Going Gray on Purpose (2)

Cara Delevingne with gray hair
Cara Delevingne - Photo: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock
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No one is feeling like they can't pull it off. Even Rihanna commented that "gray is the new black" and she is always on top of what's new and hot. As for OITNB's Dascha Polanco, she shared in an interview that she was inspired by her stylist's gray wig, so she decided that this would be her new look. Amazingly enough, gray has worked for everyone it has touched. And with many people looking much younger than they actually are.
I think that this is a great way to see what it is like to go gray and get used to the concept, but in a fun way and in your own control. When we have control of a situation, we feel less threatened. Had I been able to predict when my gray hairs would be popping up, I would have been able to ease my way into the idea that they would be showing up. Instead, I was blindsided. But by intentionally choosing to "color" your hair gray, you are taking back the control and that is both powerful and liberating. But, it is a process and not an easy one. So here is what you will endure if and when you take the leap.
You cannot walk into your salon and request your hair to be colored gray like you would red or brown. It doesn't work that way. Yes, you do need a stylist for this or it won't come out the way you want it to. You'll learn why soon enough.
To get to the gray you desire, your stylist will work with you and examine your skin tone and the amount of previous damage that has been done to the follicles to see if this will be a few weeks process or can be done in a four-hour sitting. They will also match the color with your eyes to make everything pop so you don't end up looking drab and boring, because that's not why we get refreshed at the salon.
The first step is to bleach your hair, unless you already have naturally light hair. If you are going from dark to light, this will be a several-week process. But if you are determined enough, it will be well worth it and will teach you a great deal of patience. It is not something that can be rushed because you do not want irreversible damage done to your hair, nor do you want to end up with extreme breakage or even baldness.
Ellie Goulding with gray hair
Ellie Goulding - Photo: Joe Seer/Shutterstock
Health and glamour are the keys when you sit in that hair salon chair, so trust your stylist and their plan. Once they have reached the optimal light level, in comes the toner to create the grayish look that you are aiming for and following that is a regular treatment of purple shampoo and conditioner. Your hair routine will almost be what an older woman’s hair would be like in terms of maintaining the gray/white hues.
You will need to go for monthly touch-ups, which can be expensive, and you are warned that too much bleach could lead you to having to ultimately cut off your hair when you grow tired of having gray hair. Going from light to dark is a process just as difficult as going from dark to light. Your hair is extremely fragile and less absorbent and willing to adhere to colors and pigments; so it is a gamble.
Tyler Oakley with gray hair
Tyler Oakley - Photo: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock
Evan Rachel Wood with gray hair
Evan Rachel Wood - Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
Like with any bold change, you have to be ready to embrace your new look and more than that, you have to be ready to flaunt it and feel good about yourself. I envy those who go naturally gray and now, those who are opting to go unnaturally gray because it is a route I am too scared to take and I have taken almost every hair route imaginable.
I have seen some people on the streets with cute pixie cuts and gray hair and they know how to own it. That are women who knew what they were getting into. I firmly believe that artificial gray hair is a great option for any age if you want to go gray on your own terms. Even if you're already seeing spots or streaks, you're taking back the power and making it yours, and that's a beautiful thing. Have fun and good luck!