Gray Hair Means Green
by Trash Talk with Anna Craig on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Long gone are the days of roller sets but the champagne blondes and the caramel browns are here to stay. Years ago when I got out of beauty school, a friend told me to go work by the local university to get all the cool college students as my clients. But there is no money in 19 to 22 year olds. I wanted their mothers and their mother’s mothers, the clients with gray hair. My clients’ ages are a broad spectrum, but a huge percentage are Baby Boomers. They have a consistent income, they want to cover their gray and they need to look polished and professional constantly. Having a client who only comes in once or twice a year when they stumble upon money or when their parents help out does not build up your clientele. You want a client that comes in every 3 or 4 weeks to keep their look maintained.
When I have a client that is starting to get more gray, I know that they will be making an investment in their appearance. I suggest that they come in every 3 or 4 weeks for maintenance. The first appointment will be to get a Halo Highlight (5 to 6 foils), a root-touch up and a haircut. The next time I see them, 3 or 4 weeks later, I will just do a root-touch up. This keeps the client on a schedule; they never have to worry about their gray showing and your books will be full. I also suggest that they lighten their hair a bit to help make the line of demarcation a little more subtle. Once your client realizes that you have a plan for them and their looks, they will be yours forever. Most of my clients like this book for a year or two at a time — they want to know that they are on my books every three weeks so their gray is covered. They are the most reliable clients because they do not want to be caught with “horrible” gray roots. Always talk to them about vacations and other occasions they might have coming up to make sure their appointments are aligned — their hair should always look good!
Making sure that your clients are always pre-booked and are coming in more often will fill up your books and your wallet. If you let your clients leave and say, “Call me,” there is a chance that they will never come back. Always set out a plan for your clients, their hair and the future of their look. Gray hair might be bad for your clients, but it is always good for you, because you will definitely be seeing that client more often. My rule of thumb for my clients with more than 30% gray: always use 20vol, always leave the color on for 45 minutes and always use at least half Neutral in any formula for optimal gray coverage. This will guarantee full gray coverage for perfect results.
Ron King: Is Gray the New Black?
by The Style King/Ron King on Monday, August 30th, 2010
Ron King has worked as a hairstylist, transforming people’s appearances, for more than 20 years. With a growing celebrity clientele, King travels the world taking inspiration from different cultures and countries. Along the way, he has developed his own “easy wear” style philosophy which plays up a woman’s natural hair texture and pairs it with natural-looking makeup that’s easy to apply. This mantra led him to launch a signature line of cosmetics for women who want to look pulled together but who are are short on time. King has worked with some of the most respected names in the industry, including L’Oreal Professional, Ted Gibson, Eva Scrivo and Rick Wellman.
There’s been something underfoot with manicure colors this summer…. The boring neutrals and vampy, dark purple/black shades of nail lacquer we saw last year have gone the way of square-shaped nails, and all but disappeared from the hands of discerning fashionistas the world over.
In their place? A new shade called “greige,” a combination of gray and beige, as the name implies, that is totally chic and acts as its own kind of neutral. Less dated and expected than creams and pale pinks, but not as drastic as the sultry dark shades we’ve also been seeing, it’s nearly the perfect nail polish color. The shade looks great on most skin tones and with a variety of looks (just look at the celebs sporting the nail polish shade, from Karen O to Megan Fox, for evidence)… It adds sophistication to a more edgy ensemble and makes the classic shapes and colors we’ve seen on the runways for Fall 2010 more fun and trendy. It’s also an inexpensive way to perk up your style and update older looks.
I suggest wearing this nail color again on a shortish, rounded nail and make sure your nails are well-groomed! The grayish beige tends to look sloppy on unkempt nails. The color has been popular since last spring, but is becoming more mainstream presently (for those who fear the trend is a bit risque for them). I recommend trying Chanel’s nail color #505 or Revlon’s Steel Etto for a more affordable option.
Easing Your Clients into Covering Their Gray
by Victoria Wurdinger on Friday, September 4th, 2009
You can customize your clients’ services to address their gray hair needs.
With more clients embracing their natural curl, the first sign of gray presents a predicament. Suddenly, the client who learned to love what’s natural is forced to consider a synthetic fix. Statistics show the woman most likely to color only because she has to is a brunette. And brunettes dominate the naturally curly world.
Gray strays and scattered patches will show up first. Eric Fisher, owner of two Eric Fisher salons and Eric Fisher Academy in Wichita, KS, says “The thing about a little gray in curl is that it pops, so you see it more; you’re dealing with shapes, as opposed to straight lines.”
If there are just a few gray strays, pluck them out, says Fisher. When styling, you can also grab an area, hold the section and push it to the roots. This camouflages the gray. But it won’t be long before such techniques aren’t enough. Since most new-to-gray clients won’t want or need a full-coverage solution, try these non-committal “Gray-Aways” instead.
At Salvatore Minardi in Madison, NJ, salon owner Minardi takes a hands-on approach. “For those clients with very dark hair who have only a few silver pieces, I mix a close-to-natural formula with or without ammonia, depending on the porosity of the hair,” says Minardi. “Then I apply the color with my glove-covered fingers, putting on just the silver strands.”
Fisher takes a similar approach, focusing on artistic spot-control. “For the client who is concerned with becoming a slave to haircolor, I use a very small, professional paint brush,” he says. “First, get the curls to stand up by completely fluffing up the hair. Then paint the color on the grays only. Use permanent color in the same level and tone as the client’s.” (The reason for his permanent choice: A semi-permanent product might not take if the hair is resistant, and if it’s porous because of the curl, the color could get cloudy over time or fail to provide the desired coverage.)
Often, pesky gray strands will pop-up at the part line, hairline or in a single patch, but nowhere else. In Santa Monica, CA, Jet of Jet Rhys salon says what’s worse: “On curly hair, these babies are wiry.” She banishes them one of two ways.
- “First, spray them away,” says Rhys. “I use Bumble and bumble’s Hair Powder, which comes in glorious shades. My trick is to spray a soft toothbrush with the powder and brush those grays away.” Natch, you can retail the powder.
- Another option: Use a semi- or demi-color, and sponge away grays. Semi-permanent color is best for transforming grays into subtle highlights on blondes, light redheads or brunettes, while demi shades provide better coverage for gray blending. Rhys dampens curl (the better to see those grays) and uses a fresh, damp sponge. “Dip it in color and squeeze it to eliminate most of the product,” she says. “Then apply it to the grays. All the nooks and crannies of the sponge soak up just enough color. Best of all, the sponge keeps the product contained. As you swipe it down the hair, no color will drip down. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition.”
For clients who fear color changes—and dreaded the line of demarcation—choose semi-permanent products that are the same level as the natural color or one level lighter. This reduces the contrast between the gray and the natural color and avoids a dramatic color change.
“These color glosses will stain the gray and take the edge off whiteness,” says Redken color consultant and salon colorist David Stanko. “They won’t lift, lighten or redden the natural color. After all, color-shy clients want to hide it, not flaunt it. I like Redken Shades EQ. For the dark-haired client with some gray, O3N Espresso; the medium brunette is likely to love O5N Walnut.”
- For curly hair, killer apps count. Be more diligent with the application and more aware of product saturation, says Stanko. “Curl creates the illusion of color repelling off. Continue to smooth the gray section with the product; don’t necessarily add more product. Heat and friction cause the color to process.”
- You can also do a fast app for gray blending. This is especially good for men seeing gray, who want to look younger. Use a demi-permanent product at the sink, and leave it on for just 3 to 5 minutes. The guys will look like they are barely starting to go gray, and they won’t see roots. (Only right if the gray is under 50%.)
- Minardi always suggests two or three, non-committal techniques, not necessarily for coverage but to blend and enrich the client’s curly haired look. Sometimes, a few highlights can do the trick. “I may advise a few tiny threaded foils, with or without ammonia, so as to brighten or tone some hair,” he says. “This distracts the client from noticing the frizzy gray strands. Another option is for clients with curly, naturally blond hair, and this technique implements very small percentage of ammonia that will brighten, enhance and soften the frizzy gray.” (In general, highlighting or lowlighting won’t cover gray completely, because of its scattered placement.)
- Men and color-shy clients will appreciate a retail solution. Sometimes, a pigment-packed conditioner, left on for 5 minutes with heat does the job. Salons can also retail Color Mark’s Gray Gone, a true temporary that can be applied at home, and stays until it is shampooed out. It comes with a sponge-tip applicator that’s just right for those hairline pop-ups that always seem to appear between retouches.
- Generally speaking, graying or “salt and pepper” hair can be spot-colored, blended or treated with a semi- or demi-permanent color product, which makes outgrowth less obvious. Always choose a formula at or within two levels of the natural color. For a low-maintenance approach, you can also foil in a smattering of highlights through the heaviest gray areas, and then apply a semi- or demi-permanent color between the foils. This is particularly effective around the front hairline.
- While most colorists move to a permanent product for hair that’s more than 50% gray, the natural level is the most important and overlooked factor. The darker it is, the more problems you can have avoiding orange or brass. For the true, dark brunette, go demi, regardless of the percentage of gray, advise several colorists.
- Finally, if curly, gray strays are wiry and super-resistant, apply unmixed developer directly to grays to help expand the cuticle and pre-soften the hair. Then apply your chosen formula right over the top.