Grey hair is as polarising as it comes – some people love it, some hate it. And when it comes to tending to our grey roots, it’s usually more of a hassle that we have to deal with because there aren’t many options for us grey-haired folks to play with – you either cover it up with lighter-than-usual brown shades or go on the other end of the spectrum with vivid fashion colours (if your work allows you to).
But this 2021, it seems like grey hair is out to play with a new hair trend that has been dominating our social media feeds: blended greys. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense for grey blending to be all the rage this year as we inch towards natural hair enhancement and grey blending is the new movement in line with this concept in hair colour.
While grey blending may have started out of necessity during the lockdown phase, it’s not surprising that many actually prefer the look to the block colour coverage of the past – and it’s something that hairstylists around the world are embracing too as they help their clients look for different ways to mask their grey hair.
For instance, take a look at the Instagram account of Jack Martin, a celebrity hair colourist based in California.
The salon owner, who commands a following of more than 595,000 (at the time of writing), has been on a mission to prove that grey never goes out of style – so much so that he developed a technique that allows his clients to gradually ditch the dye.
On his social media, he regularly posts before-and-after pictures of these empowering transformations to show how grey hair looks just as fabulous.
But what is grey blending, you ask? Well, the idea is that by mixing in pieces of strategically positioned highlights and balayage, you can either offset or accentuate your grey strands for a more natural, lower maintenance look that you can feel comfortable in even if you can’t find the time to head down to the salon.
Just like the OG balayage technique, grey blending is designed to create light and shade throughout your mane. Sections of highlights are blended beautifully with other strands to break up blocks of colour and give your crowning glory a multi-dimensional look.
The difference here is that the tones of the highlights are deliberately chosen to blend away greys seamlessly so that they are put in the limelight – but in a chic way.
For example, ash grey and cool-toned blondes can camouflage grey hair into a tonal masterpiece that bounces light away from your natural white hair and makes them look effortlessly deliberate.
Meanwhile, shots of silver and ice blonde can help to illuminate and celebrate natural greys, drawing attention towards grey streaks rather than hiding them.
Either way, keeping your hair looking natural is the name of the game here so the same rules of traditional balayage apply.
Highlights ought to be subtly introduced around 3cm from the roots – this means that they’re gloriously low-maintenance and you can grow them out with no-repeat salon visits if you prefer.
Meanwhile, the face-framing strands are brightened to add an illuminating effect to the skin, and the ends are left natural.
Whichever shade of grey you choose, there’s no doubt that grey strands are becoming a hot topic of conversation.
While older generations would conceal their silver strands at every chance they could get, people today are more interested in celebrating grey hair even though we have more opportunities and tools than before to disguise them.
Not only is grey a hair colour we’re accepting, but it’s also a shade we’re embracing, with many actively seeking it out.
There are more searches of ‘going grey’ online now more than ever – image-led social media site Pinterest, for example, has seen an 879% surge in searches for that term since 2018.
Those that don’t have it, want it, and many that do, are more than happy for their silver strands to shine through.
On Instagram, an account that goes by the username @grombre in particular, which is dedicated to the “radical celebration of the natural phenomenon of grey hair” according to their bio, has seen an increase in its following, with over 231,000 followers (and counting) and thousands of posts of women of all different ages and ethnicities sharing photos of their hair in all its natural icy glory.
If you’re feeling bold, you can also choose to go full-on oyster grey to completely put your grey hair in the spotlight.
Just keep in mind to exercise more care when it comes to tending to your grey hair as it will be more prone to UV damage since it lacks pigment. This means UV-protective products are non-negotiable if you have grey hair.
Grey hair also gets discoloured easily – to counteract brassy or dull tones, be sure to regularly shampoo and condition with violet-hued toning products.
Additionally, grey hair tends can feel frizzier, rougher, and thinner at the ends so try to opt for smoothing products and techniques to help tame your locks.
If you notice that your roots are looking a little flat, consider using a thickening spray at the roots and volumising mousse at the mid-lengths and ends to thicken and smooth – this combination will grant you more control of your tresses while imparting shine.