The first appearance of silver can be a demoralizing and frustrating experience, initially sending some of your female clients running for the tweezers and a magnifying mirror. The good news is that you can be a save-the-day wizard of gray coverage by incorporating one of the following three solutions.
The Halo Effect. Most people start graying in the front, requiring additional coverage around the face. I keep the color change to a minimum in the back, doing nothing more than neutralizing the warmth. In the front, I color the hair in ¼-inch sections, creating a halo effect. Since clients tend to see their new gray as lighter hair, using their natural color to cover it might cause them to view it as darker. It's therefore a smart idea to color the front one shade lighter than the back for a softer appearance.
Treasure Hunting for Silver. Let's take the example of a 30-something woman with naturally dark hair and 5 to 10 percent of springy gray strands sprinkled throughout. Adding all-over color is overkill. Even more critical is the fact that it risks compromising the shine of virgin hair. Instead, I use a 50-percent coverage formula that matches her natural color, going through her hair with a rat-tail comb in search of silver and coloring whatever I find. As an extra step, I might add subtle highlights to camouflage any grays I may have missed.
For Men Only. As you well know, darkening gray hair results in an obvious line of demarcation as hair begins to grow out. Since men are less likely to get color as regularly as women, dealing with their graying sideburns and temples should be done by blending. Use a blue- or green-based color, since most ash tones such as these will provide 30-percent gray coverage. Cover just enough of the gray to make it less obvious against his natural color. —E-mail Kim Vo at [email protected].