Going Gray the Trendy Way: Advice From a Stylist


Confession time: I’ve never dyed my hair. Never highlighted it, frosted it, or anything else. I’d like you to believe that this is because I have some sort of innate confidence in my appearance, but really it is because I am sort of lazy. It seems like a lot of work, and since I only get my hair cut (maybe) once per year, I just knew it wasn’t for me.

When I was in my 20s, I’d tell my husband, “When my hair starts going gray, I am going to own it. I am going to age gracefully. I am never dyeing my hair.”

Now, in my mid-thirties, my hair is going gray fast.

And the hairs are even curlier and wiry than the rest of my curly and wiry hair.

And all of a sudden, I understand the old saying that beauty is wasted on the young. And maybe I never should have said never about coloring my hair.

So here I am. Half of me embracing the gray hair around my temples. Half of me thinking I wish I knew more about my options to cover these suckas up.

Luckily, I have a friend named Becky from high school who is a kick-butt hair stylist. I follow her on Instagram, and she is a hair-magician. She is (and always has been) beautiful and smart, so I am not actually surprised at her magic. I called her and confessed that I don’t know what the heck I am doing. She graciously answered my questions, and I am here to share my newfound knowledge in case you also know nothing about hair or hair dye or even what to ask a hairstylist.

First, and my favorite thing Becky said is that she prefers to call it “white hair.”

White hair is just my normal hair without melanin—without the pigment that makes it dark. To me, white hair sounds a lot nicer, and I will be adopting this term.

So, what are my options if I want to cover up my white hair?

Option One: Highlights

Becky recommended highlights as a good option for me as someone with dark hair who doesn’t make it to the salon often. Subtle highlights that are lighter than my natural color will give my hair dimension and will make the whites less noticeable. Once a year won’t be enough to diffuse whiteness, but she thinks I could make it work visiting my stylist two or three times per year.

Option Two: Demi-Permanent Color

Demi-Permanent color is (obviously) not permanent. To me, the biggest benefit is that it provides more coverage for whites than highlights, but it fades slowly and LEAVES NO LINE. The white just sort of re-emerges as the color fades. I like the idea of having no line as my hair grows out, but Becky says I will need to redo it about every 8 weeks for the best coverage.

Option Three: Permanent Color

Permanent color is a good option for any hair color, but it works even better for blondes because the grow out line is not as noticeable. If your hair is less than 50% white, you should need a touch-up every 6 to 8 weeks. If your hair is more than 50% gray, Becky recommends touch-ups every 4 weeks. Usually permanent dye is just applied to the roots, but if the rest of the hair is looking dull, especially since white hair doesn’t like to hold color, a demi-permanent glaze can be used on the rest of the hair to freshen up the rest of the color without damaging the hair as much as permanent color.

If you are stationed or living in Arizona, you can find Becky at Rumors Salon in Scottsdale or follow her on Instagram @becklilleythehairbinger. You can also call to make an appointment by calling 480-998-1888 or going to the Rumors Salon website at www.rumorssalonaz.com.

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Brittany Velasquez
Brittany hails from Phoenix, Arizona, but has lived all over through her husband’s career in the Air Force. They have moved from Arizona to Texas to Italy to Korea (for him) to Illinois (for she and the kids), and now Texas again — but this time as a reservist! Brittany has three children and currently spends her time studying in graduate school, mastering the art of precision over-the-shoulder snack throwing in her minivan, and saying yes to every single thing anyone asks her to do as a volunteer.