How to deliver solid silver hair.

how to create a perfect silver hair color

OH, SILVER. Everyone wants it, very few can have it. If you're anything like me your first thought when a client mentions wanting silver hair is how far your ibuprofen is, because you know this thing is going to cause a headache. Honestly though, it doesn't always have to.


Ok, now that i've got that out of the way, lets talk about creating them. Once you get them down, the silver part becomes easy and you only have to worry about the *heavy* lifting. (unless you have a natural blonde in which, girrrrrrl, you just won the hair lottery.) Otherwise, you need to be lifting to a level 10 or up. Not even a 9, I said it. Okay, a level 9 can achieve silver but it won't be as pastel and you'll have to drop it down a few levels and switch what you're using. (More on this, later.) Lift them to a 10 in as many low and slow sessions as it may take, and then tone out any ounce of yellow that may be left. You want that hair as white as humanly possible.

NOW. You've probably achieved this before and then grabbed your silver all happy-go-lucky because you know you're going to kill this color, and once you apply - process- rinse, that shit is blue. or green. or purple. Yep, I feel you. I've done it. I've wanted to throw color boxes across the room and slam my head against the mirror after a process like this. Heres what I have learned from trial and error, and eventually taking it back to the basics of the color wheel:

90% of silvers have a base of blue. the other 10% have a base of violet. I've learned the hard way that these, whether they are semi, demi, or permanents, need to be mixed accordingly if you want a achieve a solid silver hair color. No, this is not a manufacturers error. In order to create a silver color you NEED these heavy pigments. It's our job to counteract them for the pallet we are working on and the desired outcome.

If there is yellow left in the hair and you apply a blue based silver you will be left with green. (yellow + blue = green.) This is why it is essential to pre-tone all of that yellow out so that you're starting with a clean, white canvas.

If the silver has gone to straight blue, I suggest adding orange to your formula beforehand in small amounts until you get the color you're looking to achieve. This will neutralize the blue and leave you with a solid silver. (Example: Pulp Riot Smoke, make 1/4 or more of your formula Lava.)

If the silver has gone to straight violet, you may want to add a tiny bit of yellow to your formula beforehand. This will neutralize the violet and leave you with a solid silver. I suggest grabbing a paper towel, or better yet a test strand, to try these colors out before applying them. (Example: Mydentity SS series, add a small ribbon of GI.)

If you do have a level 9 and you're dead set on going with a darker silver - use that color wheel accordingly. This is where I would typically skip the direct dyes and go with a demi. Redken shades has great silver tones at a level 9, but here's the catch: you'll need to drop it to a 7 or 8 to really get that silver deposit. Otherwise you're simply getting neutralization and will be left with a beautiful, but not silver, blonde. Heres my suggested formula for a true level 9 yellow: Pretone with Redken shades 09V straight up. let it neutralize all of that yellow by leaving it for 15-20 minutes on damp and clean hair. Rinse, towel dry*, and layer over with 08V and 07P for a full 20 minutes.** Wa-la, you've mastered the art of turning a level 9 in to a stunning silver/gray. 

Got a line you love for your silvers? Tell me about it below!

*For even extra deposit I recommend drying fully before application of 07P and 08V.

**These formulas are examples and not meant to be the perfect solution to every client. work with your canvas and color wheel to figure out what is best for that specific client.