All this time you thought I was a nice boy from
I then go on to explain that I love grey hair. Do I think grey=old? No. Do I think grey hair is less maintenance? I'll get to that later. However, I have no control what my clients think of themselves and what society tells us an "old lady" looks like. As far as double standards go, I think few are as blatantly unfair as Grey: Men vs. Women. This debate goes deep into the past, with the same question--why do men get to be distinguished and women are just "old"?
I believe this is a changing tide. When I started working in the beauty industry about ten years ago it was uncommon for affluent women who had been coloring their to stop. Sure, there have always been circumstantial reasons like budget or illness; and there have always been women who never started coloring their hair. But nowadays there are a lot of healthy and vivacious women who can afford to continue coloring their hair who choose to stop. I'm totally on board.
First and foremost I am a hairstylist to make money. When I started in beauty school I thought I wanted to do all "hairshow" hair. Crazy cuts, outrageous color, all the "fun" stuff. I think most people in beauty school start out thinking that's the type of hair they will build their career on. But as I grew into the profession and began building skills, I quickly learned a few things:-hot pink haircolor will always be shocking. No matter how well or poorly it is applied.
-Often clients who want hot pink haircolor are not the type of client around which a business can be built. I realize by saying this I run the risk of sounding like an asshole. It's sort of an asshole thing to say. But a successful salon is fueled by clients coming regularly. Pink hair is usually a one time thing. It's a really fun thing to do, nonetheless. I've done it. I have the photos, but I'm not sure I can bear to look at them.
The deeper I got into my career the more I began to appreciate and enjoy the challenge of keeping it simple. I found it was far more difficult to craft a natural blonde haircolor than it was to create a shockingly bright green. I built an understanding of the fine details that lie within the shades and subshades of all haircolor. To transform a dull brunette into a rich sable with undertones of mahogany and highlights of not-too-gold caramel demands tremendous skill. I have found success with my color clients, I think, because my mission is always to work within their palette. I feel anyone can have any haircolor; if she has the colorist who can translate it to her skin, eyes, and lifestyle. I also learned that women who want this kind of attention to detail in a hairstylist are willing to pay the premium. The focus of my salon is never on volume. I have a small clientele and each client is immensely valuable to me.
The slogan for my business all things beautiful came to me in a second. After adding it to my logo in 2011 I wondered what made it fit so easily? Coincidentally it has 18 characters, just like my name. To say that was a happy accident would be an understatement. All things beautiful is what ties my mind together. I was surprised when people had trouble wrapping their head around a hairstylist who caters who also does floral work. Looking back I see the confusion. I've always seen these things as having far more in common. Whether designing a haircut, a floral centerpiece, or a fabulous vinaigrette--there is only one thing you really need. An eye, a sense for proportion. I feel that I was gifted with this sense for proportion. It came at the expense of many other things like basic math skills and being able to throw a ball further than two feet.
What does grey hair have to do with this? A lot.
A woman who wants to quit coloring her hair needs a hairstylist who accepts and appreciates this decision. She also needs a hairstylist who has a strong eye for proportion. You could say designing haircolor is like designing an English garden. Weaving colors together in similar shades to harmonious effect. There is a star and there are backup singers. Easier said than done. You could say designing a haircut for grey hair is like tending a Japanese garden. An exercise in restraint, a manipulation of the ordinary to striking effect.
Another common problem with grey hair is not maximizing the platinum tones. Grey can catch slightly yellow or green tones. Often this is a result of product build up. But it can also be environmental. Using a violet shampoo and conditioner like this once a week can help:
This helps grey hair just like it does blonde hair. Because blonde and grey hair are both void or slightly void of color, they are susceptible to color change from minerals in water, chemicals in products, and free radicals and particles in the air. It works in two ways. It is a slight exfoliant which helps open the outermost layer of the hair and it deposits a faint violet toner that corrects the off tones. You want a shampoo that deposits color rather than removes. Often people feel that violet shampoos are similar to grocery store shampoos like Sheer Blonde. Sheer blonde actually has a diluted hydrogen peroxide in it that lifts the overall color slightly. Not what we want with grey hair. Long term it will lead to more dryness.
If the unpleasant tones persist after using a violet-based shampoo for a month, a toner could also be considered. I have one client who I use a clear toner/sealer on once about every two months. I add a tiny drop of pastel violet and it transforms her grey from sort of dingy to fabulously platinum. If you are considering this, MAKE SURE your hairstylist is going to use a zero lift/deposit only developer. Even a 10vol developer could change the texture and color of your hair.
Some clients also feel that as their hair goes grey, it becomes much more difficult to style. This is sometimes because they are continuing to style it just as they did their hair was colored. The key to styling grey hair is to look at it with fresh eyes. Don't think about how it used to be styled. Assess how it wants to be styled now. If your hair has a persistent cow lick to the right, there is no point in styling it to the left. Following the lines in which the hair grows makes for unbelievably easy styling. If you have curly hair, choose a haircut that works with curly hair. Often along the natural partline grey hair will have the most dimension. I'm not sure why this is, but it usually holds true. Exposing the natural highs and lows of grey adds texture and suits the face beautifully.
I saved the easiest tip for last--shine spray! I cannot overstate the importance of using shine spray with grey hair. If you were to follow none of the other tips in this post, I hope you still incorporate shine spray into your morning routine. This is my favorite:
It is light and incredibly moisturizing and really does add tremendous shine. Also it is vegan, gluten free and non-aerosol. I advise spraying the Surface shine spray onto your hair after your towel dry and before you blow dry. If you are going to let your hair air dry, this should be the last product you work in. Spray about three sprays throughout your hair and work through with your fingers. If you wish you can also add another spray once dry.
This is quite a bit more than I had intended to write and I do apologize (to those of you still reading) for being so long-winded. I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about working with grey hair. I will admit there is also a lot of unnecessary attitude among those in my field about "going grey". Some stylists see losing a haircolor client as losing the client all together. I see it as an opportunity. My grey clients are some of my most prolific sources of referrals. I feel this is because a woman wearing her grey beautifully, sharply, and intentionally always turns heads.