Is grey the new black? When it comes to colouring your hair, it just might be. Silvery-grey hair, if you hadn’t already noticed, has been having a moment for, well, quite some time. And judging from the endless parade of famous faces going grey, it seems like the smoke show won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
Nowhere has the #silverhair trend been more enthusiastically embraced than on social media platforms, where thousands of under-30s have been posting silver selfies. Indeed, Instagram has spoken—and with well over one million posts for #silverhair (and counting), there’s ample amount of “grey-spiration.”
But while it remains one of the coolest colours to take over the ’gram, attaining a pitch-perfect shade of pearly grey that’s neither ashy nor honeyed isn’t easy. It can be an equal parts taxing and tedious undertaking and demands a lot of upkeep to keep it lustrous and healthy looking. And just because someone has already started going grey naturally doesn’t make it any easier.
“It’s just not as simple as dousing your hair with grey dye,” says Montreal-based hair pro Christine Geiger. “It’s totally doable to dye your hair grey at home, but you have to think about your natural hair colour and texture, have realistic expectations and be willing to be patient with the process.”
Here’s the first thing you need to know about going grey: bleach. “In order to achieve a true silver tone, your hair needs to be stripped of its colour and be as close to white as it can reach,” explains Geiger. “If you try colouring your hair before you get the perfect base, the yellow will start to come through and you won’t achieve that true silver-grey tone.”
A lightener like L’Oréal Paris Féria Extra Bleach Blonde will take you from black to platinum blonde while still maintaining the integrity of your hair. But if your hair is naturally pretty dark or prone to breakage, you might have to bleach multiple times in separate sittings to achieve that total transformation.
Once you have attained a white-blond base, here’s how to do a silver mane makeover every step of the way.
Part your hair into small, even sections and then mix L’Oréal Paris Féria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Colour in Silver Gray in a small bowl until the colour is totally blended.
Apply the dye from roots to tips to each section of your hair until your strands are fully saturated. Geiger notes that you don’t necessarily have to start right at the scalp: “You can choose to leave your dark roots peeking through at the top, like they’re supposed to show, for a chic and effortless effect. Just be sure to work the colour with your fingertips so that the line between where your grown-out roots end and grey colour starts isn’t so stark.”
Following the instructions on the pack, let the colour develop for 35 minutes, making sure not to leave it on for longer than recommended.
When the time is up, wash out the dye and apply a nourishing conditioner to give your hair an extra hit of hydration and shine.
Blow-dry and style to your preference. Geiger created some waves on our model’s blunt lob for a beachy take on bright silver, smoothing any flyaways with L’Oréal Paris Stylista #Sleek serum.
Once you’ve got your gorgeous grey locks, here’s how to care for it. Geiger recommends using a sulphate-free purple shampoo like L’Oréal Paris EverPure Blonde, to reduce brassiness and help keep the silver tones in your hair as long as possible. L’Oréal Paris EverPure Blonde Conditioner will deposit the tone, condition your hair and add moisture.
You also want to make sure you’re using a purple-tinted mask several times a month to refresh and keep your colour strong, adds Geiger. L’Oréal Paris EverPure Blonde Shade Reviving Treatment is gentle and free of sulphates that can strip your silver. Plus, it gets rid of any unwanted yellow tones that can pop up.
A gorgeous grey colour can be a lot of work, but for the hair of your dreams? Worth it.