Barbara Hannah Grufferman

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THE NATURAL PROGRESSION OF GRAY — WHAT WILL YOU DO?

I remember the first time I ever “colored” my hair.  It was 1969–a year filled with all kinds of rebellions–and I decided to spritz on a little Sun-In while tanning in the backyard.  In a matter of hours, my blonde hair turned a vibrant shade of orange, to match the Bain de Soleil Gelee’I was using (without SPF, of course!).  My mother helped to fix it with a little of her own “home coloring kit” from Clairol, and it gradually grew out. But (despite the failed first experiment) I was hooked.

Highlighting has been a part of my life since my twenties.  But now that the grays are sneaking in, I asked Frederic Fekkai–a key expert on hair in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 and one of the world’s leading authorities on hair–if I now need to do something else.

Frederic explained “the progression of gray”: There are degrees of gray.  We start out with a few gray hairs.  More come in and we get up to 20 percent, then 30 percent, and eventually our hair is over 50 percent gray.  That’s the natural progession of gray hair . . . women usually do one of the following:

  • color their roots to cover the gray, usually every 3 – 4 weeks (single process)
  • let their gray hair come in and apply highlights(and lowlights) through the hair to blend with the gray and natural hair color
  • go with the gray all the way, with no added color

If going gray all the way is not for you, the good news is gray hair mixes extremely well with highlights, and Frederic strongly recommends using both highlights and lowlights with your gray–regardless of the natural color of your hair–instead of single process.

Most women I know, especially those who have darker hair, tend to go the “single process” route, once the gray hair starts coming in.  But, think about trying this: instead of putting color on your roots every few weeks, get highlights and/or lowlights in your hair, creating beautiful contrast with your natural hair color and your gray. 

Single blocks of color can age you, draining your face, and it can look dated.  And, one of the best things about getting highlights (instead of single process) is you only have to get them “done” every 8 – 12 weeks, depending upon your hair and the look you’re trying to achieve.

Think about it. If you’ve already been doing single process, you may think it’s too late, or too hard, to switch over to highlights.  But it isn’t.  Put yourself in the hands of a good colorist, explain what you want to do, and together you’ll make it happen.

It’s modern, fresh, and it’s another way of embracing your age, instead of hiding it.

Or, you can truly embrace your gray . . . and go all the way!

Think about it . . .

Best of Everything,

Barbara

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2 Responses to “THE NATURAL PROGRESSION OF GRAY — WHAT WILL YOU DO?”

  1. I haven’t yet had the courage to go gray. Just had it coloured again yesterday and my hairdresser remarked how stubborn some of the little gray strands were getting … of course, right on the top of my head! Argh.

    My girlfriend went all gray and it looks beautiful. I WILL think about it.

  2. Sarah says:

    I stopped coloring my hair a couple of years ago. It was a long process, waiting for the the colored ends to grow out, but the results were so worth it! I get so many compliments on my hair now, and people actually tell me I look *younger*. I think the lightness around my face brings out my blue eyes and brightens my face. It also projects confidence that you are comfortable with your age and in your skin.

    Like you, Barbara, I also stopped blow-frying my hair and have learned to embrace my naturally wavy hair. Loved hearing you on the Dr. Oz show and am going to order your book right now!

    Here’s a photo of my new natural color:
    https://www.bellalunatoys.com/media//from_owner_sarah_baldwin.jpg