By Katie Wright
There’s hot hair news from the set of And Just Like That…, the Sex And The City reboot series that catches up with Carrie Bradshaw and co in their 50s.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon have both been spotted with silver locks on show while filming in New York – and they look fabulous.
While many actors dye their hair as they get older (and who can blame them, given the lack of roles for women beyond a certain age), Parker, 56, has chosen to keep the wisps of grey appearing at her temples.
Nixon, 55, who is naturally blonde (that’s right, she dyed her hair red to play Miranda Hobbes), has a cool new cropped, silver-blonde ‘do in the HBO series, which is set to air later this year.
If, like the SATC stars, you’re starting to go grey and don’t want to dye it back to your base colour, you may be wondering whether you should be changing your hair washing or styling routine – or heading to the salon for a drastic chop.
“The old adage that women should have their hair cut short at 40 was not about length, but a judgement that grey hair was best minimised or hidden away,” says hairdresser Michael Van Clarke. “It isn’t true anymore, because we have the skill and technology to address frizzy hair, and to deal with the loss of tonal vibrancy.”
There is actually “no such thing as a grey hair”, Van Clarke says. As we age, individual hairs go white and it’s “the ratio of white hairs to coloured hairs on the head that give the overall tone of grey”.
White hair is caused “when a protein in the base of the hair follicle triggers a switch-off in the production of melanin,” he continues. “There is no gradual fading of colour for that hair – it changes from fully coloured to white. Genetic programming is the foundation cause, but stress and diet can accelerate or decelerate the process.”
Without melanin, strands “can also become coarser, resulting in dry, brittle strands of hair”, explains celebrity hair stylist Jason Collier, who says that “Jamie Lee Curtis and George Clooney are the hair gods when it comes to embracing the grey”.
But with a bit of TLC and the right products, you can keep your silver locks looking sensational…
“When it comes to maintaining grey hair, there are some essential rules to follow,” says Collier. “Grey hair can easily stain. Air pollution can be the main cause of this, so it’s essential to use a specialised hair shampoo and conditioner.”
Because it’s been stripped of pigment, bleached hair is similar to grey, so purple-toned products designed to minimise brassy tones on blonde hair are ideal for “maintaining brightness and shine, with no yellow”.
Without melanin, hair can become coarse and brittle. “The best way to prevent this is by using a bonding treatment that can help rebuild and add moisture,” Collier says. Usually applied in two steps, these powerful products work to repair strands from the inside.
“Older hair is likely to be less mobile, frizzier or coarser, and thinner at the ends,” says Van Clarke. “And because of the shortening growth cycle, will have more short hairs at the roots. Combined, this pulls more energy into the roots with less flowing through the ends, making it hard for the hair to have movement and swing. Imagine taking the weight off the end of a pendulum.”
If you’ve already got short hair, chat to your stylist about the optimal cut for you, he says: “On short hair, clever cutting gives the illusion of energetic movement, even if the hair is largely stationary.”
As for styling, Van Clarke adds: “Smoothing or texturising products help balance out the effects. Techniques that help loosen or boost the roots, and thicken and smooth the ends, also compensate for these effects.
“Don’t be afraid of a little colour help,” says Collier, especially as you transition from your base colour to grey.
“Grey hair can come in many shades – not everyone is lucky to have a uniform colour, so don’t be afraid of getting a little help to streamline the colour. A simple toner can uniform the shade, and also enhance the shine.”