Should you speed gray your hair?

blended gray highlights

A beautiful example of blended gray hair

Photo via Jessica Speicher Hair

A wonderful community of women who are going “grombre,”—growing out their natural gray and documenting the physical and emotional transformation that comes with the process—are finding comfort and support on Instagram and Facebook. They’re blazing a trail for those of us toying with the idea of finally ditching the dye and going gray, and we salute them.

But what if you are not patient enough for the potentially years-long the growing-out process (unless you’re willing to chop?) And what if you’re ready to throw some money at the situation?

You may want to speed up the process and get it over with all at once. But caution is in order. If you have any doubt that you should hire a professional for going gray fast, please watch the video below. No one wants that (skip to 5:21 for the scary part)!

Lisa of Beauty101byLisa ends up with a head of severely damaged and broken hair. She’s optimistic about it (“It’ll make nice layers!”), but let’s assume that’s not the result you’re going for.

Veteran San Francisco hair stylist Lison Vierra, founder of Vierra & Friends, tells us there is a better option, thank goodness. She blends her clients’ silvers with highlights and lowlights for a natural result that lets the natural grays shine through as much as each individual’s comfort level allows.

“I always tell people this is going to be a fun process,” she told me. “We’re going to have fun, and they’re going to look good. I don’t think it has to be a miserable thing.”

For those who have been covering their gray completely, Vierra starts the process gradually by first lightening the tint color by a half a step lighter each visit, so the client starts to become comfortable seeing the lighter pieces shine through.

“The white starts to be not as much of a contrast,” she said. “It stops covering the gray as well. And they realize, ‘wait, I might survive this. I might even like it!’ It’s like coming into yourself.”

Or for clients who already have quite a bit of gray, she might start with highlights and lowlights, lightening up the hair around the face with bleach, and then toning it a bit.

blended gray hair

Another pretty example of blended gray hair; photo via Rubann

“Then they have something new that makes them start to feel bright,” she said. “Some people have talked themselves into the fact that their gray is the ugly kind. I’m like what? No it isn’t!”

The trick is finding something that will give them a little spark, whether it’s a strategically placed highlight or darker piece. More often than not, clients prefer how they look with silvers and highlights (and/or lowlights), even if it’s intimidating to others. As far as we’ve come towards embracing life after 40 and 50, many are not comfortable seeing a woman embrace her age.

Luckily, with age comes a certain comfort in our own skin. If someone is uncomfortable about the color of our hair, that’s their deal.

“There are a million wonderful things about being older,” Vierra said. “It’s so liberating. You don’t care anymore. You don’t like me? I’m good with it! I’m not going to kill myself trying to make you like me. All those wonderful things. And maybe hair color is an expression of that. It’s like, I’m me now.”

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