Go Gray Gracefully

Congratulations! Youve decided to be yourself and stick to your roots your gray roots, that is. Youre saying goodbye to the long hours spent in a salon chair covering those silver strands, and hello to a beautiful, affordable, and best of all, natural hairdo. Its going to feel good going gray, and heres how to do it gracefully.

In the Salon:

1. The first step in going gray is to tell your hairdresser. Given her knowledge of your hair, its color, texture, and length, she can help you plan a gradual process for weaning off the hair dye. As Lydia Cassia, owner and stylist at Salon Elle Hair Artistry (http://www.salonellehair.com/index.htm) in Westchester, NY explains, There are many options for women during the transition period to gray. If you have dark colored hair, you might consider going lighter with highlights and lowlights that will make the gray hair blend in better. Or, you might consider a demi (semi-permanent) color or a tinted glaze, says Cassia. But, odds are you dont want to just abandon any coloring whatsoever because grays grow in differently on different women. Some women see large streaks of gray or white, while others only have it near their hairline, and still others see it grow in all over. Its important to ask you hair professional to guide you and your hair needs in the right direction, says Cassia.

2. Speaking with your hairdresser will also be beneficial when it comes to deciding on your hair cut and style. Now that youre going gray, do you really want long locks? You may want to opt for a shorter do, which Cassia says normally works best with gray hair, but choose a style thats still modern and stylish. Decide what you feel comfortable with you have every right to look like a silver fox, and you dont have to resort to a Granny style.3. Because gray hair is much more coarse and brittle than normal hair, anything that will soften and add shine to your locks is recommended. Shine is the key to having young hair, whether youre gray or not, says Cassia. If your hair is frizzy, a keratin treatment at a salon is great. A keratin treatment softens and shines hair the chemical-free way, thanks to its protein-rich formula. Ask your stylist if they offer the treatment, make sure they use a formaldehyde-free version, and expect to pay about $200-$400 for the one to three hour treatment that will last three months or more. At Home:1. Now that you have silver strands, you will need to adjust your beauty routine, especially your hair care products. Besides spending a little more time blowdrying to keep your hair looking its best, Cassia suggests using products that will keep your hair conditioned, shiny, and will get rid of that yellowish tint that unfortunately loves your new hue. Heres a shampoo and conditioner combo that combat that problem, plus an at-home clear glaze that is a cheaper alternative to a keratin treatment:
Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo Blonde & Silver ($5.99, houseofbeautyworld.com)Clairol Shimmer Lights Conditioner Blonde & Silver ($7.99, beautybasicsupply.com)LOreal Paris: Colorist Secrets, Shine Gloss ($9.99, lorealparisusa.com) (Shown)2. Now that your hair looks great, its time to focus on the other aspects of your look. Most women worry that going gray will make them appear washed out and older than they actually are, but theres an easy way to fix this: brighten up your makeup! Incorporate more colorful blushes, eye shadows, and lipsticks to evoke a youthful look that defines your features, just like Helen Mirren does. Toss those neutral shades that will make your face look dull now that its framed by gray.3. The same concept applies to your wardrobe: the colors you wear now have to complement your hair. Black always looks great, but try other colors such as purple (a major color for fall) and other jewel tones like blue, green, and red. If you need some guidance, look to stars who have silver tresses, like Jamie Lee Curtis who always looks great.Most importantly, the way to go gray gracefully is to own it and feel comfortable with your changing look. Find what works best for you, and dont believe the myth that gray hair automatically makes you old. In fact, when you embrace your natural color, you may look better than you ever have before.
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