. So if you’re looking for a change and are wondering whether gray is the hue for you, here are some points to keep in mind:
1. You want an unconventional classic look
Gray was totally in vogue in the eighteenth century when wigs became the most stylish fashion item in the market in Europe. While the reason why the male aristocracy needed wigs –to cover bald spots and sores caused by syphilis– is not the coolest, women also started wearing wigs and hair extensions to create lavish and over-the-top hairstyles. They used a silvery powder, and sometimes sprinkled pastel pink or lavender to match their roots to the rest of their look. So it’s no wonder that now we see some of our favorite celebrities wearing this hair dye on the red carpet or during a break from filming.
2. You want to try something different
Even if it’s only for a little while, a change is always good. Perhaps you want to switch up your make-up look and changing your tresses is the best way to get you out of the routine. If you’re only testing the waters, think about getting a balayage, dip dye, or just a few random strands.
3. You’re ready for an investment
Sorry to break it to you but, unless your hair is already lightened to a very a pale yellow, you’re probably going to have to get it lightened professionally. You can try it at home, but you’d be risking the integrity of your hair. If possible, find a stylist who specializes in pastels, since they’ll not only need to get your hair to a level 9 or 10, but also tone it properly to keep it from going brassy or looking muddy. Remember to ask for a bond builder or any other additive that will protect your locks from damage. It’s not going to be cheap, but it will look and feel healthy.
4. You’re not afraid of the upkeep
Perhaps this is only a one-off, but if not, consider that you’ll need to be going to the salon for upkeep. This is not just about your roots but also toning and maintaining the quality of the hue. Because blue is the most prominent pigment in this color, and the one that washes out the fastest, you’ll need to have a purple shampoo, as well as a silver toning mask or treatment. This is to avoid the gray from losing its vibrancy and to keep it looking its best.
5. You’ve got your aftercare ready
You’ll also need to have products that keep your hair moisturized and healthy. Because even with the bond builder, lightening your hair often leads to brittle and dry ends. Choose either a haircare line that’s good for color treated hair or mix it with a natural product like coconut oil. Also you might want to avoid using heat tools, since these will only dry out your ends even more.
6. Your hair is part of your outfit
Changing your hair color is a great way to try out different looks. The reason why gray works with every skin tone is because, eventually, we’ll all go gray naturally. So don’t be afraid to experiment with blue, purple, or burgundy mascara, violet-almost-black lipstick, or rainbow highlighter. This is your chance to find your new style.
7. You’ve got different hues to try
Like the book says, there are several shades of gray, which means you can test out different tones. You can go for a silvery white or dark metallic titanium. You can even choose to go multidimensional and have different grays that create a certain movement and effect. The point is to experiment and have fun.
8. You want to transition into pastels
So, what if you’ve been longing to try out the palest shade of pink or lilac? Usually to get those tones right you’d have to lighten your hair to the fairest shade and then tone it purple before going pastel. Luckily, if you’ve gone gray you can easily switch up towards pastel. You can start with a strand or just the ends, and then work your way to getting all of your hair in that tone.
So what will you choose? If you’ve got the hair dye itch, don’t be afraid. Go for something unexpected and fun. You’ll never know when you might discover your favorite shade or style!
Images from: Iva, Kristy Che, My Silver Hair, and Silver Hair Lovers.
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