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Anne Kreamer's Tips For Going Gray

The Martha Stewart Show, November 2007

Since Anne Kreamer wrote her book, "Going Gray: What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Matters," lots of women have written asking for advice on how to grow out their color without cutting off their dyed hair. I have to say right off the bat, it's not easy.

Tips for Going Gray
1. Like any renovation project, know that it will probably take longer than you estimate or want -- but that it's worth it. It took me 18 months from start to finish. And like a renovation, the first phase, where my roots were more prominent, was the messiest; but the final stages, as my color revealed itself, were thrilling. It was just like discovering a fabulous wallpaper beneath grungy old paint.

2. Work with a professional colorist to help you manage the transition -- and if your colorist isn't keen to partner with you, get a different one. There are many techniques. I had my colorist add lighter highlights and use a toner to blend in the transition line between my new gray hair and my old "brown" hair. You can also shift to a semipermanent color and gradually scale back the amount used. Or for the brave, get a chic, short haircut and go cold turkey.

3. Consider cutting off some of the length once you've made progress -- and get a cut that makes you feel fresh. As my new hair grew in, I clung tenaciously to my tried-and-true haircut, only to discover that it began to feel old and outdated the more my shiny real hair appeared. I found I needed to lighten up all aspects of my hair.

4. Realize that if you change one aspect of your appearance, others things may need a bit of "redecoration" as well. Much as you might paint your living room a new color and discover that your sofa could use a slip-cover in a different palette, I found that the browns, russets, and olives that I used to wear with my dyed brown hair made my complexion look sallow with gray hair. I now wear navies, grays and blue-toned colors and feel it makes all the difference in the world. Similarly, I've lightened my lipstick and added mascara. It's all a balance and we're each an ever-evolving project. And so worth the effort!

Comments (1)

  • 23 Jan, 2008

    Thanks Anne for addressing this issue and encouraging us to discover what is underneath the dye! Reading your article in More magazine made all the difference when deciding to go gray last March.

    I love my hair now! It affords me time to apply toward other things like keeping my eyebrows looking their best!!