There are two common approaches when the first few silver strands of hair on your head turn into a few more, and so on.
One is to start dying your hair to cover up the grey, leading to a continual cycle of concealing both the strands and your re-growth.
The other, is to embrace their arrival and let nature do its thing.
Either approach is the right one, if it feels right for you. It’s been heartening to witness a larger number of high-profile women embrace their grey hair and wear it with pride, emboldening the rest of us to do the same. Among them, Andie MacDowell, Sarah-Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow have been rocking their greys without apology.
Now, there’s a new hair trend leaping to popularity that straddles both approaches, and embraces the process of going gray by blending the gray hairs into the former hair color.
It’s being referred to as ‘Herringbone Highlights’ for the way colour is applied in a pattern reminiscent of herringbone, a zig-zag pattern used for floor tiling. This way, various shades of fine highlights are woven among your grey strands, leading to a natural-looking result that embraces and celebrates your natural hair, rather than covering it all up.
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“I’ve always used the herringbone highlight technique – which involves applying foils at an angle in a herringbone pattern – because I like delicately blended colour,” colourist Zoe Irwin tells Vogue.
Irwin says the technique can also work if your previous colour is dark, by incorporating another variation in tone half way between the two into the mix.
“The biggest problem with darker hair colour is when the grey or silver tones come through, it’s 10 shades lighter than their natural colour, so you can really see it,” she says. “A mid-tone always works really well.”
Other experts have suggested the key to making the look work is to find the right balance of warm and cool tones to to mimic the natural variation of hair and the way greys pop up randomly. Diffusing the shades around the head in an irregular pattern, as highlights normally are, helps with a seamless result.
If you are tired of the never ending roundabout of concealing your greys, herringbone highlights also offers a beautifully gradual way of letting them grow out fully, without a harsh re-growth line.
Image (top): @gwynethpaltrow