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The b.LUXE beauty beat

Gray Blending: A New Way To Embrace Your Gray

By Gina Woelfel

Once upon a time, spotting your first gray hair felt like the beginning of the end, especially for women. In an age-obsessed society, women have felt the need to maintain a youthful appearance, and aging was often considered taboo. 


However, nowadays, women are pushing back and embracing their gray hairs and the number of years it took to earn them! Accepting your gray has become synonymous with self-love and a more natural approach to beauty. We all age, so let’s celebrate it! 

Women, in particular, are often judged based on their appearance. Interestingly, the pandemic sparked the modern gray hair movement, prompting women to embrace their natural hair color. When salons closed, women had to skip their monthly color retouches. It was a challenging time, but we were resilient and adapted. With no end in sight, our roots grew in, and when one inch turned to three, many women saw their natural color for the first time and loved it. Their gray hair was beautiful, and the time spent away from judgment and scrutiny allowed them to reconnect with their natural selves.

We understand that not everyone will give up hair coloring and accept their gray hair. It’s a big commitment that requires both emotional and aesthetic considerations. For many women, to stop coloring their hair altogether would be difficult. Unlike pandemic times, we’re out in the world each day, and having half our hair without color could be quite an adjustment.

Here’s an analogy of the three levels of basic gray coverage.  

1. Full coverage covers 100% of the gray with a one-process color. Think of this as wearing colored wool tights. 

2. Demi-permanent coverage covers about 80% of your gray using a less pigmented dye. This process lets some of your natural tone and gray hair show through. Think of this like wearing sheer, colored pantyhose.

3. No coverage, allowing your natural gray and silver color to come through completely, but glossing the hair to add shine, tone and eliminate yellow and brassy tones. Think of this like wearing sheer, nude pantyhose. 

For decades, these three techniques were the standards for covering your gray, with most women opting for full coverage. This all-over, one-dimensional color application can be as light or dark as your natural or current color allows, but it will leave a hard line of regrowth at your roots. Modern formulas offer a wider range of hues and are more prismatic than their predecessors, but this technique still requires an appointment every 4-6 weeks. Many women, believing they still match their natural color, have dyed their hair this way for years. So many years, in fact, their original hair color has completely changed. But it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. One process coverage works, but is it the best coverage for you now? 

Gray, silver, and platinum hair is all the buzz, with more and more women ditching high-maintenance, monochromatic tones for more lived-in looks. Now, more than ever, you’ve got options.

Have you heard about “Gray Blending?”

Gray blending is an umbrella term that describes the many techniques used to disguise and incorporate your gray hair. Without a hard line of regrowth, it’s a more natural-looking alternative 

Gray blending techniques incorporate foil highlights and lowlights that vary in weight and placement to provide a highly customized color unique to you. There’s gray blending for blonde hair and gray blending for dark hair, as well as auburn and red hair. Gray blending uses multiple shades of hair color to create a gradual transition that incorporates your gray hair with your natural color (or chosen base color.) With this multi-tonal technique, gray hairs aren’t covered; they’re enveloped within the pattern of color, resulting in a softer, more natural look that needs less maintenance than one-process color. You can choose to maintain your gray-blended look or use this process to slowly transition towards all gray. 

For clients who’ve been dying their hair a darker shade for years and want to grow out their natural color, you have a few options: 

1. Using your previous color as a guide, your stylist can highlight or lowlight just around your face. Lowlights use the same technique as highlighting to apply color but use darker tones for depth and dimension. This method breaks up your gray regrowth and avoids a hard line of demarcation. It also allows clients with longer hair to pull it back in a ponytail, disguising their gray in the back.

2. Your stylist can also select a few areas where your gray hair is growing in, like through your part and around your face, and place a few strategically painted highlights they’ll lift close to the color of your silver hair. A toner should then be applied to unify color, tone brassiness, and add shine. 

3. Choosing to stop dyeing your hair altogether is another option. Your hair grows about ½” to ¾” per month, so growing your hair to a manageable, shoulder-length bob takes approximately a year and a half without intervention. Many people cut their hair short to remove most of the dyed hair and then let it grow out while getting regular trims to remove the remaining colored portions. Once the dyed hair is gone, your natural hair color can grow as long as desired. 

4. Dying your entire head silver in one session is definitely an option, but one that comes with a few caveats. Many clients are curious about how long this process takes because they’ve seen incredible mega-transformation on social media. While it’s technically possible for some people’s hair to lift enough artificial color in one session, this level of alteration is uncommon. Despite online videos that seem to show quick and easy solutions, the truth is that these types of color appointments are costly and can take 10 to 12 hours in your stylist’s chair, with no guarantee of the desired results.

5. We recommend a toner or tinted gloss for all gray-blending methods and existing gray clients. Natural gray hair can be yellow, brassy, or even mousy-brown. A toner will brighten and balance those undesirable tints, adding a mirror-like shine. 

6. The timeline for hair regrowth varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the health and length of your hair, the coloring technique you and your stylist choose, and how quickly you want to achieve your desired transformation. Your stylist will likely want at least three to four months of regrowth to see your gray pattern. This time is not 100% necessary, but it allows your stylist to create the most effective color plan for you.

Once you start the transition process, you can expect your maintenance and upkeep to be about 8 to 12 weeks apart, depending on your chosen method. Typically, it takes about 3 to 4 salon visits to complete the process and get your hair to the desired state.

And remember, nothing is ever permanent! If gray blending isn’t your thing, you can always go back. Your stylist is here for your aesthetic and whatever makes you feel most beautiful!

If you’re curious about gray blending and would like more information, scan the QR code above to visit b.LUXE Hair and Makeup Studio’s Gray Blending page that features before and after transformations.

b.LUXE Hair and Makeup Studio also offers complimentary color consultations. 

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