Going platinum might have been on the top of my beauty wishlist, but going gray–a la Rihanna, Kelly Osbourne and most recently, Lourdes Leon, Madonna’s daughter–is becoming more and more popular. As with any drastic hair color change, however, going gray shouldn’t be something you rush into. So prior to making any radical decisions, here are the 7 considerations you should keep in mind before reaching for the toner according to Kitty Nadel, the Head Colorist at Ted Gibson.
1. Keep skin tone in mind. As a rule of thumb, Kitty recommends lighter violet silver gray for paler, freckled skin, and darker gunmetal gray for deeper skin tones. As with all processes, it’s best to bring in a photo of the color you’re thinking of during a consultation with your colorist.
2. Realize you won’t be the only one rocking the shade. Lourdes isn’t the first to go gray: Nicole Richie did it for the Met Gala a few years back, as well as Kelly Osborne and Lady Gaga. Fashion-wise, Kitty even colored the gray streaks on models at Carmen Marc Valvo show in the fall. The bloggers followed, and a trend was born. “I started to see a spike in people wanting gray hair about four months ago,” Kitty recalls.
3. Be prepared for double takes. Because the look is more on the “editorial” side, it can look off with your skin tone and still look fabulous. “Gray is not for the normcore kind of girl,” Kitty explains.
4. Clear your schedule. Kitty requires that all ladies with a desire to go gray see her for a consultation first. During a consultation, a strand test will be performed to see just how much the hair color can lift and how long the process will take overall. When you actually have your appointment in place, your hair will be lightened and toned to get the exact shade that you’re after.
5. Have your black card ready. At Ted Gibson, Kitty charges upwards of $450 for the first time. That price goes up “depending upon certain factors such as damage, previous color and sometimes length,” Kitty says. Touch-ups (which clients must schedule every 3-8 weeks to fix their roots) start at $250. Kitty also recommends deep conditioning treatments, glossing every 2 weeks (to keep the color from fading) and an at-home regimen–all of which will run you a small fortune. Better get your checkbooks ready, ladies.
6. Skip the gym. Kitty recommends waiting at least 2 days after the process before heading to gym to ensure your hair has time to “get comfy in the follicle” and won’t be disturbed by heat and steam.
7. Treat your hair to some shower-time R&R. As part of an at-home regimen, use a mild conditioning cleanser like Vitamino Color from L’Oreal Professionel or the Reflection line from Kerastase. A good purple shampoo will also keep the hair from turning to yellow and brassy.
Pro tip? Kitty recommends gently massaging shampoo with the pads of the fingers as opposed to scrubbing with the tips of your digits.