Style & Beauty

Embracing the Grey

Modern, elegant, on trend: it’s not surprising that more and more people are proudly displaying their silver locks 

By Vanessa Fontaine 


Grey hair is in fashion. “People ask for it almost every day,” says Marise Caron, an expert colourist at Alvaro Coiffure in Montreal. Co-owner of the salon, Caron herself has had snow-white hair for 15 years. “I like the natural look; I find it radiant,” she says. 

You don’t need to suffer for years with zebra stripes to make the transition to grey: a good hairdresser can plan for a smooth process. Here are some tips to consider if you’re thinking of taking the leap. 

What is grey hair?

There’s actually no such thing as grey hair. “It’s an optical illusion: you’re seeing your natural colour mixed with white hair, which has stopped producing pigmentation,” Caron explains. To get a nice grey, you’ll need a good proportion of white hair—around 50 per cent, she says. 

She has one caveat: “White is a cool colour that doesn’t work for everyone.” If you’re not sure, you can go with a hybrid formula, mixed with lighter or darker strands, for example. “You can play with the shades and keep a bit of colour,” she adds. “The best approach is to talk about it with your hairdresser.” 

Be patient

Caron advises keeping a natural regrowth of at least five centimetres before starting the transition to grey. Why? Because the roots let you see where the white hair is (usually around the face and temples first) and how much you have. She suggests using tinted root-touch-up powder to help you get through those first few weeks. 

The hairdresser can then bleach narrow platinum strands that will blend in with your hair, imitating its natural distribution of colours. “This avoids patches of regrowth that look like they’ve been drawn with a marker; it’s more fluid,” Caron points out. 

The first step takes the most time: the hairdresser works to conceal the roots, so the colour is more uniform; that means visiting the salon often and then gradually spacing out visits as the white hair grows in. The process requires more time for brown hair, which is a sharper contrast with white. “With blond, you can get white hair in a few months,” she notes. 

 What about the cut?

Cutting shortens the time needed for the transition to white, which can sometimes seem endless—around two years before long hair has grown back fully. But it’s a matter of taste. 

“Long white hair is spectacular, but it involves a lot of maintenance,” Caron says. “Cutting it is easier.”