Going Gray; the Latest in Hair Coloring Trends

This photo is in the Going Gray post Step 1 Bleaching the hair

Going Gray: the latest hair in coloring trends is a style that I did not consider until my stylist suggested trying it. In my late thirties, I started coloring my hair using semi-permanent colors to cover the gray hair I was starting to get. I did not have a significant amount of gray, nor was it difficult to cover. However, hair becomes coarser as we age and becomes more resistant to color application. Therefore, I eventually had to upgrade to permanent color, which better covers wiry, ornery hairs!

Beth Ives with long dark  curly hair
This photo was taken on Thanksgiving, 2002. I was 42 years old.

Baby Steps; Blended in the Gray with Highlights

Tired of the time and money I was spending to keep my gray hair covered, my stylist recommended using highlights to blend in my gray hair. Switching to highlights saved me money and anguish because I stopped worrying about every little gray hair! Highlighting really did the trick, and unless you were really looking, the gray was not noticeable. I alternate between a cut and a cut + highlight every 5 – 6 weeks. I achieve the maximum usage of each highlight.

beth ives with hair highlights

Going Gray; the Latest in Hair Coloring

When the Going Gray trend began, gray hair went from being a tell-tale sign of your age to the latest fashionable hair trend. I began seeing this hair coloring trend; shades were stark white to charcoal gray and every shade in between!

The Going Gray Plunge

When my hairstylist suggested the going gray trend, I was interested but concerned about the possible outcomes. However, after mulling it over for a few months, I eventually agreed it would be fun to try it. I tried to achieve a stark white to silver and eventually settled on a beautiful dark gray. I want to point out that perfecting the results until I was satisfied took 4 – 6 months and more money! Just prepare yourself for the possibilities!

Step 1: Bleaching the Hair

The first step is to lift the color from the hair. If you have light-colored hair, this step is not too bad, and you will not need to keep the bleach on for long. However, if your hair is dark in color, you can expect the bleaching process to take a while. After trial and error, we determined 45 – 60 minutes was necessary for my dark hair.

Bleaching my hair to lift my dark color out. To heat things up, my head is wrapped in plastic wrap.
Wrapping your head in Saran wrap heats the bleaching process.

Step 2: Perfect Shade of Gray

Getting the color just right is a fine-tuning process that takes time. I went through many hair color cycles before finally hitting the perfect shade of gray for my coloring.

I found my perfect shade of gray when I found the photo to the right. The various shades of dark to silver are lovely and suit my dark hair. I took the photo to my stylist, and she determined the correct hair color products to use.

Joico Semi-Permenent Hair Color

Joico Color Intensity line has a wide range of colors and can be purchased on Amazon reasonably. There is no mixer needed, and the shade can be adjusted by mixing in multiple shades or diluting the color with a hair conditioner. I chose three shades that complement each other, Titanium, Pewter, and Silver Ice, and mixed three equal parts of all shades. In general, you want to apply color to clean dry hair and leave it on for 20 – 30 minutes. Hair should be rinsed, washed, and conditioned after coloring.

Joico Color Intensity
Tools of the trade

Step 3: Maintaining Your Hair Color

Each time you wash your hair, you lose a little bit of color. Therefore using shampoo and conditioner specifically for color-treated hair is recommended. Further to that unless your hair is oily, I suggest reducing the number of hair washes to every 2 – 4 days. I have tried a few of the color deposit shampoos that claim to remove the yellow undertones from bleaching. In my opinion they do nothing other than clean your hair. Having said that I have seen good results from women with blond hair. The most important thing is to choose a formula that gently cleanses the hair without stripping the color.

Redken Color Extend Depositing Gradient Shampoos

Covid19 Silver Linings

Even in the most gloomy of times there is usually a silver lining or two. It was during the Covid19 lock-down in California that I stopped the recurring bleaching and coloring process to turn myself prematurely gray. I’m pretty sure my scalp was grateful to me when I stopped bleaching my hair. I look at myself in the mirrow now and wonder why it me so long to embrace my hair color gray and all just the way it is!

Beth Ives in her current Natural Hair color

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