Hair Colour

Expert Advice on Maintaining the Sterling Silver Hair Look

by lydiah / last updated January 9, 2020

silver hair

It might be hard to achieve and even harder to maintain, but silver continues to be a hot hair colour in 2020. We asked the experts for their advice on nailing the silver look.

Silver was last year’s hair colour of the year, according to Vogue and L’Oréal Paris. Similarly, the Brits Prefer Blondes survey by market analysts Mintel found one in 20 (5%) of hair dye users opt for a grey/white look. Silver hair and its associates grey and platinum remain big business.

Shade match

From gunmetal to platinum, there’s a plethora of shades on the silver/grey spectrum. For many of your clients the options available will be determined by their skin tone. Dan Rice, co-owner of Williams & Rice for L’Oréal Professionnel explains: “For pale tones I always suggest going for a medium to dark charcoal shade such as tempest greys, white greys and even pinkish greys. For warm skin tones light silvers look great – silver platinum, ice grey and gunmetal grey with a slight hint of blue work really well.”

When it comes to darker skin tones, it’s all about contrast. “I love how light grey hair looks against darker skin tones,” agrees Bruno Marc Giametti, JOICO ambassador for Europe, UK and Ireland. “A grey root stretch works really well for clients with dark skin tones as the dark root sits perfectly against the skin and fades into lighter grey, making the mid-lengths and ends really pop.”

Crazy Color ambassador Sophia Hilton says grey is out and silver is in. “In my opinion a true grey shade isn’t flattering,” remarks Sophia. “It’s prone to going green, can look muddy and yellow often sneaks through. When it comes to silver, the shade always looks better when a client really makes an effort with their make-up. For me, it’s less about what suits their skin tone and more about how they carry off the whole look.”

Go gradually

To achieve any kind of silver hue, hair needs to be lifted to a clean base. “Ideally lift to a clean base 10,” recommends Heffy Wheeler, owner of HX Hair and OSMO brand ambassador. “At a time when 80% of British women colour their hair, it’s so important to get a clean base. Plus, as hairdressers we are, unfortunately, likely to be removing build up from a box dye.”

This extensive journey to get a clean base means it’s crucial to manage client’s expectations and also to maintain and protect the hair’s integrity.

Go slow seems to be the advice from all of our colour experts.

Using different colour techniques to achieve a silver/grey sweet spot is a great way to manage client expectations and take the colouring process slowly. “I would suggest creating silver gradually by building up balayage or highlights rather than colouring the hair all at once, especially on those with dark hair,” explains Mark Leeson, Revlon Professional global artistic director. “Not only does this mean clients won’t have a massive shock when they see their newly coloured silver or grey hair, but it also protects the health of the hair.” As a result, it is a win, win.

Tone up

 As we know silver hair cannot be achieved without the help of at least one toner. “Once hair has been lifted to as clean a base as possible, the client will probably still have yellow and possibly orange pigment remaining in their hair,” says Victoria Cartwright, ColorCode art team member. “Toner is crucial to counter-act these unwanted tones. Stylists have a tendency to either panic and remove the toner early, because of the look of the colour during development or to underestimate the importance of leaving the toner on for the full time.”

Think of toner as colour insurance, it means that the final look is as pure as it can possibly be. “Plus, silver hair looks better against natural tones when a toner is applied and it evens out any previous, overlapping or uneven colour,” adds Tracey Devine Smith, ASP global ambassador.

The price of silver  

Silver hair is an investment and it’s important to leave your clients with all the tools they need to maintain the colour at home. Tim Scott Wright, Schwarzkopf Professional ambassador and owner of The Hair Surgery says: “I make sure we recommend colour conditioning masks and colour depositing shampoos. Schwarzkopf Professional even does an Igora Colour Mousse which clients can take home – the 9.5-1 would be the best for maintaining a silver shade.”

Tracy Hayes, Fudge Professional global head of technical training makes sure her clients are looking after not just their colour, but the health of their hair too. “As the hair will have been bleached, I always recommend a nourishing shampoo and conditioner to keep hair in the best possible condition,” she explains.

“Clients can also use a blonde or platinum specific shampoo to keep unwanted yellow tones at bay.” Make sure your clients aren’t using a purple pigmented shampoo too often as this will leave a purple colour deposit. It’s important your clients don’t ruin your hard work. Clients need to treat their new hair colour with the kind of respect a precious metal truly deserves.

Banish brass

 L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Conditioner gives a glossing effect thanks to its blend of amino acids and anti-yellow agents. These work together to banish brassy tones.

Shimmery, violet-tinted pigments in Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Toning Spray helps to get rid of yellow tones to refine blonde, white and silver tones.

Goldwell Dualsenses Silver Shampoo neutralises unwanted yellow tones and instantly gives hair a cool-looking effect. The brand’s exclusive formula works to minimise colour fade with every use.

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