Want silver hair? Read this first…

Do you sometimes watch Game of Thrones and wish you had Daenerys Targaryen hair? I’ve always been blonde, but since I’ve discovered silver blonde I feel as though I’ve found my dream colour and can’t imagine having anything else. It’s lovely and Lord-of-the-rings-elf-like. But if you’re considering going silver blonde you should know the truth about the process and what is involved before making the leap.

I’ve been colouring my hair for years, but there is a big difference between a blonde tint and what it takes to get white-blonde hair. The only way to get it light enough is to have your roots bleached and then a toner applied to remove the yellow tone and give your hair the desired ashy silver shade. This means your scalp had better be prepared for a double chemical process. If your scalp is sensitive and you don’t have much of a pain threshold, then silver hair might not in fact be for you. I can handle the bleach fine with minimum discomfort, but the ten or fifteen minutes at the basin with toner on feels like someone has poured petrol on my head and set it on fire. I’ve chatted to other platinum blondes, and I am definitely not alone in this experience. Bleaching and toning can hurt. The thing is, if you want the best results at the end, then you just have to suffer through, or pick another hair colour. It is also very possible that your scalp will be a bit oozy and scabby for a week. Some people get this, others don’t.


This is NOT the expression you will have on your face during the toning process…

If you want platinum hair badly enough you just feel that all of the above is justified. My stylist says if she is buried with two hairs left on her head one day, they had better be blonde hairs. I wouldn’t look back, and I don’t mind going through the process every six to eight weeks. And the silver lining is that there are some things you can do to make life easier.

The first obvious tip is that if you feel your scalp burning and you can’t handle it, let your stylist know. She will wash the toner off immediately if the burning gets too bad. Mine is a great hand to hold as she has personal experience. It helps me to get up and walk around, stand near the air conditioning, eat a doughnut. Anything is better than sitting still with a burning scalp.

A tip I got courtesy of Eloise from Eloise Dreyer Beauty is not to wash your hair for a full week before your appointment. This gives your scalp enough time to build up natural oils which will protect it from the hefty dose of chemicals. It might start looking a bit gross after a while, but it will be worth it and the bleach/toning will probably be less uncomfortable and less damaging.

Secondly, using the best silver shampoo possible will extend the life of your colour and stop the brassy golden tones from creeping in and necessitating another salon visit. I’ve been able to stretch the time between visits from six to eight weeks by using a great silver shampoo, and in this way you’re giving your scalp a good break. My favourite silver shampoo to date is Milkshake Silver Shampoo (R232).

Eloise recommended Inoar Absolut Speed Blonde shampoo and conditioner (R490 for the set or R245 individually) and having tried both says it gives even better results. This is a suggestion from someone who knows so I’ve ordered myself some and can’t wait to try it this week. There is also a mask in the range, which is really good to know. Other options I’ve tried in the past are L’Oreal Professional Silver Shampoo (R225) and Schwarzkopf Colour Freeze Silver Shampoo (R225) which are good for general blonde hair, but I think if you’re proper silver blonde you need the strongest purpley stuff out there.

I think I’ve been brutally honest about the fact that getting and maintaining silver blonde hair isn’t a walk in the park. I hope I’ve delved into the ‘stuff they never tell you’. There are pro’s and con’s, but to me and many others the satisfaction I get when I look in the mirror makes all the downers worthwhile. It isn’t easy and it takes some investment, but if you’re a true blonde at heart then I say go for it.


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