Expert Advice

Graying Gracefully: A Salon Color Plan

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 6:20 PM

Nelson Chan, celebrity hair colorist and founder of the Nelson J hair salon in Beverly Hills, sees gray hair as the number-one concern of women over 40. He’s come up with a client-friendly, salon-right system to minimize gray.

“After gray hair is colored, it usually starts to grow out in two to three weeks,” explains Chan. “This poses two major problems: one, it reveals a strong contrast between the gray hair and the desired hair color; two, it makes it costly for women to have to go to the salon every three weeks for a touch-up.”

Chan’s creative and cost-effective solution is to create an overall lighter shade in the hair, then add lowlights. He explains, “By making the hair lighter and closer to the gray hair color, when the outgrowth starts to occur you will not see the line of demarcation so strongly.

“And by using eco-friendly hair color, you can achieve a more translucent color,” he adds. (Chan uses Aveda color.) “Women can wait twice as long without worrying about having to return to the salon.”

Graying Gracefully: A Salon Color Plan



The Plan

1. Start by creating a lighter base.

2. Add lowlights.

3. To achieve a more dimensional look, highlight the hair two shades lighter around the face and selectively in the top layers only.

“The goal is to create a color that will last longer and is more flattering," Chan says.

For a classic look on gray hair, Chan adds lowlights to the existing base shade. “This keeps the recipe more balanced, with a bit more pepper than salt.”




Graying Gracefully: A Salon Color Plan

Nelson Chan’s “graceful gray” makeover.


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