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Old 10-18-2019, 02:51 PM
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I'm in my early 60s and my hair started going grey by my mid 30s. (I'm a natural brunette with very dark brown hair which is extremely thick & wavy.)

For over 6 years, I've had my hair long, just past my shoulders, and during that time was getting it colored with permanent color (dark brown) at a salon every 5 weeks or so. Since my hair is so thick, the stylist always had to use extra color. And because my grey hair is so color resistant, the hair dye always had to be left in extra long, at least 45 minutes (and the color always turned out a lot darker than I wanted.) Also, since my hair grows so fast, I'd have grey or white roots showing within 3 or 4 weeks, very annoying!

Well, last year I had a bad ankle injury and wasn't getting around much. Just stopped having the hair color done and let it go grey. (Actually it's bright white!)

Now it's been about a year & a half and the only dark brown color is near the ends-- rest of it is completely White (and very dry & fly away!) Also don't want to get my hair cut short, want to leave it long enough for a ponytail, I've been trimming the ends myself, about an inch off every two months (but still have the dark brown color at the ends.)

Trying to decide now what to do about it, don't really want to go back to permanent hair color because of the roots coming in so quickly plus the hair color was always too dark and it was expensive! Trying to figure out if I can handle doing the color myself at home using semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair color to avoid hair roots coming in. That would also avoid the expense of going to a salon for color.

I know everyone says that for color resistant hair which is more than 50% grey, you're supposed to use permanent hair color, but has anyone had success using the semi-permanent or demi permanent color on hair like mine that's bright white? And also doing it at home? I don't mind if some grey shows through and also I'm a very casual person, don't wear a lot of makeup or fuss with my hair a lot, just want to be presentable in public!

Also, might consider going to a salon again if if it cost less & they'd be willing to use other than permanent hair color on me. How about if I purchase drug store semi-permanent hair color and bring it myself to the salon? (to cut back on the expense) Wondering if any salon would be okay with that. Would be great to hear from some salon colorists about this!

Last edited by newbie09; 10-18-2019 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:55 PM
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I doubt that any salon would let you use color that you brought into the salon. As far as the color being too dark, IMO that's the stylist's fault. She should have used a lighter color to compensate for the additional time it had to be left in.

I can't comment on the rest. I go every 4 weeks to get mine professionally colored. I get compliments on my color all the time. The downside is as you noted, it's time consuming and expensive. However, for me it's worth it.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:54 AM
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Have a salon remove the dark color from the ends and try to get the ends to match the rest, without touching the color on the natural gray/white part. Then you dont have to color your hair any more. Hair color can be removed.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:08 AM
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Now that I am retired I only get mine done every 3 months. The stylist was choosing to dark a shade for you.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:35 PM
Location: Western North Carolina
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Go with a lighter shade of brown, and have your stylist add some highlights throughout. I find that the highlights help my grays to blend in better until I can get, or can afford to, get to the salon.

I also was originally dark brown, but now (heading for 60) I wear mine a medium coppery brown with lighter copper highlights, and I think it looks much younger and is more flattering. I do a medium copper brown base color myself at home, and my stylist adds the highlights, which saves some money on the expense. But, the base color is permanent (Excellence).

For years, when I first started going gray noticeably, I used Clairol Natural Instincts semi-permanent color in a flattering copper shade. I did feel like it was less damaging than permanent color, and that I could use it more often to keep the grays in check. The problem is, that brand, and other brands of semi-permanent color that used to be widely available at drug stores and big box stores like Wal-mart, have been largely dis-continued or are getting really hard to find. I'm not sure why that is, especially with so many of us boomers ageing now.

I also have tried several semi-permanent and demi-permanent brands from Sally's, but I have not been satisfied with ANY of them. They either "bleed" for days, or they just don't cover the gray. The colors don't go very far either - like you, I have a lot of hair to color. I have found that's it's actually cheaper to just buy a box color kit. Plus, most come with a good conditioner which helps with the condition of your hair after coloring.

I will spend money on my hair. That's my one "luxury" that I allow myself. I don't spend money on manicures, don't buy expensive department store cosmetics, and most of my clothing comes from thrift and consignment stores. No matter what I'm wearing though, or how good my make-up looks, I NEVER feel attractive unless my hair looks good.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:35 AM
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
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Right now you are 100% white? That sounds beautiful so I'd probably use products specifically for silver/white and work on getting my hair healthy and shiny. I'd also consider toning it to keep it white or steely colored (whatever your preference).

Have you considered other hair colors? I would try something in the blonde family to match your skin tone. ION has demi color and I think they work great. That being said, I'm currently using natural instincts because I love the shade (dark ash blonde). Ordinarily though, I find natural instinct shades too brassy.

For semi-permanent color, I would try Scwartzkopf professional Igora Mousse You can get it from Amazon and it comes in a lot of different colors.

I'm over 50% gray and I just cannot do permanent color anymore. It was ruining my hair.

Now, I mostly go natural or use semi or demi products. No lines of demarcation and they just fade away, naturally (at least for me). They blend the gray as opposed to covering it and I'm ok with that. It actually looks like I have highlights throughout my hair and I think it looks pretty.

I think you should at least give the semis and demis a try. They're far more gentle (and cheaper) than the permanent shades and there's no commitment so you can experiment. If you really hate it you could always go back to the salon.
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:19 PM
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It really depends on your hair. Semi is kind of pointless on all white hair. You can try a demi with a 1 to 1 ratio of color and developer and leave it on for the maximum amount of time. I did this and it tinted the hair that is gray/white and darkened the rest about one shade.

I first tried the lightest shade 9, didn't cut it and wasn't enough pigment to tint the whites hairs. I mixed an 8-Neutral with a small amount of red/violet color. This did the trick and has not even faded much in over a month. The whites are still fully tinted a reddish/blonde, but the roots are starting to grow out now. A demi which has enough pigment to tint a full white head may stick for a long time and you would still have to touch up the roots.

Demis run dark, so maybe you could try a light brown to see how it goes and if it doesn't take you can work your way to darker brown. You can blend to make custom colors which is nice.
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:40 PM
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Gray, white, silver hair is very fashionable. Google gray silver hair images &or look on Pinterest for some stunning examples.

I'd go to the salon & get the old brown removed from the ends and then have them colored platinum. And probably an olaplex treatment to improve conditioning & shine.

Also a pea sized amount of unscented coconut oil melted in warmth of your hands & run through your hair is a quick fix for fly away hair.
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:37 AM
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Random comments:

Yes, years ago there were semi-permanent hair color products such as Loving Care, Beautiful Browns, Loving Care/Natural Instincts, and many others both professional and "drug store" that would cover "grey" hair well, and do it for longer periods of time.

These products also contained some very nasty chemicals (often in high amounts) like paraphenylenediamine (PPD), coal tar, and others that either provoked allergic responses and or were suspected of having health risks (possible carcinogen). Result was products were either discontinued or reformulated.

Sadly afterwards many of the semi permanent hair colors today either don't cover grey hair well, and don't do a thing to white hair. This and whatever results they do have wash away and or are lost to friction (such as rubbing against a pillow case while sleeping), that in a week or so later grey/white hairs are already visible.

Professionally speaking there is no such thing as "grey" hair; only pigmented (natural or colored hair), and not pigmented (white hair).

Hair appears "grey" against the backdrop of whatever hair color (again natural or otherwise) that remains on balance of head. This runs on a sliding scale from say 10% all the way to 100% with the latter totally white.

As you move up the scale of percentage of not pigmented hair to pigmented you are moving into "white" hair territory. Where you have an area of hair that is totally white, it is just that, not "grey".

This is important because professionals formulate hair coloring for "grey" hair based upon amount of pigment remaining. Hair that is "white" will require a different formula than one that is 5% grey.

When professionals and products meant for them (along with drug store products) say "grey hair" they are referring to not pigmented hair evenly dispirsed throughout head of hair. Again if you have a hair line, streak or any other area of hair that is totally white, it is 100% not pigmented, nothing "grey" about it.

This is important because any type of hair coloring used on not pigmented hair must replace all primary colors of hair (red, yellow and blue), otherwise resulting color will appear off or a total disaster. If you apply a violet based hair color to white hair you're going to end up with lavender or pink.

Usually hair colors for white/not pigmented hair are called "natural" or "neutral". But even when using such products a professional may add various other shades of color depending upon client's hair.

Grey/not pigmented hair often is dry, wiry, and resistant to hair color. Professionals have a range of tricks and tools to deal with that situation. Everything from leaving product on longer, to using hair color formulas with a heavier dye load and more oomph (usually called NN series).

To OP's original query; generally no, there aren't semi-permanent hair colors sold today that will successfully cover white hair, especially with lasting power measured long than say two weeks, and even that is pushing things far.

Exception to this is hair that is already damaged or compromised in some way. Previously colored (using peroxide and ammonia products), permed, relaxed, etc.... Because of those processes cuticles of hair are often already open, this allows even a semi permanent color (especially if applied with heat) to really sink in and grab hair.

Many makers of semi-permanent hair colors warn specifically that if product is used directly after a perm/relaxer service, and especially with heat, results will be permanent.

Generally speaking to successfully permanently color white/unpigmented hair you're going to need 20vol peroxide and an ammonia based color, or one that contains another type of alkaline substance (ammonia free hair color) with enough power to get the job done.

Otherwise whatever hair color is applied will mostly sit on top of hair with perhaps some penetration. But because healthy grey/white hair will likely resist hair coloring what results you do get with anything less than 20v will be muddy, fade off base/tone and otherwise disappoint.

There are some demi-permanent hair colors that claim to cover "X" percent of white hair, but that number is usually < 50%.
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:02 PM
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Another thing, when you see images on sides of boxed hair color, product swatches or anything else meant to show results of various shades they are done on pigmented hair. Thus if you are dealing with "grey" or white/unpigmented hair results are likely to be different.

By middle age, and certainly by say late forties or so it is time for most women to say good bye to darker brunette shades of hair color, even if that was natural color of their youth. Dark black, dark brown, deepest brown, etc.. all can look harsh against coloring of older persons. More to the point keeping unpigmented roots covered (especially along hair line) will make someone a slave to that bottle.

When you look at older women who have good hair coloring done hairline is always lighter than balance of hair. In fact their colorist often will use several different shades so effect looks like highlights, rather than flat color. This softens an older woman's appearance, and brightens area around face. Added benefit time between touch ups can be extended because "grey" roots aren't nearly as visible.

While there are still hair color products out there (professional and boxed) that will lay down heavy opaque color, unless you want look like Eddie Munster it really isn't advisable.

One reason behind trend of older women going with those bright and vivid hair colors such as reds, blues, etc... is they also don't show white/unpigmented regrowth easily, but give an alternative to laying down heavy dark brown to black hair color.

For most women with major amounts of or have totally white hair sooner or later a decision must be made. Either remain a slave to the bottle, with a good professional colorist/hairdresser keeping things in good condition. Or just go with the flow and let things go and perhaps use a rinse to add tone to grey/white hair, and cancel out off tones such as yellow.

For brunttes and redheads at some point managing to keep things going (dealing with white hair) becomes like double processed blondes. More so if they have medium to long hair. Every few weeks or so there are roots to be covered, maybe mid-lengths to ends that need refreshing, etc....

Blondes have things a bit easier as unpigmented hair shows up least against lighter shades of hair.
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