9 Things You Need To Know If You Plan To Rock Silver Hair


Your romance with unicorn hair color is coming to an end. You’re looking for something new. Something unique, elegant, high quality. You’ve filled your Pinterest board with photos of silver foxes, and now you believe you are ready to rock the elegant, chic, gray hair trend. Doable? Possibly. But, warns Los Angeles hairstylist , you must be prepared to commit. “I tell clients who request silver hair it’s like baseball,” she says. “They have to trust me to be the coach and follow my instructions. If they do, I can make them a star player.” Here are 9 important things to know if you’re hoping to sport silver hair.

It Could Take Time

The lighter you want your silver hair to be, and the darker your natural hair color, the longer it will take to get to where you want to be color-wise. “In order to achieve a beautiful, even silver hair color, the hair must first be lightened to almost white,” Jessica explains. “In order to lighten hair safely, it’s best to go slow and do it in stages. So if your hair is darker than dark blonde, it may require several visits to the salon--with time in-between for the hair to recover--to lighten it to the correct stage.”

Time = Money

Each visit to the hair salon will cost money. So be sure to talk to your stylist in depth before beginning the process to understand exactly what you will likely spend. Then decide if it works with your budget.

You May Have to Go Shorter

If your hair requires lots of lightening to get to the gray hair color of your dreams, the ends may not stay healthy through each stage of the process. So be prepared to lose some length. “I have a client with natural dark hair who wanted silver hair,” says Jessica. “When we started, her hair was to her waist. Now, a year later, it’s a beautiful silver but it’s up to her shoulders. You have to know all the possibilities going in to the process.”

Different Shades of Gray Last Different Periods of Time

Gray hair color definitely fades, and some grays fade more quickly than others. According to Matrix Artistic Director and Boston salon owner Michael Albor, you can expect a lighter grey hair color to fade more quickly than a deeper, charcoal tone. “But new hair color products, like those in the Matrix Mixed Metals metallic collection, fade quite nicely,” he says. “They stay on-tone—they don’t turn green like some gray hair colors tend to do.”

You Don’t Have to Go All the Way

If you’re not up to the full gray hair commitment, consider some creative alternatives. For example, says Michael, “We might just apply some silver highlights and then tone the hair with a cool toner and get a great, cool overall effect. Or if you have dark hair, you can overlay a rich, smoky tone that looks really nice.” You may also consider silver-toned shades like metallic blue or violet or rose gold.


Hair Color Credit: @constancerobbins

Avoid the Flat White

It may be a favorite coffee order at Starbucks, but when it comes to silver hair color, flat white is never flattering. You want the same type of dimension that you see in natural hair color—namely, deeper roots that gradually morph into lighter ends. “I always create a darker base that floats into lighter dimension on the ends,” confirms Jessica. “Solid gray or silver hair color looks like a mistake.”

Know Your Complexion

Grey and silver hair are cool in tone, and if your complexion isn’t suited to cool-toned hair color, these hues may not be for you. “I love these shades on pale white or olive skin,” comments Michael. “I don’t think they work well on pink-tinged skin. However, there are many metallic variations in the new Matrix Mixed Metals collection, like peachy silver and rose gold, so you can choose a warmer metallic hair color if it’s better for your skin tone.”

Jessica likes to give clients the jewelry test to determine their potential for looking good in silver hair. “I ask them, ‘which looks better on you, silver jewelry or gold jewelry?’” she explains. “If they say, ‘silver jewelry washes me out,’ I tell them they’ll have the same result with silver hair color and they probably won’t be happy with it.”


Shampoo Less Often and Your Silver Hair Color Will Last Longer

Shampooing your hair is the enemy of silver hair color, so try to stretch the time between cleansing. Invest in a good dry shampoo to keep your hair fresh for as long as possible. When you do shampoo, keep the water as cool as you can stand, because hot water causes hair color to fade more quickly. “I tell my clients to buy one of those handheld shower heads and hook it up to the faucet in the sink so they don’t have to take a cold shower,” says Jessica.

Purple Shampoo Will Help

Using a purple-toned shampoo once a week or so will help keep unwanted warm tones out of your silver hair. The rest of the time, be sure to use shampoos and conditioners that are sulfate-free and formulated expressly to coddle color-treated hair, as recommended by your hair stylist. “I will not guarantee my work if my clients don’t use the shampoos and conditioners I recommend,” says Jessica. “A shampoo that is too harsh will strip out the color immediately.”