Gray and Gorgeous: A Conversation with Daphne King

By Daphne King

At the first sign of gray hair, many of us go straight to our stylist for color. And while this is a beautiful option, gray hair can be gorgeous! Veteran stylist and colorist, Daphne King, gave us some tips about returning to our natural shade.

As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent color – like gray, silver or white – as it grows. As we continue to get older, fewer pigment cells will be around to produce melanin. Eventually, the hair will look completely gray.

Returning to a natural gray can be a slow process, depending on the length of your hair, but one that yields beautiful results. “I use foil highlights to put a lighter color in the ‘colored’ hair,” Daphne explained. She went on to say it all depends on the color you’ve been using. ”For example, if you color your hair dark brown, I would use heavy blond highlights to blend with your light roots to get rid of the line where your hair is growing out. There’s no really pretty way to do it without over bleaching your hair. It takes time.”

Daphne also stressed that there is no “one” formula that works for everyone. “Hair color is very personal to each client. I never write down formulas, rather I assess my client’s hair each time they visit the salon and custom mix the color. Everyone’s hair changes – colors wash out and change.”

One of Daphne’s clients, Cindy Andres, said she is very happy to be back to her natural silver gray. “It’s taken over a year and I still have some color. My hair was darker with highlights and as the time went on I discovered I’m more than 90% gray!” Daphne added a lot of blond highlights to Cindy’s hair to give a more cohesive look. “It was hard the first six months, but I decided I was going to go through it and I’m very pleased.”

Before you make a decision about hair color, be sure to ask your stylist a lot of questions. But, don’t be surprised when the stylist asks you questions as well. And don’t forget to bring photos of what you want! “Everyone is so different,” Daphne stressed. “What is your lifestyle? Coloring your hair requires a visit to the salon every four to six weeks for most people.”

Now that you’ve grown out that beautiful gray, how do you care for it? The environment in our area causes specific issues – sometimes minerals in the water can cause gray to yellow. If this happens, Daphne recommends a purple-tinted shampoo to keep your gray hair whiter and brighter. And, don’t expect your hair to be the same after it grays. “Gray hair is not your same hair. Clients ask me what’s wrong with their hair, and I tell them it’s different because it’s gray.”

“It’s so nice that gray hair is more fashionable now,” Daphne told me as we finished our conversation. “Women are embracing their gray and I love it. Just remember, it’s not an easy process, no matter what you do. I just try to make it as easy as possible.”

About this writer

  • Daphne King

    Daphne King

    Daphne King, owner of Daphne’s Hair Design, is a hair stylist/colorist in Pawleys Island. Contact her at 843-237-1696 or find her on Facebook, @daphneshairdesign.

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One Response to “Gray and Gorgeous: A Conversation with Daphne King”

  1. Anna Riley says:

    Hi, Daphne,
    Thanks for the tips! I grew my gray hair out last year. I wrote an article on my experience (in the January issue here!) Mine does yellow a bit, so I’ll keep the purple-tinted shampoo in mind! I had partial hi-lights and low lights to mix in with my grays and it works for me at the moment! Glad to hear gray hair is becoming more popular! That’s awesome :))

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