Whether you're looking to take your platinum to the next level or embrace your new grey, there's a few things to know before taking the silver hair plunge.
Lady Gaga has rocked silver hair. So have Bella and Gigi Hadid for Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma collection at NYCFW, and if you search #SilverHair on Instagram, you’ll see inspiration to the tune of over one million posts featuring gorgeous women of all ages channelling their inner silver lining.
But what does it actually take to achieve and maintain Insta-worthy silver?
“We see women requesting this look on a weekly basis,” says Expert Colourist of Oscar Oscar in Chadstone, Nathan Armagna. “With the rise of Instagram, we’re seeing more and more drastic colour transformations happening as people bring in their favourite looks, or before and after shots from social media.”
However according to Nathan, clients need to do their research and consult with a Master Colourist before they undertake a total hair transformation.
“Social media can create an unrealistic expectation, as the result clients are after may not be achieved in just one session,” he says. “I try to explain this to my clients and make sure they are ready to take on the process it requires.”
Thinking of going silver? Here’s the low down.
IT COULD TAKE TIME TO ACHIEVE, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR NATURAL COLOUR IS DARK.
“It can be a colour that requires a high level of maintenance,” says Nathan, and for naturally dark-haired beauties that have gone platinum before, this will come as no surprise.
The same rule of thumb that applies to lightening from a dark base to a blonde applies to going to the silver side - the lighter you want to process the hair, the longer it’s going to take to get there.
“It involves using a bonding agent throughout the lightening portion of the service to keep the hair in its best possible condition, with regular, monthly glossing to keep the colour fresh,” he says.
And depending on your chosen shade of silver, the hair must be first lightened to almost white. To avoid damage, consider tightening your hair in stages. This means you might require several salon visits before you get to your end result, so it’s important to talk to your colourist about what your ‘in between’ colour might look like, and how you can make it work for your lifestyle.
“Depending on your hair type, it may take a few visits to achieve the desired result, but I always like to leave some of your natural colour towards the top, giving the illusion of depth which impersonates the balayage effect,” says Nathan.
Pictured: Linda Rodin
HOW LIGHT SHOULD YOU GO?
From steely silver to gunmetal, charcoal and everything in between, the silver spectrum is vast. So how to choose?
“Personally, I like to follow the rule of only going 2 shades either lighter or darker than your natural colour,” says Nathan. “Unless you consider yourself to be quite talented with make-up and can pull off any shade, then I’d say, go for it!”
WHAT’S THE PROCESS LIKE FOR THOSE WITH DARK HAIR?
Commitment-phobes beware, because unless your colour is already a very light blonde or natural grey, Nathan says that going to the silver side is a “ride or die type situation”.
To fend off damage and split ends, you may also need to up your frequency of visits to the salon for a trim.
This is because the lightening may mean that the ends will be more susceptible to splitting, making it essential to get regular trims to avoid the damage spreading up the hair shaft and making your tresses seem unkempt.
If you currently have long hair with substantial damage on the ends, be prepared that it might be in your best interests to lose the damaged length before lightening to silver. Don’t be afraid of losing your dead-length, though, as Nathan says that the look can be achieved by upping the volume with extensions.
“For women with very fine hair, I’d suggest creating the look through the use of hair extensions to avoid damage to your natural hair,” says Nathan.
Pictured: Isabel Marant
HOW CAN WOMEN EMBRACE THEIR ‘NATURAL HIGHLIGHTS’ WITH AGE AND ADOPT THE SILVER HAIR TREND?
For those who have been battling grey hairs for years, going silver is a popular option. “We see this every day,” says Nathan, advising that there are steps to the process and it’s important to think about your colour strategically to get the most gorgeous possible result.
“When wanting to grow out your colour, I find the best way is to lighten the existing colour, either with foils or all-over lightening, then using a toner, you can seamlessly blend the colours together,” says Nathan.
Depending on your base colour, this might take a few sessions to achieve the desired look, but once you get there, it all gets easier, according to Nathan.
“Once you reach your perfect shade, the colour will look impeccable,” he says. “So, swap the 4 – 6 week maintenance visits for gloss appointments with ashy tones whilst using purple shampoo to maintain a vibrant silver look.”
WHAT HOME MAINTENANCE IS REQUIRED?
Like other colours, sliver fades too. Some shades will fade faster than others and the fading can mute to a flattering charcoal tone.
For maintenance, try and be conscious of what you’re using on your hair at home. “You will need a specific shampoo and conditioner, dedicated to care for coloured hair and a demi colour that can be added to your conditioner or mask for extra toning at home,” he says. “Always remember that the better condition of your hair, the better the colour will hold.”
Try treating hair to a mask once a week. WelleCo Co-Founder Elle Macpherson swears by our WelleCo Organic Rose Geranium Crème. Formulated with pomegranate extract, avocado, olive and carrot oils, it is effective for hydrating and nourishing face, body and hair. “When I go swimming, I slather it on like a hair mask, then put on a swim cap,” says Elle, “and in the summer, I often walk around with wet-looking hair that has a treatment in it.”
Because beauty and health benefits start from within, 2 teaspoons of SUPER ELIXIR Greens every morning is a great way to treat your hair. Formulated with horsetail extract that contains the mineral silica, it works to strengthen hair as well as skin and nails. Not only strengthening, it also improves its sheen and texture. Horsetail also contains selenium, which is a mineral that is essential for hair growth as it helps the body process iodine, which regulates hair growth as well.