The Art and Science of Graying Gracefully

gray hair woman

By Annie Rosemurgy

On average women notice their first gray hairs in their late 20s, and by age 50 most of us, without intervention, will sport manes of over 50 percent gray. But intervene we do! A 2008 study by Clairol concluded that 75 percent of American women dye their hair. Keeping those grays at bay is time-consuming and expensive. From gray-centric Insta accounts to celebrities rocking the hue, though, it’s clear that a counter-message to the “dye or die” ethos is emerging. Amber Luebke, co-owner and stylist at Lotus Salon in Stoughton says more women are opting out of this intensive hair care cycle and opting into a gentler approach which celebrates the splendor of silver locks.

“Gray hair can be the ultimate natural beauty of maturing,” says Luebke. “In most situations, if the gray hair is kept conditioned it will be incredibly shiny, more-so than other colors, with beautiful body.”

Lovely tresses don’t happen overnight though. Luebke advises her clients to get comfortable with the idea of graying as a process. “I recommend beginning by enhancing a client’s gray—adding dimension and variation to their natural color by adding highlights and low lights while leaving some gray.” She says this strategy “is a great option for those clients who are curious to see some of their gray but aren’t ready to take the full plunge.”

At each maintenance visit, roughly every 16 weeks, clients can decide to go further into their gray journey by adding less color augmentation. Full growth can take a year but can be expedited by sporting a shorter haircut.

Keeping your mane looking its sparkly best takes some special considerations. Conditioning is key. “Gray hair can be coarse and have more layers of cuticle, so conditioning is very important to maintain shine and softness,” says Luebke. Using color-specific shampoo infused with lavender tones deposits silver hues and offsets the brassy notes that can make gray look dull. With some time, professional guidance and just a bit of TLC a striking head of silver hair can be yours!

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