It’s Hot to Be Cool: The Silver Hair Trend Isn’t Going Anywhere

by charlottegw / last updated November 27, 2020

The tips and tricks from the industry on creating this season’s must-have ice cool shades from the silver hair trend – all separated into digestible bite size chunks of info. Shine on!

Grey hair is an optical illusion

“First and foremost, I educate my clients on understanding natural grey hair,” says James Taylor, Moose House Of Hair and international educator for Balmain Hair Couture. “Natural grey is actually hair that has lost its melanin and pigment. The illusion the hair is grey or which shade of grey it appears to be is dependent on natural colouring and how the eye translates and understands colour. Just look at this optical illusion on the right. The eye might naturally see grey dots present between the squares but realistically they are not there.”

Be realistic

Understanding and being realistic about what’s possible is key for adding a coolness to a client’s colour. “Always work with the undertone and depth of the hair,” stresses Robert Eaton, Wella Professionals UK and Ireland colour ambassador. “For example, if you are working on the depth of a 9 don’t expect to be able to create the tonal quality of a 10. Always explain to a client what they can expect to achieve and the longevity of the colour services provided. Understanding the specific range that will suit the client’s hair texture and will provide the best results is essential. For example, my clients really recognise the differences each Wella Professionals brand can create.”

wella pearl blonde silver hair trend

The generation game

Silver hair is in high demand for younger clients, especially in the winter months. What’s not cooler than icy whites, pewter silver greys and even cool graphite greys? “These shades are perfect for your younger clientele who want to make a strong statement,” explains Tracy Hayes, Fudge Professional’s global brand ambassador. “I also believe my mature clients who have embraced their white hair during lockdown are finding ways to make a statement with their natural colour. My older clients are not necessarily going for an all-over grey, but they are framing their face with grey or white pieces instead.”

fudge professional silver hair trend

The new buzz word

“Neutralising is a key demand from clients who want to achieve a natural, cooler look,” explains Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel. “At Adam Reed London, we have introduced a colour menu to service this demand called The Cool Down Menu, which includes a tiered approach with services including: Stay Cool, Cool It Down and Cool Right Down.

Adam uses the L’Oréal Professionnel DIA Light shades in his services, including:

l'oreal diaLight 10.01 A light soft ash blonde, perfect for neutralising a slight orange tone on a pre-lightened blonde or a delicate ash tone on a clean blonde.

l'oreal dia 10.02     Light 10.02 A light soft iridescent blonde, ideal for neutralising a very pale-yellow undercoat and adding a very soft pearl iridescent tone on a clean blonde.

l'oreal dia 8.21Light 8.21 A light mauve ash blonde. This is great for neutralising a yellow undercoat and adding a mauve tone to lighter blondes.

How to create cool ash blonde

This cool crop (pictured below) harnesses the multiple tones offered in the Advanced Pro Salon ColourCode range. The ColourCode Pure Naturals formula is …

9/8 + Special Mix 0/11 + the warmth of a 5/07 root stretch

advanced pro salon silver hair trend

Prime for success

“My biggest piece of advice for creating a cool shade is to use a priming toner prior to applying a silver colour,” says Vicky Panting, sales and technical education consultant for Salon Success. “Think of it as prepping the hair to receive the full tonal benefits of your target colour. I absolutely love to prep with Paul Mitchell Demi Flash Toners – the liquid gel consistency can be applied quickly and evenly throughout damp hair as it has a processing time of between two and 10 minutes.”

Paul Mitchell silver smoke silver hair trend

Homecare hero

“It is counterproductive for clients to spend time and money on their hair in the salon and not take care of it at home. Schwarzkopf Professional’s new Salon Analyser Tool allows you to show clients the amazing benefits of using professional at-home products.”
Tim Scott-Wright, Tim Scott Wright @ The Hair Surgery


Remember the colour wheel

“Always remember the colour wheel to avoid the dreaded green hues,” warns Adele Clarke, owner of Spectrum Hair Company and OSMO IKON brand ambassador. “On yellowish bases add a little violet with your cool ash. On a more orange-based canvas hold your nerve and reach for the cooling powers of blue.”

Aftercare is key

Silver shades look best when hair is healthy. Here’s Pulp Riot Artist Heather Mackenzie’s top tips:

  1. I encourage all of my pre-lightened clients to invest in a silk pillowcase to prevent their fragile hair breaking.
  2. Use silk scrunchies rather than elastic bobbles.
  3. Always use retail professional aftercare products – don’t let your clients leave the salon without them!
  4. Shampoo hair as little as possible to maintain the tone for longer.

Products for your cool shade kit bag

ASP kitoko oil“ASP Kitoko Treatment Oil is a miracle mist to detangle and reconstruct. It keeps hair loaded with vitamins between hair appointments.”
Tracey Devine-Smith, ASP global ambassador


revlon professional Nutri colour“For a cleaner and more neutral tone, I recommend Revlon Professional Nutri Colour Filters. It provides intense colour, care and shine that will keep hair perfectly toned at-home between appointments. Plus, the range has 23 intermixable shades.”
Mark Leeson, Revlon Professional global artistic ambassador


TIGI booster sos“After every lightening service I use a TIGI Copyright SOS Repair Extreme Recovery Treatment to restore the hair back to its optimum condition prior to toning.”
Chris Harris-Gibbs, TIGI UK Collective Team


osmo colour revive steel grey“The newest addition to the OMSO Colour Revive range – Steel Grey processes in only three minutes and with the luxury of keratin proteins, it is the perfect way to upgrade that cut and blow-dry in a fraction of the time.” Adele Clark, owner of Spectrum Hair Company and OSMO IKON brand ambassador


goldwell colour revive“The Goldwell Color Revive Conditioners are ideal for cool hair as clients can choose from Icy Blonde, Light Cool Blonde, Cool brown and Cool Red.”
Nicola Smyth, Nicola Smyth Award Winning Hair Salon and Goldwell ambassador

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