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True Grey

A new era in beauty is upon us, as more and more women make the choice no longer to camouflage their silver. Creative HEAD in partnership with Wella Professionals sets the tone on this evolving movement by making a statement with grey.

Grey hair. For so long, it was the one hair colour that was almost universally hidden, hastily covered up for fear of the swirling associations in its wake. But as a society, we’ve come to rethink our relationship with ageing, with identity and with beauty itself, and grey hair has emerged as a badge to be worn with pride.

Shifts in the perception of grey were crystallised by the pandemic, where enforced shutdowns saw silver strands peeking through meticulously coloured lengths, often for the first time in years. But beyond convenience and client practicality, this switch where grey has become a friend rather than a foe is an expression of something more. Casting off the shackles of shame, it’s an embrace of true self; silver is now a signifier of empowerment in a new era of pride and liberation.

We’re now years-deep in clients requesting to voluntarily go grey as the fashion palette expanded, and even colour tastemaker PANTONE proclaimed Ultimate Gray as a Color of the Year. Beyond the symbolism, the stats don’t lie – one in three women with naturally grey hair are embracing it in a bid to age fearlessly,* and Google searches for ‘natural grey hair’ have increased 67 per cent year-on-year. Mushroom grey, oyster grey, dove grey, slate… the depth and breadth of beautiful grey hues has entered the hair colour and trend lexicon, with all of the options being very clearly statement hues. And the people in your chair want to make that statement.

So it’s time revisit how, as professionals, we talk about and treat natural grey hair. In partnership with Wella Professionals and its UK & Ireland creative technical director, Robert Eaton, Creative HEAD is taking the conversation out of the shadows and shining a spotlight on grey. Armed with an innovative new treatment, True Grey, we’ll explore ways for stylists to help balance, and control any brassy patches for their greying guests, all commitment free and gently returning to natural bases true to tone. Join us on the journey, and discover some gorgeous looks (and business-building tips) along the way…

*Wella Professionals

Just as consumers have reframed their perception of grey hair, it’s important for colourists to stop seeing silver strands as something to be hidden; to explore their value to colour businesses beyond being covered up by permanent pigments.

Making natural grey more visible doesn’t have to mean a reduction in bookings or more infrequent salon visits. After all, the market demand for professional enhancement of grey tones is there, and growing. “I’ve seen with my own clients that the perception of grey hair has changed dramatically over recent years,” says Robert, “and it’s been accelerated through lock downs. People have really learned to embrace their natural hair colour and really enjoy making the most of what their natural hair colour is all about.”

And because grey hair – it’s tone, distribution, pattern and texture – is so unique to every client, as a colourist, it’s vital to put the customer right at the heart of every grey enhancement colour service.

 

 

“One of the things we’ve been doing at Russell Eaton to expand our service menu is to really think about the kinds of services that our clients are wanting,” Robert explains. “That can range anywhere from a grey blending service to starting somebody off on the journey of growing out their salon hair colour, which is actually quite a big move.”

Indeed, despite the transformation in the conversation surrounding grey hair, making the switch to silver can be quite a dramatic step for customers, particularly if it’s something they’ve hidden for years (sometimes even decades).

For quite a lot of clients, they feel quite nervous… it’s a big change, a big transition,” agrees Robert.  “For us, approaching it as colourists, it’s all about a colour journey and a colour plan. That’s defining a starting point, building on perhaps three or four weekly regrowth blending appointments in the salon, and actually mapping out those different stages to grey, which could take two to three years of continued salon business.” So far from driving clients away from your chair, grey services lock in frequent bookings just as much as root cover up appointments.

“At the end of the transition process, what we often find with our clients is that they’researching for that perfect maintenance treatment,” Robert adds. “So for me, introducing True Grey from Wella Professionals has been fantastic because it’s given us a specific, tailored service. It’s unique to the hairdressing industry and it’s perfect for our clients that want to continue visiting salons, want to really enhance their grey or white hair, but ultimately want to think about the integrity and the condition of it as well.

“The message really is: If you’ve got a fabulous hair colour, let’s really accentuate that, let’s really work with it and really make it look absolutely fantastic.” 

 

 

Light and dark. Timeless beauty. The nostalgic warmth of an archive of experiences and the shimmering promise of those yet to come. Every grey blending journey is an exercise in amplifying the stories of individuality that are encapsulated in the client’s unique hair pattern, and across a series of four models with different looks, backgrounds and histories, our Christmas 2021 cover shoot aims to do just that.

You’ll get to meet the faces behind the looks and what their hair colour means to them, as well as gaining invaluable insight into the formulas and techniques used by Robert to give each of them their personal ‘best grey ever’.

Plus, you’ll discover how to map the service styles and product tones onto your own client base, expanding your offering, helping you hold onto grey-curious clients, and maybe even landing new ones. Ready to delve deeper?

Portrait photography: Lewis Hayward
Hair: Robert Eaton, creative director at Russell Eaton, and Wella Professionals UK & Ireland creative technical director, using True Grey by Wella Professionals
Assisted by: Jamie Doran and Sooz Alphonse, Wella Professionals
Photography assistants: Lucy Rooney, Federico Covarelli
Reportage photography: Harvey Williams-Fairley
Backstage and on-set footage and photography inserts: The digital team at Creative HEAD
Videography: Austen Killingbeck-Jones & Joe Bidmead @Friday Sky
Make-Up: Kim Kiefer @Frank Agency
Styling: Ella-Louise Gaskell @Stella Creative Artists, assisted by Yeonhwa Kim
Production: The creative partnerships team at Creative HEAD
Models: Alex, Gloria and Sue @Autumn Jensen casting, Brucella @Mrs Robinson Management
In partnership with Wella Professionals
Shot at Spring Studios

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