Transitioning to Gray – Sick of Coloring Your Hair?

So it’s time, you’ve had enough monthly visits to the hair salon to cover the ever present white line down your part, but how could you ever go in public while the growing out process is full effect? Below I have some ways (besides hiding for a year) that can ease the burden of going au naturale. While these methods will cut down on your visits, you will still need your trusty hair colorist by your side for maintenance and treatments.

-First and foremost this is often at least a year long journey and what a person most needs in the process of going gray is PATIENCE. If you get six months into the transformation and then have a big event you have to just suck it up and not color you hair! After having pigmented hair your whole life it may be difficult to do, but if you really want to save the time, money, and effort of monthly salon visits then you have to be committed!

-When you first decide you’re nearly ready to go natural a step in the right direction would be to start going lighter, that way the roots grow in a little more gracefully. This can done easily by a skilled colorist with a lighter base color in conjunction with highlights. Steer clear of warmer colors like reds and strawberry blondes, that could back fire and show even more contrast of your roots. For the next 

-Once the light color has been achieved push your next trip to the colorist as long as possible, once you have about one to two inches of gray root. This can easily be achieved by using a temporary hair color spray like the one from Oribe or Rita Hazan. From this point your colorist will be be able to thread in a demi-permanent base color and highlight color without a single process color. This way some of your natural gray is showing along with the dimensional high’s and low’s that will ultimately blend into the body of the rest of your color on your lengths. Take good care of these ends with a clear or cooler color gloss to keep everything in the same color family while also adding shine. This process will have to take place about every 3-4 months until the solid single process color has been cut off. With the use of a demi-permanent haircolor the fading on the natural gray will be substantial and by the time your entire head is naturally yours it’ll be an easy transition.

-Not feeling the lighter color followed but lowlights? You have a few more drastic options

-Grow your roots as long as you possibly can, then get a short haircut to cut off all of the leftover haircolor. While this can be a dramatic change, it can also be just the new look you may be looking for! Think of your natural hair color as a new adventure, a new, liberated you. 

– Just let your hair grow. This may be the cheapest and easiest option, but the hardest for people to bear. My best advice for those going this route is to use a blue or violet shampoo to keep the ends looking a little more ashy and the natural grays to not yellow. When permanent haircolor gets old it often washes out to a dull red color, the aforementioned shampoos are your best (non professional process) to fight that color and grow out in a more graceful manner. Add a weekly conditioning treatment to the mix and you’ll be doing the best with the situation ahead of you.

-Go in for a gray transformation. Here at Roy Teeluck Salon in NYC we specialize in transitioning to gray. The process takes many many small foils picking out your gray stands and lifting the color out of the lengths that used to be colored. The in- between strands are then colored appropriately to your natural color and the highlights are toned with a serious ash color that appears to be a silver gray. While this is a quick way to transition it is not a be all end all to hair coloring, it comes with it’s own maintenance a few times a year to freshen the areas that have been previously colored then decolorized. 

While many men and women wish to have a less aggressive routine of maintenance and would like to just let it go, some people just do not look good with their own natural hair color. Whether they are born a blonde and should be a brunette or have prematurely gone gray, what the Gods gave us doesn’t always fit our personal aesthetic. Whenever my clients are talking about making a big change I tell them to go in to a wig store and try some things on. This way they can see for themselves if the transition would be worth the time and money. Some people have a beautiful silky silvery gray color and some have a more wiry gray, for some, after all of the hassle of a transition, they may feel washed out and – let’s be honest- that they look old. Luckily it’s ok to admit defeat, your colorist will take you back.

Going Gray Survival Kit



-A good colorist/stylist

-Blue/Violet Shampoo (Oribe Bright Blonde or Silverati)

-Weekly Hair Masks (Oribe Gold Lust)