Tired of platinum blonde, but not ready to go into full “My Little Pony” territory yet? Silver hair has attitude but it’s serious enough to go to the office. It’s due to be one of the most popular hair trends this year. However, before you take the step it’s worth considering silver hair maintenance and how it fits with your lifestyle.
Silver hair maintenance is not for the faint of heart. If you want to keep your grey mane looking its best it will need work. Silver hair requires toning shampoos, root bleaching every few weeks and lots of TLC for your bleached strands. Worth it? Totally.
Silver Hair Maintenance Tips
The basics of keeping silver hair looking amazing and your hair as healthy as possible are:
- Use protein and moisturising treatments to keep your bleached hair as healthy as possible. Bleaching to level 10 will cause damage. Even if you use Olaplex. So be kind to your hair.
- Many people swear by coconut oil for very dehydrated hair. Leave it as an overnight mask before shampooing.
- Silver hair dye fades fast, so try to avoid daily shampooing. If your hair is just oily but not dirty, dry shampoo can help. Try to wash your hair no more than twice a week if possible.
- Use a purple or violet color depositing shampoo when you wash your hair to keep yellow at bay.
- Avoid heat styling when possibly, as it will not only damage your hair but also make the color fade quicker. If you need to, use a good quality heat protection product and a low temperature setting.
- Mind your roots. Expect to have to touch up your roots every four weeks or so.
- Once a week use a mix of conditioner and vegetable silver hair dye (such as Manic Panic) to replenish and even your silver hair color.
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Root Maintenance With Silver Hair
Silver hair rooted with dark can look great, but if that’s not your cup of tea expect to touch up your roots monthly. If your natural hair color is warm or you want a full snow princess effect with no roots, then you may even need to do it more often.
In order to dye your hair silver you need to bring your hair to a very pale yellow color (Or hair level 10). This usually requires bleach, and so it damages hair to some degree, depending on your original hair color. Dark hair that has been colored before may require several bleaching sessions. It is not unheard of people spending 18h at a saloon to achieve that white blonde hair of their dreams.
On the bright side, touching up your roots means only working on virgin hair and not applying bleach to your entire head. This makes the process considerably quicker. If you have a lot of experience bleaching your hair, you can do it yourself but it’s not exactly an easy process. Definitely not one for a bleach novice!
You will need to apply bleach ONLY to the roots, which will lighten up very quickly because of the heat of your scalp. This is very important to keep in mind, because you can end up with hair that is different shades of yellow and that can be difficult to tone. If you have long hair that is difficult to section, get a friend or family member to help.
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Once your roots have lifted to pale yellow, it is time to tone them to silver. You can do an all over tone to refresh the color of your hair. Or you can leave your roots darker, and use a charcoal toner such as Pravana Vivids Silver + Pravana Black N1 to nicely blend into the grey. This is more forgiving than full on silver roots, particularly if your natural regrowth is dark.
This video shows a lavender silver hair with darker roots.
Silver Hair Vs White Hair
White hair is an extreme version of platinum hair. It is not actually just hair bleached to the maximum level 10, as that would be a very pale yellow, but it starts there. You will need to use violet toner to keep the yellow tones at bay, but if you use too much ashy toner you will start veering into silver hair territory.
Unlike with silver hair, if you want white hair to look good you need to make sure it’s even. It may take a few rounds of purple toner until you balance your newly bleached roots with your ends, but it’s worth it so it looks professional.
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What to Do If Silver Hair Looks Yellow
Silver hair maintenace is all about keeping the yellow at bay. Yellowish undertones on grey hair just look dirty, but they are easy to remove with the right products.
To start with, once your hair is level 10 you need to tone it with a violet toner. Wella T18 White Lady is a classic for a reason, and you can use Wella Color Charm Liquid #050 Cooling Violet afterwards to create a silver/grey effect. If your hair is not light enough this won’t work, so make sure you are at a very pale yellow first.
If your silver hair looks yellow after a few washes, this is usually because the silver dye is washing off your hair. You should use a purple shampoo and conditioner to counteract the warmt tones. This will deposit violet dye on your hair, which is the opposite to yellow on the color wheel and will cancel it out.
Other reasons why silver hair can turn yellow are environmental factors such as:
- Shampoo residue (always use a sulphate free shampoo)
- Chemicals from hair styling products
- Your scalp’s natural oils
- Mineral deposits from water (invest in a shower filter such as this one for longer lasting color)
- Pollution in the air
Also, chlorine from the swimming pool can turn your hair yellow… or green! So avoid swimming pools or use products such as this one to act as a barrier between your hair and the water.
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Help! Silver Hair Turned Blue (or Purple)
This is the opposite situation to silver hair turning yellow. It’s usually caused by excessive toning or overuse of color depositing shampoos. Thankfully, this is easy to fix: This kind of products usually wash out from the hair pretty quickly.
If you are unhappy with your silver hair, semi permanent vegetable dyes such as Manic Panic and Directions are great. They wash out after a few weeks, but will cover excessive purple or violet tones in the hair without adding warmth.
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You don’t want to add a yellow dye to the mix (warm or golden colors) because you can end up with either muddy or greenish hair that has the worst of both worlds.
Silver Grey Hair Inspiration
Just to finish, I wanted to add that there are many different styles of silver hair that suit a variety of lifestyles and personalities.
As you can see, grey and silver hair is a trends that has as many variations as any other hair color. Depending on which one you choose, silver hair maintenance will be more or less difficult, but it’s totally worth it. Are you ready to dye your hair silver?