Over the last year it has been almost impossible to keep a regular date with your colourist. With salons closed due to lockdown those of us with grey hairs have been left with two options: go au naturel and embrace the chic, silvery strands or learn to touch up our roots at home, DIY-style.
As you get older, your hair follicles stop producing melanin, the pigment that gives hair its colour. As melanin dwindles, the hair strands become more translucent and appear white, silver or grey. Around the same time, your scalp will also start producing less of its natural oils leading to hair feeling more dry and brittle. When this happens it can help to make the switch to a nourishing hair routine packed with strengthening and fortifying ingredients.
Whether you are newly embracing your grey, looking to touch up your roots or just continuing to care for your hair, here are the products you need to look after your midlife hair at home.
The Pre-Shampoo Treatment: Leonor Greyl L’Huile de Leonor Greyl, £31.50
This pre-shampoo treatment oil from Leonor Greyl replenishes and hydrates your hair to preserve health and longevity. Deeply nourishing and heavenly scented, the oil can be applied to dry hair and left on for ten minutes before washing or used as an overnight treatment. It is also perfect for use in the summer, when sun, seawater and chlorine can damage the hair.
The Shampoo and Conditioner: Virtue Full Shampoo and Conditioner, from £14
Virtue’s range of hair care products contains Alpha Keratin 60ku, a protein identical to the keratin in your own hair, which works to repair damage. The Full shampoo and conditioner are ideal for fine hair and will help thicken, strengthen, and create volume, alongside boosting shine – something that is often lost in older hair as dry locks tend to be unable to reflect light.
The Hair Mask: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment, £19
Originally designed for Audrey Hepburn to restore her hair’s health after weeks of on-set styling, Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer is an intensive conditioning treatment. Suitable for all hair types, it is full of nourishing ingredients and can be used as an overnight mask or pre-shampoo treatment to restore strength and elasticity to dry or damaged hair.
The Toner: White Hot Hair Brighten Duo, £21
Grey hair has no natural pigment and as such is susceptible to becoming yellow over time. To combat brassy tones, it’s worth investing in a silver shampoo which works to neutralise any yellowness to keep your tones cool and clear. Many brands have great options from EVO and L’Oréal to Kevin Murphy, but our favourite comes from White Hot Hair, a brand created specially for grey and white hair. Try the Brighten Duo to banish the brassiness.
The In-Between Option: John Frida Defy Grey Brunette Blending Range, from £6.99
If you’re not ready to fully embrace your greys but aren’t confident enough to try your hand at permanent at-home colour either, you might be interested in John Frida’s Defy Grey range. Consisting of a shampoo, conditioner and blow dry foam, the range gradually infuses brunette tones to blend the greys into your hair for a natural look. It won’t get rid of greys completely, but it will tide you over until you can get to a salon.
The Root Touch-Up: Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush, £19
For a temporary quick fix root touch up Josh Wood’s Blending Brush will help you disguise any greys for up to three washes. Available in three shades, the brush should be applied to wet hair and then set with a blow dry. Check out Mpowered’s co-founder Saska Graville’s tutorial and review for a step-by-step guide. For a slightly longer term option try Christophe Robin’s Temporary Color Gel which will last you up to seven washes.
The Permanent Colour: Clairol Nice ‘n Easy, £12.78
For a permanent hair colour you can’t really go wrong with Clairol’s Nice ‘n Easy range. Easy to use, gentle on your hair, with excellent grey coverage, this at-home dye will leave you with natural, glossy looking colour. With a large range of shades it’s easy to find your colour and the Root Touch-Up option makes it easy to sustain.
The Pillowcase: Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase, £85
With hair becoming more dry and brittle with age, help look after it with a silk pillowcase. While cotton can draw moisture from your hair, silk is more gentle and causes less friction meaning your hair won’t get twisted and damaged during the night. Silk pillowcases are also great for the skin, leaving it less creased and less stressed.