Beauty Clinic: Making grey hair gorgeous


Q. I have short springy wavy hair, which is light-ish grey – a bit pepper and salt – with sun-blond streaks from the summer. I would like the shape to have more definition – and look a bit more glam - but my colorist says it is not advisable to put in darker grey streaks. Is that right and if so what can be done?

A. According to colour expert Steven Little of John Frieda in London, it is indeed very difficult to create steel grey low lights in lighter grey hair. 

The only way he has had some success is to use a nearly black colour and apply it in very, very fine streaks. ‘So you almost can’t see them but they do create definition,’ he says.

However, Steven’s best advice is to add an ash colour, in thick ‘pieces’ ie not streaks or lights, around the perimeter of your hair, not so much on the crown or round the face.

So exactly what colour is ‘ash’, we asked… ‘Well, it’s the kind of classic natural English mouse colour that people usually want to get rid of,’ Steven explained. In this scenario, however, ash should blend in with your greys and blonde but also give the more defined effect on the shape that you are looking for.

The good news is that grey hair is absolutely bang on trend as icons like Jamie Lee Curtis flash their silvery barnets. In fact, we are meeting more and more women who have given up covering their grey and gone (more or less) back – or forward - to nature.

Just remember that grey hair tends to be drier and coarser, making it hard to get shiny and often less manageable. So give it lots of TLC, in the shape of moisturizing products and regular intensive treatments such as the Mythic Oil range from L’Oréal Professionel.

Philip Kingsley offers a Pure Silver Shampoo/£17.10 for 250 ml and Conditioner, £19.80 for 250 ml, which we haven’t tried but the reviews are unanimously five star. The product we have tried (often) and are huge fans of for deep conditioning is the late trichologist’s Elasticizer/£32 for 150 ml, which is a pre-shampoo treatment – much loved by beauty editors.