You can spend hundreds of dollars each year to keep the grey hairs at bay, but have you considered the alternative — letting your hair shine at its luscious, natural, greying best? We’ve got the inside scoop from hairdresser Tracey Hughes from Mieka Hairdressing for tips on embracing a stylish new look that lets your hair go grey… gracefully.
For most women, hair is at its peak when we’re in our 20s. Once we get past our 30s, however, it starts to show signs of ageing — and it’s no coincidence that this is generally when we start booking in colour touch-ups every eight weeks.
How does your hair “age”?
There are many different ways that our hair can show signs of ageing — caused by both chronological age and hormonal changes — explains Tracey Hughes, creative director, Mieka Hairdressing.
“Hormonal ageing is a result of us getting older, where we see a decline in melanin, and this results in the hair losing colour pigment and going grey,” she explains.
Hair can also get finer each decade due to the hair follicles shrinking, Tracey adds, particularly when we enter our 40s.
And as you celebrate more birthdays, declining melanin levels will not only strip your hair of colour, but you’ll also lose moisture, too.
“A decline in sebum production will affect the condition of the hair and your hair will start to lack lustre as you get older, so it’s important to use the appropriate products to revive your hair,” Tracey says.
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What can you do to embrace ageing hair?
It’s clear that three changes can occur to your hair as you get older: It may lose volume, moisture and colour.
The first two problems can be addressed with the right conditioning products, but the issue of diminishing colour can be a little more complex.
Aim for a natural look
“As you age, it is best to avoid harsh colours that oppose your skin tone, so try to avoid harder colours such as black and ensure your colour selection stays as close as possible to your natural colour,” Tracey advises. “A change in your hair colour could be just what you need to produce a more sophisticated appearance, but remember that choosing your hair colour is much like choosing your clothes. You need to take into account your skin tone and eye colour to determine whether you are a cool or warm complexion, plus factor in the maintenance of your colour upkeep and what commitment you are prepared to take.”
Transition with highlights
Another great option to boost volume and transition towards grey hair graceully is to have natural fine highlights added. “This will blend the grey hair with other tones to produce a beautiful result that is less ageing than going completely grey,” Tracey says. “Also with highlights, the regrowth will be less obvious than an all-over solid colour, so your maintenance program will be more affordable.”
Consult a professional
When choosing your next hair colour, you need to work out what percentage of grey you’re comfortable with and what level of upkeep you want to commit to. This is not the time to save money with a DIY dye job as you could end up with a colour that makes you look older, rather than helping you to age gracefully. “Take into account your image, dress sense, face shape and skin tone when choosing a style or colour that’s right for you,” Tracey advises. “Grey hair is coarser in texture so you may want to consider an in-salon semi-permanent colour; this will soften the tone of grey and add much-needed nourishment.”