I have gray hair - no, more like white/silver hair - and there is a LOT of it unless I cover it with color. My colorist often tells me I would look "cool" if I went natural, as it would be pretty white, not salt and pepper gray.
Due to the economy and a serious desire to get out of the "little bit" of debt we are in, I have been seriously considering going to a box color instead of using a professional colorist. But then, I got a strange thought - what if I let myself go natural? Would I look old? Would I look creepy? Or would I look cool/unusual? For many years, people that know I have lots of gray have told me they cannot wait to see me go natural because they think I'll look really "striking". I think what scares me the most is being in my late 30's and looking old. I'm not afraid of different. Truth be told, I get slightly jealous of people that can dye their hair peacock blue and it not be unusual for their chosen career.
Blondes who go ash can get away with it. With dark hair, if you have, say, a streak, or very true silver and it's not scattershot, it can look cool. I have little gray hairs, especially around the temples. I dye the $#!& out of it. It makes my hairline look thin and anyone who says scattered grays are distinguished is kidding.
I use, mostly, Nice n' Easy or something similar. I started going gray in my 20s, and I prefer when people mistake me for being ten years younger rather than ten years older.
I'm 39 and judging by my roots, I would probably be 75% or so gray if my hair were it's natural color. 'Course, I haven't seen its natural color for about 15 years or so. I didn't start coloring it because of the gray (that started at 20 or so), but I've kept it up b/c of it.
FWIW, both of the pictures you linked to are colored. It's doubtful your natural silver hair would look like that. I'd wager, that you'd still be looking at doing it yourself to get results that look anything like that.
If you decide to go box, I find Clairol Nice and Easy to be the best gray coverage, hands down. It's also been touted in a few mags (Glamour, Good Housekeeping). I gone back and forth between having my hairstylist do my color to doing it myself. Honestly, once I find the right shade with the Clairol, even my stylist is impressed with the results. I went from paying $150+ every 6 weeks to $5.99 (I get the Clairol on sale). Can't beat that.
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I don't have any advice for you, but I just turned 30 in April and I think my body gave me 10 more grey hairs as a gift.
I found my first grey hair when I was 23 and panicked. I enjoy hair dye anyway, so it's never been an issue until now when I truly don't have the money to spend to maintain my hair. Oddly enough, the more greys I get, (they are all in the same area, front of my head, mostly my bangs), the more I'm showing them to people "LOOK at this! Isn't that crazy? And I'm only 30!!" LOL instead of trying to hide them. I plan on having my hair dyed again as soon as I can afford it, (its too long now to easily use the DIY box stuff), but I can't help but wonder what it would look like if I just quit coloring it. I might have a badass looking silver streak! Which just might be kinda cool.
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Gray hair doesn't make you look old...WRINKLES & sagging skin make you look old!
Gray hair on a younger face looks "bright", think Steve Martin in his 20's. If your gray hair has a radically different texture than your colored hair, it may stick out at crazy angles and look weird. I cut those out at the roots. Otherwise, I say go natural and see what you think.
DEFINITELY stop paying someone to do it-Clairol has perfected the home coloring system. Avoid formulas with ammonia, they'll dry your ends out. It's better to use gentler formulas more frequently than harsh ones less often.
I have gray stripes at my temples and vaseline them before coloring to keep them from taking the color!
(just wait until you really are older and get gray eyebrow hairs!)
For some people (me) the contrast between the darker hair and the grey hair can look very harsh and aging (or skunk-like in my case). I took the opportunity to dye my hair a couple of shades lighter (think medium brown) and the grey absorbs differently than the brown so it gives a good contrast of highlights.
You can always try growing your grey out, and see what it looks like. If you don't like it you can always go back to dyeing it, and if you do home color (it's easy whether you do the one time all over, or the touch ups) there are cheaper brands (Color Stay for example) than some of the more expensive brands. You don't have to spend a lot and go to a salon unless you are doing a dramatic change, and home coloring is very easy these days.
I'm 30 and have scattered greys which have been creeping in since my early 20s, but so far I can still keep on top of them by checking and pulling them out a couple times a week. My hairdresser said highlights could be a potential next step to hide it (I have really dark brown hair) but honestly I like low maintenance... I get my hair cut once a year right now and just trim the split ends myself the rest of the time. I can't imagine having to go in all the time and pay a ton to color it. So when the time comes I'll probably be headed for the box as well.
The good thing about hair is that you can do what you want and it will grow back, what you do is not permanent.
So, why not try different things until you find a look you like?
My natural hair was a kind of medium light brown, fading to golden in the sun, darker in the winter, with auburn red highlights thru it.
That combination tended to make any dye job look carroty, orangey shaded if I tried to even the color in any one standard color.
After a few horror house looking tries, I left it natural, that soon became gray and is fine, at least didn't look like a little kid any more, got me some respect.
I started greying in my 30's. I highlighted until I was mostly grey with a little of my natural color, which was a boring brown.
I am 49 now. I am totally grey and depending what I wear it appears to be salt & pepper at times.
I am perfectly fine with my hair color. Some of my friends want me to color it but my hair grows really fast so regardless of box color or professional color, I would be putting more chemicals on every 3-4 weeks, everytime I get my haircut.
My hair does not make me look older, sometimes my haircut styles are not the best choice for my face shape or lifestyle. And it does not take much growth for my look to go bad.
A good friend, who is grey as well, said that those of us that are grey at a young age are "silver haired goddesses". I like that thought and thankful for that perspective. I plan to keep my hair as it is.
My natural color is dark brown. I have used a box dye years ago, but have enjoyed the use of a colorist for many years now, so I'm both spoiled and poor as a result .
I know it's hard to believe I would not have to add anything to my hair to get it to look like this, I assure you, this is what my incoming roots look like over my entire head except for maybe the nape of my neck, which may be still a mixture:
Growing my hair out from dark brown to THAT would be a very big challenge as I have long hair and I really do not do short well! I may have to consult my colorist regarding how to handle that issue LOL!
I have no issue adding a toner or even an all-over dye every now and then to keep things looking "fresh", it's the AWFUL and EXPENSIVE upkeep that is killing me! I even have a special arrangement with my colorist outside of the salon!!! She really loves me and feels horrible for my situation - did I mention my hair grows ridiculously fast??! If I were to truly keep up with my new growth, I would need a touch up every 10-12 days.
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Not 30 yet, getting more than my share of greys. Sigh. Between age, genetics and the stress of this year, 29 has been the magikal number for wrinkles and grey. I've just started using moisturizer to keep the wrinkles in check, until this I had youthful skin. But I just realized that my hair, a dark blonde that has always hidden the one or two or four grey hairs, is no longer doing its job a couple weeks ago. I don't plan on dyeing at this point.
I feel better that my fiance told me the other day that he's probably doubled his grey since he left on deployment. We can both be silvery at the wedding!
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Listen to Bluey - whatever you do, it's going to grow out! So experiment. If you're hesitant about home coloring, and you have an open-minded hairdresser, I think it would be very worthwhile to either pay them for a consultation, or to have them color it the first time back to gray, and advise you on what to use at home. That way you can get expert advice and save yourself some experimentation!
Yea, I need to call her - figure I'll bring her a bottle of wine and we'll joke about what to do and she'll work her magic - it may cost me something up-front, but it will likely be worth it in the long-run. And like Bluey said, if I don't like it, I can always go back!
I also have naturally wavy hair, and I'm curious if I grow out the gray, what texture it will be? One thing My colorist/stylist always tells me is how healthy my hair is, and how much my hair can "take" - so I guess that's good LOL!
Oh, and I could use a little more respect! Maybe going white/silver wouldn't be so bad!
Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. W. C. Fields
Older than thirty... saw my first grey hairs in my late teens.
I colored my hair for literally decades.. started with hairdresser, then did the henna myself. My hair grows quite quickly and as I turned more grey, the roots became visible way too soon. Last spring I decided I'd had enough.
I was concerned about what it was going to be like growing out, but it turned out to be an unexpected hoot. So many guys thought I was going for the punk look ... I had one clerk looking at my head, then back in the change drawer, then back at my head. He finally asked, "How long did it take you to do that?" At first I thought guys were being sarcastic when they said they liked my hair... I finally realized they meant it. (Women, otoh, knew what was going on.)
By July it was half and half red and pure white .. I looked for some blue sparkles to put down the part so I could be patriotic for the 4th. I'm all silver now, except for a touch of dark at the temples and the nape of my neck. It's actually a nice silver - and exactly what my hairdresser had predicted. She has swatches of all sorts of different color whites and greys. She's been trying to persuade me add color streaks, but I haven't yet.
My hair texture is now better than before. I've learned that it is absolutely essential to get a good hair cut and to get it trimmed immediately when you wake up, look in the mirror and go "hmmm." Grey/white hair doesn't tolerate postponing a cut... looks messy very quickly.
And I'm still having trouble figuring out which are the most flattering colors... beige, moss green, etc aren't quite right anymore. It is giving me an excuse to buy new, more colorful earrings.
I say go for it.. and, as Bluey says, whatever you do can be reversed if you don't like it, either by your hairdresser or the passage of time.
That being said they are still sparse and look more like highlights than anything else. I pull some out on occasion, but there are a lot now to keep up with that. I don't think most people even notice because my hair is all sorts of different colors due to working in the sun. I do plan to start dying it once I get too much grey for me.
I am not sure I would every go gray, but maybe its worth a try if you want to. Growing it out might be a pain though unless you could dye it grey to start...
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Depending on your individual shade of grey, and other factors like the local water system trace minerals you might need to occasionally use a rinse, or something to remove yellowing or copper. This does not mean you grab the horse's hair rinse either.
If you color the first time you might get a consultation or have the hairstylist do this the first time. And if the price bothers you then wait for a sale, yes hair coloring goes on sale too. And you might get a price break because a whole head color is much easier than root touch up.